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A cat’s whiskers serve many different purposes for our little furry friends. Those thick, multi-colored hairs also add delightful distinction to their sweet faces. But sometimes, we find a cat’s mustache, or several, on our floor by chance! This may sound a bit alarming. Is this normal? And what’s next? Do cat whiskers grow back?
Yes, cat whiskers will grow back. A cat that periodically loses whiskers is normal. Mustaches are similar to hair in this regard. Whiskers are connected to sensitive nerve endings specific to their function. It is essential not to trim the whiskers yourself and to watch for excessive whisker loss.
Whiskers have some similarities to human hair or animal fur. But in many ways they perform complex functions and are unmatched in their abilities! They guide cats in their movements, emotions and expression. In this article, we’ll dive deep into mustaches, what they do, when they grow back, and why you should never, ever cut them!
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Why do cats have whiskers
Cat whiskers, also called tactile hairs or whiskers, primarily act as a navigational tool for cats. Although they are basically a form of hair, they are living and vital parts of a cat’s anatomy.
Kittens have whiskers from birth, and this is the first way they begin to become aware of their surroundings in the world. Sometimes if a kitten starts to stray too far from the litter box, a mother kitten bites off her whiskers to give the kitten a smaller range of motion and keep them home where they belong!
Starting from their face, eyebrows, and the backs of their paws, whiskers are hairs of different sizes that help with spatial awareness, which is part of why your cat can squeeze into such tight spaces. Whiskers can also detect differences in airflow. This allows your cat to find its way around in the dark and sense the slightest movement of potential prey or a string toy!
Just like the tail and the ears, the whiskers of our cat can give us a good indication of its mood. These fantastic little hairs contain muscles that allow them to move in response to different situations. Relaxed whiskers mean your cat is calm and comfortable, while forward-tilting whiskers indicate curiosity or, sometimes, anger. Whiskers pulled against a cat’s face show us that the cat is scared or angry.
Whiskers are deeply embedded and connected to the cat’s nervous and muscular systems, giving them a lot of information. Some veterinarians have suggested that cats suffer from “whisker fatigue” if they feel tired or overstimulated. Although they are a form of hair, they are very different from human hair or animal fur!
How long do mustaches grow
The length of a cat’s whiskers varies greatly. Some cats, like Maine Coons, have very long whiskers to match their large size. The world mustache record belongs to a Maine Coon, whose whiskers were seven and a half inches long. Conversely, smaller cats, or cats with less hair, may have much shorter whiskers.
Cat whiskers are thicker at the base than at the tip. Studies show that this form allows cats to be more sensitive to their surroundings.
Why Cat’s Whiskers Fall Out
Whiskers can fall out for several reasons. The body naturally sheds dead skin and hair cells, and so sometimes whiskers have the same fate. As with hair, whiskers will also grow back.
A cat’s whiskers can fall out in response to stress, another commonality with body hair. If a cat has seen significant life changes, such as a new family member or a move to a new home, whiskers may fall off as part of the anxiety.
It is completely normal for cat whiskers to fall out in moderation. However, if your cat is losing a lot of whiskers in a short time, it may be due to an underlying condition. If you notice excessive whisker loss, contact your veterinarian.
What Happens If a Cat’s Whiskers Are Damaged or Cut
Even though whiskers grow back, humans should never attempt to cut them or manipulate them in any way. Given their many functions and their deep connection to the cat’s nervous system, cutting them will disrupt a cat’s navigational skills. It would be like humans losing their sense of touch and direction.
All functions of whiskers can be compromised if you cut them: balance, sensory and navigational abilities, and the ability to detect and catch prey are all at stake. If you cut your cat’s whiskers and disrupt his natural movement, he is also likely to become very frightened by the new sensations he experiences, adding emotional damage to the physical damage.
Sometimes cat whiskers can be damaged by playing too loudly, getting too close to a candle and burning a little, or due to typical wear and tear. These things can affect your cat for a short time. If multiple whiskers are somehow lost, be sure to monitor your cat for unusual balance or walking issues. If these things are present, be sure to keep extra lights on and prevent your cat from jumping or trying to cross small spaces. If your cat is an outdoor cat, make sure they have enough access to food in case they have trouble catching prey.
How long does it take for a cat’s whiskers to grow back
As long as the cat is healthy, the lost whiskers should grow back within two to three months. However, if there is an underlying condition, it will take longer or may not occur. If your cat’s whiskers aren’t growing back after two or three months or are continuing to fall out rapidly, it could be due to several conditions:
● Dermatitis, a skin condition that indicates an allergy
● Alopecia, a condition that causes the loss of several types of hair all over your cat’s body
● Bacterial infections that cause reactions in the cat’s skin
● Fungal infections such as ringworm.
● Feline acne
● Mite infestations
If your cat is losing her whiskers, it’s essential to monitor her behavior and whisker regrowth and talk to your vet if things don’t seem normal.
Can cut a cat’s whiskers and hurt it
Trimming the cat’s whiskers won’t hurt because, like the hair, the nerve ending is at the root of the hair and not in the hair itself.
However, trimming the whiskers will cause your cat discomfort as they may temporarily lose their navigational skills and instincts. This can lead to emotional distress. So while the haircut isn’t painful, the results might very well be.
Cats are full of magical fun, and whiskers are examples of what makes our feline friends so unique. They are interesting little hairs and inform many things in the lives of our cats! Sometimes they can fall or something can happen to them, in which case it’s important to watch your cat for unusual behavior. However, shedding is normal and whiskers will always grow back. Cats just aren’t cats without them!