when a cat purrs

Why Do Cats Purr?

Updated November 5, 2014

A cat purring is such a calming sound and sometimes funny one to a cat owner. Every owner knows the particular purr sound their cat makes.


when a cat purrsWhy does a cat purr?

Experts weren’t even sure how a cat created the purring noise but recent tests have shown that the purr comes from the brain.  The cat’s brain sends a message to the laryngeal muscles in the throat that cause them to twitch at anywhere from 25 to 150 vibrations (Hz) per second.  This creates a separation of the vocal cords when they breathe in and out and makes the purring noise.  Most of the time, the vibrations are at such a low pitch that we don’t even hear them but can feel them when close to the cat.

The purr isn’t just a domestic cat trait either.  There are many types of wild cats and even some closely related species such as mongooses, civets and genets that can purr.  Even animals as unrelated as hyenas, racoons and guinea pigs have their own version of it.  With the bigger cats, the rule is if you can purr, you can’t roar.  This is because the makeup of the voice box isn’t stiff enough to create the purr.

It is thought that the bigger roaring cats don’t need to purr because they are members of prides and need to be frightening and loud.  Whereas the smaller cats live alone and don’t need to intimidate others with the roaring.

Why do cats purr?

While we traditionally think of purring as a sign of contentment and happiness, this isn’t always the case.  Studies have shown that cats can also purr when they are frightened or feel threatened and is a bit like the human smile.  Some people smile because they are happy but also when they are nervous or they want something – it is an appeasement gesture.

In fact, one study by the University of Sussex in Brighton England showed that purrs have subtle variations just like our smiles do.  For one thing, cats have learned that a certain type of purr can irritate humans and they use this to persuade people to do what they want them to, usually feeding them or cleaning out their cat litter tray.

The ‘solicitation’ purr is used less when they are one-on-one with their human, as they don’t feel the need to grab the attention as much.  The purr used in this situation is gentler and less grating on the ears.

The purr may also have healing properties when at the 25 Hz frequency.  This may be why they purr when in pain, when giving birth or even when near death.  Kittens also purr soon after being born and specialists in bioacoustics have said that the purr may be a kind of noise therapy to help them heal and feel better.  It has even been found to have beneficial effects on humans at the same frequency.
No matter what the reason, the purr is almost always a lovely sound to hear.  It is relaxing and reassuring that your beloved pet is happy and content to be with you.  And if it is a purr designed to get you moving and achieve their aim, it will still sound nicer than a loud meow!  You can watch more on  https://www.youtube.com/user/twomeowschannel.

What Is In My Pillow

pillow fillAdults should spend eight hours every night in bed for a great restful sleep.  That is the guideline on number of hours people should sleep and kids more.  And we all know when we don’t get a good night of sleep or even half of one. We all sleep differently and have things that interrupt our sleep like dogs.

What Is In Your Favorite Pillow


memory foam pillowPillows are often filled with down-feather combinations, latex, foam, polyester fiberfill and memory foam.  Sometimes people can have allergies to down-feather and the latex rubbery stuff so this is a reason you should know what is in your pillow. It might contribute to your sneezing. Maybe you did not realize that. People like the down because it gives the cushy feel they are looking for but still has enough stuff in it for support. Down typically means feathers from a goose.

Down and Memory Foam

You might even have a memory foam bed in your house.  When you put your hand or head down on it, it makes a print or impression on where you’ve been. Sometimes when you have a new one, it smells funny. When you leave, you can watch the foam come back to life. Even astronauts and NASA use memory foam for stuff.   Some pillows can be made with feathers but they are also treated so that people are not allergic to them. 

People who are allergic to geese and duck feathers but still want a down pillow squishy feel can try a down alternative pillow. The alternative down pillow is filled with polyester fibers threaded together. A polyester fiber is a fast-drying flexible synthetic meaning man made fiber.

Washing Your Pillow

Don’t think you can just stick your pillow in the washing machine. This is why they have those sometimes annoying tags. You can read the tag to see if you can put yours in the machine or what the company says about how to clean your pillow.

