Why do cats purr? 貓咪為什麼發出咕嚕聲?

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眾所周知,貓會發出喵喵聲、嘶嘶聲和咕嚕咕嚕聲。但有一個問題讓人們感到困惑,那就是貓為什麼會發出咕嚕咕嚕的聲音。我們通常認為貓咪發出咕嚕聲是因為它們很快樂,不過原因可能沒有這麼簡單。

詞彙:sound 聲音

We’ve all heard cats meow and hiss, but why do they purr? There are a number of theories out there – from the commonly held belief that they are simply happy, to British comedian Eddie Izzard’s light-hearted suggestion that they are impersonating a drill.

While they do purr when tickled or caressed to show their appreciation for attention, cats also make the noise when not in our company. The purring noise is a consistent pulsing sound that occurs while they both inhale and exhale breath. The word 『purr’ is a great example of onomatopoeia and refers to the constant noise which ranges in frequency between 25 and 150 hertz.

For a long time, scientists debated how cats purred. Most people believe that the cat’s brain signals the laryngeal muscles to vibrate and function like a valve, opening and closing the space between the vocal cords. What triggers this reaction is debated. Some argue that the cat intends to purr, while others say it may be due to endorphins released by the brain as a reaction to pleasure, or pain.

According to Leslie A. Lyons, an assistant professor at the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California, cats often purr while stressed, such as when they head to the vets or are recovering from an injury. So what are the potential benefits of this 『drilling’ sound? Some scientists believe the vibrations that ripple through the cats’ bodies may actually promote muscle development, heal bones and injuries, ease breathing and lessen pain. It could even help to soothe discomfort in a similar way to a child sucking their thumb.

So, the purring of a cat may have more uses than just telling you they’re enjoying attention. It’s also important to remember that not all cats can purr. Some bigger felines, like lions, can’t, and only roar. So, the next time you hear a roar, it probably isn’t your pussy cat, and you might need to run.

詞彙表

meow 貓叫聲,喵喵叫
hiss 嘶嘶聲
purr (貓發出的)咕嚕聲
pulsing 脈衝的
inhale 吸氣
exhale 呼氣,吐出氣
onomatopoeia 象聲詞,擬聲詞
frequency (聲波的)頻率
hertz 赫茲
laryngeal 喉部的
vibrate 震動,顫抖
vocal cords 聲帶
endorphin 內啡肽,安多芬
vibration 持續震動
ripple (聲音)傳播起伏
roar 吼叫

測驗與練習

1.  閱讀課文並回答問題。

1. True or false: cats purr when they breathe in and out.

2. Why does Eddie Izzard compare purring to drilling?

3. What is the word 『buzz’ an example of?

4. Why might the brain release endorphins?

5. Do all cats purr?

2. 選擇意思恰當的單詞或詞組來完成下列句子。

1. If one _______ too deeply, they may cough.

exhale                          exhalation                 exhales                    exhaling

2. Listen to that tiger _______. It’s terrifying.

roared                           roars                         roaring                     was roaring

3. The seat _______ to massage your back.

vibrating                        vibrate                      vibration                   vibrates

4. Be careful when _______ – try not to breathe too deeply.

inhaling                         inhales                      inhale                      inhalation

5. The sounds _______ through the air.

ripples                           rippling                      rips                          rippled

答案

1.  閱讀課文並回答問題。  

1. True or false: cats purr when they breathe in and out.
True. Cats purr when they inhale and exhale.

2. Why does Eddie Izzard compare purring to drilling?
It was a joke. Drilling is a similar sound – they both pulse.

3. What is the word 『buzz’ an example of?
『Buzz’ is an example of onomatopoeia – a word pronounced like it sounds.

4. Why might the brain release endorphins?
As a reaction to pleasure or pain.

5. Do all cats purr?
No. Big cats like lions don’t usually purr.

2 選擇意思恰當的單詞或詞組來完成下列句子。

1. If one exhales too deeply, they may cough.

2. Listen to that tiger roaring. It’s terrifying.

3. The seat vibrates to massage your back.

4. Be careful when inhaling – try not to breathe too deeply.

5. The sounds rippled through the air.