Why Do Cats Purr And Dogs Don’t? This Is The Reason Why!

If you have a pet cat, you notice that when you pet your cat or give it food to eat it makes unusual noises inside him/her. It sounds like a motor inside them! At first, I didn’t understand why cats make such noise before. But since I fell in love with cats, I started researching various things about them, including the reasons why they purr!

Cats purr when they are in a relaxed environment. They send out waves of calmness. Cats purr because they are happy and being social with you. However, dogs don’t purr since they have different ways of telling that they are happy and relaxed. But did you know the reason why dogs can’t purr as cats do? Here is the answer:

Why do cats purr and dogs don’t? Dogs don’t purr because it is not their instinctive repertoire. Even though dogs learn this sound from their feline friend, they can’t execute it because they have no unique laryngeal muscles inside their throat that cats have to produce a purr. 

However, that is the short and concise answer. There is a broader answer that I have prepared for you where you can learn more about why cats purr and dogs don’t. Also, I am going to tell you what is the way dogs show they are happy! Now, if you are ready, let us move on!

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Reasons Why Cats Purr And Dogs Don’t

Cats and dogs are different species, which means they both have different personalities and ways of surviving. For a very long time, we humans did not understand how and why cats purr. But because of the scientists that put effort to study this, we already know the reasons why cats purr. 

Cats purr when they are in a relaxed environment, happy, or being social with you. Also, cats purr to comfort themselves when they give birth, scared, and when they are dying. Scientists have concluded that it is a cat’s way to comfort themselves and say that they need a friend or someone to help them. 

The main reason why cats purr and dogs don’t is because dogs have different vocal structures. Cats can purr because they have a unique vocal structure inside their bodies. The purr has to do with the muscles of the larynx of cats and their diaphragm that vibrates about 20 to 30 times a second. 

When your cat breathes, the vibrations muscles produce to make the purring noise. Yes, it is pretty cool! Your house cats can purr, but their cousins in the wild cannot. Why? Lions and tigers cannot truly purr physically because of their bone called hyoid. The hyoid is the one that supports the larynx and the tongue. 

For small cats, their hyoid is completely ossified, while the hyoid of large cats in the wild is only partially ossified. The ossification is the reason why small cats can purr and big cats can’t, and why big cats can roar while small cats can’t. 

Now, let us take a look at the vocal structure of dogs to understand more why cats purr and dogs don’t. 

The vocal structure of dogs is vastly different from cats. However, dogs have hyoid bones as cats do. But their hyoid bones are not ossified, which is why they can’t make a purr. 

However, you notice that your dog makes a growly or grumble sound. Right? These sound dogs produce probably are their own version of a purr. Whenever I pet my dogs or the dogs of my friends, they usually execute this kind of sound. 

Now that you know the broader reason why cats purr and dogs don’t, let us take a look at the different ways for dogs to show that they are happy and comforting themselves. Since dogs can’t purr as cats do, they have diverged ways to express happiness and comfort themselves, which is worth reading!

Ways Of Dogs To Show Happiness

The first thing dogs do to show that they are happy is when they flop their ears. If their ears are resting against the sides of their head, it means they are happy or relaxed. 

The other thing dogs do to show that they are happy is they wiggle their body. When your dog is happy, expect that its whole body will look soft, relaxed, and quite often wiggle. 

When dogs are happy, they also smile. How to know if they are smiling? When the mouth of your dog is open, the corners are turned up and while their teeth are visible. It may look like they are being aggressive, but they really don’t. 

The last thing dogs do when they are happy is when they rapidly wag their tails. It is the common thing dogs do when they feel excited and happy, and it is also the most obvious signal for all dog owners that their dog is happy. 

Final Thoughts

Dogs and cats are different species. That is why they both have diverged ways to show happiness and comfort themselves. Dogs will show happiness through body language, while cats will purr to show that they are happy and excited.

Cats don’t use body language or facial expressions to express their feelings. They keep it to themselves, unlike dogs, who are a very expressive species.

Marian Haaz
Marian is a cat adoption expert. She has rescued and adopted several cats herself and helped find homes for dozens of stray cats and dogs.
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