Can a Panther and Jaguar Purr? Is it Common?

Panthers and jaguars are both felines, and as such, they share many similarities with other felines. One common trait among felines is the ability to purr. This led many people to believe that panthers and jaguars can purr as well. However, there is some debate on whether this is actually the case. Let’s take a deeper look into this biological mystery.


What Sounds Do Panthers and Jaguars Make?

While panthers and jaguars certainly make vocalizations that sound similar to purring, it is not clear if they are actually producing the same sound.  Scientists have not been able to definitively say whether these big cats are capable of purring in the same way that domestic cats do.

Panthers and jaguars make a variety of sounds, including roars, screams, grunts, and growls. However, they do not make the continuous, rumbling sound that is characteristic of purring in smaller felines. Some scientists believe that the sound panthers and jaguars make is more like a form of chuffing, which is a soft exhale that is often used as a greeting or sign of contentment.

Why Is It Difficult to Determine if Panthers and Jaguars Can Purr?

jaguar showing his teeth
Image Credit: IanZA, Pixabay

There are a few reasons why it is difficult to say for sure whether panthers and jaguars can purr. For one, scientists have not been able to study these animals in the wild very extensively. This makes it difficult to know exactly what sounds they can make and under what circumstances. There are many cases of animals who behave differently in captivity than they do in the wild, so not seeing them perform the behavior in zoos isn’t enough to say for certain.

In addition, panthers and jaguars are very shy and elusive animals, which makes studying them even more difficult. They are also nocturnal, so it can be hard to observe them in their natural habitat during the daytime. Because of this, scientists who have studied audio recordings of panthers and jaguars in the wild have not been able to say for sure whether they produce the sound of a purr.

There are a few theories as to why panthers and jaguars may not be able to purr:

  • One possibility is that their vocal cords are not structured in the same way as other felines that can purr.

  • Another possibility is that they simply do not have the ability to produce the low-frequency sound that is characteristic of purring.

  • It is also possible that they do make a sound that is similar to purring, but we have not been able to identify it as such because we do not have experience with hearing it.

The jury is still out on whether panthers and jaguars can purr. However, one thing is for sure. These animals are fascinating, and we still have a lot yet to learn about them.

Why Do Cats Purr?

white cat purring
Image Credit: AleksDaria, Shutterstock

Cats purr for a variety of reasons. They may purr when they are content and happy, when they are nervous or anxious, or when they are in pain. Purring is also thought to be a way for cats to communicate with each other. For example, a mother cat may purr to soothe her kittens, or two cats may purr to show that they are friendly towards each other.

Do All Cats Purr?

Most cats purr, but there are a few exceptions. For example, most big cats don’t purr, such as lions, tigers, and leopards. But they can roar. It is unclear why these animals do not have the ability to purr, but it is thought to be because of differences in their vocal cords and anatomy. Purring is a common trait among felines, but there is still much that we don’t understand about it.



Panthers and jaguars are both fascinating creatures with a lot of unknowns about them. While it is still not clear if they can purr in the same way that domestic cats do, there is evidence that suggests they may not be able to. Even if they cannot, panthers and jaguars make a variety of other sounds that are interesting to listen to. Scientists have yet to uncover all there is to know about these animals, so we can expect more discoveries in the future.

Featured Image Credit: Steven-Blandin, Shutterstock

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