Why do Cats Have Whiskers?

cat smelling a carpet

If you’re a cat owner, you’ll have probably thought about how cute your cat’s whiskers are. There’s no doubt that cat whiskers are adorable, but whiskers aren’t just designed to be aesthetically pleasing, they exist to do an important job.

Your cat’s whiskers actually have a number of functional purposes. In this blog post we will discuss how your cat’s whiskers can be a mood indicator as well as acting as your pet’s very own navigation system when they explore or hunt. Read on to discover everything you have ever wanted to know about your cat’s whiskers.

 

So why do cats have whiskers?

So, what are cat whiskers for? Look closely and you will see that cats not only have whiskers around their nose but also above their eyes and along the jawline too. Whiskers play an integral role in your cat’s spatial awareness and help them navigate the world. How your cat arranges their whiskers can tell you a lot about their mood. If your cat is feeling threatened, his whiskers may appear pinned back towards the face whereas if your cat is content, the whiskers will be placed straight out at the sides of the face. If your cat is curious, you may find the whiskers are pushed forward as they explore.

 

Can a cat live without its whiskers?

A cat can live without whiskers but as we have discussed, whiskers play an important role in a cat’s equilibrium and as a result, without them they can get disorientated and find it difficult to judge the size of openings. Cats can also struggle to walk straight or run without their whiskers as a guide. So, while your cat won’t die without their whiskers they will lose a great deal of sensory perception until they grow back which could take a few months.

 

How many whiskers does a cat have and do whiskers grow back if cut?

Cats have 12 whiskers which should never be trimmed for any reason but if they get damaged in a cat fight, cut by accident or shed, eventually they will grow back. On average, it can take up to two or three months for damaged or cut whiskers to grow back as long as the follicle under the skin has not been damaged.

 

What are cat’s whiskers for?

Cats are nocturnal and their whiskers help them make sense of their environment after dark as they have follicles that send messages directly to the brain. At the tip is a sensory organ that picks up vibrations around them which helps to orient them. All of these factors show us how important whiskers are to a cat’s quality of life.

Your cat’s whiskers are its own protection system but for your own peace of mind check out our pet insurance policies to ensure you have the correct level of cover for your pet’s needs. Here at Asda Money, we pride ourselves on offering a large variety of pet insurance policies so you can choose the right cover to suit you and your cat.