Some pillows can even be filled with water.  Yes that’s true!!!  It sounds like fun but you have to be careful with furry friends poking a hole in it for example. Why do people want one?  If you are someone who sleeps really warm or hot, it will help you sleep at a steady temperature and perhaps not sweat.

kid travel pillow on planeYou can find pillows that are filled with microbeads and and can form different shapes. You may remember seeing pillows that are in the shape of a letter U that you can use when traveling and to be more comfortable.   If you are a camper, you can find an inflatable pillow to fill it with air and easily take it with you.

Science Used to Take Care of Your Family

Science is useful to us in many ways. We use it every day even if we don’t know it. Some places we use science and do not even realize it. One of those places is our home. Electronics are one thing in our home that helps us take care of our families. They are everywhere and have pretty much been with us our whole life. The science of electronics helps us take care of our families. Here are some places you may not have been looking for science, but it was right in front of you the whole time.

In Your Kitchen

The electronics in your kitchen are an endless source of different kinds of science mixed. You have your refrigerator that is uses electronics and also cools food to keep it good. Then you have a stove that heats food to bring it to the correct temperature so that you can eat it without getting sick. Some other electronics you might find in your kitchen are a coffee maker, blender, mixer, and microwave. All of these help us make food or drinks for our families to provide nutrition for them.

In Your Bathroom

You may be thinking that there are not any electronics that help you take care of your family in the bathroom besides light bulbs that help you see. And in some ways this might be true for your family, but there is something that is electric that we all really love that helps us take care of ourselves and our families. That one thing is a hot water heater. Now yours may be gas powered and not electric, but you have to admit it would not be too fun to stay in the shower very long without one of these.

In Your Younger Siblings Room

One electronic many parents use is a baby monitor to listen to their baby. Your parents may even have a video baby monitor to listen and watch your younger sibling. Or they could have one to watch you rec. room to just be sure you are not getting into trouble. A baby monitor is not really just for babies, they are to help parents have ears and sometimes eyes in more than one room in the house. This is not just to be nosey; it is to keep everyone safe and happy. See it on Amazon here for some examples.

In Your Room

There are probably lots of electronics in your room, but not very many of them are actually used to take care of you. One electronic that might be in your room that could also be used to take care of you is and alarm clock. You or your parents may use an alarm to get you out of bed in the morning. You might not think that it is useful in taking care of you, but it can help you to accomplish everything you need to in a day.


We use electronics to help our families all the time. Some things we don’t even think about as being helpful. Science is everywhere and can help us every day. Have fun finding other ways science helps your family every day.

What Is Leather

Leather is a type of material that is made from the skin of animals and is used for a huge range of things. Everything from the best cheap purses to jackets and coats and lots of other things uses different types of leather.IMG_2412Back in prehistoric times, people knew about removing the hides and skins from the animals they had killed and using them as tents to protect against the weather as well as for clothes and footwear. There are cave paintings in Spain from the Palaeolithic period (over 10,000 years ago) that show leather clothing and bone tools have been found that were used for the removal of hair from the skins.

How is it made?

Most leather is made from the skins of cows, as there is the thickest skin to make the strongest material. After the cow has been killed, it is skinned and then taken to a tanner, a person who makes the leather.
There are lots of different ways to make leather. The most basic method was where all the flesh was scraped off the skin with a bone or a special stone scraper, though later a metal knife was used for the job. The skin was then processes with salt or urine or more recently, special chemicals.
Tanners shops weren’t a popular place because when they used urine in the process, they collected it or people brought it to them in jars. They then had to leave it to stand for a week or so and it became ammonia, at which point it was used on the skin to finish the leather. Therefore, tanner shops used to be on the very outskirts of towns so people didn’t have to smell them all the time. Though few tanneries are left, their legacy can be seen all around, most often in street named such as Tanner Street and Leather Lane.
At a later date, the use of earth salts was discovered to make soft white leather, which could then be dyed with other substances.
In 1444, the Worshipful Company of Leathersellers was founded in London, England. For many centuries, they were the people who came up with new ideas about leather and still have close connections with some universities in England today.

