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5 Reasons Why You’re Not Supposed To Trim Cat Whiskers

5 Reasons Why You’re Not Supposed To Trim Cat Whiskers

I cannot imagine a cat without whiskers. This is a feature that gives an additional charming sparkle to a cat’s already awesome appearance.

However, whiskers don’t only serve a decorative purpose. They have a couple of important functions to help a cat with its everyday routines.

Sometimes they may seem too long. If you’re wondering if are you supposed to trim cat whiskers, you should know you’re not the only one.

I’ve encountered this question several times over the years. Many cat parents have considered whisker trimming as a part of caring for their pets.

But, the truth is exactly the opposite. Let’s take a look at the five main reasons why you should never trim your cat’s whiskers.

1. Disorientation

Woman holding scissors while cat laying down

Your cat’s whiskers help it determine its location in space.

Jennifer Slovak and Taylor Foster [1] explain how cats, as well as other mammals, have a unique ability to protract and retract their whiskers to gain information and assess their environment.

With the help of its whiskers, your cat can easily explore the subject, even without touching it. Furthermore, thanks to the whiskers, a cat can navigate in space even in complete darkness.

Trimming your cat’s whiskers would, undoubtedly, deprive it of invaluable assistance, potentially leaving your cat disoriented in its environment.

This can cause your cat to even get injured, since it’s likely to, for instance, estimate the distance incorrectly before jumping.

Therefore, cutting your cat’s whiskers will make it more challenging for it to move around.

2. Disability To Hunt

Trimming cats whiskers

Should you cut your cat’s whiskers? No, if you want your feline friend to keep its amazing hunting ability!

You’ve probably heard that cats love to hunt at night since they can see well even in low-light conditions.

This is true, but their 24 whiskers are an important aid here. They function as an extra pair of eyes or even fingers for a cat that’s hunting.

Besides on their cheek, cats also have whiskers above their eyes and on their front paws. These whiskers on their paws help cats climb trees and kill prey. 

It’s clear that cutting a cat’s whiskers will decrease their hunting abilities, meaning that your cat will miss one of its basic natural instincts.

3. Less Protection

Cat grooming

Protection is another important function of a cat’s whiskers.

As VCA Animal Hospital explains, a cat’s whiskers respond when touched by the smallest particles. 

Therefore, if dust were to fall on a whisker near your cat’s eye, the cat would instinctively blink or shake its head to dislodge the dust. 

A cat blinks to protect its eyes which can be injured by even the tiniest dust particle. Most cats have eyelashes that serve as protection, but whiskers are also essential protectors here.

Similarly, if your cat is allowed to go outside, it could encounter a thorny bush or a tall blade of grass. Thanks to the whiskers on its cheeks, your cat is able to avoid getting scratched.

Do you see how good protection these tiny hairs make for your cat? I’m sure you don’t want to expose your favorite pet to potential risks by cutting its whiskers.

4. Fear

Cute cat with long whiskers

If you’ve been a cat owner for some time, you’re probably aware that cats don’t like new things.

Any kind of change in their surroundings can stress them out. Losing whiskers isn’t exactly a small change, since it greatly affects your cat’s everyday activities.

Therefore, by cutting your cat’s whiskers, you’re risking your pet becoming very fearful and anxious.

Extreme fear can also lead to aggression and destructive behavior. I believe you don’t want to see your adorable kitty becoming scared or hostile towards you.

Moreover, a fearful cat is likely to be mean toward any human or animal that crosses its way.

So, keep its whiskers natural to avoid this.

5. You Won’t Be Able To Recognize Your Cat’s Mood

Cat with long whiskers

Cats don’t use words to communicate with us, so we have to be pretty skillful to determine their mood.

There are some interesting ways to do this, such as observing your cat’s tail position to decide whether it’s relaxed, alert, or, perhaps, annoyed.

The cat ear position chart is also a useful tool here. For instance, ears low and facing out usually indicate that a cat is feeling unwell.

According to Catster, a cat’s whiskers can serve a similar purpose. If a cat’s whiskers are sticking out sideways, it’s calm and relaxed. In case they’re pushed forward, the cat is alert or excited.

If a cat’s whiskers are flattened against its cheeks, most likely, the cat is scared or angry.

It would be a shame not to be able to guess your cat’s mood with the help of these little hair, right?

Can A Cat’s Whiskers Grow Back?

It isn’t unusual for a cat to lose some of its whiskers.

So, it’s possible that you occasionally see one or two of your cat’s whiskers around the floor. This isn’t something to be worried about, since, in the end, whiskers are hair like any other that can sometimes fall out.

The important thing here is that you don’t cut your cat’s whiskers on purpose. 

This can, however, happen without intention, for instance, while a groomer is taking care of your cat’s fur.

Luckily, a cat’s whiskers are likely to grow back, just as long as its follicle doesn’t suffer any damage.

It can take up from several weeks to three months to see your cat’s whiskers growing back.

Summary

Are you supposed to trim cat whiskers?

I’m sure that, after reading this article, you will all agree with me that the answer is a big no. A cat’s whiskers aren’t only simple hairs on their bodies. 

They are a multifunctional and highly sensitive part of a cat’s body anatomy. Whiskers assist your cat in all of its activities – navigating, catching prey, and expressing emotions.

It can even be said that whiskers are as important as the sense of hearing and smell for felines. Of course, none of us would want to deprive our cats of something helpful and essential for them.

Therefore, forget about clippers coming near your cat’s whiskers. Just let them be in their natural state and make our cats so cute and so adroit at the same time!

References:
[1] Slovak JE, Foster TE. Evaluation of whisker stress in cats. J Feline Med Surg. 2021 Apr;23(4):389-392. DOI, Retrieved December 12, 2023.