Speak with a pet specialist
Toll Free: 855 908 4010
 
 

 

Pet Bucket Blog

Why do cats have whiskers?

 by lucy on 26 Apr 2017 |
1 Comment(s)
They may look like a mustache, but for our feline friends, whiskers are far more than a fashion statement. A cat’s facial hair helps him judge his place in space, “see” in the dark and even avoid hungry predators and catch prey. For these reasons, it’s crucial that you never trim your cat’s whiskers, which can leave him disoriented and unable to skillfully escape from dangerous situations.
 
Also known as tactile hairs or vibrissae, whiskers are filled with highly sensitive nerves that help cats judge distance and space. That’s thanks to a tiny sensory organ at each whisker’s tip, called a proprioceptor, that allows cats to pick up vibrations from other animals nearby or changes in their environment. Follicles embedded deep in a cat’s skin then relay these messages to his brain, giving your cat his graceful, lightning-fast reflexes.
 
Cats’ whiskers don’t just grow on their upper lips, however. Our feline friends have the same sensitive hairs along their eyebrows, chin and near their feet. Each set of whiskers correlates to the position of your pet’s body and limbs, making them a crucial part of knowing where he is and making split-second decisions about his movements. Whiskers on your cat’s back legs help him climb trees, for example, while those on his upper lip are just about as wide as his body, allowing your pet to judge whether he can fit through a small opening. Whiskers are highly sensitive, too, allowing cats to feel changes in vibrations in the air, which helps them while they are chasing prey or avoiding a hungry predator.
 
While whiskers’ main function is as your cat’s GPS, they also act a barometer for his moods. A complex set of facial muscles controls cats’ whiskers and a relaxed feline will leave his whiskers immobile, sticking straight out from the sides of his face. Cats engaged in hunting or other intense pursuits often press their whiskers forward, while nervous, angry or defensive cats pull their whiskers back close to their face— a hint that you should back off and give your pet some space.
 
Just like other hair, whiskers shed and grow back, so don’t be alarmed if you find one on the floor. You should never trim your cat’s whiskers, though, since they are a crucial part of his mobility and sense of security. Without them, your cat wouldn’t be able to skilfully navigate his surroundings, leaving him disoriented and vulnerable to dangerous situations.

Comment(s)1

Donna - Comment
Donna27 Apr 2017Reply
So why is my chubby cat's whiskers so small? so she doesn't get stuck? they are shorter than the width of her body. where my other cats' whiskers are longer or as wide as their body.

Join the Conversation

* Please enter your name.
Email address will not be published
Please enter a valid email address.
* Please enter your comment.
Image Verification
'Please enter security code.
You may also like

How to introduce dogs to cats

Introducing a new pet to your household can be exciting, but for resident animals, adding a new face to the mix can incr...

The Ultimate Flea Prevention Guide When Facing An Infestation in Your Home

We’ve seen dogs with fleas covering their entire bodies and cats that suffer from tapeworms caused by flea bites. Not on...

How to live with pet allergies without getting rid of your pet?

We all love our pets, but millions of owners suffer from allergies caused by their companions. While pet allergies are b...

Signs your pet has seasonal allergies and how to help

Spring is the season for new growth and with it comes runny noses, itchy eyes and a host of other symptoms of seasonal a...

Why do cats have whiskers?

They may look like a mustache, but for our feline friends, whiskers are far more than a fashion statement. A cat’s facia...

Why do dogs wag their tails?

Tails serve many practical purposes for our canine companions, from giving them better balance while running to spreadin...

Why does my cat stick out his tongue?

Most cat owners have a funny photo of their feline friend totally relaxed, tongue dangling from his mouth. While an outs...

What is petting-induced aggression?

We’ve all had the jarring experience of a cat jumping onto our laps, purring away, only to watch Kitty flip and suddenly...
Call Us - 855 908 4010
Placeholder
.
Customer Testimonials
Ted Langdon
Ted Langdon
Rockledge,Florida. United States
30 May 2017
The service is fantastic. The prices are a fraction than that of the vet. All around a great company for the needs of my pets. I'l ... more
 
 
Shop with Confidence
  • Low Price Guarantee
  • Free & Fast Shipping
  • Best Customer Service