Cat wins Guinness record for loudest purr

Smokey's purr peaked at 67.7 decibels, which is about the sound of a rather loud human conversation. By comparison, the average cat purrs at about 20 decibels, meaning that Smokey's utterances are about 16 times louder than what you would expect from a domestic cat, the Christian Science Monitor said.

Securing the record wasn't easy for Ruth Adams, Smokey's owner. In the first attempt, which was made March 25 and witnessed by a sound technician from Northampton College, a veterinary nurse, a representative from the Britain's Cat's Protection charity, and a parliament member, the cat peaked at 73 decibels at a distance of one meter.

But the sound technician used a decibel reader that wasn't equipped to provide the data printouts required by Guinness. So they had to try it again.

During the second attempt - which the parliament member was unable to attend - Smokey, enticed by a piece of ham, purred at 67.7 decibels, setting the official world record.

Scientists are unsure exactly what produces a cat's purr, although most agree that the sound emanates from the cat's larynx and associated muscles and is signaled by a neural oscillator in the cat's brain, according to the Monitor.

The Guinness announcement also noted that the loudest sound by any living source comes from the blue whale, whose low-frequency pulses can hit an astounding 188 decibels.

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