Why Does My Cat Sound Like A Motor? – 8 Causes

As a cat owner, you might have noticed your cat making a sound like a motor when they nap next to you or rub up against your leg.

Sometimes you wonder if it is the motor of your car that is making this noise!

Why Does My Cat Sound Like a Motor

Whatever it is, let us explore the possible causes of this weird sound!

Reasons Why Your Cat May Be Making a Motor Sound

Purrs are made by rubbing together two sets of muscles in the throat.

When a cat purrs, the air passes through its nose and mouth.

The cat then closes off the back of its throat and pushes out the air.

It creates vibrations that cause the cat’s body to move rhythmically and sound like an engine about to start.

There are several different reasons your cat may sound like a motor.

1. It Is An Expression Of Happiness And Contentment

If your cat makes a motor sound and looks relaxed, it’s a sign that they’re happy.

It comes in the form of body language and posture.

If your cat is purring, they feel good and is contented.

It is a healthy way for them to express how they feel.

Mostly you will hear the motor sound if your cat is soaking up some sun on a warm day, eyes half-closed.

You can also hear the sound when petted.

When cats purr, they use muscles in their neck, back, and stomach.

These muscles relax during sleep.

Purring helps cats release stress and tension, and it’s a very relaxing happy sound.

2. Your Cat Could Be in Pain

Your cat may be making a motor sound because they are injured, sick, in labor, or even near death.

Kittens also produce this sound at birth.

A cat makes body language when they are in pain.

They may curl into a ball, scratch at their ears, or even bite their paws as they try to soothe themselves.

If your cat portrays any of these signs of pain, it may be making a motor noise.

Many researchers theorize that the 25 Hz frequency of the cat’s purr creates an in build physical therapy that helps it get better faster.

The vibration sound you hear can help them ease breathing, lessen pain, heal wounds, and repair tendons and bones.

It makes the effort of roaring like a motor engine worth it because it makes them feel better.

It is also believed that this frequency of a cat’s purr is also used in humans to help wounds heal faster.

3. Your Cat Could Be Scared/Frightened

If your cat is startled or has undergone a stressful episode, like being chased by a dog or another cat, it may make a motor sound.

The vibrations in their throat create the sound.

Scared cats often look around nervously and try to hide.

Their bodies tense up, and they may start licking or scratching their fur.

It is a normal reaction to fear.

It is always important to note that cats cannot be forced to stop making a motor sound, but you can only work with them.

So, if your cat does make a motor sound, don’t worry.

Just keep calm and reassure them that everything is okay.

4. It’s a Way of Communicating Between Mommy Cat and Its Kitties

If your cat is a kitty, it may make a motor sound for its mom.

When a kitten is born and just a day old, it lets out this sound to help its mothers locate them for feeding time.

Also, they do this to let her know where they are.

Kittens also make a motor sound to guide themselves as they try to suckle their moms.

Cat Sounds Like a Motor Causes

Nursing kitties don’t make meow sound yet; instead, they show their contentment by purring, and their moms purr back to communicate safety and comfort.

Cats make a motor sound to let their brothers and sisters know they are there.

It is also a way to bond between a mommy cat and its kittens.

Make sure that you give your kitty gets plenty of attention when he makes this sound.

5. Your Cat Is Starving And Wants Food

When your cat wants food, it may make a motor sound to alert you that they need to eat.

It is common in some adult cats who purr as they feed or try and convince a human it’s dinner time.

It is a unique sound to get your attention and let you know they need food.

Often, hungry cats combine their normal, pleasant purrs with whines compared to human infants’ cries.

Research shows that humans are likely to respond to this irritating sound by giving them more food.

6. It Is A Warning Signal

A cat may make a motor sound when they see something scary.

If your cat sees a dog or another animal, it may warn you by making this sound.

It is a sign that they are trying to tell you that something terrible is coming.

Understanding that your cat will not always use the same sound to warn you is essential.

It depends on what kind of danger they are seeing.

Your cat’s purr sounding like a motor engine can mean many different things.

Therefore, find out what they are trying to tell you.

7. To Play

The motor sound is used when your cat is playing.

When your cat plays with toys, they make a motor sound to show how much fun they are having.

Playful cats like to jump and chase each other.

They also like to wrestle and roll around.

These sounds are part of their playful nature.

So, if your cat makes a motor sound while playing, you shouldn’t take it personally.

It is just a part of their game.

8. Your Cat Could Be Sleeping

When your cat produces a motor sound, they are sleeping and are probably dreaming!

All mammals can dream while sleeping, and cats are not an exception.

During Random eye movement (REM), our brains produce dreams.

During REM sleep, our bodies become paralyzed; our hearts stop beating, and we breathe slowly.

At the same time, our muscles relax, and we lose control over our bodily functions.

It means that our brain waves move faster than usual during REM sleep.

The result is that our body starts producing random movements.

It is why we call these movements “dreaming.”

Leave them alone if your cat is making a noise similar to a motor sound.

They are probably dreaming about something good.

Benefits of a Cats Purr and Sounding Like a Motor

As discussed earlier, a cat’s purr is often associated with positive experiences.

These experiences could be them playing, nursing their mothers, and either their mothers grooming them or cats grooming themselves.

Have you noticed how kittens sound like a motor when nursing from their mothers?

Yes, a cat’s purr gives them a comforting effect. But that doesn’t mean that you don’t benefit from it too.

Based on studies, people who own cats reduce the risk of fatal cardiovascular diseases.

And aside from the physiological benefits you get from having a pet cat, you may also find yourself responding psychologically.


Listening to your cat purr and sound like a motor provides a sense of calm, whatever you are going through.

Are you feeling stressed?

Cuddle with your cat, and listen to it purr and sound like a motor. You’ll find it pleasing and feel rejuvenated after a long workday.


There are several reasons why your cat may make a motor noise.

But most importantly, remember that it is not a sign of anything wrong.

It is just your cat communicating with you.

So, whenever your cat makes a motor sound, do not panic.

Instead, try to figure out what exactly they are telling you.

Feline communication is often overlooked and deserves much more attention and study than it’s given today.