What is leather used for

In ancient and medieval times when leather was first reliably made, it was used for a whole range of different things. As well belts and shoes and jackets that we have today made from leather, they used it for protective aprons and hats as well as for trousers.

They also used it to make bags and boxes to transport things around where today we used plastic. There were also special bags to carry water and wine where we used plastic or glass bottles.
Leather hair decorations were common and it was also used as a covering for windows and doors, where we used blinds or curtains. There was even a type of leather paper!
Leather clothing was the fashion before spinning wool was invented and making flax into cloth. It was used alongside furs but this stopped when wool spinning became frequent.

The Science Behind Pet Allergies

dog shampoo helps pet allergiesOne of President Obama’s 2008 campaign promises was that if he won the election, he would get his daughters a dog. This couldn’t be just any dog because oldest daughter, Malia, is allergic. That’s how Bo, a Portuguese water dog, ended up moving into the White House. The Obamas chose this breed because it’s not a big shedder—although it does need to be groomed once in a while, including a good wash with the best dog shampoo. Then in 2013, Sunny, another Portuguese water dog joined the First Family.

What’s Happening

What makes Malia and others allergic to dogs? The general science behind any allergy is that some people’s immune systems are hypersensitive to certain triggers. For example, hay fever is an allergic reaction to plant pollen. Some individuals react when they eat specific foods, like nuts or shellfish. Others are allergic to insect stings or pet dander, which is the case for Malia.

Dander is basically the animal form of dandruff. Like humans, dogs shed their hair and skin cells. Contained in those cells is the animal’s serum (a liquid that separates out when blood coagulates), and within that is a protein that seems to agitate some humans.

While no dog is completely non-allergenic, some types could be less detrimental to allergy sufferers.

• Short hair vs. long hair: Short-haired or curly haired dogs, like the Standard Poodle or Lagotto Romagnolo, still shed, but usually at significantly lower rates than other breeds. Also, shorter hair strands may not adhere to clothing and furniture as much as long dog hair. That means less direct contact with the allergen. FYI: Hairless dogs might be an option for dog-lovers who happen to be allergic, but they still produce dander.

• Small dog vs. big dog: This comes down to simple logic; smaller dogs have less skin and that means less hair and less dander.

What to Do

So if you’re allergic but have your heart set on getting a dog for a family pet, what can you do to keep your allergy symptoms in check?

• Find the right dog: A study out of Germany asserts that individual animals (not an entire breed) might be less of a trigger. So conduct an experiment to see which animals are more physically comfortable to be around.

• Close the bedroom door: Because you spend 8-10 hours every night in this room, keep it as free of dog hair and dander as possible.

• Wash your hands: After petting your dog, be sure to wash your hands immediately afterwards so you don’t accidentally transfer dander to your eyes or nose.

• Prolonged exposure: Some allergy experts suspect that multiple exposures to a given animal will help build up an immunity to that dog’s dander.

Although there’s been no official word from the White House on whether Malia has ever experienced an allergic reaction, the fact that there are two puppies roaming the grounds seems to hint that Bo and Sunny have become full-fledged members of the First Family.

Best Human Body Books for 6-8 Year Olds

Books For Kids On Human Bodies
Books for Kids on Bodies

By the time kids get the 6-8 year old bracket, full scale curiosity is starting to kick in followed up with the fact that they don’t accept ‘because it is’ as an answer!  We recently discovered this first hand with our daughter when my husband hurt his neck at work.  The questions were steady: why did dad’s neck hurt?  Why did he need a special pillow?  Why was that pillow the best pillow for neck pain?

After the first couple of vague questions, I realised help was needed as it was all beyond my basic knowledge of such things.  So I promised my daughter a book on human physiology so she could understand all of it herself.  Then the question was; which was the best book?

