Have you ever spent time looking at your cat and suddenly notice that their whiskers just seem so…long!
So why are your cat’s whiskers so long? Your cat’s whiskers are typically as long as your cat is wide. In fact, one of the primary roles that whisker’s play is helping your cat understand whether or not they can fit through a particular opening.
Whiskers do a lot more than just help your cat navigate tight spaces. They also help your cat stay balanced, monitor movements of prey, communicate with body language, and protect your cat’s face!
But if you’ve suddenly noticed just how long your cat’s whiskers are, you might be wondering…
Are My Cat’s Whiskers Too Long?
Nope, your cat’s whiskers aren’t too long. Instead, they’re the perfect length since your cat’s whiskers grow in equal proportion to your cat’s width. A bigger cat, like a Maine Coon, for example, will have a longer, wider, and bigger whiskers to match their bigger body.
Whiskers help your cat understand whether or not they can fit through a tight space without having to go all the way through. As the tips of their whiskers touch the edges of the space it helps them understand just how much room they have.
It’s not just your cat that uses whiskers like this, most animals with whiskers have this ability to some extent!
Do Cats Whiskers Grow Longer As They Get Fatter?
If cat whiskers match the width of your cat, it naturally leads us to wonder if whiskers will grow longer as your cat gets fatter. The short answer is no, after seeing and examining thousands (and thousands) of fat, overweight cats I’ve never seen any noticeable increase in the length of the whiskers. I’ve also never seen any scientific evidence to suggest whiskers grow as a cat gets fatter.
Which makes a lot of sense when you think about it. After all, becoming obese is not something that your cat’s wild ancestors would have had to deal with so the idea that your cat has evolved to compensate for extreme weight gain just wouldn’t make sense.
Can I Trim My Cat’s Whiskers?
What Happens If You Cut A Cats Whiskers?
How Long Do Cat Whiskers Take To Grow?
Do Cat Whiskers Fall Out?
It’s completely normal for whiskers to being growing and falling out all the time. So unless you’re suddenly seeing a lot of whiskers on the ground (enough that you can notice your cat is missing whiskers) there’s probably not much to worry about.
Can You Tell How Old A Cat Is By Their Whiskers?
Whiskers aren’t a reliable way to gauge a cat’s age unless they’re less younger than a few months or geriatric. That’s because whiskers typically grow to match the width of your cat. Instead, checking a cat’s teeth and dental wear is a much more reliable way to estimate their age.
Still, kittens under a few months of age won’t have full growth of their whiskers and older cats may have some gray whiskers but that alone isn’t enough to accurately or reliable guess the age of a cat.
How Many Whiskers Do Cats Have?
The exact amount of whiskers will vary from cat to cat, but most cats have 12 whiskers across 4 rows on each of their cheeks. They also have whiskers above their eyes, on their chin, and even on their legs!
The arrangement and size of whiskers not only differ between individual cats but also between breeds. The Devon Rex for example is known for its short, curly whiskers… and the fact that they’re almost bald
What Else Do Whiskers Do?
Whiskers do more than just help your cat navigate tight spaces! Scientifically speaking, whiskers are known as vibrissae and they contain special sensory organs called proprioceptors. These very sensitive receptors are constantly giving your cat more information about the world around them.
But whiskers don’t actually have to be touching an object to do their job. In fact, they’re so sensitive they can actually feel changes in air currents around them. That means they can feel you coming up from behind before they ever see you! It also gives them an extra edge when it comes to detecting the movement of small game like mice and rats!
Whiskers also help protect your cat’s face, similar to the way your eyelashes work. In a fraction of a second, your cat can feel something coming towards them and instinctively close their eyes in order to protect them!
But whiskers aren’t all good for the modern housecat.
Some food and water bowls can actually cause something called whisker fatigue. This occurs when your cat’s whiskers have to be pressed up again the food or water bowl for long periods of time. Remember, whiskers are extremely delicate and sensitive and your cat can’t just turn them off! If want to learn more about what whisker fatigue is all about, check out this article.
Whiskers Can Also Help You Communicate With Your Cat!
Besides basically acting as the key to sensory superpowers, your cat’s whiskers can also help you understand what kind of mood they’re in and are an important part of feline body language. When your cat is a happy or relaxed mood her whiskers are also in a relaxed position and this is often when they look the longest! Think of the times you’ve seen your cat blinking slowly in the sunshine and how impressive her whiskers look at that moment!
While cats that feeling threatened or aggressive will have their whiskers moved slightly back and closer towards their body.