Our feline pals come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and they are all adorable. One of Fluffy’s cutest features is her whiskers. These are much more than decorative long hairs sprouting from Fluffy’s furry face. In fact, your pet’s whiskers are essential for all sorts of daily functions. Read on as a local veterinarian tells you more about these important sensory tools.
Your pet’s whiskers are more deeply rooted into the skin than her normal hairs are. There is also a group of nerve endings at the base of each one. This is what makes them so sensitive. You might be surprised to learn that whiskers aren’t only found on Fluffy’s chin, ears, eyebrow area. Kitties even have them on their little forelegs.
Your feline pal uses her whiskers to determine the location, size, and texture of objects in her environment. Additionally, she can use them to detect changes in air currents. All of this sensory information helps her evaluate her surroundings, even if it’s pitch black. Fluffy also uses this information to determine whether or not she can fit into tight spaces. The whiskers along the nose are about the length of her body’s width. (Chubby cats sometimes don’t quite get this right, but that’s another topic.)
Did you know that your furry pal’s whiskers can give you some insight into how she’s feeling? When your cat’s whiskers are pulled back, it means that she is feeling alarmed or threatened. (This whisker position might be accompanied by wide eyes, flat ears, and poofed out fur.) When Fluffy’s whiskers are relaxed and pointing sideways, it means your cat is content. She may prick them forward if she is focusing on something, like that moth in the kitchen or the catnip mouse you tossed her.
Try to get a good look at your furball’s whiskers the next time she hears a strange sound or the bark of a neighbor’s dog. They can actually work as a kitty mood indicator!
Cats do lose whiskers occasionally, but you should never attempt to cut or trim them yourself. This would deprive your pet of crucial sensory information. She could experience dizziness, confusion, and disorientation. It would be like suddenly removing your sense of touch or sight—you wouldn’t like it much, either.
Does your furry pal need veterinary care? That’s where we come in. Make an appointment at the office today.