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9 Interesting Facts About Cat Whiskers That Will Amaze You

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We may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases. However, this does not impact our reviews and comparisons. We try our best to keep things fair and balanced, in order to help you make the best choice for yourself. As an Amazon affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases. As a Chewy affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

INTRODUCTION

Why do cats have whiskers?

Although they seem a little odd, whiskers are an important part of your cat’s senses. They help your feline friend hunt, hide, and play.

In this article, I’ll go through 9 interesting facts about cat whiskers.

9 Interesting Facts About Cat Whiskers

1. WHISKERS HELP YOUR CAT HUNT

Whiskers contain sensitive nerve endings that help with sense movement.

Cats have a hard time seeing objects in objects in front of their face. To overcome this, cats push their whiskers out to find out what’s in front of them.

The whiskers vibrate in response to the movement of prey. The scientific name for whiskers is ‘vibrissae’. This vibrating feature is what gives cats an edge in their hunting efforts.

Bottom Line: Whiskers vibrate and detect the movement of prey.

2. CATS HAVE 24 MOVEABLE WHISKERS

Cats have 12 whiskers on either side of their face. The whiskers appear on the side of the nose, ears, and chin.

The distribution of whiskers helps your cat balance itself.

What’s more, whiskers are twice as thick as regular hair. Embedded deep in the cat’s skin, the whiskers are very sturdy.

Bottom Line: Cats have 24 moveable whiskers located on their face.

3. WHISKERS SHOW YOUR CATS MOOD

Whiskers connect to the brain and reflect your cat’s mood.

Your cat can display its mood changes in several ways.

When your cat pulls its whiskers back, this position is a sign of fear. Whiskers pointed outwards show comfort or confidence.

Think about that next time your cat struts around the house with a swagger.

Bottom Line: Whiskers show whether your cat is confident or afraid.

4. WHISKERS HELP YOUR CAT SQUEEZE GAPS

Whiskers give your cat information on how wide or narrow a gap is.

This helps your cat see whether a hole is ok to fit through. Cats love squishing into whatever objects they can find.

This will help your pet decide whether it’s ok to move forward.

Bottom Line: Whiskers help your cat find out if a gap is wide enough.

5. WHISKERS ARE USUALLY WHITE

Whiskers form from rings of dead skin cells that rise and protrude from the skin.

During this process, the layer of cells on the outside falls away and leaves the unpigmented shaft to turn into a whisker.

The whiskers are usually white because melanin supplies the pigmentation of the fur. Without melanin, fur is white by default (hence, why dead skin is white).

Bottom Line: Whiskers are white as they form from skin cells.

6. WHISKERS DETECT SOUND

Cat’s whiskers can detect vibrations in the air and ground. 

Sound frequencies cause the whiskers to vibrate at a rate of ~0.1s. The whiskers on the legs help cats with ground detection.

This aids your cat in its hunting adventures, as it stalks a few flying insects around your backyard.

Bottom Line: Whiskers help your cat detect sound in the air.

7. WHISKERS HELP DETECT SURFACE HARDNESS

When your cat grinds up against a rough surface it tells your cat what is in store. 

The nerves of the whisker give your cat an idea of what kind of object it is coming into contact with, and send the information to the sensory areas of the brain.

A cat might have more confidence pushing into some bushes for example, as opposed to some hard stones.

Bottom Line: Whiskers help your cat find out how hard an object is.

8. WIDE BOWLS ARE MORE WHISKER FRIENDLY

A small bowl irritates a cat’s whiskers. This causes a so-called ‘whisker fatigue’.

A better option is a flat saucer, or even a paper plate, which gives your cool cat an easier time accessing their food and drink bowls.

The bowl can be irritating especially if coming into contact with water. A cat finds getting its whiskers wet an unpleasant experience.

Check out my top 5 best cat food bowls for help with bowl selection.

Bottom Line: Small bowls are irritating a cat’s whiskers.

9. DO NOT TRIM YOUR CAT’S WHISKERS

It might seem like a good idea to trim extra long whiskers, but this is not helpful to your pet. 

Your pet needs its whiskers to help sense things in the environment.

Even trimming one whisker can be a harmful experience for your companion. It’s better to let your pet shed its whiskers, or get professionally groomed by a vet.

Bottom Line: Trimming whiskers is harmful to your cat’s senses.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: FACTS ABOUT CAT WHISKERS

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU TRIM WHISKERS?

Trimming your cat’s whiskers hurts your cat’s movement and senses.

The whiskers connect to the brain via nerves and provide information to it.

This is essential for navigation and getting around tight spaces (e.g. under the bed in your room).

Bottom Line: Trimming whiskers is harmful to your cat’s senses.

CAN TRIMMING WHISKERS KILL YOUR CAT?

No.

However, trimming will make moving around the house uncomfortable. In some ways, not having whiskers is like trying to see in the dark.

Whiskers do grow back, similar to hair.

Bottom Line: Trimming whiskers is harmful to your cat’s senses.

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF CATS WHISKERS?

Cats have whiskers is to help your cat to navigate the world.

Whiskers are very sensitive and react to the world. Hunting and navigation are important functions aided by the whiskers.

They are thicker than hair and act as a ‘sixth sense’ to help cats stalk prey, and move around in the dark.

The tips of the whiskers create vibrations and greatly improve their search efforts.

Bottom Line: Whiskers help your cat navigate the world.

HOW LONG DO CATS WHISKERS GROW?

Cat’s whiskers grow in proportion to the width of its body.

This is important since the tactile hairs serve as a guide for tight space navigation (i.e. the whiskers tell the cat it can squeeze through).

Different breeds have variations in whisker length.

Bottom Line: Cat’s whiskers grow in proportion to the width of their body.

CONCLUSION

In this article, I gave you the facts about cat whiskers you need to know to master your cat-owning skills.

Cat whiskers are responsible for many important life functions. Whiskers communicate fear and aggression. Cat whiskers also help your cat detect changes in air currents or temperature.

They help detect motion and allow cats to navigate their environment.

In a way, a cat’s whiskers are like another set of eyes. This is why it’s important not to trim the whiskers and let them grow to their full length.

AFTER MORE HELPFUL CAT GUIDES?

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Disclaimer

We may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases. However, this does not impact our reviews and comparisons. We try our best to keep things fair and balanced, in order to help you make the best choice for yourself. As an Amazon affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases. As a Chewy affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

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