Miss Sugar Writes: Hear Me Roar

Sugar looking at the camera in a partial close-up

Greetings my little high jumpers! Thank you for coming back to my little corner of the interweb. Today, we’ll be discussing cats of all kinds. Kitties, jaguars, tigers, lions, cheetahs and any other creature you could refer to as a cat and not elicit an immediate complaint!

My human beans and I talk to each other. A lot. Mother and I have complete conversations although I’m not sure she always understands the topic at hand. Father has phrases that I react to. For example, he will say “it’s time for a nap in the bedroom”. That means I should head to the bed if I want cuddle and tummy rub time before they nod off and snore. Lately, he has been saying “no” when my face gets too close to his food. I can stretch from the couch arm to his little table in the TV room. He doesn’t see the obvious cleverness on my part.

It goes something like this:

FATHER: No. No. No!

ME: Meow! (Translation: But I just want a little taste!)

MOTHER: Cats don’t respond to the word “no”.

FATHER: No! Nononononono.

ME: MEOW? (Just a tiny taste? I’ve never eaten potato chips before!)

MOTHER: (eye roll)

FATHER: No! No. Nooooooo.

And so it goes. Finally, I give up out of sheer boredom. Father claims victory. Mother sighs loudly. Just another day in this nutty family.

A Cat is A Cat

When my buddy Spice was around, they called him a panther. I’ve been referred to as a number of cat types. The other night, Mother said I had “chicken lips” but I prefer not to think too hard about that.

Anyway, it got me thinking. I know I’m a cousin to many big and ferocious cats. So…why can’t I roar? The Lion King’s Simba found his roar. Why can’t I?

Female lion with its mouth open in a roar.
Photo by Arno Meintjes via Flickr.

I have attempted to roar many times. All that comes out is a louder meow. I don’t understand it. I have so many things in common with the kings and queens of the jungle. Why not their sound?

Well, wouldn’t you know it. Science has come up with an answer. When the cat population of yore evolved over time, some went the way of the roar. Others purred. It seems a cat can either roar or purr but we can’t do both!

There’s a big difference in the size and shape of vocal cords between cats that purr and those that roar. My fellow purrers include the bobcat, lynx, and ocelot. Science thinks that purring developed as a way to calm mewling kittens and quiet them when predators came around.

I’ll Take Purring for 500, Alex

While I would love to occasionally let out a roar, now that I understand it’s one or the other, I’ll take the purr. It makes my humans happy and feels good, like sleeping on a vibrating bed turned down low. It’s how I communicate my contentment. Purring replaces full sentences that I’d love to speak, but alas, cannot!

Roaring would be fun but I’d rather be the way I am. Father calls it my “rattle and hum” purr. He says, “it’s the sound that says everything’s okay”. What a joy it is to be able to bring smiles with a noise that comes natural to me. This must be how Cat Stevens and John Cougar Mellencamp feel when they sing.

Knowing this little factoid makes me appreciate my purr even more. After all, it’s not as if I need to roar for any reason. I’m well fed, protected and loved. There’s a lot to purr about!

Until next week, my little counter jumpers, I wish you a glorious Thanksgiving weekend. Today is Mother’s birthday – you thought I forgot? Pshaw! I can’t wait to see what Father gives her from me!

Your friend,

Miss Sugar

9 thoughts on “Miss Sugar Writes: Hear Me Roar”

  1. Hey Sugar, I am told scientists have discovered that cats will also purr when they are in pain. Any idea what that’s about?

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