How cats roar, meow and purr

how cats roar, meow and purr

Have you ever wondered why large(er) cats like lions and tigers can roar while other small(er) cats like house cats and cheetah cannot?

Many animals, including humans, have a hyoid bone in the throat that vibrates when air passes over it – usually when the animal exhales. These vibrations are often amplified and shaped by other structures in the throat and mouth until they become audible sounds. In humans, these sounds can become recognizable words, and in cats, these sounds can become roars, meows, and purrs. In large cats, the hyoid bone has an elastic segment that allows more vibration than the completely solid hyoid bone in small cats. More vibration means more sound, so large cats like lions are able to roar across the savannah and be heard almost 10 miles away! Thankfully, our cats use the same mechanism to meow and purr to us instead.