Little Something About The Cat Whiskers
Cats have certain special furs on different parts of their body that are called Whiskers or Vibrissae. These furs are embedded in their skin deeper than any other fur or hair and are a dense meeting point of numerous blood vessels and sensory nerves. These unique characteristics of the whiskers make them super sensitive and are the reason behind the important purpose they serve:
- Providing sensory inputs to the cat by touch responses
- Supporting the proprioception senses of cats and helping them to maintain balance
- Helping the spatial judgment capabilities of cats to allow them to move easily
Do Cat Whiskers Grow Back
The good news here is that your cats whiskers will grow back if you accidentally cut them off. In fact, they shed and regrow a lot like human hair. So, there is some hope in those seemingly disastrous moments. However, vets and other experts strongly discourage owners from cutting or trimming whiskers. This is because of their sensitivity and the way they help a cat interact with their environment. Leave the whiskers to shed and regrow naturally.
Here are some of the key points to remember when it comes to cat whiskers.
How To Recognize A Cats Abnormal Whisker Loss
Now you know that cats do shed their whisker, and their natural whisker loss is necessary. But everything can immediately turn into a serious medical situation if there are unusual factors that make cats lose their whiskers abnormally.
So how to recognize a cats abnormal whisker loss?
As a cat owner, you may know exactly about certain times in the year that your cat sheds her fur and whiskers like crazy, but when you suddenly notice a severe loss in your cats whiskers, it would mean that you need to check it out with the vet.
Why Do Cat Whiskers Fall Out
Yes, a cat’s whiskers do fall out. They regrow. They are just like any other hair on a cat’s body in that respect. Although of course they much longer, they are thicker, they are more deeply embedded into the cat’s tissue and there are more nerves surrounding the base of the hair than the other hairs found on a cat’s body Whiskers should never be cut or trimmed, and excessive handling of whiskers should be avoided, as manipulation of the whiskers can be painful. Whiskers do periodically fall out and grow back, which is normal, but if a cat loses a large number of whiskers, it may be a sign of fighting or health problems Cats have often been associated with witches and witchcraft, so it makes sense that cat whiskers are prevalent in a few spells used for guidance, balance, travel, eye health and getting out of. It makes sense because, like human hair, whiskers continue to grow and can fall out for a variety of reasons. One interesting thing about it is that as your cat ages he won’t have fewer whiskers, but you might notice the whiskers greying or getting lighter. Whiskers have other functions besides looking stylish
Do Cats Lose Their Whiskers
Cats, much like people, also shed dead skin cells. You may even find what appears to be remnants of your cats claws, as the outer shell of a cats claw will eventually be shed too.
This is one reason why it is important to provide your cat with a proper scratching surface, so your cat can naturally shed the claw covering.
But what about whiskers? To an extent, a cat losing its whiskers is a completely natural part of the cats shedding process. It can be equated to an idea of shedding fur that grows back, or losing the covering of a claw that will grow back given time.
The standard number of whiskers that your cat will shed depends heavily on the type of cat you own, the situations your cat gets into, and the way your cat reacts to regular stressors.
Most cats will shed a few whiskers a year, between zero and three whiskers in a year. If you find a single cat whisker on the ground for the first time in a year, you can usually chalk it up to your cat simply shedding off something it no longer can make use of, such as an old whisker.
Over time, when owning a cat, you will get used to what your cats range of normal is. It will be important for you to gauge what normal is for your cat, so that you will be able to determine when something is amiss.
Your Cat May Be Suffering From Hormonal Abnormalities
Cats can also undergo hormonal disorders which emanate as a result of various diseases that cats undergo like hyperthyroidism, etc. The main issue that occurs in cats when they have hormonal problems is Alopecia which causes damage to the body’s hair. Whiskers also get affected by such hormonal issues and may start to fall off sooner than time.
Does It Hurt When A Cat Loses A Whisker
It doesnt hurt when a whisker falls out normally. Also, your cat wont feel any pain even if the whiskers are accidentally clipped. However, if the whiskers are pulled out, it will surely cause discomfort to the feline.
If your cat is showing signs of pain while its whiskers are falling out, you should bring it to the vet immediately. Repetitive pawing and rubbing of the face are indicative that your kitty is experiencing discomfort in its whiskers area.
How Long Does It Take For Cat Whiskers To Grow Back
Your cats whiskers arent going to grow back overnight. Typically this takes around 2 to 3 months. This is quite quick compared to human hair, but it is still a long time for cats to be without a full set of whiskers. This is another reason why it is so important that we let them fall out naturally on their own. Also, be aware that this process can take a little longer if your cat is unwell or older.