First Human Body Encyclopedia (DK First Reference Series)

DK are always a reliable choice in my opinion for any subject they produce a book on.  This caught my eye due to the brand name and because it has a good range of content.  It covers all the parts of the body from cells right the way up to major bodily system, and it breaks it down in such a way that younger kids can understand it.  There are plenty of photographs to help them visualise what is being explained and can be used as a teaching aid for parents and even teachers.

Inside Your Outside: All About the Human Body (Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library)

This one is probably aimed at the lower end of the age group and perhaps a little younger (it states 4-8 inside).  The Cat in the Hat takes a little boy and girl on a ride through the body and introduces them to all the different parts as well as a whole range of other strange trips to help understand physiology.

Uncover the Human Body: An Uncover It Book

This is another book from a series like DK covering the human body in this one.  It has a range of areas covered including the basics of the body as well as explaining why things happen such as why bones can bend without breaking and how to protect yourself against germs.  This one is probably aimed at the higher end of the scale and states 8+ so is more comprehensive and a little less visual than the previous one.

See Inside Your Body

This book guides the young reader through the body in a completely accurate but humorous way which incorporates colourful illustrations and diagrams.  There are over 50 little flaps which can be lifted up to learn even more about the body.

Start Exploring: Gray’s Anatomy: A Fact-Filled Coloring Book

This is a slightly novel way to learn about the body using drawings from the famous Gray’s Anatomy book written in 1858 by anatomist Henry Gray.  The children colour in he drawings to learn the parts of the body at they go.  This is also one for the upper end of the age scale and states 8+ on the book.

Safety And Nonstick In The Kitchen

The reasons for popularity of nonstick cookware are easy to understand. As much fun as cooking is for many, the clean up is a chore few cooks relish. A pan or pot that rinses easily and is completely clean with no scrubbing or soaking can never make the task of kitchen duty fun, but it is faster, and more sanitary than leaving food sitting in cookware soaking. The best nonstick cookware surfaces have made the kitchen an easier, and safer place to enjoy cooking.


Safe and Efficient


Safety is an important matter for those who cook rather this is professionally or at home. nonstick cookware setWhile some people have expressed concern about using pans, pots or other cookware with this type of coating the reality as often happens in the kitchen is found through checking the science of how heating changings the chemical make up of anything from organic material to metals.

The surface of nonstick cookware is either engineered to reduce materials from sticking to it readily or it’s given a coating capable of fulfilling this function. The coating doesn’t itself is not charged by heating, and will not come off during the cooking or frying process. The various types of coatings are tested before marketing to ensure it doesn’t imbue the foods cook with any of chemicals used to render the cookware nonstick when used correctly. Unless the cook heats a piece of cookware beyond 600 degrees Fahrenheit the coating will not decompose, and even at this level the amount of chemicals it will release are minimal.


Nonstick usually involves polytetraflouoroehylene or PTFE known to cooks around the world as Teflon. Other types of coatings have made it simpler to find the type of cookware designed without having to give up on it being a nonstick surface. The most popular are ceramics, enameled cast iron, seasoned cast iron, anodized aluminum, and silicone.


Using Nonstick at Home


The best nonstick cookware to use at home will depend on the most common cooking needs of the individual cook along with the style of the kitchen itself. Long gone are the days when the cast iron skillet came in only one color or style. The newest designs sport not only a nonstick coating, but also other attributes making then indispensible in the kitchen. Ergonomic designs for handles and lids make tasks like holding the pan at angle or removing a lid less stressful on the hands and wrists. The lightweight design of some of this type of cookware helps when moving pans or pots around the stove even when full.


What to Look for From Nonstick Surface Cookware

When looking at the best nonstick cookware features most cooks will want certain attributes, which allow for easier, and faster meals. One of the biggest pluses for the nonstick pan is there less need to use oils giving what’s fried a more natural taste. Cooks typically swear by the types of lids they prefer whether these are glass that lets you see what’s simmering, or metals that help the dish stay at a steady simmer. Along with having a coating that keeps food from sticking to the inside of the cookware, an exterior that doesn’t stain from use is a good choice since this will increase the number years of possible use.


