If you’ve ever wondered what Kitty’s whiskers were for, here’s the answer: each individual whisker is actually a way for your cat to sense her surroundings. In other words, whiskers are a cat’s GPS.
How do they work?
Each whisker is filled with extra-sensitive nerves that help Kitty judge distance and space. It’s how she can gauge if a box is too small or how high she needs to jump to get on the kitchen counter. Whiskers also enable a cat to detect objects in her environment.
The follicles of your cat’s whiskers are deep and have plenty of nerve endings that transmit messages to Kitty’s brain. Each whisker also contains a sensory organ at its tip, where it picks up vibrations in the environment that help her to sense where she is and what other creatures are around her.
Most of your cat’s whiskers are located on the upper lip, but there are smaller sets of whiskers that run along the eyebrows, chin, and feet. The ones on the sides of the nose are the same width as your cat’s body, and these help her figure out whether a space is wide enough to squeeze through. The whiskers on Kitty’s feet help her to climb trees.
Is Kitty happy?
You can tell a lot about your cat’s mood by watching her whiskers. There is a complex set of muscles that help to move the whiskers back and forth. The way they are arranged can help you read your cat’s emotions.
If Kitty is relaxed, her whiskers will remain still, sticking straight out from the side of her head. If she is curious or is on the hunt, her whiskers will be pressed slightly forward. If Kitty is nervous or upset, she will pin her whiskers back toward her face.
Never ever trim your cat’s whiskers; they shed naturally. When you cut a cat’s whiskers, she may become disoriented and scared. It’s akin to a human being blindfolded; you’re taking away their most important sense to identify their surroundings.