If you have any concerns about your cats whiskers during this time, you can always get further advice from your vet. They will be able to determine any underlying causes for excessive natural whisker loss or for slower periods of regrowth.
What Happens If A Cats Whisker Gets Pulled Out
Like shedding, its natural, but tweezing or cutting whiskers is unnatural. It can actually cause an infection on the exposed nerve mound, which is painful. Your cat may also become disoriented and stressed. In my opinion, whiskers should never be tweezed.
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What Are Cat Whiskers
Before learning, Do cats shed their whiskers, we need to know what are cat whiskers first.
Cat whiskers are simply cats hair with the same structure as the rest of their fur despite the different appearances. As mentioned above, whiskers are a great part of getting information about your cats surroundings, and more than that, they also help in keeping balance. Lets take a deeper look at the importance of cat whiskers.
Whiskers Help Cats To Sense
The slightest movement in the air will be sensed by your cats whiskers, which helps the cat perceive any danger. They also allow the cat to determine if they can fit into any tight places. The facial whiskers are about as long as the cats body is wide and help the cat to figure out the dimensions of spaces.
The First Part Of The Explanation: Cats Shed Their Hair/fur
Even if youve never owned a cat in your life before, you likely know one thing very well about cats in relation to their hair/fur: cats shed.
But this is not unique to cats in any way at all. Dogs, hamsters, and ferrets all shed their fur, snakes shed their skin, heck, even humans shed their skin and hair, we just dont often think about it happening because our skin and hair is shed so slowly, we likely never really notice it at all. Humans lose only around 50-100 hairs a day out of the 90,000-150,000 hairs just on our heads alone. Thats not all that obvious as far as hair loss goes.
Some dog breeds shed hair like humans do so slowly you would barely count it as shedding at all. Breeds like Maltese dogs, poodles, and Shih Tzus have hair that grows like hair on human heads does long, and without being replaced all that often. Their hair thus needs to be cut when it gets long in order to keep it maintained at an easy-to-live-with length, again, just like human hair. Other dog breeds shed their fur more rapidly, and maintain a perfect haircut with no cut needed whatsoever, the same way hamsters and ferrets do.
Cats that have hair all have the sort that sheds fairly quickly like hamsters and ferrets. Unlike with dogs, there arent cat breeds whose hair needs to be cut in order to make sure it doesnt get very long, like poodle hair does.
But you came here to talk about whiskers, so lets get to the next point
How Often Should Cats Lose Whiskers
This natural whisker loss in cats should occur now and then to allow for the growth of healthy new vibrissae. Like bird feathers, a periodic loss here and there wont have any significant impact on activity and functionality. Your cat will notice the difference because of a decline in sensitivity, but they can still go about their day without any risk.
The loss of patches of whiskers is a bigger problem. This can cause a much bigger imbalance and more distress. There may also be another medical issue to deal with. If you notice your cat losing whiskers more frequently than normal, watch out for the following.
- Allergic reactions to parasites or environmental conditions
- Physical trauma from fights with other cats or injuries
- Mental trauma from stressful situations or ongoing anxiety
When Whisker Shedding Becomes Problematic
Once you learn what your cats normal range of whisker loss is you will be able to have a good sense of when to be alarmed.
Not shedding as many whiskers in a year is something that is not a cause for concern and can even mean that your cat is even healthier, as cats can easily go a few years without the need to shed whiskers.
On the other hand, if you notice that your cat is suddenly shedding whiskers more than you are used to seeing, or it has been happening gradually more often throughout the year, this could be a sign that something is wrong.
Fungal/bacterial Infection And Parasites
Cats can suffer from fungal and bacterial infections. Ringworm is a fairly common fungal infection in cats. If this infection is located near areas where whiskers grow it can be a cause of whisker loss.
These types of infections usually need veterinary attention but can often be resolved with medications, creams or other antifungals.
Parasites such as fleas and ticks might also cause whisker loss from reactions to bites or from overgrooming in the areas where bites have occurred. These parasites can usually be cleared up with over the counter medications and treatments.
