One of our favorite things about cats has got to be those twitchy whiskers. Whatever the color or length, this is something that everyone associates with a cat… with the exception of the hairless Peterbald or Sphynx.
Whiskers are very important to a cat, and there are several important reasons why! Here’s our list of 6 fun facts about your cat’s whiskers:
1. The Whiskers Determine a Cat’s Mood
Like a cat’s tail, the approximately 12 whiskers on either side of your cat’s face tells a lot about their mood. If your cat is happy and relaxed, then so are their whiskers, resting peacefully in place. If your cat’s whiskers point forward, this can meant that they are alert and excited over something. Or, if you find that your cat’s whiskers are flattened back against their cheeks, this would mean that they are scared or angry. Fun fact: The LaPerm has curly whiskers, just like their curly coat!
2. They Should NEVER Be Cut, Ever!
Hopefully this one goes without saying. Cats use their whiskers as a means for balance, to get their bearings, and as sensory receptors. Whiskers are deep rooted into a cat’s skin, much more so than their fur. From time to time you may seem an occasional whisker being shed, but if a cat were to lose their whiskers then they would appear off kilter and disoriented. Poor baby!
3. Whiskers Can Change Color
You may notice that when your cat was young, their whiskers were white. As a cat ages, their whiskers can begin to change color. Think of it like how a human begins to gray when showing the signs of aging. Fun fact: A Bombay cat’s whiskers are entirely black, just like their fur.
4. Whiskers Where? Better to Catch You With!
Aside from the whiskers on either side of your cat’s nose, a cat also has whiskers above their eyes, on their chin, and on the backs of their lower front legs. As cats are farsighted, when they catch their prey (or your ankle!), it’s these extra sets of whiskers that allow them to sense their surroundings to the highest extent.
5. Super Sensitive!
Did you know that a cat has the ability to sense even the slightest change in direction of breeze simply by using their whiskers? This is because your kitty’s whiskers are extra sensitive, so it’s important to always be extra careful with them. One good tip: Find them a flat feeding bowl that doesn’t require them to press their whiskers against it when eating, and this will keep them super happy. 🙂
6. If My Whiskers Touch, No Go for me!
It’s long since been an old wive’s tale that if a cat’s whiskers touch the sides of an opening, then the cat will know better than to squeeze through it. And why? Because this is actually 100% true! Cats use this “whisker check” to keep themselves out of trouble by preventing them from becoming stuck!
One old wive’s tale that hasn’t found any merit is that it’s rumored for a cat’s whiskers to grow the wider they become… you know, like on a kitty who gets extra helpings of their Fancy Feast!