I’m not going to lie, I don’t think many people are out there wondering why their cats purr when they see them.
Most people just accept cats purring and don’t really read much into it, at least that’s what I believe.
But some cats purr very sparsely, and some cats purr a lot.
And some cats purr when they’re by themselves almost exclusively, while others will purr, not even when they’re on your lap, but when they even just see you walk into the room.
That’s quite varied behaviour.
Honestly I feel like if you Google this, you come across a lot of people with the opinion that seems great on face value, but I personally don’t believe to be true.
It seems to be the biggest explanation given for why cats purr when they see you:
They want to show you that they are happy and pleased, so they purr when they see you.
Almost like a greeting. I guess it might make sense on some level, but I honestly don’t think it rings true to me.
Why? I just don’t think cats purr as a form of communication. Like I really don’t.
Could I be wrong? Absolutely, 100%.
Actually, my opinion could even change tomorrow, but based on my experiences right now, I’d say this is what I believe is most likely to be true about cat purrs.
Yeah sure. I just don’t think there are.
To me, cats strike me as purring when they are actually just happy, or comfortable, or anxious and trying to gain comfort. I feel like it’s weird because my perspective has changed on this a lot.
Actually when I wrote my article on why cats purr way back when, I listed communication in a bunch of my explanations.
But that was back when I was doing research and not going with my experience as much because I only had one cat.
Now that I’ve had experience with a lot more, I actually think there’s less to do with purring and communication and more to do with actual pleasure and comfort.
So my unpopular opinion… is that the reasons go something more like this…
Why I Believe Cats Purr When They See Their Humans
1. Your cat isn’t trying to communicate they’re happy, they actually are just purring because they’re happy.
Happy cat = purring cat, a lot of times.
Though this definitely isn’t true always, and it took one of my cats, Bjorn, ages before he would regularly purr with me.
And boy oh boy has he been stuck to me like glue since the day he met me.
So it’s not a matter of him not loving me enough, I think he just needed his anxiety levels down in my house enough to be able to get his purr game on. Which leads me to my next point.
2. Cats usually purr when they’re not stressed – so seeing you may relieve that stress.
My cat Bjorn was stressed out when he lived outside, basically because there were always neighbouring cats who could stroll onto our property at any time and whom he’d had to fight to defend his territory.
Then he came inside and my first cat, Avery, did not get along with him at first.
Don’t worry, that’s long since been put to rest, I figured out how to make them get along, and they’re peas in a pod these days.
But before that, the only time I’d noticed Bjorn would purr was if he and I were by ourselves and I was petting him.
That signaled to me that just enough stress could make him uncomfortable enough not to purr near me.
So now I believe that when a cat purrs out of happiness, and purrs when they see you for instance, they are doing so because they are super chill, and seeing you may have triggered that even more so because they feel so safe around you.
3. Your cat may purr when they see you because they expect good things to come.
You know the good things I’m talking about, loads of cuddles, loads of attention, affection, a warm lap to sit on, what fun for a kitty who loves their owner!
I don’t think your cat’s trying to communicate anything with you, really.
When they see you and they expect cuddles, I think they’re just happy in the anticipation, and that bubbles over into their purrs.
Like when you’re super excited because you get to go to your favourite restaurant for dinner so you spend the whole day content about that.
Or when you have the perfect evening planned and it’s almost as good waiting to get to that point as it will be to go out and do the things themselves.
I think the anticipation is what makes your kitty purr in happy expectation when he or she sees you.
Your Thoughts on Cats Purring When They See Their Human?
Now it’s your turn. What do you think is the most likely reason behind cats purring when they see their humans?
Do you think it’s likely cats purr to communicate? Or more likely they purr like you would smile to yourself when you’re happy, even if no one’s in the room?
Do you have any stories about cats that begin to purr when they see you? Why do you think your cat does it? Is it at a specific time? Do you think your cat is expecting something good to happen?
Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section down below!