What Do Cats Use Their Whiskers For?
A Cat’s Mustache Perhaps?
One trademark of cats is their whiskers. In fact, if you think about whiskers, most people would think about cats.
The other word for whiskers is vibrissae. It came from the Latin word ‘vibrio,’ which means, “to vibrate.” The whiskers are a unique type of hair due to its longer length, thicker diameter, and well-innervated follicles.
But, have you ever wondered what whiskers are for? You might be surprised but whiskers are not just an addition to your cat’s fashion statement, but it also serves a lot of functions.
In this post, let us take a look at some of the ways cats use their whiskers.
Whiskers Are For Measuring Things
Have you seen a cat trying to move through a hole? The first thing he does is to put his head inside. Now, here’s the curious part: your cat uses his whiskers to figure out whether he will fit into the hole or not.
Moreover, whiskers are useful in measuring distance. For example, before a cat jumps off from the counter, they try to use their whiskers to estimate height, depth, and length of their surrounding.
Since cats see things better when they are far, they use their whiskers as their “eyes” to see things up close.
Whiskers Are For Hunting Food
Though humans have successfully domesticated cats, they are still predators deep inside.
Their whiskers are powerful sensory tools to sense prey. Cats can sense the vibration and air current through their whiskers. They also try to move their whiskers back and forth to gather intel on their prey.
Not known to many, whiskers are also present around the chin, jaw, eyes, ears, and forelegs of your cat. This is the reason why cats are great hunters. They can use their whiskers to sense whether their prey is still alive or not and deliver a fatal and accurate bite.
Whiskers Are Seeing
Like what was mentioned above, cats are far-sighted. So, they use their whiskers to gather more information of their surroundings and perceive things clearly.
This ninja-like ability of cats enable them to move efficiently in the dark. As nocturnal creatures, they are more active at night, and with this kind of biological clock, they need their whiskers to navigate through poorly lit areas.
Whiskers Are For Expressing Feelings
If you want to know how your cat feels, you can check his whiskers. If you see your cat’s whiskers are stretched and pulled back across the face, your cat is more likely threatened, scared, and nervous. If your cat’s whiskers are pointed away from the face and are relaxed, then you got yourself content and happy kitty.
Another thing you might learn about your cat is by observing the color of his whiskers. Normally, a cat’s whiskers are white. They can turn into grey as your cat ages.
Whiskers undoubtedly serve a wide range of purpose and it is definitely something you shouldn’t cut or trim. Remember, the follicles of a cat are rich in sensory nerves. So avoid pulling it out or do something that could hurt your cat.
If you want to learn more, you can speak to your vet or read additional articles related to this topic. You’ll be happy to know that there is more to discover about whiskers and how it helps your cat.