Cats’ whiskers are located on either side of their face, the upper lip area, on the jaw, around the eyebrow area, near the ears and on the forelegs. These sensitive hairs help cats to navigate their environment and detect movement.
Why do cats have whiskers? Cat Whiskers provide critical information about the width of an opening and whether or not a cat’s body can fit through the space. Cats often use their whiskers to gauge whether they can squeeze into a tight space.
Cats’ whiskers are sensitive, unlike human hair, and deeply embedded in the nervous system.
When a cat’s whiskers touch something, they send sensory information to the brain that helps the cat sense what may be around them.
This enables the cat to make decisions about its next move. As a result, the stiff hairs play an important role in a cat’s overall behavior and navigation.
Location Of Cats Whiskers
Cats Whiskers On Either Side Of The Face
The whiskers are typically arranged in three rows on each side of a cat’s face. These whiskers are called mystacial whiskers. The outermost row is the longest, and the innermost row is the shortest.
Each whisker is attached to a hair follicle that is connected to a network of nerves. The nerve endings are activated when a whisker brushes against an object and signals are sent to the brain that help the cat determine the size, shape, and texture of an object.
Whiskers help a cat judge distance and space.
How Many Whiskers Do Cats Have?
Cats typically have 12 whiskers on each side of their face, for a total of 24 cat whiskers. Depending on their genetics, some cats may have more or fewer whiskers.
The shorter whiskers are in front and the longer whiskers are at the back.
The long whiskers on the back of a cat’s legs help them to judge the width of an opening so they can determine if they can fit through it.
Cat’s facial whiskers can be long and droopy and black or white.
Whiskers On the Forelegs
Whiskers on the forelegs are called carpal whiskers are long, thin hairs that grow on the back of a cat’s front legs.
These whiskers are also sometimes called “pastern” whiskers. Although, they may look like nothing more than regular cat hair, carpel whiskers play an important role in a cat’s life.
These cat whiskers are extremely sensitive and can detect even the slightest movement or vibrations, which helps a cat avoid predators or prey that may be lurking nearby. They help the cat orient itself and navigate its surroundings. Foreleg whiskers are particularly useful to help a cat climb trees.
Carpel whiskers can be used to gauge whether or not a space is too small for a cat to fit through. As a result, these whiskers help keep cats safe from harm.
Carpal whiskers help cats to navigate in low-light conditions by acting as sensors that detect changes in air pressure.
Eyebrow Whiskers And Whiskers On Top Of The Head
There’s a reason cats have those unique whiskers on their eyebrows and even on the top of their head – they serve an important purpose! Cats use their whiskers as sensory organs, helping them to navigate their way around in the dark or in unfamiliar territory.
The whiskers are also very sensitive to touch, vibration and air movement, which allows cats to detect predators or prey long before they come into view.
In addition, the whiskers help cats to judge the width of openings and determine whether they can fit through them.
So next time you see your cat’s whiskers twitching, know that they’re not just being cute – they’re hard at work!
DID YOU KNOW THIS ABOUT CATS WHISKERS?
What Are Proprioceptors On A Cats Whiskers?
At the ends of a cat’s whiskers are sensory organs called proprioceptors that help the cat stay aware of his surroundings.
The proprioceptors send signals to the brain regarding the cat’s body and limb positions so that he is aware of what each part is doing. This is how a cat senses the world and land on their feet with near-perfect precision.
What are Whiskers Made From?
Cats’ whiskers are made from the same protein that makes up human hair, nails, and skin: keratin.
Unlike our hair, however, cats’ whiskers are not dead when they fall out. New whiskers constantly grow to replace the old ones.
Whisker Fall Out
Some possible reasons that whiskers fall out include injury, stress, illness, grooming or simply old age. Whiskers may also fall out as a result of the natural shedding process. In most cases, however, cats’ whiskers will eventually grow back.
Very Long Whiskers
The longest cat whiskers were found on a Maine Coon cat called Missi. Her whiskers were measured at 7 inches long.
What Does Analysing The Composition Of Cats Whiskers Reveal?
The composition of the cat’s whiskers was analysed in this study. The study was to determine the composition of the diets of domestic cats.
The findings showed that a large part of the diet was from the pet food provided by the cat’s owners but some part of the diet was still attributed to hunting done by the cat.
Can Cats Control Their Whiskers?
While it may appear that cats can move their whiskers at will, they are actually reacting to stimuli in their environment.
For example, if a cat feels something brushes against its whiskers, the muscles in the whisker follicles will automatically contract, causing the whiskers to move.
However, cats can also use their whiskers to send signals to other animals. For instance, when a cat is feeling threatened, it may arch its back and stick its whiskers out to make itself look bigger.
Similarly, when a cat is trying to intimidate another animal, it may pull its whiskers back tight against its face.
Thus, while cats cannot consciously control their whiskers, they do use them as an important part of communication.
Cats Can Have Whisker Stress
Cats are fastidious groomers, spending up to a quarter of their waking hours licking and grooming themselves. This helps to keep their fur clean and free of parasites, but it also has a calming effect. Grooming is a self-soothing activity for cats.
However, excessive grooming can lead to whisker fatigue. This is a condition in which the hairs of the whiskers become damaged or broken due to too much licking and chewing. In severe cases, the whiskers may fall out completely.
While not all cats will experience whisker stress, it’s important to be aware of the potential problem and take steps to reduce your cat’s exposure to stressful stimuli.
For example, you might want to avoid using plastic food bowls, as the texture can be irritating to the whiskers.
Choose cat bowls that are wide and flatter than usual to avoid stressing the whiskers.
Can Cats Whiskers Be Trimmed?
Do Not Ever trim cats whiskers even if you think they would look better trimmed. Perhaps the cat’s whiskers are uneven or bent.
Trimming or removing a cat’s whiskers can have a significant impact on their ability to navigate their environment. In some cases, cut whiskers lead to disorientation and anxiety.
If you have concerns about a whisker that you think is impeding the cat in some way, visit the vet for further advice.
Cats whiskers can get singed
Whiskers can get singed when cats come too close to a flame. This often happens if a cat is too curious and gets close to a fireplace, candle, or another open flame.
Unfortunately, cats often don’t realize the danger until it’s too late and they find themselves with singed whiskers.
Other instances of singeing can occur when a cat rubs up against something hot like an oven or radiator. In these cases, the hairs get scorched and need time to heal and regrow.
It’s important for owners to be aware of any potential dangers that can harm their pet’s whiskers in order to keep them safe and protected.
Are The Whiskers Of A Cat Lucky?
Anything that you attach meaning to can be called lucky. Think of sportspeople that have a lucky charm or pair of socks. Some have a gameday procedure before a game that denotes luck to them.
The same applies to the whiskers of a cat. There is nothing in ancient folk lore to suggest that cat whiskers specifically, are lucky even though cats have been traditionally ben associated with witchcraft.
Some people do like to collect fallen whiskers and wear them or keep them in a vial like the one below. If this has meaning to you, then it is your private and personal lucky charm and that’s a good thing.
Cat whiskers are made from Keratin, the same as our hair. It does not hurt us when our hair is cut and neither does it hurt a cat. However we know how important whiskers are for navigating their environment so they should never be cut.
Are Cat Whiskers Sensitive?
It would definitely hurt a cat if a whisker was removed as the whisker is embedded deeply within the skin and connected to the nervous system.
Cat Whiskers Versus Dog Whiskers
Dog’s whiskers fulfil a very similar function to the whiskers of a cat. The main factor differentiating the two, is that cats have whiskers on the forelegs and dogs do not.
How clever are whiskers?