Cat Whiskers-Why do Cats Have Whiskers?

The cat’s whiskers are of vital importance to the cat.

Never ever even think about cutting or harming the cat’s whiskers.

Don’t tamper with the whiskers in any way, this includes washing them.

So why do cats have whiskers?

The whiskers serve several important purposes.

Cats Need Whiskers for Navigation

The cat whiskers are extremely sensitive to any eddies in the air.

The whiskers will detect even the slightest changes in air currents.

This is tremendously important when moving around in the dark.

The air pressure changes as it hits any solid forms such as furniture, walls and so on.

The cat whiskers inform the cat of all possible obstacles.

This is why the cat can move around in the dark without bumping into things.

The cat whiskers are also used to navigate exactly where to go for the lethal bite when hunting.

The cat will use the whiskers to determine exactly where to bite the mouse with perfect precision for the kill.

A cat with damaged whiskers will have rough times hunting at night, failing most of the time.

The mice might be pleased, but the cat will be stressed and miserable.

Observing a cat which has just caught a mouse, one may notice that some of the whiskers are slightly wrapped around the mouse.

This will warn the cat of any signs of movement in the mouse, in case the mouse is not dead after all.


The cat needs its whiskers to determine whether or not an opening or hole is large enough to get through.

The cat most certainly does not want to risk getting stuck. That would definitely cause panic and your cat could end up getting seriously hurt.

The lengths of the whiskers are just about the width of the cat’s body.

Using the whiskers as a kind of ruler will help your cat make an educated decision if it is safe to go through the opening.

Cat Whiskers and Frame of mind

By watching the cat’s whiskers you just very well may detect what kind of mood your cat is in.

A content cat will have relaxed whiskers that are in a forward position.

If your cat is irritated, anxious, or feels defensive the whiskers will be pulled back.

About Cat Whiskers

The cat normally has 24 whiskers, 12 on each side. The cat’s whiskers are about twice as thick as that of their ordinary hairs.

The cat’s whiskers are stiffened hairs. The scientific word for the whiskers is vibrissae.

The cat is capable of moving its whiskers independently; that is the cat can move the top row whiskers without moving the bottom row whiskers and also the other way around.

The cat’s whiskers do fall off naturally and new whiskers grow. This happens in a regular cycle in a cat’s life. It takes a few months for a new whisker to grow on a cat.

If a cat should be so unfortunate to lose all the whiskers at the same time, the cat will be vulnerable the next few months before new whiskers grow out.

The whiskers on the cats may vary slightly on different cat breeds.

The cat breed with the longest whiskers is the Maine Coon Cat. The Maine Coon cat is also the largest cat breed, making it obvious they also have the longest whiskers.

On the other end of the scale is the Sphynx Cat. The Sphynx actually often does not have any whiskers at all. The Sphynx cat is also the hairless cat and should be considered an indoor cat only.

In Great Britain and Australia there is an expression; “be the cat’s whiskers”, meaning to be superior to all others. For example: She thought she was the cat’s whiskers driving around in her new Rolls Royce.

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