Ever wondered why do cats have whiskers? Whiskers or vibrissae are functional hair on different parts of the animal body, which animals use to sense their environment. An animal can have whiskers on the cheeks, above the eyes, the inner part of paws, and on the moustache area. All animals, including humans, have whiskers. Although human hair is only for decoration purposes, whiskers in most mammals act as touch receptors. These hair forms specialized touch organs, and humans have an evolutionary trace of muscle once associated with whiskers on our upper lips. Still, unlike other animals, they hardly do any function of whiskers. Like other animals, cats’ whiskers are more than just an aesthetic look. Now let’s know what are whiskers and why do cats have whiskers.
Difference Between Whiskers and Cat Fur
To understand the difference between cat’s whiskers and normal cat hair, we need to understand the different layers of the skin. There are various layers of the skin, two of which are the dermis and hypodermis. The dermis is the upper layer of the skin where the rest of the hair on a cat’s body is rooted. The hypodermis layer is the deeper layer of the skin surrounded by nerves and blood vessels, which transmit information to the brain; this is where whiskers are rooted.
How Many Whiskers Do Cats Have?
Like other animals, whiskers cats are more than just an aesthetic look. Domestic cats have between 16 and 24 whiskers; cats have whiskers on each side of their cheek, on the chin, above the eyes, and behind the cats’ legs. These are strategically placed to serve these five functions.
Why Do Cats Have Whiskers?
#1 They protect against danger
The cats’ whiskers work as micro receptors and help them remain alert to their surroundings. The cat moustache can sense the differences in air currents when an object is near them and help a cat avoid accidents. This happens because something touching the tip of their whiskers vibrates down into that follicle.
#2 They Complement Their Vision
Although cats are blessed with superior night vision, they are often pretty nearsighted and often have difficulty distinguishing objects up close. This is purpose of whiskers on cats. Whisker helps cats better identify objects less than 30 centimeters away. These tufts above cats’ eyes improve their vision, help cats sense danger, stimulate them to blink, and prevent any possible optic injury.
#3 An Insight Into a Cats Emotions
Whiskers not only help the cat make their life easier and safer, but it also helps you by giving insight into your cat’s heart. When a cat is happy, its whiskers are in a neutral position, and when your feline mate is intrigued, its whiskers lean a bit forward showing its cats emotions. While an aggressive or fearful cat has whiskers pulled back to its face, it warns to stay clear.
#4 They Allow Them to Measure Space
Cat whisker length helps your feline to measure the space, which gives cats the ability to determine whether a box is large enough. This is what cat whiskers for and it is how your cat can live by the if I fit, I sit mantra.
#5 Help the Cat to Maintain Balance
These tactile receptors are so significant to a cat that they take up to 40% of its brain. one of the cat whiskers purpose is to give your fur buddy an incredible sense of balance and allow them to judge distance when a cat jumps from one place to another.
Can You Trim Cat Whiskers?
Can you trim cat whiskers? The simple answer is no. You can’t trim a cat’s whiskers. If you cut your cat’s whiskers, it’ll dramatically change how they see the world, and these micro receptors’ functions will be highly impacted. The Roots of whiskers go deep in their skin, and with all the nerve endings, it is very uncomfortable for a cat when you pet it against the whisker grain. The whiskers are a part of cats’ tactile sense. However, if they break or are cut by accident, they will grow back, but cutting cats whiskers is a no-no. You can still groom the whiskers the way you like because they are not just for the aesthetic look.
Well, we hope you got an answer for what are cats whiskers for? Whiskers on a cat’s body are not just hair. They are touch receptors and work as essential organs. This is an essential thing that makes a feline what it’s. From assisting their vision and balance to protecting them against danger, these amazing hair are as significant to a cat as sense organs are to humans.