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Why Are My Cats Whiskers Singed? Poor Kitty! His Whiskers Are Curly!

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Why are my cats whiskers singed? There are actually quite reasonable and plausible reasons without resorting to any animal cruelty thoughts that may popped up in your mind.

First of all, and this is a common one, cats and kittens can just get too inquisitive and curious with a candle. It is very popular to burn candles in the home and all it takes is a little poke of the nose a bit too close to a lit candle and voila, singed whiskers.

Note: One idea is to burn candles that are placed within a holder or glass jar, safer for the cat and safer for you. Cats and candles are not a good mix. Light candles, being aware of safety issues if you have a cat.

This is is often the reason that singed whiskers are just on one side of the face, the other side being unscathed. The cat quickly learns (hopefully) that it is best to avoid candles after the first experience.

Secondly, some cats get up to close to the BBQ and the same thing happens, burnt whiskers. A hot stove, open fire, house fire or other heat source can have the same effect of cat whiskers getting burnt.

why are my cats whiskers singed
Oh Dear! What Happened Kitty? A Bad Case Of Singed whiskers!

When To See The Vet?

If the cat burns his whiskers and the side of the face is singed also, please go the vet as soon as you can for the cat to be checked by a professional.

If the area is singed run water over the area if possible or apply a cold compress or wet cloth. Go to the vet. Don’t apply any other ointments or creams until the vet has had a chance to examine the cat.

Cat whiskers being singed is not a painful experience (although can be problematic for cats navigation) however, cat burns on the cat’s face need urgent treatment.

Also worth noting, is that cats can tolerate higher temperature than humans so your cat may be uncomfortably close to a heater (within singing range) whereas we would instinctively move away. This applies to all cats but in particular senior cats.

Our cat Tom was a good example of this. We used to have a space heater that passed strict safety standards however the cat used to lie so close to this heater, stretched out and in heaven.

One of us would periodically check to see how hot his fur was to the touch. He lay on a futon, well half on and half off the futon, so the cat and the futon would just be moved a little farther away when needed.

Related: Are your cat’s whiskers white with the odd black whisker? Why are cats whiskers different colors?

Should I Trim The Cat’s Whiskers If They Are Damaged?

A cat’s whiskers play an essential part of their sensory system. They use them to gauge the width of passageways, determine if they can fit through an opening, and as a means of communication.

Whiskers are also sensitive to changes in air turbulence and pressure, which helps cats avoid obstacles in the dark.

Sometimes accidents happen and whiskers may get singed. When cats whiskers are singed, it can disrupt their navigation process.

a cat too close to a lit candle
Too close for comfort kitty!

However, don’t trim the cats whiskers. It is unnecessary.

If the cats’ whiskers are singed, it is best to let them grow back on their own.

While burnt whiskers may look curly and slightly alarming, they will eventually fall out and be replaced with new ones.

In the meantime, your cat will still be able to use its remaining whiskers to navigate its environment effectively.

Can A Cat Walk Without Whiskers?

These tactile hairs called whiskers are essential for helping cats navigate their environment and avoid obstacles.

Whiskers are incredibly sensitive, able to detect even the slightest change in air currents. As a result, cats rely heavily on their whiskers to help them move around safely.

While cats can technically walk without whiskers, they would be much less stable.

Will The Whiskers Of My Cat That Are Singed Grow Back?

It is not the singed whisker that grows back, rather the damaged whisker will eventually fall out and be replaced by a new one.

Over time, the whiskers are replaced anyway whether or not they are damaged. As the whiskers shed you may even come across them from time to time – maybe even in the cat’s favorite curling up spot.

The damaged whiskers are unable to regenerate themselves. The cat will have to wait for a new whisker to grow. Many people report their cat having navigational difficulties until the whiskers grew back properly.

If the hair follicle is damaged the whisker will not automatically grow back.

The follicles are embedded deep within the cats skin. It is unlikely that the follicle would be damaged by the whisker getting burnt.

How Long Before The Whiskers Grow Back?

Cats whiskers are actually quite variable in length, with some cats having short whiskers and others having very long whiskers.

cat with very long whiskers
Very long whiskers kitty! Stay away from candles!

In general, the whiskers grow back after several months and up to three months to grow back if they are trimmed or singed. It may be much faster than this in some cats.

There isn’t a definitive time as different factors such as genetics and the age and health of the cat need to be considered. Much the same as human hair, some people’s hair grows much faster than others.

Are Whiskers That Are Singed Hurting My Cat?

No the burnt whiskers won’t hurt the cat. Damaged whiskers does not mean the hair follicles are also damaged. There is more information here about damaged hair follicles in cats.

Cats do not feel physical pain when the whiskers are singed.

Please do not be tempted to trim them. They won’t regrow however they will eventually drop out and new whiskers will grow.

In the meantime it is important to not trim the cat’s whiskers so that cat doesn’t suffer any more than necessary at not having the full range of sensory indicators to help him navigate his environment in everyday life.

What Should I Do If My Cats Whiskers Are Singed?

Assess the damage to your cat’s whiskers.

If the whiskers are charred or broken, it’s best to leave them be and let them fall out on their own.

Keep an eye on your cat for signs of distress or discomfort. If they seem to be having difficulty navigating contact your vet for advice.

Eyebrow Whiskers Can Get Burnt Also

Some cats have incredibly long eyebrow whiskers and yes they can also burned by the flame from a candle or another heat source.

The advice is the same, leave the eyebrow whisker alone. The cat will readjust the best he can until it grows back.

All the cat lovers out there, take care of cats around candles and other heat sources.

Why Are My Cats Whiskers Singed?

The cats whiskers are singed because the cat has been too close to a naked flame source and singed or burnt his whiskers.

I’m not keen on that burning whisker smell. No candles in our house!

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