Care Cats

What is the function of cat whiskers?

Escrito por Mundocachorro

Cats’ whiskers serve a number of functions within their bodies that help them understand their environment. These are a kind of “antennae” that stand out as a characteristic of the feline essence of our domestic cat. Whiskers in cats are lodged between the nose and the muzzle, but they are also distributed in different parts of their anatomy. However, they are not visible to the naked eye.

The reality is that cats also have this sensory organ in their ears, eyes and front paws. They are symmetrically distributed and have a pair on each side of their body. In total, there are 24 whiskers, through which they can measure their environment very accurately.

What are cat whiskers used for?

Cat whiskers have an appearance similar to thicker than normal hair. But they are actually vibration sensors, which, among other functions, allow them to maintain night vision.

They are also able to measure distances when hunting their prey through these natural sensors. If you’ve ever watched a cat moving around in the dark, you’ve probably noticed that they don’t usually bump into objects or furniture. This is because their whiskers allow them to detect obstacles in a very accurate way and avoid them with the agile movements that characterize our domestic felines.

The operation

In general, the whiskers are able to send sensory information to the brain. From there, the cat brain is able to decode information and maintain balance in different circumstances. For example, when jumping from one side to the other, it is the whiskers that allow it to maintain its balance.

In addition, cats can sense air currents through their whiskers. Through this subtle knowledge, they are also able to notice where the obstacles are located, in order to circumvent them.

By way of translation, the whiskers send information to the brain, which converts it into a sensory map. It is through this map that cats can know how to move, in which direction and how much force to use to jump from one place to another.

It is important to know that the whiskers are connected to the muscular system and the nervous system. That is why you should take great care in case you have to cut a cat’s hair. In fact, a cat that is deprived of this organ will be limited in many of its capabilities.

Although it is common for them to fall off naturally because they have a life span, they should not be touched under any circumstances. Through their whiskers, cats can adapt to their environment and survive.

A fact you should know is that they regularly shed their sensory hairs or whiskers twice a year. That’s why it’s normal to see these hairs in the house on occasion. But if they fall more frequently, it would be advisable to consult a veterinarian, as it may be a symptom of a disease.

Image courtesy of, all rights reserved.