World's loudest cat? Merlin's purr could drown out a classroom of children

Jan. 14, 2013 at 5:52 PM ET

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Could this be the loudest cat in the world?Merlin's purr is louder than a hair dryer, hand drill or a lawn mower.

Tracy Westwood’s home gets a little loud at times. But the usual suspects — screaming kids or a blaring television — are not to blame. No, the racket’s just the purr of her cat Merlin, who is possibly the world’s loudest domestic feline. 

While the average cat purrs quietly, at around 25 decibels, 12-year-old Merlin can make sounds that measure at 100 decibels. For a little context, that’s as loud as a classroom of boisterous children or the honk of a horn from just 25 feet away.  

“When I’m on the phone I often have people asking me what on earth the noise is. But I guess I’m used to it,” Westwood, who lives in Devon, England, told the Mirror.

jonmillsswns / YouTube /
Sometimes Merlin's purr is so loud that owner Tracy Westwood, 47, struggles to hear the TV. She is a tarot card reader who took Merlin in when he was just a kitten.

She believes Merlin’s purr is just loud enough to challenge Puss Smokey, from Northhampton, for the title of world’s loudest cat. Smokey can’t crack 100dB, but is the current Guinness world-record holder at 92dB.

“We've measured Merlin at peaks of 100dB, but he can be louder than that,” Westwood said.

If Merlin (who oddly sounds like a wooden drum frog) can express himself as loudly for the judges as he does around the house, the rescue cat will earn himself a spot in the record books.

Westwood might want to invest in some earplugs, if she hasn't already. Experts say repeated exposure to sound louder than 85dB can cause hearing loss. 

Hear Merlin for yourself in the video below:


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