Purring in cats during auscultation: how common is it, and can we stop it?

J Small Anim Pract. 2014 Jan;55(1):33-8. doi: 10.1111/jsap.12159. Epub 2013 Dec 13.


Objectives: When cats purr during examination it is difficult to perform auscultation. The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of purring in cats during examination, and identify interventions that could be used to stop purring.

Methods: Cats seen at a first opinion clinic were enrolled in the study and their purring status recorded. Thirty of the purring cats were exposed to up to three different interventions in an attempt to stop purring in a randomised controlled trial including blowing at the ear, use of an ethanol-based aerosol near the cat and proximity to a running tap.

Results: The 30 cats in the trial were subjected to a total of 54 attempts to stop purring, proximity to a running tap caused 17 of 21 (81%) cats to stop purring, blowing at the cat's ears worked in 2 of 15 (13%) cats, spraying an aerosol close to the cat was effective in 9 of 18 (50%) cases. In 2 cats (7%), none of the interventions interrupted purring.

Clinical significance: This study provides evidence that placing a purring cat near a running tap and in proximity to the discharge of an ethanol-based aerosol are effective measures to stop purring in order to allow auscultation.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Auscultation / methods
  • Auscultation / veterinary*
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Cat Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Cats / psychology*
  • Female
  • Male