Cat whiskers

A cat’s whiskers are a well-honed sensory tool.

Used to detect changes in their surroundings, helping them steer clear of threats, even in the dark. These whiskers can pick up on even the slightest change in wind. The most common mistake is that the whiskers are embedded only into the top coat of fur. They are actually deeply embedded into the muscular and nervous systems and send
information directly to the cat’s sensory nerves.

Whiskers are not only present on the nose. They also have smaller ones above the eyes, on the chin
and on the back of the front legs.

Whiskers work as a cat’s own personal measuring tape. Generally, the width of the cat’s whiskers is the same as the width of their body. Cats use their whiskers to know if they will be able to fit into small spaces. So if the whisker fits, the cat sits. They also help cats visually measure distance, allowing them to leap quickly onto small spaces.

Whiskers are a great mood detector and a perfect way for you to interpret how your cat is feeling. If the whiskers are pointing out or relaxed, this means the cat is quite content with its surroundings and is feeling relaxed. If they are flat against the face then your cat may be feeling anxious or scared about something. This could lead to an attack. And if they are pointing forward, you best watch out as your cat is about to pounce! Forward pointing whiskers mean the cat is alert or excited and preparing to act, e.g. to jump.

As pets get older, the colour of the whiskers can change. Although the change is small and can be sometimes hard to detect, cats do gray with age. White whiskers can appear to change black.

It is highly important to never cut a cat’s whiskers. If the whiskers are missing or damaged, it will leave your cat feeling disorientated and frightened. It impairs one of her senses. Apart from making her feel uncomfortable, your cat is also more likely to injure herself.

The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the writer. Content published here does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Petcover.