Reasons Why Is My Kitten Or Cat Losing Whiskers Pet
How fast do cat whiskers grow back. Discussion in ‘Cat Chat’ started by Vantuuz, Apr 30, 2017. Cats & kittens are often shown without whiskers. There will always be mums and others in the house who prune them. A whisker cycle seemed to take about three months from initial growth to falling out and starting over Whiskers will fall out from time to time and that is completely natural. Just like cat hair and human hair, they’ll simply fall off and then they’ll grow back over time. No need to worry if you find one on the floor or one pops off while you’re scratching your cat’s chin Despite what the mama cats may do, you should never trim or pluck your dog’s or cat’s whiskers. Whiskers will fall out sometimes, but this occurs naturally, like shedding. Cutting or plucking out whiskers before they are ready to fall out not only will cause your pet to become disoriented for a few days but can also. a Cat’s Whiskers are for it to feel its surroundings, and if one falls out odds are your cat is unhealthy, yes i would take i to the vet. make sure to let the vet know about the pills and if u think that’s some of the problem. Wiskers DO fall out occasionally, but not often, if its a BIG ammount then its a problem
Whisker Fatigue: What You Need To Know
The thought of tired whiskers may sound silly, but the truth is, whisker fatigue can actually be a problem that makes your cat act completely different than usual. This condition is one that can cause problems like lack of appetite, changes in mood and , and a lot of stress for your kitty. As the owner of a cat, you will definitely want to know what whisker fatigue is and why it is something you should take seriously.
Why Does The Cat Have Whiskers
Most primates and many mammals have whiskers.
Why are some prominent depending on the species?
It is known that this physical detail is mainly related to their nightlife during which they have to move in the dark in order to be able to hunt.
When it comes to the cat, everything has to do with the way he stalks his prey.
He hunts at dusk or dawn and his vision is not adapted to this darkness.
If his hearing and flair are developed, his sight is excellent in far vision while his near vision is very poor .
In fact, he can hardly see any object within 30 centimeters of him.
In this situation, the whiskers take over and allow him to detect air movement and thus locate his prey.
In fact, the sensors in his mustaches are responsible for 40% of his brain function, hence their critical importance.
Can You Cut A Cats Whiskers
While some shedding or breakage is normal, cat whiskers do not need to be trimmed or groomed and Kornreich advises pet owners against cutting them.
Cat whiskers are similar to human hair and have no nerves so it is not painful to cut them. But cutting a whiskereven just a few inchesdeprives cats of an important sensory tool to navigate their environments, he explains.
Whiskers should never, ever be pulled out.
Whiskers are connected to nerves at the base and it would be painful to pull them out, Gonzalez says. Just like cutting any other hair, it wouldnt hurt and the whiskers would grow back but it would make them more cautious about moving in their environment.
If there is a medical need such as an abscess at the base of the whiskers, the procedure would be done in a veterinary hospital or clinic with the proper sedation and pain medication.
Instead of trimming, removing, or otherwise grooming cat whiskers, Kornreich suggests appreciating their natural state, adding, Whiskers are an amazing evolutionary adaptation that helps these unique creatures navigate their environments, he says.
What Are Whiskers Anyway
Whiskers, or ‘vibrissae’ are a highly specialized type of fur. For cats, whiskers serve three purposes:
They aid in balance: Everyone knows the old saying that a cat always lands on her feet. That is thanks, in part, to their whiskers! Whiskers aid in proprioception, that is, letting your cat know where her body and her limbs are in space and in relation to one another.
They help your cat judge space: The width of your cat’s whiskers are roughly as wide your cat is! You cat is able to judge just how tight a squeeze something might be by her whiskers.
They provide sensory input from things close to your cat’s face: They are very sensitive to touch and can help your cat ‘see’ in low light or even no light! As your cat grows new whiskers, it’s perfectly normal for the old whiskers to drop. This would account for finding a stray whisker while you’re cleaning the house. There are reasons your cat may shed whiskers more frequently, though.
Do Cats Lose Their Whiskers Is It Normal
Have you come across one of your cats whiskers caught in some of your clothing or just discarded on the floor? Or have you spotted that your cat has fewer whiskers than normal? You might have not come across this before and be wondering do cats lose their whiskers? Is it normal and why do they lose their whiskers? You might have got in a bit of a panic and be thinking the worst!
We will take you through what is going on, what is normal and what is not normal and what needs sorting out! Read on so you know what to look out for.
Will The Whiskers Grow Back
Hell yes! Like humans, when we lose our hair, it gets replaced after some time, right? The same applies to cats. Besides cats, other mammals such as dogs also lose their whiskers naturally from time to time. If your cat loses one or two whiskers within 2 or 3 days, its perfectly normal.
But, hold on! Theres a caveat; if it were pathological, you would notice a complete or significant loss of whiskers. And, that should be enough to frighten you. If that occurs, youd have to consult a qualified vet immediately.
