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Our feline pals come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and they are all quite unique. However, there is one thing they all have in common: whiskers. Whiskers are much more than decorative long hairs. In fact, they are essential for all sorts of daily kitty functions. Read on as your local veterinarian tells you more about these important sensory tools.
Your furry pal’s whiskers are rooted more deeply into the skin than her fur is. There is a group of nerve endings at the base of each one. This makes them extremely sensitive. Cats don’t only have whiskers on their chins. They also have them on their ears, eyebrows, and even the forelegs.
Fluffy uses her whiskers to determine the location, size, and texture of objects in her environment. They also help her to detect changes in air currents. All of this sensory information helps to paint a clear picture of your kitty’s surroundings, even if it’s pitch black around her. Fluffy also uses this sensory information to determine whether or not she can fit into tight spaces. The whiskers along the nose are about the length of her body’s width. (This, of course, doesn’t work with obese kitties.)
Did you know that your kitty’s whiskers can give you some insight into how she’s feeling? When Fluffy has her whiskers pulled back tightly across her face, she is feeling alarmed or threatened. (This whisker position might be accompanied by wide eyes, raised ears, and a puffed tail.) When cats are relaxed, as they are most of the time, their whiskers will be relaxed and pointing sideways.
Here’s a fun trick: try to get a good look at your pet’s whiskers the next time she hears a strange sound or the bark of a neighbor’s dog. You’ll likely see them move a bit.
Cats do shed whiskers occasionally. This is natural. However, you should never attempt to cut or trim them yourself. If you do, you’re removing crucial sensory information that your cat needs, and she could experience dizziness, confusion, and disorientation. It would be like someone suddenly removing your sense of sight or hearing. You wouldn’t like it, either.
Does your cat need veterinary care? That’s where we come in. Make an appointment at the office today.