When Bella the British house cat is trying to relax, she makes sure everyone in her immediate vicinity knows it. Her purr reaches 54.59 decibels, and Guinness World Records recently declared it to be the loudest purr recorded in a living domestic cat, UPI reports.
Cambridgeshire resident Nicole Spink has long suspected that her pet’s contented vibrations were exceptional. “She purrs all day long! If there’s food around, or cuddles, she always purrs,” Spink told Guinness World Records. The constant noise became a problem when her and her late husband would watch TV in the evenings. According to Spink, Bella likes to be “loud with television,” and her purring often makes it difficult to hear what is happening on the screen.
When the Guinness World Record committee learned of the cat’s noisy reputation, an adjudicator came to Spink’s Huntingdon home with an acoustic engineer in tow. The bar to clear was 50 decibels, and Bella beat that by 4.59 decibels in the official test. That’s louder than the sound of moderate rainfall and nearly as loud as a running dishwasher—not bad when you consider that cat purrs evolved to be low so they would only be heard by those nearby.
Bella now holds the record for loudest purr in a living cat, but she still falls short of the all-time record. That was set in 2011, when Smokey of Northampton, England, showed off a 67.8-decibel purr for the Guinness World Record committee. That’s nearly as loud as car traffic or a vacuum cleaner. Merlin, a cat from Devon, England, matched the record five years later. While both cacophonous cats have since passed, they still share the record for loudest purr ever recorded in a domestic feline. As for what it is about British felines that produces such thunderous purrs, that mystery remains unsolved.