Kitty whiskers are more than just adorable mustaches. These long and fascinating hairs play a practical role in how your cat experiences the world. In fact, by the time you get through this article, you may find yourself with a bad case of whisker-envy.
What Are Whiskers?😼
Whiskers are a specific type of hair, located in vital regions of the face and body. Whiskers are thicker and more stiff or coarse than other hairs. They sprout from regions that are connected to blood vessels and nerves. This makes them as sensitive as a human’s fingertips.
How Do Cats Use Their Whiskers?😽
- They Provide Extra Tactile Awareness
As you’ve suspected, your cat seems to have superpowers. Well, sort of. Your cat’s whiskers help her to better feel the world around her--even in the dark. Your cat’s whiskers are extremely sensitive. They also grow in a unique pattern that helps keep your cat out of trouble. What kind of trouble? Getting stuck in narrow places or bumping into walls at night.
Your cat’s whiskers are attached to highly sensitive nerve bundles that alert her to a wide array of information. From gauging the width of areas to changes in air currents and air pressure, your kitty’s whiskers help her to better understand the world around her and protect her. Whiskers prevent your cat from getting poked or jabbed by long grass. They even provide her with a warning if a predator is close.
Your cat’s whiskers are so sensitive they’re also referred to as “vibrissae,” which comes from the same root as vibrato or vibrate.
- Whiskers Help Them Sense Their Prey… or Food Bowls🥩
While not as apparent as the whiskers that adorn your kitty’s adorable face, your cat also has whiskers on her legs. These whiskers help them pick up on small nearly invisible movements of their prey. These whiskers also help them navigate their way up or down trees.
Your cat may not be the most adept hunter, but her whiskers help her find her food bowl, even in the dark. In fact, she can even tell how full her bowl is in the dark just by using her whiskers.
- Whiskers Highlight Your Cat’s Facial Expressions😻
Our cats tend to be quite coy. It’s not their fault. They are just more difficult to read than dogs or other people. Luckily, their whiskers help them to be more expressive of how they’re feeling or what they’re thinking. When a cat is happy, curious, or relaxed, her whiskers let you know. When a cat’s eyes light up, their whiskers flare out. When your cat feels nervous or threatened, she’ll pull her whiskers back, then will puff them out at whatever is threatening her.
If you’re looking at your cat for a clue as to how she feels, look to her whiskers.
Whisker Stress and What You Can Do About It
Because your kitty’s whiskers are so sensitive, they can become overwhelmed by all the sensory overload caused by touching things leading to whisker stress. What does this mean exactly? Your cat doesn’t like to have her whiskers touched all the time, nor do cats like to have to put their faces in an area that triggers the “narrow space!” warning.
This most frequently happens when a cat has to dip her head into a food or water bowl. It’s a catch 22-- your cat must eat and drink, but her bowls require her whiskers to be shoved into a spot that is uncomfortable.
How can you tell if your cat suffers from Whisker stress? If your cat is finicky or avoids eating, she may experience whisker stress or fatigue. Cats will also push their food and water bowls around if their bowl bothers their whiskers.
To prevent whisker stress or whisker fatigue, use a wider ceramic bowl with low walls. ViviPet ceramic food bowls are purrfect for preventing whisker stress in your favorite feline. The lower walls don’t rub against your kitty’s whiskers, allowing her to eat in peace.
The Weird and Wonderful World of Whiskers
Your kitty’s whiskers are as unique, interesting, and cute as she is. Next time you see your kitty, take a moment to appreciate the marvelous magic that is your kitty’s whiskers.
ViviPet Cats Cute Fight
— Meow for now —