Cat Losing Whiskers What To Do
What are cat whiskers used for?
The whiskers of a cat that we also call vibrissae are just magnificent but its a safe bet that you did not know all their functions in his universe.
They are vital for his balance and movement, for gauging prey, for protection from predators, for his emotions too.
It is therefore essential to preserve and care for them for the comfort of your cat.
So here is the best things to do when your cat loses his whiskers and therefore his hair.
Why Do Cats Have Whiskers
Cats are born with their whiskers and the hairs, which grow on their upper lips, chins, above their eyes, and on the back of the wrists on their forelimbs . These whiskers are an essential part of cat anatomy.
While the stiff hairs are made up of protein called keratin that contains no nerves, the hair follicles at the base of the whisker are chock full of nerve endings and blood vessels and contain sensory neurons that transmit information to the brain. Whiskers also help cats compensate for poor short-distance vision, heightening their senses and providing important information about their environments.
Cats use their whiskers to guide them through the environment, explains Dr. Sara E. Gonzalez, clinical assistant professor in the community practice clinic at the University of Georgia.
Their whiskers help them to avoid running into things, help with their vision in low light, and even help with hunting because the hairs allow them to sense their prey or even to alert them to predators.
Cat whiskers also prevent cats from getting stuck in small spaces. The hairs spread out as wide as their bodies, allowing cats to sense whether they will fit into enclosed spaces. Cats may also use their whiskers to provide clues to their moods.
Your Cat May Have Gotten Acne
Who would think that acne can be a problem with animals and cats are an example of that in this case? Acne can be seen to break out mostly on the chin area in cats and that leads to whisker loss when the acne becomes severe and starts spreading around. Once the skin around the mouth is inflamed, whiskers loosen out and fall.
What Functions Do Whiskers Have
The functionality of cat whiskers is more complex than you might imagine. For a start, these hairs are actually stiffer vibrissae that act as touch receptors. The proprioceptor at the end gives vital signals to a cat when they are out in the dark. They can feel the breeze or signal when a cat is close to a bush or a wall. They help with spatial awareness in tight spaces and even when detecting prey. That is why you will find whiskers on their legs and eyebrows too.
Then there is the fact that you can learn a lot about your cats mood from their whiskers.
Understanding these signals can help you provide better care for your cat in different situations.
Will My Cats Whiskers Grow Back
Yes, whiskers will most definitely grow back. You dont have to worry if your cat has lost the odd whisker here and there. The whiskers go through a growth cycle similar to the fur on the rest of your cats body.
Typically only a few of the whiskers will fall out at a time and it may be hard to notice that they are even missing any without looking very closely.
In general, you should expect it to take up to about 3 months for a whisker to have grown back fully. This is why you will often notice some whiskers being much longer than others. Some may be ready to fall out when they have reached full length and others may be in the process of growing back.
Whiskers do shed naturally, and you shouldnt worry if you find the odd whisker that has fallen out on your living room floor.
The shedding process, however, is a completely different cycle to your cats regular fur. When a cat sheds its fur this is usually a seasonal affair. Whiskers shed naturally on their own cycle where they grow to maturity and then fall out to be replaced with new ones.
Whiskers Are Also Called
Vibrissae come from the Latin word vibrãre, which translates into to vibrate. The term vibrissae are used to describe the whiskers not just on cats but for any mammals that have whiskers. Interestingly, this term is also used to identify the longer feathers found at the sides of the mouth of insect-eating birds.
What Are They Used For
A cats whiskers are not for decoration or to look good. Neither are they a display tool for attracting mates. A cats whiskers are actually a sensory tool akin to the eyes, nose, ears, or paws.
Whereas eyes can see, noses can smell, ears can hear and paws can touch, whiskers are used for sensing their surroundings at night, and understanding other environmental stimuli.
Whiskers can help a cat judge proximity to objects, judge the size of openings at close distance that they may need to pass through or near, help them sense disturbances in the air around them, sense wind speed and direction, and can even be used as a form of visual communication. Did you know that a cat with its face whiskers flattened back is in a bad mood and probably shouldnt be handled?
We, as humans simply have nothing that compares to whiskers, although some of the tasks whiskers fulfill are not necessary for humans. Cats near sight is pretty poor compared to ours and their whiskers address this weakness by aiding them in judging gaps and helping them judge objects that are close to their person but that their eyes are unable to focus sharply on.
Although cats eyes are far better at seeing objects in low light compared to humans eyesight, whiskers offer another layer of detection in low light that we simply dont have.