Cat Care

Whiskers of Cat

Cat Care > Adaptations of the Cat > Whiskers of Cat

Whiskers of Cat

A cat is a very distinctive animal when it comes to its looks and appearance. One of the distinctive features of a cat is her whiskers. A normal cat has got 24 movable set of whiskers, 12 on each side of the nose. Some of the cats could have even more depending upon the cat adaptation.

Itís a common belief that whiskers of cats are loosely based and many wrong theories have been laid out to support it. But much to the amazement, itís not true. The whiskers of a cat are more than twice thick when compared to normal hairs and they are rooted much deeper inside than the hair in the catís tissue.

As the whickers of a cat are richly supplied with nerve endings, they help them provide basic yet detailed information about air pressure, air movements and anything they come in contact with.

Whiskersí scientific name is Vibrissae, a name that suggests their sensitivity to various stimuli in the environment they live. Just like air swirls and eddies around objects of different attributes, whiskers also vibrate. As a result of this special power of whiskers, cats are able to sense things going around them. Interestingly, a cat also smells its prey from the whiskers and on a lighter front it can also prove handy in signaling the cat about the size and appearance of the prey.
Have you ever understood why your cat was having difficulty eating food from a bowl despite containing the favorite food? The reason for that is simple. It's because whenever the whiskers of a cat touches a bowl the extra sensitive properties of the whiskers keeps giving wrong signals to the brain that there is something wrong with the bowl. Thus, though the cat is eating a yummy meal, the whiskers keep irritating her.

Whiskers are extra sensitive as it's connected to the nervous system closely. Thus, any kind of damage done to whiskers could trouble or make the cat uncomfortable. No need to ever trim them or wash. A cat is able to keep them clean easily.

So, next time you see your cat wandering here and there in search of something; you know whatís the reason behind it, right?

Cats have a well-developed set of whiskers, growing mainly from the cheeks on either side of the nose. These are long, stiff, strong hairs, each associated with sense cells that are very sensitive to touch. The whiskers are used by the cat to 'feel-' its surroundings and are particularly useful at night. They can be used to gain information about the dimensions of spaces or objects, to detect movement or vibration and in interactions with other cats and with people. Similar sensory hairs occur along the back of the front legs (the "carpal hairs"), and these, along with its whiskers, provide a cat with a highly developed sense of touch.