Explaining the cat's purr, why our cats do the things they do, and other fantastic feline fun facts

Do big cats purr?

Often the question arises, do BIG cats purr?  Lions, tigers, panthers, leopards…these large cousins to the common household cat, do they express themselves in the same way vocally?

Actually, no, they do not.  Larger felines have tough cartilage around the hyoid bone in their throats that prevent purring.  The larger cats do meow, snarl, and hiss like smaller cats, and of course, they roar!

 

why do cats purr roar Do big cats purr?
 

In fact, it is the thick cartilage that allows them to (and why smaller cats do not roar).  This does not mean that all wild cats are incapable of purring, though:  smaller species such as lynxes, ocelots, and cougars have a more flexible hyoid bone, allowing them to purr in the same manner (and under similar circumstances) as the common domestic cat.

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