Do big cats purr?

U xpect adorabulness. U gets it. But kittehs also gives u edukashun n' sientific nuance.

That's all the LOLcat speak I can muster in one go. Seriously, watch this video from Big Cat Rescue. It's fascinating. And, you should know, at the end, they link you to a slightly less educational feature about ocelots and lynx chasing laser pointers. Just sayin'.

Video Link

Via Icanhascheezburger

Thanks, Andrew Balfour!


  1. We were down in the Tampa area recently and wanted to go to this SO BAD, but we couldn’t get our schedules to work out. Bummer. What a great program.

  2. The purring video was OK, but the next video up was full of awesomesauce! 

    Do big cats like to get high?  Fuck, yeah!  Even better, they act just like your housecat on the nip! 

    Came for the “aww”, leaving quite satisfied.

  3. Can house kitties roar? They do have a deep-throated growl mode that one hardly ever hears, but which indicates deep displeasure and “I mean it, pal.” I first heard it from our first cat when he tried to bring  a dead chipmunk into the living room. I went to get the carcass from the cat. I got the growl/roar instead (carcass retrieved later). Granted, the volume is not there, but the intent is.  Same sound, I would claim.

  4. just because it’s purring (or ‘miscellaneousing’) doesn’t mean it isn’t about to eat you. and yet that knowledge does not make them any less cute to me. I want to give that cougar a belly rub.

  5. setdog: my assumption would be that, while it might be technically possible for a house cat to make a roar-like sound, they don’t have a large enough chest cavity to really produce a proper roar. I am probably completely wrong on the acoustics of cats, but I have known cats who ‘sing’ as well as purr. I expect, had they been much bigger, the singing could’ve dropped down into roar range.

  6. OK, moment of clarification: If I remember my feline anatomy correctly (from elementary school, I admit, but I was a precocious little bastard) the difference between big and small cats is, by definition, in the vocal system.

    In short: small cats have vocal cords, which allow them to meow and purr. Big cats have vocal bones, which prevent purring and meowing, but do allow roaring. Cheetahs, as well as cougars, are (technically) “small” cats because of this- both of them don’t roar, but can scream and purr.

  7. The cat nip video was even better.  Big cats getting high and freaky.  I miss my kitties.  And then I ended up spending too much time looking at the Sylvester the Talking Cat videos which were full of yucks and awwwws.

  8. Lately my 11-year-old son has been coming up with an appropriate comic literary reference for almost any topic.  Today I showed him this boingboing post.  He reminds me (paraphrase):

    Calvin: “Why do you purr when I rub your tummy.”

    Hobbes: “Tiger don’t purr.  That’s just growling friendly-like.”

  9. I remember reading in a book about hunting where the writer, an old-time big game hunter turned game warden in Africa, stated categorically that there had never been a recorded case of an unprovoked attack by cheetahs on human beings.

    I was close to a couple of relaxing cheetahs being petted by a handler at a fence line once, and in real life, their purring sounded like an idling Ferrari.   

  10. This post gave me an awesome dream last night.  I dreamt that we owned an ocelot.  It was a little rough, but only out of affection.  Sometimes it would kiss my face and nip a little too hard, drawing blood.  This made everyone laugh, including the bleeding person.  But this post was not supposed to be about me and my psyche; it was supposed to be about how awesome are the Ocelot.


    Some, some.

  11. Small cats in the Felinae  include upto the Cheetah. These purr. 
    The Tigers, Lions, Leopards, Jaguars are members of the Pantherinae  family and they make a  ‘chuff’ sound when they are happy.

  12. Snow leopards may not be able to purr but they sure can make the “I’m going fuck you up if you don’t get away from me” sound (1:17).

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