Where can I find audio of cats purring?
February 23, 2005 2:17 PM   Subscribe

I'm interested in obtaining either CDs or audio files of cats purring. Ideally I'd like to have samples from various breeds without any noise contamination. All of the items I can find on Google have background music tracks or other such nonsense. I just want high quality audio of purring cats. Can such a thing be found? I've been tempted to try and record my own cat but I suspect the effort would result in hissing rather than purring...
posted by pookzilla to Pets & Animals (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Would you believe this? Only one breed, I think, but you may find it useful.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 2:48 PM on February 23, 2005

Purring is a really difficult sound to capture. Listen to how terrible this sounds. I'm pretty sure purring is usually simulated in movies and on tv and I'm not sure what they use to make the sound.

That said, the BBC sound library might be a place to look. Their project was about collecting real sounds from real locations. The disks aren't cheap, but it looks like tracks 4 and 5 on disk 6 might do the trick. I couldn't find audio samples online, but didn't do a very thorough search. (It also looks like there's a new series: the new disk 44 is just cat noises. Check your a nearby city or university library?
posted by nobody at 3:00 PM on February 23, 2005

See? This is why I love AskMetafilter. Questions like this.

I have no answer for you, pookzilla, but I'd be happy to record my cats for you. That could prove an interesting project in itself: a compilation solely comprising the sounds of purring from the cats of MeFi members.
posted by jdroth at 3:08 PM on February 23, 2005

Well, pookzilla, if you have a library card, you can borrow numerous sound effects CD's from your local library, for 7 days, free.

(the link has a list of all the "sound effects" CD's Ottawa Public Library holds. You can view their locations and if they are currently checked in / on hold / etc. Aren't libraries wonderful?)
posted by raedyn at 3:16 PM on February 23, 2005

As an experiment, I just tried to record my cat purring with a decent-quality microphone (he's a very purry fellow, and was sitting on the desk next to the keyboard purring away) and the results were totally for shit.

I think the way to go might be to get your hands on a recording stethoscope, apply same to the ribcage of a purring cat, and go from there.
posted by enrevanche at 3:41 PM on February 23, 2005

How about The Labyrinth Scored for the Purrs of 11 Different Cats by Terry Fox, from the Airwaves compilation? (#3 on the linked page.)

From the liner notes:

The labyrinth at Chartes is a unicursal path winding in 552 stems through 11 concentric rings into the center. In order to hear the sound of the path I have changed the steps into cats purrs.

The audio isn't great--they lifted it from the record and didn't clean up the surface noise.
posted by hydrophonic at 6:36 PM on February 23, 2005

Wow, thanks Dipsomaniac! It may not represent all breeds but at least it's a start!

jdroth that sounds like a neat idea. You could selectively mix the cats from your favorite members. :)
posted by pookzilla at 5:53 PM on February 24, 2005

You could maybe use this too.
posted by tellurian at 4:47 PM on February 27, 2005

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