Written by Logan Michael in Health last updated August 2020\r\n\r\nBetterWithCats.net may earn a small commission when you use one of the links on this page to purchase.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nThe term \u201cwhisker fatigue\u201d might sound like an excuse I made up to get out of shaving\u2026or a reason for my girlfriend to avoid kissing me.\r\n\r\nBut whisker fatigue is a very real condition for your cat. So what is whisker fatigue?\r\n\r\nIt\u2019s a condition caused by the overuse and overstimulation of your cat\u2019s whiskers. Can you take a guess at the most common source for all this stimulation?\r\n\r\nEating and drinking!\r\n\r\nThink about it...most water and food bowls for cats use high-siding that is actually a source of constant (and unwanted) stimulation for your cat.\r\n\r\nLuckily, the solution is pretty simple and special whisker relief cat dishes are widely available. We\u2019ve actually got a list of our three best whisker friendly bowls for both food and water that you can read here.\r\n\r\nBut before you head over there, let\u2019s learn a little bit more about your cat\u2019s whiskers.\r\nThe Wonderful Whisker: What Are Cat Whiskers For?\r\nWhiskers do more than just make your cat look cool. Whiskers, which are also called vibrissae, can help your cat navigate tight spaces, dark areas and even feel incoming objects before they actually come in contact with your cat\u2019s face or eyes. While some of that might seem obvious, whiskers also work in much more subtle ways, too.\r\n\r\nIn fact, your cat\u2019s whiskers can detect air currents generated by moving objects so they can literally feel something moving without being able to see it.\r\nWhiskers Help Your Cat Stay Balanced\r\nYou\u2019ve certainly heard that cats always land on their feet, but you probably haven't heard the whiskers get any credit for that!\r\n\r\nBut the fact is, whiskers have special sensory organs called proprioceptors located at the very tips. These special receptors help send messages to the brain that tell your kitty where exactly their body is.\r\nWhiskers Help Your Cat Communicate\r\nWhile whiskers fill a much more important role, you could think of whiskers like eyebrows on us (assuming a human is reading this).\r\n\r\nAnd I\u2019m sure you\u2019ve seen your cat give you a surprised face at a sudden noise or new visitor. Your cat\u2019s whiskers help in creating that surprised kitty face!\r\nWhiskers Protect Your Cat\r\nWhiskers can also act like eyelashes in humans. If you feel a leaf, dust, or any other object on your eyelash your eye will reactively close to protect itself. Well, whiskers can provide the same function but are MUCH more sensitive than your eyelashes. In fact, cats can even use whiskers to detect movement of prey based on wind currents!\r\nSo What Causes Whisker Fatigue?\u00a0\r\nThe complex functions of the whisker rely on your kitty\u2019s nervous system to function at a high level.\r\n\r\nWhich doesn\u2019t sound like a problem...until you realize that your kitty can\u2019t turn this power off!.\r\n\r\nIt\u2019s kinda like those superhero movies when the hero suddenly gets an ability like reading minds or super hearing. Sure, it can be handy and seems cool at first.\r\n\r\nBut if you can\u2019t turn it off or control it, it\u2019s going to drive you crazy!\r\n\r\nWith that mind, imagine all 24 of your cat\u2019s finely turned whiskers all pressed against the food and water bowl just to get that bit of kibble or last drop of water. Yikes!\r\nSymptoms of Whisker Fatigue\r\nWhisker fatigue in cats can show a variety of symptoms. One of the most common symptoms is choosing to tip over or remove kibble from the food bowl. After all, eating off the floor or countertop is more comfortable than eating out the high rimmed bowl.\r\n\r\nWhile other cats suffering from whisker fatigue might beg for food only to stare blankly at the bowl once you serve them their meal. Then others will get so frustrated that you may see some aggression, most often directed towards other animals in the house.\r\n\r\nRemember, no matter how much we feel in tune with our feline, the fact is they can\u2019t really speak to us.\r\n\r\nSure, they let us know when it\u2019s mealtime or that they\u2019d like the bedroom door to be opened. Then closed. Then opened.\r\n\r\n(You get the idea.)\r\n\r\nBut what they can\u2019t always tell us is when they\u2019re uncomfortable. Sometimes, we have to read between the lines. Unfortunately, that\u2019s the case when it comes to whisker fatigue which simply isn\u2019t discussed as often as it should be.\r\nHow do you stop whiskers from fatigue?\r\nLuckily, the solution for whisker fatigue is pretty simple and there are a variety of whisker friendly cat bowls on the market. In fact, you may have seen these bowls already and wondering what \u201cwhisker friendly\u201d actually meant!\r\n\r\nWell, now you know and if you\u2019re interested in picking up some whisker friendly bowls you should check out our list of the best on the market.\u00a0You can see our list of the best whisker relief bowls by clicking here.\r\nFrequently Asked Questions\r\nThere\u2019s a lot of questions that come up around whisker fatigue and we\u2019ve heard most of them over the years. Honestly, this important topic doesn\u2019t get enough attention which is why we\u2019ve put together a list of the top questions we get.\r\n\r\nLet us know if we missed one!\r\nQ: What is whisker stress?\r\nWhisker stress is just another name for whisker fatigue. Essentially, it\u2019s the overuse and overstimulation of your cat\u2019s whiskers during mealtime. Over time this can lead to general discomfort and behavioral problems.\r\nQ: Are long whiskers a sign of a healthy cat?\r\nDifferent cats have different length whiskers so it\u2019s hard to say what is considered \u201clong\u201d and what\u2019s normal. But it\u2019s important to note that happy and relaxed cats will typically have loose whispers that are facing forward. If your cat is frightened or startled, they pull their whiskers back as they tighten the muscles in their face.\r\nQ: Do cats like it when you touch their whiskers?\r\nGenerally, you\u2019ll want to avoid messing with your cat\u2019s whiskers too much. Remember, these are highly tuned and sensitive receptors! But your cat may like a gentle pet around her face and the base of her whiskers. Take your cues from your cat. If she stays for the petting usually that\u2019s a good sign that she\u2019s happy to have more!\r\nQ: What happens when you cut off a cat's whiskers?\r\nFirst off, don\u2019t do that! Unfortunately, we\u2019ve spoken to quite a few well-meaning pet owners who felt that trimming their cat\u2019s whiskers would be the best option for combating whisker fatigue. It\u2019s not! Trimming your cat\u2019s whiskers is like taking away one of your senses that you depend on! Your cats are constantly using their whiskers every day!\r\nQ: Is it okay for cats to lose their whiskers?\r\nIt\u2019s completely normal for a cat to occasionally shed a few whiskers! This is a regular process and not much different from you losing hair. But if you start to see more than a few whiskers (as in several coming off a day to the point where your cat looks noticeably different) then it\u2019s time to see your veterinarian.\r\nWhat Do You Think? \r\nHave you seen whisker fatigue in your own cats?\r\n\r\nLet us know what you think.