Those big long whiskers finish off the look of our beloved cats. Tickling your face when they wake you up early in the morning. But that’s not what they’re meant for! What they are meant for is what I’m going to explain today.
What are they?
Whiskers are hairs that go deep into their skin. Deeper than regular cat hairs. They are so deep, they’re connected to the nervous system, sensitive muscles and blood vessels. The whiskers send information to the nervous system and the brains of the cat, for when the cat touches something with those whiskers. It tells the cat more about its surroundings, but it also helps the cat to respond on time when changes are happening in his surroundings.
At the end of a whisker is an organ that sends information to the brains and nervous system. This organ is very sensitive, so sensitive that they can even feel the smallest change, like vibrations in the air. Of course, it also helps the cat to figure out if it can fit through something or not and it guides him through the dark. What fingers mean to us, is what the whiskers are to a cat.
Because whiskers are so sensitive, it can easily cause discomfort for a cat when they constantly touch something with it. Think about bowls with high sides.
Your cat has about 24 whiskers on his/her face. 12 on each side of the nose. You can also find whiskers on their paws, above their eyes, chin en legs. These whiskers are used to feel things such as objects, textures and more. But did you also know that whiskers are about 2 to 3 times thicker than a regular cat hair?
Whiskers aren’t only used to feel things. But by looking at whiskers you can also see what is going on in their head. It’s like their emotions are almost in line with their whiskers.
When your cat is relaxing and feeling content, their whiskers will be in a neutral position. But when they’ll point forward, they might feel playful or excited. Whiskers to are flat against the face show fearful or defensive behavior.
Whiskers are can fall off, just like our hair. But they will always grow back. According to some stories whiskers who have fallen off are known to give good luck.