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Cats/Her purr motor isn't running so smoothly...


When Chloe is mildly happy and the purring is so soft it's not audible, there's not a problem.
When Chloe is very happy and begins purring intensely, she always has physical difficulty with it.
She begins deep breathing (no rasping or anything unusual accompanying it), swallowing often and I can hear rattling throat congestion. After a minute or so of this, she'll get annoyed and stop purring. :(
I've been cat guardian for dozens of cats in My life and have never even heard of something like this.

She is an angelic 5 year old siamese-persian mix who's kept indoors. Healthy weight, eating, and behavior.
She has had the purring problem as long as I can recall.

Any ideas about what this could be?
Chloe seems bummed when it happens.

Hi Amanda,

The most common reason I see for cats having difficulty and irritation with purring is inflammation of the airways. Purring is achieved through vibration of the vocal folds in the larynx. But these can become inflamed due to a number of causes.

Infection (laryngitis and bronchitis) is probably the most common. But these infections typically either resolve or worsen within a couple of weeks. That's not to say a chronic infection isn't possible, but if Chloe has suffered from the problem for her whole life, it might be more likely that another issue is to blame. Asthma can be responsible for airway inflammation, as well, and this can remain chronic if not treated. Some less common explanations include tumors and polyps.

Sometimes, difficulty breathing is attributable to heart problems, and because purring requires more effort than breathing at rest does, it is common for cats with some form of heart disease to cough or "choke" when they purr heavily.

You should have Chloe examined by a vet. Explain the noises that she's making and explain that you don't feel comfortable assuming it's nothing to worry about. Hopefully, they will be able to rule out heart problems and get her on some antibiotics or anti-inflammatories (for asthma), if warranted.

Good luck!


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The areas in which I have gained the most experience are cat health and feral cat management/rescue. I provide supportive care to chronically ill cats, hospice care to terminally ill cats and also am involved in trap-neuter-return efforts. My specialities lie in taming feral cats and in the allopathic treatment of cats with illnesses or special needs. I also have owned Siamese, Himalayans, Abyssinians, Russian Blues, Savannahs, Bengals, Peterbalds, Don Sphynx and Oriental Shorthairs and am well-versed in cat breeds as well as cat behavior and nutrition.


I have 15 years of extensive experience with cats ranging from breeding to medical care. My daily routine consists of caring for cats with diabetes, thyroid disease, kidney failure, feline leukemia, feline AIDS as well as feral cats. I have experience with liver patients, heart patients, feline infectious peritonitis, cancer, recovery from amputation and trauma, congenital deformities and most every disease in between. I have assisted cats giving birth and hand-nursed kittens who were neglected by their mother from 2 days old through weaning.

15 years' hands-on experience. Current nursing student. I've studied the parallels of human and cat anatomy as well as zoonotic disease, so my studies are broadening the depth of my understanding of feline anatomy, physiology and pathology.

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