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When Do Kittens Start to Purr? Average Age, Facts & FAQ

Kristin Hitchcock

By Kristin Hitchcock

white and brown kitten peaking through window blinds

Kittens are possibly one of the cutest creatures in the world. They begin their life with their eyes closed, completely blind and deaf. Their eyes open the second week, but their vision is minimal. Kittens begin to purr around the third week when their ears open up and their blue eyes change color.

Kittens tend to be very vocal throughout their kittenhood and make many noises to tell their mother they’re hungry.

Kittens tend to begin learning how to walk after the third week when they begin purring. They will start wobbly and unsure but eventually learn to walk and balance successfully. Around the fourth week, they will become more sure of their surroundings, and some will become very curious.

The fourth and fifth weeks are the best weeks to introduce them to the litter box as they can finally use the bathroom without the help of their mother. After these beginning weeks, the little kittens can fully purr and will have no trouble learning and getting into everything they can.

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Why Does My Kitten not Purr?

Cats tend to purr due to showing contentment and affection. They tend to purr more to get affection from their owners. There are also many other reasons for them to purr. As kittens, they rely on their mother’s purring to guide them to her suckle to get milk.

The specific frequency of a cat’s purr helps with bone growth, pain relief, and wound healing. Cats purr while they’re content but also purr when they’re under stress or in pain to heal. Purring keeps them calm and helps them be less stressed while in pain.

It’s common for cats to purr throughout the day, but sometimes cats may not purr often. Cats are individuals; some do not purr as often as others or may purr at a different tone or frequency than other cats.

While it’s very uncommon, some cats don’t purr. We don’t always know the reason, but a few factors can cause it, such as anatomical differences in the larynx.

If your cat usually purrs but has recently stopped, though, it’s time for a vet visit. A sudden stop in purring can show that your cat is very stressed or injured/sickly. Since a purr usually shows satisfaction or contentment, it could show that they are unhappy or overly stressed if they stop purring. If they are stressed and on high alert, unable to relax as usual fully, it can result in much less purring.

Also, medical issues such as inflammation to the mouth, pharynx, larynx, or vocal cord area can cause purring to be stopped and even be painful for the cat. It can also cause the tone or frequency of the purring to be different, causing you not to notice it as often. If you notice a sudden change in your cat’s purring patterns, it’s time for a vet visit.

man in apron cradling white orange and black kitten
Image Credit: Tim Douglas, Pexels

How Do I Get My Kitten to Purr?

If you’re worried about your cat not purring, you can do a few things to help them start purring again. Petting them behind the ears, under the chin, or on their back can help stimulate them to purr, making them content and happy. Lying next to them and cuddling them may also help if they’re cuddly kitties. Talking to them and making them feel comfortable can also help.

If your kitten isn’t exactly the cuddly type, perhaps try playing with them to get them to purr some more. Please provide them with soft blankets and let them do their own thing, giving them space in case they aren’t too fond of your comfort. Also, avoid looking into their eyes as this can be seen as aggression or a threat.

Generally, if you’re worried about your cat not purring, try to make them as comfortable and content as possible to get them back into the purring mood.

Ginger kitten with white chest
Image By: Prostock-studio, Shutterstock

Do Kittens Get Attached to their Owners?

You may wonder if your cat is even attached to you, as cats can commonly come off as aloof and uninterested. Luckily, cats generally see their owners as more than a food source. Studies show that kittens generally see their owners as a source of comfort and security and tend to want to go to their owners more than a random stranger.

Cats generally see their owners as someone they can trust and take comfort in, showing signs that they truly love their owners by choosing to go to them over other items of interest, such as food or toys. Some cat owners are disappointed when their cat doesn’t wag its tail and greet them at the door as dogs do, but cats aren’t like this. Cats show affection in many ways, but not in obvious ways like dogs do.

Cats that prefer their owners over food show that cats genuinely love their owners. Kittens can also have a fear of abandonment over their owners and generally get worried and fearful when their owner isn’t around, causing separation anxiety.

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Kittens begin to purr around the 3-week mark of their kittenhood. They tend to purr due to contentment or happiness or to heal themselves when they are in pain or injured. Some cats do not purr, while other cats purr a lot. It all depends on the individual cat, as all cats are different in their ways.

Cats need to be seen by a vet if they suddenly stop purring, as something could be severely wrong. If your cat stops purring, it could be an injury, a new stressor, such as a new addition to the home, or moving homes.

If your kitten stops purring, do your best to try to coax them into purring. If they still don’t purr or cannot purr, then take them to the vet, as something could be wrong with their vocal cords or mouth.

Studies do show that kittens and cats form attachments to their owners. Some are thought of as aloof and uninterested by their owners, but that’s because they show their love differently. You are more than a food source to your cat; they just don’t show it the same way other animals do.

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Featured Image Credit: Sereja Ris, Unsplash

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