What are cat whiskers made out of?
The Anatomy of the Whisker. A common mistake people make is assuming that cat whiskers and human hair are alike. The whiskers, unlike human hair, are actually touch receptors. These longer, stiffer hairs -- also called vibrissae -- are embedded more deeply in the cat's body than the shorter top-fur coat.
Do cats lose their whiskers?
Like cat fur and human hair, feline whiskers continuously grow, fall out and get replaced with new ones. This is quite normal. Minus injury, health problems or defects.
How many whiskers does a cat have?
Cats typically have about 24 whiskers on their muzzle. Additionally, there are shorter whiskers above the eyes, on the chin, and on the back of the cat's front legs just above the paws (these are called carpal whiskers). A cat's eyes have difficulty focusing on objects that are very close to them.
Which animals have whiskers?
Amongst those species with motile macrovibrissae, some (rats, mice, flying squirrels, gerbils, chinchillas, hamsters, shrews, porcupines, opossums) move them back and forth periodically in a movement known as whisking, while other species (cats, dogs, racoons, pandas) do not appear to.
Whiskers are exquisitely sensitive
Your cat’s whiskers are rooted much more deeply in the skin than an ordinary fur, and the area around them has a very generous supply of nerves and blood. This makes the whisker tips so sensitive that they can detect even the slightest change in the direction of a breeze. Because of that sensitivity, it can actually cause your cat pain if you mess with the whiskers. Eating out of a bowl that presses on your cat’s whiskers can also be disturbing, so consider feeding your cat on a plate or buying her a wide, flat feeding bowl.
They’re not just on the nose!
In addition to the eight to 12 whiskers your cat has on either side of the nose, she also has shorter whiskers above her eyes, on her chin, and on the backs of her lower front legs.
They should never be cut!
Although your cat does shed a couple of whiskers from time to time, you should never trim your cat’s whiskers. She’ll become disoriented and may begin acting dizzy and confused because she’s no longer receiving those vital navigation signals. Imagine if somebody grabbed you and put a blindfold on you and you couldn’t take it off for a few weeks — that’s about what it’s like for a cat whose whiskers get cut off.
They can change color
Don’t be surprised if you find a white whisker growing in your pure black cat’s fur as she ages: Cats do start going gray with age, but it’s not noticeable unless your cat’s fur is a dark, solid color.
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