Bella the Cat Breaks the Guinness World Record for Loudest Purr

Nevena Nacic
by Nevena Nacic

A 14-year-old cat from Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, UK has broken the Guinness World Record for the loudest purr by a domestic cat (living). 

Bella produced a purr measuring 54.59 decibels. To give you a better picture, Bella’s purr was as loud as the sound of a boiling kettle and almost as loud as the sound of a washing machine.

Bella’s owner, Nicole Spink, explained to Guinness World Records that her cat’s special talent comes naturally: “She purrs all day long. If there’s food around or cuddles, she always purrs.”

“Also when watching TV - she likes to be loud with television. My late husband used to always moan about the sound of her purr blocking the sound of the TV in the evenings.”

The Spink family has always known that there’s something special about Bella’s purr. “Friends and family always notice Bella’s loud purr, everyone comments ‘what’s that loud noise? Oh, it’s the cat’. It’s just Bella being happy!”

One day, while leafing through the Guinness World Record book, Ms Spink and her daughter decided to perform a test. They downloaded a phone app that recorded and measured Bella’s purr, confirming their suspicions.

An app can be a good indicator of a purr’s sound level, but a sound engineer is the only person who can measure it correctly. 

When the day of the official attempt came, Ms Spink was nervous that Bella wouldn’t want to purr. “She’s a stubborn little old lady and she does how she pleases. It’s very much Queen Bella’s world.”

Bella’s record-breaking attempt was overseen by Dave Willson, the Official Guinness World Records adjudicator. “It’s always an exciting day when there is the potential for a new record, so we waited in anticipation to see whether Bella would be able to do it.”

Mr Wilson and an independent sound engineer prepared the room in Spink’s family home to block out external noises and set up recording devices. The sound level meter used was kept at a one-meter distance from Bella, as well as a one-meter distance from the ground, following certified instructions. 

To beat the previous world record, Bella had to purr louder than 50 decibels. According to Mr Wilson, “the results were immediately obvious.”

It seems that food might be the reason Bella purrs so loudly. When talking about the record-breaking attempt Ms. Spink said: “I fed her a bowl of Whiskas and then brought her into the room, laid her in her bed and she started purring, just like that!”

As you can see, Bella is extremely motivated by food. According to her owner, Bella purrs loudly every time there’s a bowl of food in front of her. Despite her advanced age, Bella sprints to her bowl as soon as she sees a package of her food. 

A typical day in Bella’s life revolves around three things - food, sleep, and cuddles. Bella will wake up in my bed, she always wakes me up early and asks for her food. Then she’ll ask my kids or anyone else who comes into the house for more food. Then she will sleep, and then she’ll want more food and cuddles. Food and sleep is pretty much her life!”

And that’s what you call a purrfect life!

While Bella’s 54.59-decibel purr was loud enough to break the world record for a living cat, the record for the loudest purr ever belongs to two other cats - Merlin and Smokey.

In 2011, a Northampton cat, Smokey, owned by Lucinda Ruth Adams, was recorded purring at a shocking noise level of 67 decibels. That’s more than 13 decibels louder than Bella’s record-breaking purr. 

Five years later, Smokey’s record was equated by Merlin, owned by Tracy Westwood in Devon. Smokey and Merlin are still co-holders of the record for the loudest purr by a domestic cat. 

Nevena Nacic
Nevena Nacic

Nevena is a freelance writer and a proud mom of Teo, a 17-year-old poodle, and Bob, a rescued grey tabby cat. Since childhood, she had a habit of picking up strays and bringing them home (luckily, her parents didn't know how to say NO). When she's not writing for her fellow pet parents, Nevena can be found watching Teo sleep. To her defense, that's not as creepy as it sounds!

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