Social Question

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Man went to the Moon, but the origin of a cat’s purr remains a mystery?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (26829points) May 30th, 2011

I know it is said that how a cat purrs is not completely known. I know it is in the throat, when my cat purrs that is where she seems to create it. When CK, my Tom, was a kitten he would start purring the moment a finger touched his back, don’t know if that was nervousness or contentment, he doesn’t do it as easy after surviving a dog attack. How can scientist not know? They seem to be so sure of other traits and feelings animals have but can’t figure out something as mechanical as purring? By the feel of it seems like a controlled waking snore. If science can send man to the moon and back, they should be able to figure out how a cat generates purring.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

10 Answers

roundsquare's avatar

And we still use umbrellas, go figure.

Its also probably a matter of people not caring that much. Not exactly an issue that will change the world.

bkcunningham's avatar

What? I thought it was muscles in the voice box. The brain tells the muscles to vibrate so they act as a sort of a valve for air flowing past the voice box with inhalation and exhalation. The laryngeal and diaphragmatic muscles. That isn’t the case?

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@bkcunningham The brain tells the muscles to vibrate so they act as a sort of a valve for air flowing past the voice box with inhalation and exhalation. Is it? I have not seen any official site or books that say exactly how a cat purrs or why only house cats can purr inhaling as well as exhaling. Where did you get that tid bit of info? I’d like to go see….

crisw's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central

@bkcunningham already gave you some sources that show that we do know how a cat purrs. I am curious as to why you thought this was not known.

gondwanalon's avatar

I can sometimes imitate a cat’s purr by using my uvula (A small pendant fleshy lobe at the back of the soft palate) and vocal cords. So it is reasonable to conclude that a cat uses such structures to accomplish its purring. I have dissected cats in biology classes and I can say for sure that cats do not have a “purr box” as some people think.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@bkcunningham I am curious as to why you thought this was not known. It came up about 5 different time in seperate readings on cat behavior, they would say possible reasons why a cat would purr but said the mechanism or method to do so was not known.

bkcunningham's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central it was @crisw who asked you why you thought this was not known. But that is okay. I had to look it up. I didn’t know. Thanks for giving my brain a workout last night.

crisw's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central

They are probably older books (or if online, sources that copy from older sources.) When you run across statements like that, it’s always best to check that they are still current knowledge.

Response moderated (Spam)

Answer this question

Login

or

Join

to answer.
Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
or
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther