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Kitty Whiskers

Does your kitty have long whiskers? Your furry pal’s whiskers are of course very cute, but they also serve several purposes. Whiskers—or vibrissae, as they are technically called—are actually very important to our feline pals! Here, a Marietta, GA vet talks about Fluffy’s whiskers.

Basics

Whiskers are very different from cats’ regular fur or hair. They are embedded deeply into Fluffy’s skin, and are surrounded by very sensitive nerves. Whiskers act like antennae, in a way: they help cats detect vibrations or changes in their environment. Kitties usually have 12 whiskers on each side, or 24 total. Some even have curly whiskers!

Whisker Placement

You’ve probably noticed the whiskers on your furball’s face and head. However, did you know that our feline friends also have whiskers on their paws and jaw lines?

Balance

Kitties also use whiskers to help them find their balance. Have you ever wondered why Fluffy is so agile and acrobatic? Whiskers help our feline buddies gauge distances while jumping.

Size Estimation

One way cats use their whiskers is to help them figure out if they can fit through small openings. Needless to say, this doesn’t necessarily work very well for chubby cats!

Kitty Mood Indicator

In addition to helping Fluffy with tracking and gathering information about her surroundings, whiskers also serve another purpose. If you pay attention, you’ll notice that your pet’s whisker position is indicative of her mood. If your furball is in a good mood, her whiskers will be relaxed. But if Fluffy gets scared, she may bunch up or flatten her whiskers against her head. Kitties also sometimes point their whiskers forward when they are hunting or playing, or when they feel threatened. This helps kitties focus on their adversary or prey.

Care

You really don’t need to do anything to care for your cat’s whiskers. In fact, you should never, ever clip Fluffy’s whiskers. It’s best to just leave them alone. Because cats use their whiskers, cutting them can make your pet feel dizzy or disoriented.

Whisker Loss

You may notice that Fluffy loses whiskers on occasion. This is normal. However, a sudden or dramatic loss of whiskers can be indicative of medical issues. Contact your vet if you notice your pet’s whiskers are missing.

Please reach out to us, your Marietta, GA pet clinic, with any questions or concerns about Fluffy’s whiskers. We are here to help!

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