Best. Ambient Noise Generator. EVER.

There are few things better in life than spending time with a happy, purring kitten — but not everyone has a feline friend at our beck and call (and even when you do... well, you can't just make a cat purr on cue). But hey, guess what? The Furry Friend Cat Purr Noise Generator at sound therapy site My Noise is there for you whenever an actual, purring cat can't be. It functions the same way a lot of ambient noise sites do, except instead of the gentle fall of rain or the clink of glasses in a cafe, it issues forth the glorious sound of a happy cat purring like a little motor. Great thing, or greatest thing? I'm leaning towards greatest, but given that I am the human counterpart to not one, but two cats, maybe I'm slightly biased.

It's worth noting, of course, that cats purr for a lot of reasons. While it's true that purring is often an expression of contentment, it doesn't function just as an indication that they're happy. Cats also purr during moments of stress, possibly as a way to soothe themselves; furthermore, as IFLScience points out, vibrations in the body have been shown to promote healing — so it's possible, although it hasn't been proven definitively, that cats might even purr as a way to recover from injury.

In any event, though, we do know that purring is typically a means of communication — and since purring usually occurs at a frequency too low to travel very far (between 40 and 200 hz), it's presumed to be a means of communication for those the cat considers to be near and dear. It's also incredibly relaxing to have a warm pile of kitty purring on your lap (or snuggled up next to you, or whatever else your cat likes to do in those rare moments when it actually shows you affection), so if don't happen to have a furry buddy nearby? Well, the cat purr generator is the next best thing. Research has shown that cat owners live longer, so it's worth giving a tool that gives you the illusion of owning a cat a shot, right?

To use it, you can either have the Furry Friend Cat Purr Noise Generator load the default settings — or, you can customize it to suit your own individual ear. To customize it, first you have to head to the My Noise calibration page:

Then you have to drag around the sliders until you just start to hear the noise associated with each one. I plugged my headphones in before I started fiddling with the sliders, because it's Monday, and Monday is grounds maintenance day at my apartment complex (without my headphones, I can't hear anything coming from my dinky little laptop speakers over the din of an army of industrial lawnmowers riding around outside). For the curious, my noise curve looks like this:

Then, head back to the Cat Purr Noise Generator and click “Your Hearing Curve” to have the site load your personalized calibration settings:

And now? Just sit back, relax, and enjoy the purring.

If high-tech audio calibration isn't your thing, you can also check out these YouTube videos featuring hours of purring cats:

Although I doubt any of them purr as loudly as the current Guinness World Record holder for Loudest Purring Cat, Merlin:

Now isn't that better?

Images: hehaden/Flickr; My Noise (2); Furry Friend Cat Pur Noise Generator