Why Do Cats Have Whiskers?

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Why Do Cats Have Whiskers?

Whiskers are sensitive yet regular hair. They originate from the follicles, and they tend to be jam-packed with the nerves and the blood vessels. Whiskers are considered necessary, just like human fingerprints, and the sensitivity is almost the same. Hence, it is safe to say that cats have a way of touching the world with their face through cats’ whiskers.

What Are Whiskers?

Whiskers are known to erupt from hair follicles like hair usually does. However, cats’ whiskers are a part of the cat’s body that stands out.

The whiskers are thick, and they are coarser than the regular hair. They tend to have three times deeper roots than normal human hair. Moreover, whiskers don’t cover the entire body as normal human hair does.

The cats’ whiskers are located above the eyes and on the chin and the forelegs. Most cats have whiskers arranged in four rows on each cheek, which is unusual for humans, as their hair structure is different.

Cats’ whiskers tend to have many features and uses that many of us might not know about.

A macro shot of a sleeping cat

Whiskers Tend To Be Attractive and Have Distinctive Facial Features

One can always presume that cats’ whiskers are more associated with cats than any animal, making them distinctive. It is safe to say that the cat’s whole face tens to be accentuated through the whiskers on its face.

Whiskers have a trait that helps them frame different features of a cat’s face; for example, it frames the eyes with more emphasis on the cat’s smile. Cats’ whiskers tend to hold great importance in emphasizing the facial traits, but it also serves important functions like navigating the cat in the environment. Moreover, it is used to provide additional sensory input as well.

Whiskers Don’t Feel Anything

Here is one more thing which many people might not have known. Cats’ whiskers tend to be tactile hairs, but they certainly don’t feel anything at all. They are useful in transmitting information from the sensory cells, especially when detecting objects or movements. Moreover, when the air blows against the whisker, the hair vibrates, and the nerves in the hair follicle are stimulated.

Cats’ whiskers are great in detecting such subtle changes in the air. They help transmit information about the shape, speed of the objects near them, and their size. Hence, you can be sure that cats’ whiskers serve them a great purpose.

Cat’s Whiskers Are Great At Balancing the Body

Cats’ whiskers are also known as body balancers in many places. The cats have special sensory organs known as the proprioceptors located at the edge of the end of the cat’s whiskers.

These organs are used to send messages to the brain about the position of the body and limbs. This helps keep the cat aware of every part of its body. On a shorter note, one can say that the whiskers help cats perform many of their daily activities.

A portrait of a red haired cat

Cat’s Whiskers Have Great Radar Sensing Skills

Many people know that cats have a great sense of smell and hearing. However, the feline vision of the cat isn’t as good as the smell and hearing. Cats tend to see better at a distance than focusing on the objects or things close to them.

However, the cat’s whiskers have a significant function in this, as they help the cats see the things properly, which are right in front of them. The whiskers’ organs help send information about the close object to the brain.

Moreover, cats’ whiskers are great in detecting the faint vibrations which are caused due to changes in air currents, and hence they act like radar detectors. Cats’ whiskers are like a whole survival kit for them. Interestingly enough, cats’ whiskers have the potential to locate the presence of prey as well as potential enemies and help them stay alert.

Whiskers Help in Communicating Emotions

Cats’ whiskers operate and act according to what the cat is doing. If a cat is resting or lying around, its whiskers don’t perform any task at such a moment. However, an active cat is a wake-up call for the whiskers, activated. You would notice that the whiskers physically appear elevated and alert whenever a cat is happy or curious. The cat’s whiskers tend to help show what emotion a cat is feeling.

A white varicolored eyes cat

Whiskers as the Cat Protectors

Cat whiskers are sensitive hair, and they tend to respond when any tiniest possible particle touches them. Whenever a speck of dust falls on the whisker, the cat will be seen flinging it off by shaking it off. This is a reaction that enables a cat to protect the eye. A tiny dust particle can easily injure the eye, and the cat’s whiskers are great in helping protect from those.

Whiskers Need Protection As Well

This is important to know, as cats’ whiskers have a lot of functions, and for sure, it is vital to protect them as well. A good portion of the cat’s brain is involved and devoted to processing all the data through the touch sensors, and whiskers are known to be those reliable touch sensors. Cats’ whiskers are very important to help kittens and cats function safely, so make sure your cat is not seen plucking or pulling the whiskers away. Moreover, the whiskers need to be touched gently, and one should avoid cutting the whiskers as well.


Conclusively, cat’s whiskers are extremely important for cats and kittens to function normally and safely every day. It helps them be extremely careful about their surroundings and acts as radar to alert them. They have several uses, and each of those uses is greatly helpful for kittens.

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