The Sound of Happiness

I know that when I was younger, I could hear cats purring.  There were a few strays that I used to sneak into my bedroom at night (they would jump on the windowsill and I would open the window).  I always loved to hear them purr.

As I got older and adopted my own cats (no sneaking involved), it got to where I had to put my ear against their chest to hear them purring.  Within the year or so before I lost all of my hearing, even that wasn’t a guarantee…there were many times I could feel the vibrations but heard nothing.

It was a real triumph when I was able to put my head near Beanie and hear her purring a few weeks ago!  She’s one of those cats that purrs with gusto, and now I can easily hear her purring even if I’m just near her in the room.  Thanks to my cochlear implants, I no longer have to rest my ear against her chest.

Three of our cats were feral when we trapped them and had them spayed two years ago.  We brought them inside (they had been living under the deck) and made sure the two kittens, Allie and Gracie, got all their vaccinations.  Their mom, Maxie, got her shots plus the vet cleaned and sewed up an abscess when he was spaying her.  We wanted them to be safe so we gave them a place down in the workshop, never expecting them to become really friendly housecats.  They’ve surprised us though.  They all come around for petting and affection, we can brush and comb them, they’ll sit on the couch with us and come into bed with us.  The only thing they really freak out about it is being picked up.

Maxie, the mom, is really kind of a love bug and will come over to me if I walk into the room she’s in.  A couple of days ago I walked into the bedroom, where she was sleeping on the bed.  She opened her eyes, stretched, and walked across the bed toward me so I sat down to pet her for a while.  Although I’ve snuck in a kiss on the top of her head every now and then, it generally alarms her so there was no possibility of me laying my head on her back or chest to see if she was purring.   All I could do was sit quietly while she walked around me, brushing up against me as she walked past, then butting her head against my hand to get me to pet her some more.

As I sat with her, I realized there was a sound in the previously-quiet room.  Huh.  I tilted my head as she rubbed her face against my hand.  crunchcrunch … it was the sound of her grinding her teeth as she rubbed her face on my hand.  It’s this weird little habit she has, which I’ve always been able to see (it looks a little like she’s chewing food) but I’ve never been able to hear.

Maxie in the bedroom

Maxie in the bedroom

Now there’s more sound.  I rest my hand for a moment on her back…is she purring?  I’ve never been sure if Maxie purrs because I can’t feel it or hear it.  But now it’s unmistakable.  For the first time ever, I can hear rumbling as she winds her body around me.  I still can’t feel it as I pet her, but there’s no doubt that my little formal-feral is a happy girl.  😉


About wendiwendy

I'm a real-life bionic woman.

Posted on September 27, 2008, in Family, Observations and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Aww, what a great post. There’s nothing like the feeling and sound of a cat purring. Thanks for sharing your cat story.


  2. I’ve had cats that purr loudly…and can hear it when I hold their furry side tight to my ear. If not loud enough, a little rubbing will rev them right up. (These cats aren’t feral, so happily allow people to drape them like fur stoles on shoulders.) What I don’t hear is the chirping they do at birds or their kittens…that would be an interesting sound!


  3. Aww, Isn’t that rewarding..

    I have semi feral cat too, she loves being petting, sleeping on my bed with me but doesn’t like being picked up or strangers/men.

    I can hear her purring now with CI and hear her and my dog crunching on food! Which i never heard before


  4. Aw! That is wonderful! I love to hear the contented sound of cats, too!

    I can hear my dogs walking across the floor when I’m upstairs, can hear them crunching their food, lapping their water out of the bowl, and of course I can hear them bark!

    Great, isn’t it? 🙂


  5. That’s wonderful, Wendi!

    I always loved hearing cats purr as a child. I’ve since become a dog person and haven’t really been around cats for a long time.

    But you never forget the sound! I’m so glad you got it back!



  6. Way too cool. I was able to hear purring with HA, but it squeals when I put it near their chests. After getting the CI, I would just turn off the TV and anything around me, and just listen to my cat purring. It’s so relaxing…

    Kind of strange how hearing people take these things for granted.

    I’m a cat lover as well! 🙂


  7. I’ve been out of the blogging loop here.

    Like Laurie, I’ve been hearing our lab eating her food (what a noisy eater she is) and lapping her water. I hear her walk across the floor (she actually drags her paws!!) and hear the jingle of her choker collar.

    I’ve felt cats purr, but never really “heard” it. To me, it was like a snoring or a low growling sound, if that is what it is. I really haven’t been around a lot of cats unless other people had them.

    I grew up with dogs and had many relatives with dogs. Few with cats. Being a typical kid who maybe held on to them too tightly or something, cats didn’t like me and I guess I am still uncomfortable with the idea of having one. Now that I’m an adult (I thinik, LOL) I’ll pet other people’s cats, but to be honest, I’m a dog person. I guess if I were raised with cats; it’d be different.

    But it’s cool to hear our pets. 🙂

    Good post.


  8. Oh Wendi! That is a really special moment 🙂 You are doing fantastic! You should take a trip to the local petting zoo and see all the different kind of noises they make…


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