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Cat Whiskers: All You Should Know

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by Alexander Thompson
Aug 08, 2022
2 minute read
TABLE OF CONTENTS
  • Why Do Cats Have Whiskers?
  • Do Cat Whiskers Feel Pain?
  • Cat Whiskers Facts
  • What Is Cat Whisker Fatigue?
  • Conclusion
Cats are mammals that are covered with hair. Some whiskers are exuberant, while some are flirtatious and demure. Nevertheless, regardless of their form, feline facial hair is much more than just vestigial accessories. Cat whiskers serve many purposes and are of great importance for a variety of reasons. While it’s nice for your feline to have a face full of them, there are times when you might notice your furry ball’s whiskers falling out.

Why Do Cats Have Whiskers?

There is no doubt that cat whiskers are essential. They are sensory equipment that cats use in their daily activities. These specialized hairs aid vision, helping cats navigate their environment. In addition, they provide additional sensory input like antennae on insects.
The official name for cat whiskers is vibrissae, which is from the Latin word “vibrio”, meaning “to vibrate.” Cat whiskers are multifunctional, and their primary function is as a sensory tool.
cat whisker

Do Cat Whiskers Feel Pain?

Cat whiskers are connected to their muscular and nervous system. Therefore, it is expected that there may be some pain when removing them. However, cats do not feel pain even if their whiskers are trimmed or cut. Nevertheless, cutting and trimming cat whiskers is not the right thing to do.
Plucking out a cat’s whiskers causes pain. During plucking, you uproot the hair directly from the hair follicle, which is extremely painful, and you should avoid it at all costs.

Cat Whiskers Facts

The following are known facts about cat whiskers;

Do Cat Whiskers Grow Back If Cut?

Cat’s whiskers are vital for many things, and you should never cut them off. Cutting off your cat’s whiskers can disorient and scare them, making them unable to gauge or sense the environment. But if one or two whiskers may have fallen out, they will grow back.

Cat Whiskers Are Sensitive

Unlike human hair, cat Whiskers are embedded and connected to the nervous system. Furthermore, the whiskers have sensory organs called proprioceptors that send the brain messages, helping the cat determine an object’s direction, distance, and surface texture. Whiskers are similar to humans’ sense of vision or smell. Therefore, you shouldn’t cut them off.
a cat with a toy in his mouth

How Many Whiskers Do Cats Have?

Whiskers have regular spacing and grow in specific locations, but it can be hard to tell with some cats. On average, cats have 12 whiskers on each muzzle’s side. These whiskers are usually the longest of the facial vibrissae, and they are arranged over four rows. Sometimes, cats have whiskers on other parts of their face, including above the eyes, chin, ears, and upper lip.

What Is Cat Whisker Fatigue?

When a cat’s whiskers become sensitive due to repetitive actions like brushing up against food and water bowls, this condition is called feline whisker fatigue. This condition results in tenderness and irritation. Cats paw at their food instead of putting their head in the dish, which is a sign of whisker fatigue. Another sign is stress during mealtime.
It is best to switch out your cat’s food and water bowls if you suspect your cat has whisker fatigue. The water bowls should be shallow to allow more room for whiskers to move freely. If you notice frequent whisker loss, check in with your veterinarian to be sure there are no underlying issues.

Conclusion

Cat Whiskers are valuable to your kitty. They heighten your cat’s senses, helping him get about safely. Therefore cutting or trimming off your cat’s whiskers for no good reason is never a good idea as they can leave your cat with temporary impairment.
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