Why Did My Cat Stop Purring

Purring is one of the most recognizable signs of a cat’s contentment. It sounds like a pleasurable gasp after petting or feeding a cat. When you don’t hear your cat purring, you start to wonder if there’s something wrong with your pet and ask yourself “why did my cat stop purring?” Let’s tackle that question.

Why Did My Cat Stop Purring?

When your cat seems to have lost the will to purr, it’s possible that your pet is unhappy or stressed. Sometimes, he may simply be satisfied. If you notice there’s a change in your cat’s behavior or appetite, there might be injuries or other serious medical problems. 

Cat stopped purring abruptly

Cats purr because it’s their way of communicating and reacting to situations. If they stop doing it, there might be some underlying issues, so it’s better if you understand the different reasons why cats might stop purring.

Stress

The main reason why your cat stops purring is because of stress. Your cat may feel like he has lost control of you, your attention, or his environment. A stressed cat will not purr and stop producing serotonin, which is the hormone that makes humans and cats happy. 

Being unhappy, your cat may end up feeling more aggressive or alert, causing him to be more protective of himself. Aside from the sudden disappearance of purring, check if your cat shuns or claws you. 

Common sources of stress for cats include:

  • The arrival of a baby in your home that feels like there’s an intruder. 
  • Strangers or a new partner that split your attention.
  • A change in your household routine. 
  • Changes in your work schedule that prevents him from spending time with you. 
  • Being chased or startled. 
  • Loud noises.
  • New food or diet.
  • Loss of a loved one (may it be another cat or a person.)

Of course, this still depends on the cat. Some cats are territorial, while others are chill with changes. If your cat’s eating habits or mood worsens, it could eventually impact his immune system.

Satisfaction

Cat purring

While some cats show their gratitude by purring, others like to be silent after getting what they want. Notice that when it’s almost feeding time, your cat may purr the loudest and even walk around your legs to get your attention. Once they’ve eaten, they will find their spot to sleep or play and stop purring.

Injury

Injuries may limit your cat’s ability to do things. The most common injuries for cats are fractures, infected tooth, torn or broken nails, or an insect sting. Even old injuries or surgeries can cause lingering discomfort or pain in your pet. 

If you touch them, they may make some whining sounds. Otherwise, they will keep it to themselves and try to hide in silence as a protective mechanism. Hence, look out for such symptoms because there might be an unseen injury that needs immediate medical care.

Illness

Similar to injuries, illnesses like poisoning, ringworm, and upper respiratory infections can cause pain to cats. When cats feel discomfort due to diseases, they may not move around or stop purring.

Other symptoms like nausea, hormonal imbalance, and low energy can make cats unhappy. Take these as signs that there’s something wrong with your cat’s health, and you might need to consult a veterinarian.

Old Age

Reaching old age is a completely normal situation in which your cat stops purring. Gone are the days when your feline friend is curious and energetic, making him purr every time he feels happy. Senior cats become tamer and calmer, which means they rarely purr or the sounds they make are quieter.

What To Do When Your Cat Stops Purring

There isn’t much you can do to motivate a cat to purr, especially if they don’t feel like it. However, you can try some simple ways to encourage your cat to purr: 

Woman cuddling with two cats in her bed
  • Petting: Scratch or stroke your cat behind its ears, under its chin, or on its back.
  • Cuddling: Lie next to your cat when he’s resting or napping. 
  • Talking: Talk gently or sing lullabies to your cat.
  • Make Them Feel Comfortable: Cats love kneading soft surfaces, so give them a pillow or cuddly blanket for them to burrow their faces and knead away. 
  • Provide Space: Avoid looking directly in your cat’s eyes as they might perceive this as aggression or a threat.

Remember Some Cats Just Don’t Purr

When your cat stops purring suddenly, you have to monitor his attitude and health. If he only stopped purring, but his behavior is the same as always, then maybe purring is not part of his of communicating anymore. Sometimes, it may just not be his chosen method of communication at all. 

On the other hand, if your cat stops purring while his eating pattern or mood worsens, you can consider these as symptoms of something more serious. In such cases, consult a veterinarian to see if there’s a need to address a medical issue. It’s either your cat probably needs medication or a behavior modification program. 

Final Thoughts

Remember, purring depends on the cat. While you may not be able to make your cat purr all the time, what matters most is you pay attention to their needs, so that they are happy and healthy. 

Doctor Joe Alcorn received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Colorado State University in 1981, and founded Care Animal Hospital in 1991 in Temecula, California. He is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association.