What makes cats a cat is their whiskers—their signature feature. Some whiskers are unusually longer than others. What is the reason behind it? And what happens if you cut a cat’s whisker?
You may think doing so is for grooming, but it is uncomfortable for your cats. They can lose some of their senses, affecting their daily activities.
In this article, you will discover the purpose of a cat’s whiskers and the adverse effects when you cut whiskers off a cat.
Table of Contents
5 Reasons Why Trimming Cat’s Whiskers is Not a Good Idea
No matter how tempting it may seem, never attempt to groom your cat’s whiskers. They are a crucial part of their facial feature, keeping them more oriented to their surroundings.
1. Whiskers have a sensory function.
Cats need whiskers to coordinate with their senses when hunting for their prey. They can see in the fair distance to watch out for their meal, but not when it is too close.
So, they need to use one of their unique features, the whiskers. It can help them locate their prey even if they are too close. Cats can hunt in the middle of the darkness in the wild through this sensory part.
Whisker’s purpose is similar to an insect’s antennae. So, when you trim a cat’s whiskers, it results in negative consequences.
Whiskers also serve as their navigator. These help them roam around the environment, even in unfamiliar places.
Cats are known to be great at fitting themselves into narrow spaces. One thing that helps them to estimate the space size and measurement is their whiskers. Through its sensory functions, they recognize whether they can fit in.
3. Whiskers are partly responsible for their “nine lives.”
Literally, there is no such thing as nine lives to living creatures. But cats have this reputation because they can survive numerous accidents, like falling from a high building.
The ends of the cat’s whiskers have sensory organs named proprioceptors. Through these sensors, they can balance their body without any problem. That is why cats land on their feet, which allows them to survive this harsh circumstance.
4. Whiskers give you a signal.
As a cat owner, keeping track of your cat’s needs is vital. You can do that by looking at their behaviors. Whiskers give you more ideas about their emotions.
Whiskers are relaxed when cats are at ease. It means they feel comfortable around you. However, if you see them pull their whiskers forward, that shows being agitated or frightened.
5. Whiskers serve as their protection
Since whiskers have sensory functions, they know the dangers ahead. When they come across a sharp object like the tip of the grass, their whiskers signal them to watch out.
Moreover, cats can sense if a speck of dust surrounds their eyes through cat eyebrow whiskers. So, they shake their heads or remove them using their paws.
Whiskers have several functions, and removing them isn’t the best option. If you think they affect your cat when eating in the bowl, change the cat bowl immediately.
Ensure the bowl is elevated and tilted when feeding your cat’s food. This cat utensil can help their whiskers refrain from touching the bowl’s surface, which adds to their sensitivity.
When a cat’s whiskers get cut, they lose an essential body part. And for them, it’s like a person losing an arm or a leg.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do cat whiskers hurt when cut?
When you cut a cat’s whiskers, it isn’t painful for them, but it gives them discomfort. It results in disorientation and sensitivity problems for a certain period.
Do cats’ whiskers grow back if cut?
This scenario usually happens when a groomer cuts the cat’s whisker. If you accidentally cut cats’ whiskers on one side, don’t panic. It will grow back, but it will just take a long time to regrow.
Unless the follicles in their whiskers are not damaged, they will regrow without a problem. However, never cut a cat’s whiskers off except when necessary (for medical reasons).
Do cat whiskers have nerves?
The whiskers don’t have nerves, but the follicles do. The whisker’s follicles have several nerves and vessels, which makes them sensitive in this area.
So, what happens if you cut a cat’s whiskers? The answer is clear. Cutting cat whiskers brings them too much discomfort and disorientation.
Since cats can’t talk, whiskers are essential to communicate how they feel. Considering their emotions through their sensors can help you have a better relationship with your pets.
The next time you see your cat’s long whiskers, just keep them that way. They have sensory functions that allow them to survive multiple unfavorable situations.
I am Amy Sawy, a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) graduate from the University of Kansas. y husband, Dr. Plummer, and I own a veterinary clinic in Phillipsburg, Kansas. In addition to my professional background, I am a devoted pet owner myself, with a household that includes dogs, rodents, and most notably, cats – a total of five felines in my home.
In 2020, I joined an organization as a professional writer, leveraging my experience and collaborating with my team to deliver the most valuable information for your cat’s care.