Why Do Cats Have Whiskers

Why Do Cats Have Whiskers

If men grow a beard or keep a mustache to seem more stylish and extravagant, in case of cats’ hair on the face fashion is not important at all. In fact, this has nothing to do with fashion or looks. The cat’s whiskers are also called vibrissae and their role is only to serve as a sensory tool helping a cat to see in the dark and stay away from starving predators.

These whiskers are highly sensitive tactile hair growing on a cat’s muzzle, above eyes and on other parts of the body, for example ears, jaw and forelegs. These long, stiff hair have a special follicle loaded with nerves at the edge. The follicles are rather deep, containing a great deal of nerve endings which actively send messages to the cat’s brain. So the whiskers are interrelated with their brain and actions and behavior accordingly.

With the help of the multiple whiskers on the body a cat can detect the accurate location, size and texture of the object, even in the dark, without being able to see. Whiskers are also able to detect changes even in the air currents and this way they help cats to detect any possible dangers that will be approaching.
Due to whiskers cats are well aware of what is there in their surroundings, besides, whiskers are able to hint humans at the mood of the cat, in what condition of mind the cat is. If you see a set of taut whiskers that are pulled back across the face, this means that the cat feels worried, threatened. At the same time if you see whiskers that are pointing away from the face, this means that the cat is satisfied, relaxed and consent. So, as you see whiskers are good indications of the cat’s mood.

This is like the GPS system of your cat, a sharp indicator that always works well. Every thick whisker a cat has, is filled with very small, sensitive nerve endings which help the cat get oriented in the distance and space. This is why blind cats easily navigate around the rooms very well by a simple walk. The nerve endings are not enough and simultaneously there is a sensory organ at the tip of each whisker picking up vibrations that occur in the surrounding environment.

A very important notice for you – cat owners. Whiskers are not like other hair on the body of the cat. They do not need brushing or trimming or any additional care. Even if the whiskers are long there is no need and they shouldn’t be cut by no means. In case you decided to cut the whiskers your poor cat will become insecure, disoriented and scared. It is the same as you blindfold a person and till want him to be active and energetic as he used to be previously.

The result will be the same with your cat. If nature designed cats this way, like most other mammals on earth, it is not in vain. Cats really need this and the whiskers have a great function without which a cat will not be a cat. You will disable it as the cats use whiskers to decide how long they need to jump in order to reach to the counter or, for example, this way the cat decides on the distance of the room how far he can run, etc.
Leave these exquisitely sensitive whiskers the way they are as they serve your cat. The cat has 12 whiskers on each side of the nose, altogether – 24 whiskers on both sides. Each of them is an emotional barometer of the cat indicating the exact range of the mood.


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