The Top Nonstick Cookware


Those who cook at home usually admire and envy the cookware they see professionals using, but the price of some nonstick cookware is reasonable enough for the home chef. These items are often found in several piece sets, and this can make having everything needed for any cooking task readily at hand.


What If You Didn’t Have Electricity?

Electricity is such a big part of our lives. Without electricity, we wouldn’t be able to use computers, watch TV, light up our rooms, or do countless other things. Those telephone poles with wires streaming throughout the neighborhood that you see every day are carrying electricity from house to house. Every day, electricity is a huge part of our lives.

Electricity for kids might seem like a very mysterious thing. After all, electricity has been part of kids’ lives for so long, it is hard to imagine a time before electricity existed! So, we know that we need electricity to power our homes, cell phones, TVs and lamps, but what exactly is electricity?

 lightning boltWhat Is It?

The attraction of particles (particles are tiny, microscopic objects) with opposite charges and the repulsion of particles with the same charge is electricity. This is the definition of electricity, but the definition alone does not truly help a kid understand electricity. Experiments and projects are the way to go when it comes to understanding electricity. To understand the idea of static electricity, the famous balloon experiment is often used in classrooms.

 Balloon Experiment

Teachers have used this experiment for decades as a fun, educational way to teach kids about how static electricity works. The experiment is pretty simple. The teacher asks the students to rub a balloon against their hair about ten times. The teacher will ask the students to then slowly remove the balloon from their hair. The students then place the balloon on a wall, and shockingly, the balloon sticks to the wall like a magnet.

This happens because the static electricity created from rubbing the balloon against hair is unable to discharge itself. The student will then discover that the balloon is stuck to the wall!


static electricityWhy did the balloon stick to the wall? It’s electricity. Rubbing the balloons against your hair created static electricity. Your hair is positively charged. The balloon is negatively charged.  The balloon and your hair have opposite charges. Remember, a part of electricity is the attraction of particles with opposite charges. In this experiment, the two particles were your hair and the balloon.

When you begin rubbing your hair against the balloon, your hair starts to get attracted to the negatively charged balloon. This caused the area you rubbed your hair against the balloon to be positively charged. That is why you were able to stick the balloon to the wall. These two opposites attract.

Learn More

If a kid wants to learn more about electricity, many fun science books are available for them to read. These books explain electricity for kids in ways they can understand. A fun book about electricity for kids is the popular  Magic School Bus And The Electric Field Trip book.

This book combines the world of fantasy with the world of science. The facts about electricity are explained in a fun way for kids to understand. This book, along  with the fun balloon experiment, can help kids see that electricity is not a mysterious thing at all.

Where Did That Bruise Come From?

You have probably had a time when you were playing outside on a nice day with your friends. Perhaps you were playing soccer with friends. You’re running all around the field, trying to kick that ball. Well, before you knew it, you trip and land on your legs. This trip probably didn’t hurt too much, and you were up and chasing that soccer ball moments later.

bruised kidA few days later, maybe you notice a  spot  on your leg where you fell. Now you’re wondering what that spot is! Well, it is nothing to fear. That spot is called a bruise. So, what exactly is a bruise? And why did it form even if you didn’t feel much pain? Well, here is the scoop on bruises on legs.

Bumps an Bruises 

First, bruises are very normal. If you have ever had a cut, and needed a band aid, that was because your skin broke. Well, a bruise is when the skin did not break.  You formed a bruise because you hit your leg on the ground.  When your leg hit the ground, muscle fibers and connective tissue under your skin got hurt, but your skin did not break. The impact of your leg hitting the ground caused blood from ruptured capillaries (small blood vessels) to try escaping by leaking out under the skin.

However, since there is no cut, the blood has nowhere to go. That is why a bruise forms in that spot where you fell. This bruise is nothing to be afraid of, but it might be a little tender when you touch it. It’s color can look red or purplish.

 When Will It Go Away?

