WHY ARE MY CAT WHISKERS SO LONG? 4 SURPRISING REASONS
Why are my cat whiskers so long? Some cats have very long whiskers all over their face and sometimes even on their legs and paws. Cats owners naturally wonder if it is normal for those whiskers to be so long. This article will cover all there is to know about cat’s whiskers.
Cats’ whiskers are so long because they grow in proportion to the cat’s body size; big cats need long whiskers. So the bigger is the cat, the bigger the whisker will be. Cats use their whiskers to understand if they can fit in a place, balance, sense movements, and more.
Let’s see what is the use of long whiskers for cats and what they use them for.
CAN CAT’S WHISKERS BE TOO LONG?
No cat’s whiskers cannot be too long. This is because a cat’s whiskers are necessary to a cat’s well-being and health. In addition, cats need their whiskers for a long series of reasons vital to their life. Therefore if cats grow whiskers to an extended length, it means it is required.
Whiskers are often cute to look at and can make particular cats look gorgeous. But they are not there to enhance a cat image. Humans can cut their bears or skin hairs if they think they look good, but it is not the same for cats and all animals with whiskers.
Whiskers can also be called vibrissae and are very stiff and rigid types of hairs. Animals with whiskers use them to sense their environment. One could think of them like cats’ private antennas. Although we can see whiskers on a cat’s face, this is not the only place where they have it. If you look closely, cats can have whiskers on:
- Their face
- Near the ears
- On their paws
Whiskers are made of keratin and do not have nerves, but they are attached to their bodies. Therefore pulling cat’s whiskers hurt them.
WHY ARE MY CAT WHISKERS SO LONG?
Cats whiskers are so long because cats need them to determine the size of an opening and perceive a lot of information from the environment vital to cats’ survival.
Cats’ whiskers will grow based on the cat breed and genetics. The length and size of whiskers are determined already from the beginning. Each cat is going to develop his body and thus his whiskers based on genetic.
It means that even if a cat becomes fat during his life, his whiskers will not grow bigger. I am saying it because it is widely known that cats use to determine if they can fit into a place through their whiskers, and it is not correct to say that if a cat becomes fatter, his whiskers will grow bigger.
So how are cats using their whiskers? Here are some of the most common uses of cat’s whiskers:
1. JUDGE ABOUT THE SIZE OF AN OPENING
Whiskers play a big part in a cat’s decision about entering or passing through an opening. They use them as sensors to figure out if their body can pass or not. It is one of the reasons for cat’s whiskers growing very long.
Even though a cat can use whiskers to determine if they fit into something or not, we all know that cats do not always use this information to their best. Often we see them trying to fit into a small box or getting stuck somewhere (which is what makes cats so funny!)
2. AID CATS SIGHT
Cats can’t see too close. They are nearsighted, but their eyes can’t see it when an object is too close. Whisker comes very handily in this case. Whiskers can move forwards and can sense movements and feel what the eyes can’t catch.
Whiskers can complement cats’ tactile senses and eyesight and are very useful for cats in hunting or sensing danger so they can escape.
3. SHOW CATS EMOTIONS
It is not always known, but cats use their whiskers to show their state of mind. Whiskers’ movements are part of a cat’s body language, and cats owners should be familiar with it. For example, here are some things to look at:
- Whiskers held back and twitching: cat is in pain or is experiencing disconfort. If that happen obeserve closely your cat to figure out what is the problem.
- Whiskers moving forward: if you see your cat moving his whiskers forwards he is on alert and trying to figure out what is going on. It can also happen when he is hnting on chasing
- Whiskers pulled bak a bit: when a cat slighlty pull back his whiskers, it means that there is stress. Possibly, there is something that the cat doesn’t like.
- Whiskers held back firmly against the face: when cats are in an aggressinve mood and ready to jump on something.
- Whisker relaxed on the cat face: in this case a cat is happy and doing well, there is no stress or immediate danger.
Cats rely on their whiskers to hunt. Whiskers help cats to detect movements or vibrations around them. Cats can use whiskers to judge the length of the jump and how fast the prey is moving. Whiskers are like a radar that cats can follow to get to their target.
Whiskers can help cats hunt even when it is very dark, or they can’t see where the prey is. So they are vital for cats’ survival.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I TRIM MY CAT’S WHISKERS?
Cats without whisker can have trouble orienting themselves and can be in danger because will not be able to figure out a possible danger approaching. Therefore, whiskers should not be trimmed, and cats owners need to pay attention when grooming their cats to avoid accidentally cutting or trimming their whiskers.
Trimming a whisker is not painful but has consequences in a cat’s living in other ways. For example, cats use to move in the dark using their whiskers. They also assess their balance and measure their jumps also through whiskers. So even if we may think they have too long whiskers, they are not too long or too many.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Do cat’s whiskers grow back?
Yes, cats’ whiskers grow back after time. It usually takes 2 to three months for cats to grow their whiskers again. Whiskers could fall naturally. In this case, there is no need to worry. Whiskers should never be cut off to prevent stress in cats.
Why are my cat’s whiskers curling?
Cat’s whiskers can curl if they become weak, especially when cats are aging. Sometimes cats bend their whisker when they eat using too narrow bowls or otherwise pushing their whiskers against objects or surfaces. Cats like to rub their face against anything, and in those instances, whiskers can bend.
Do whiskers help cats balance?
Whiskers do not help cats keep their balance in the meaning of keeping straight and not falling, but to judge their movements in the absence of vision and adequately judge their activity when pouncing on a target. Thus, we could say whiskers are used as radar and sensors, affecting “balance,” meaning that cats know where to go.
Why are my cats’ whiskers so short?
Cats’ whiskers can be short because of how they are born. In addition, each cat has its own genetic and development. So sometimes, cats also have too short whiskers instead of too long.
Do cat’s whiskers get longer as they get fatter?
Cat’s whiskers do not grow if a cat gets fatter. They grow as much as they need based on the cat breed and genetics. It is true that usually, the whiskers should be as long as the cat’s body width, but it is all established in the cat’s genes and constitution. Becoming fat is not going to affect it.
What is whisker fatigue?
Whisker fatigue is when cats get overstimulation on their whiskers, it can be because they are rubbing their whiskers too much against the food bawl, or any other surface or simply they have very sensible whiskers.
Have you ever wondered why some cats have so much hair on their faces? The answer is simple: they have a dominant gene that causes them to grow a super-long, bushy tail on their face. “Although the gene is dominant, it also comes with a price. It can lead to health problems that include eye inflammation, breathing difficulties and even heart disease,” says Dr. Eric Barchas, a dermatologist at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine.