The Wonder of Whiskers: Debunking Myths of the Cat's Whiskers

If our kitty friends had online dating profiles that described their many adorable attributes to other interested felines, the cat's whiskers would definitely be a category.

"This is Fluffy. She has fancy pointy ears, shiny charcoal fur, a full tail, gleaming eyes, and long, luscious whiskers. She enjoys lying in the sun and making judgmental faces at strangers."

PrettyLitter The Cats Whiskers

There're many myths surrounding the mysteries of these wonderful whiskers ranging from the consequences of cutting them to using them to read the mood of your furry diva. Let's dive in to see what truths we can uncover about the cat's whiskers.

True or False: It's OK to Trim the Cat's Whiskers

False!

It’s never a good idea to cut your fur baby’s whiskers. A clean shave of your human whiskers may feel nice, but it's not the same for your feline friend.

The cat's whiskers are an important sensory organ. Those long, thick hairs are not actually hairs. They are technically called vibrissae and each little whisker is connected to a sensory receptor that sends valuable information to your fur baby’s brain. They are your cat's primary sense of space as she makes her way through the world.

Cutting a cat’s whiskers can leave her disoriented, scared, and unable to sense his environment in the way she's used to doing. Imagine losing your sense of touch – that's what effect trimming your cat's whiskers would have on your furry friend.

True or False: Cats Use Their Whiskers to Plan Their Escape

True!

Your feline friend would make an excellent 007 thanks to her whiskers. She’s stealthy, hard to read, and can determine which tiny spaces she'll fit through before she gets in a tight spot!

If your fur baby's head and whiskers can squeeze their way through an opening, that generally means that her whole body can wiggle its way through as well.

PrettyLitter The Cats Whiskers

General Rule: The length of the cat's whiskers is proportionate to the size of the cat. Even older cats or cats with vision problems can generally get around pretty well because of their whiskers.

However, if your fur baby has been indulging in a few too many treats and has packed on a couple of extra pounds, his whiskers may no longer be as good of a judge of whether or not he'll fit through that tight space. Don't worry Fluffy, we've all been there...

True or False: Cats’ Whiskers Indicate Mood

True. Finally, a little help!

Your cat's whiskers can give you insight into her mood. If you know how to read them, you can figure out what's going on behind that stoic little face.

According to the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, your cat's whiskers can indicate a few different moods:

  • Fear: When your fur baby is afraid, her whiskers may be flattened or pressed downward onto her face.
  • Calm: When your kitty's feeling chill, her whiskers will also be relaxed and slightly droopy.
  • Aggression: If your cat is feeling particularly feisty or on edge, her whiskers will be out to the side.

Dr. Marty Becker also shares that when your kitty's whiskers are forward, she may be feeling friendly or curious. It's always good know when your cat is in an amiable state. Purr-fect for playtime!

True or False: Your Cat’s Whiskers Will Bring You Luck

Maybe.

If you get the sense that your fur baby’s whiskers bring you luck, maybe they do!

PrettyLitter The Cats Whiskers

Just as many human parents keep their children's lost teeth, some cat parents treasure their cat’s lost whiskers and even claim that they bring them good fortune. The jury's still out on whether keeping your kitty’s whiskers will take you to a whole new level of crazy cat lady.

Think your fur baby's whiskers are the cat's meow? Snap a picture of your cute kitty in all her whiskery glory and tag us on Instagram @PrettyLitterCats.




Rai Cornell
Rai Cornell

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1 Response

Jeanne Alter
Jeanne Alter

June 18, 2019

Oddly enough, cat’s whiskers can sometimes be found on eBay. Artists buy them to create miniature dollhouse animals, to paint very fine artwork, and to make delicate items that might be used in a dollhouse.

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