You might be wondering how long you must stare at this strange little bruise on your leg. Well, a bruise can last around two weeks. During the two weeks on your leg, the bruise will go through many color changes. This is normal, because your body is working hard to get rid of the bruise.

Here is what you can expect to happen to your bruise over the two weeks until it leaves your leg:

The first sign you have a bruise is when you notice a reddish spot on your leg. This happens because blood is appearing under your skin. (remember, the blood has nowhere to go, because you haven’t cut the skin.)

You’ll Have To Wait A Little While

Over the next 1 or 2 days, the bruise turns into a bluish-purple or blackish color. Why does this happen? An iron-containing substance that carries oxygen called hemoglobin is the reason for the new bruise color.

Around day 5 to 10, you might notice the bruise has changed colors on you again. Now, it is greenish or yellowish. On the plus side, the bruise is getting closer to completely disappearing from your skin. But it isn’t quite there yet.

Kid with boo boo

Days 10 through 14 are the days when that bruise will become yellow-brown or light brown. Now you know for certain that the bruise is nearly healed. Soon after this, after about two weeks, your bruise will be gone!


If you noticed you got bruises on legs from soccer, and your friends didn’t, that is because we all bruise differently. Don’t worry! Now that you know what a bruise is, you don’t have to fear your bruise or stop having fun outside!

The Mystery of Volcanoes

Volcanoes are a fascinating part of nature. There are many interesting volcano fact for kids to learn. The first fact to know is that a volcano is actually a type of mountain. Unlike regular mountains, volcanoes are openings into the Earth’s mantle, which is deep underground and so hot that rocks melt and become magma. When volcanoes are active they can let ash, gas and hot magma escape. This is what happens when a volcano erupts.

volcano erupts What Happens When They Erupt

The Earth can be affected in many ways by a volcanic eruption.  Trees or buildings close to an erupting volcano may be burned or destroyed by hot lava that escaped from the volcano.  One of the most famous volcanoes of all time is the Mount Vesuvius volcano. The ancient city of Pompeii in Italy was completely destroyed by the Mount Vesuvius volcano in the year 79 AD.

Since then, people have learned to build cities further away from active volcanoes. Large volcanic eruptions can send ash flying over 17 miles above the Earth’s surface. Also, Earth’s temperature can be dropped by about half a degree when big volcanic eruptions reflect radiation from the sun.

 4 Kinds Of Volcanoes

There are four kinds of volcanoes: active, erupting, dormant, and extinct. An active volcano has had at least one eruption in the past 10,000 years. An erupting volcano is a volcano that is having an eruption. Dormant volcanoes haven’t had eruptions in a long time. Although, there is a good chance they will someday erupt again. Finally, extinct volcanoes do not erupt anymore. It has been over 10,000 years since they last erupted, and it seems unlikely they’ll erupt again.

How Many Volcanoes Are On Earth?

volcano smokeThere are at least 1,500 active volcanoes all around the world at this time. One of those volcanoes is located in Hawaii. The Mauna Loa volcano is the largest volcano in the world. It is 13,000 feet above sea level. Since 1843, the volcano has had 33 eruptions.

In America, most volcanoes are in the states of Hawaii, Alaska, California, Oregon and Washington. Another famous volcano in America is the Mt. St Helens volcano. This volcano erupted on May 18th, 1980, in the state of Washington. The blast of the volcano was so powerful that people living in far away states like California, Oregon and Idaho could hear the blast!

Ring Of Fire

Many of the world’s volcanoes are located around the Ring of Fire. This is an area of land in the basin of the Pacific ocean that has 453 volcanoes. Ninety percent of the world’s earthquakes and eight-one percent of the world’s largest earthquakes happen along the Ring of Fire.

volcano looks like mountainThese facts were just a few of the many volcano facts for kids. The internet has many facts, but visiting a local natural history museum can give a kid a much more in-depth look at volcanoes. While at the museum, kids can take tours and have many of their volcano questions answered by knowledgeable museum employees.