A Cat's Amazing Whiskers
by: Sharon Cowherd
Have you ever experienced the tickle from one of your catís whiskers as they brush against your face or neck? I have been tickled on many occasions from each of my catís as they rub up against me for attention or curling up on my shoulder to go to sleep. I never really thought about what they use their whiskers for, all I really knew is that they tickled me a lot.
Besides giving each cat their own unique distinction, whiskers are a functional part of a cat. Whiskers are a sensory system for cats made up of nerve endings that allow them to feel the lightest touch, even an air current.
Cats are known to be farsighted and they will use their whiskers to move around in those areas that they are not able to see clearly. Even cats that are blind or their vision is deteriorating will rely more on their whiskers to move about. Cats that are born with their vision impaired will often have longer whiskers to help them move around. If a cat were to lose their whiskers, they would more than likely bump into things.
You also can tell the mood of your cat from their whiskers. When your cat is calm you will see that their whiskers will be pushed forward. And if your cat is stressed out or is being defensive their whiskers will be pulled closer to their face.
If you have more than one cat, have you noticed that the whiskers of each of them are not the same? The length of a catís whiskers even varies between breeds. I currently have three cats and have noticed that each one has whiskers that are different in length to the others. I have also noticed that Tiggy my oldest cat has a few whiskers that are not all white, but have some black in them. While the other two, Leena and Cooper, have whiskers that are all white.
Most of us see the catís whiskers above their eyes and around their mouth, also called muzzle. But did you know that they also have whiskers on the back of their front legs or what would be considered their wrists. I never knew that, but after I read about it, I looked on mine and they have them. They are not as long as the whiskers on their face, but they have them.
Whiskers do get very long and some people are tempted to trim them thinking that they should be to help the cat. But whiskers are never to be trimmed, cut, or any other method of removing them. The cats do have nerve endings in the whiskers and they will feel the trimming and it will not be pleasant for them. Have you ever touched one of the whiskers on your catís face? Did you notice them blink or twitch? It is because their whiskers are very sensitive and should be treated with care.
Whiskers can be ticklish when applied to us in the right fashion, and they are a very distinctive characteristic on a cat. We should always leave a catís whiskers alone, as they are their guide to moving around.