Cat whiskers or “tactile hairs” are the long, thick, flexible hairs on a cat’s face. They are located in the top corners of the mouth and the outer edges of the nose.
Cats depend on their whiskers for sensing their surroundings and specifically for:
- Measurement: The whisker’s main use is to help the cat judge if he will fit through an opening. A cat’s whiskers are about as wide as his body, if the whiskers fit so will the rest of him.
- Navigation: Whiskers help the cat feel his way around. Whiskers can detect the smallest changes in air currents. For example, a cat can navigate its way a round a room at night by feeling the way the air flow changes depending on where objects lie. As the cat walks through the living room and comes up to the sofa, he’ll know which way to turn based on the change in air current around the sofa.
- Mood Gage: If the cat is angry or defensive the whiskers will be pulled back. If he is happy or curious, the whiskers will be relaxed and forward.
Never cut or trim you cat’s whiskers or it will affect your cat’s ability to sense its environment. Whiskers are like hair and nails, they fall out and are replaced on their own.
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