Thursday, June 21, 2018

Whiskers. =^.^=

Cat whiskers ~ or vibrissa ~ are cat radar! (Side note: The word "whisker" comes from the Middle English word "wisker" meaning to sweep or brush. Kitties have brushes on their face!) Whiskers can be found around their nose, above their eyes like eyebrows, chin, and on the back of front legs. They aren't like human whiskers or fur, they are embedded deep in the skin. The area around the whiskers has sensitive nerves and whiskers are important for cats to test their environment.


Whiskers help cats decipher the space around them even in the dark! They can brush up against an object and know the texture and location. The whiskers respond to changes in the air and vibrations even if your cat can't see them.


The muzzle whiskers are long and thick, usually there's twelve on each side of their face. They tend to correlate with girth, and will grow as long as your cat is wide. If their whiskers fit in a space, they know their body will fit in the space.


The eyebrow whiskers help your cat when they hunt outside and instinctively have them blink if something touches them.


The whiskers on the back of their front legs help them kill prey. Cats have terrible eye sight up close so once they catch their prey their carpal whiskers will let them know if it's still alive and where to kill. Plus they help with climbing.


Whiskers move around depending on your cat's mood. If they are just sticking out, your cat is calm. If they are pushed forward, they are excited, and if against their cheeks they are threatened.


Oh and DO NOT cut whiskers. It would be like cutting off your hand. It's disorienting and painful. Without whiskers cats can loose navigation skills, act dizzy, and it frightens them. Whiskers will shed naturally, let them do their thing! (Some people even collect their found cat whiskers for good luck.)

Since whiskers are so sensitive, be sure that their water dish and feeding bowl is flat and wide, so their whiskers don't touch the edges. If they pick their food out of the dish, dump their food over, or drink by sticking their paw in the bowl they could be experiencing "whisker fatigue". Yep, it's a real thing. Take care of those whiskers!






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