Why Do Cats Have Whiskers, And What Exactly Do They Do? March 04 2022, 2 Comments
What’s the deal with whiskers? These seemingly innocuous feline attributes serve a much more important purpose than you might have realized. Cat whiskers are more than just adorable li’l hairs on your cat’s muzzle: they’re a tool for communication and survival. Read on for six things you might not have known about your cat’s whiskers!
1. What ARE Whiskers?
2. Mystical Mystacials
3. Whiskers Are Like Tiny Radars
Cat whiskers give cats an almost sixth sense - their whiskers act similar to tiny radar dishes that transform them from our fluffy friends into elite and efficient predators.
As a cat moves and stalks its prey, air is stirred up - when that air hits a wall or other animal (like their prey), it bounces back and is then received by their sensitive whiskers and alerts them to their prey's location and movements. But can also alert them to other predators by detecting changes in the air.
Whiskers also help your cat determine if they’ll fit into a tight space. Their whiskers tend to be about as long as your cat is wide, so they help figure out how wide an opening is and whether they'll fit through it.
4. Whiskers Make For Better Hunting
Whiskers make your cat a better hunter. Cats are farsighted and can’t see well up close - in fact, they have a blind spot directly under their chin!
When a cat is going in for the killing bite when hunting their prey, whether it’s their favorite mouse toy or a real mouse, your cat needs a way to make sure their prey is in the right position.
That’s where the whiskers on the back of your cat’s forelegs and chin come in. A cat’s whisker tips are equipped with sensory organs called proprioceptors that help the cat determine an object’s distance, direction, and even surface texture.
5. Read Between The Whiskers
Your cat’s whiskers can tell you how they’re feeling. If your cat’s whiskers are relaxed and sticking out sideways, your cat is calm and relaxed.
Whiskers pressed flat against their cheeks mean a cat is scared, feels threatened, or is angry.
Whiskers pointed straight out and held tense can mean your cat’s feeling inquisitive of their environment or in hunting mode - you may notice this when you hold out your hand or other object for your cat to sniff!
6. Record-Setting Whiskers
Missi, Guinness World Records