6 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Cat Whiskers March 05 2019, 0 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. Whiskers are actually a type of hair! Also called “vibrissae” or tactile hairs, whiskers are two to three times thicker than a cat’s regular hair. These specialized tactile hairs are rooted deeper in the skin than regular cat fur and are surrounded by sensitive nerves and blood. This is what makes your cat’s whiskers so sensitive, especially when eating or drinking.    

  2. The whiskers growing around your cat’s muzzle are called mystacial whiskers; cats normally have around 12 mystacial whiskers on either side of their nose, though some have more! Cats can also have whiskers above their eyes, on their chin, and even on the backs of their lower front legs.

  3. Whiskers help your cat determine if they’ll fit into a tight space. Your cat’s whiskers tend to be about as long as your cat is wide, so they help her to figure out how wide an opening is and whether she’ll fit through it.

  4. Whiskers make your cat a better hunter. Cats are farsighted and can’t see well up close. So when they’re going in for the killing bite when hunting their prey, whether it’s their favorite feather toy or a real mouse, your cat needs a way to make sure their prey is in the right position.

    hat’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. 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 or angry. Whiskers pointed straight out and held tense can mean your cat’s feeling inquisitive of their environment or in hunting mode.

  6. A Maine coon cat that lives in Finland named Fullmoon’s Miss American Pie (AKA “Missi”) holds the record for longest whiskers in the world; in 2005, Guinness World Records measured them at a whopping 7.5 inches long!

Now that you've heard the long and short of it about whiskers, what do you think? Do you know any other cat whisker facts? Let us know in the comments below!