There's this cat in London who purrs as loud as a lawnmower. His name is Smokey. This cat purrs at 73 to 80 decibels. depending on which news report you read. If I had a cat like that, I'd kick him out of bed. Heck, I'd banish him to the garage. Or at the very least, I'd make sure I never petted him unless I wore earplugs.
Like all short sales are different, all cats purr differently. My cat who died last December, Brandon, had a very loud purr. He used to sit on the bench near me at the breakfast table, and when we would have overnight company, our guests could not figure out where that sound came from in the morning. Brandon was content to just sit there and purr like a popcorn popper. I didn't have to pet him to induce a purr. But he was no lawnmower.
Pica, our marbled ocicat -- the throwaway nobody wanted because he wasn't born with spots -- he purrs very softly. You can't hear him unless you stick your ear on top of his head. His purr is so quiet it's almost a whisper. It's as soft as his velvety coat yet steady and long. He can purr for a good 30 minutes, especially if he's being brushed.
Pia, the cinnamon spotted ocicat, also purrs quietly but loud enough that I can hear her without smushing my ear into her body. I'd say her purr sounds like an electric razor. It's sort of buzzy and raspy. She purrs for as long as she's being stroked. Once I stop petting her, she stops purring almost immediately.
Jackson is a loud purring machine. He sounds like a coffee pot percolates. It's a steady sound and tends to get louder as he gets closer to stopping. His purring, in fact, woke me up this morning. I must have rolled over or wiggled my toes or done something that made him realize there was life in the bed, and I wasn't dead, because he was purring away like there is no tomorrow. I think he was just happy to see a live person.
Thank goodness none of them purr loud enough to be mistaken for a vacuum cleaner.
Photo of Jackson: Elizabeth Weintraub, Sacramento short sale agent