Whiskers are essential to cats, since they serve them as a sense of touch, sense of orientation, and also as a means of communication with other cats and even their owners.
It isn’t strange that you haven’t paid special attention to your cat’s whiskers, but, I believe you’re probably aware of their color.
You could be surprised by realizing that your cat seems to have only one black whisker, while all of the rest are in different colors.
Has this always been the case, or is something strange going on with my cat? Why does my cat have one black whisker?
Let’s explore five possible explanations for this change in your cat’s whisker color.
Only one black whisker in your cat could just be a part of its genetics.
This isn’t so common, but it’s still possible to see. For instance, it’s possible that one of your cat’s parents had black whiskers, while the other one didn’t.
In such cases, this unique trait is purely inherited and doesn’t have any impact on your cat’s health or behavior.
For a visual presentation of one black whisker among all white ones, take a look at the video below.
A senior cat can have one black whisker, while all the rest of them will remain to have their standard coloration.
This is considered normal and nothing to be worried about. In some cats, all of their whiskers could eventually become black, while others will just have one of them in a different color.
A change in the color of your cat’s whiskers occurs due to the loss of melanin in their hair that happens over the years.
According to Animal Wised, some cats could also experience a change in their fur coloration in their senior years.
This is usually a slight change in the color and tone of their fur, as well as developing gray hairs. Just like humans, cats also undergo certain changes as they grow old, and this is entirely natural.
3. Injury Or Trauma
Cats are little investigators that love to get to the weirdest places possible. This includes a lot of climbing and jumping around.
By undertaking their daily adventures, cats use their whiskers to estimate whether they go through something, for instance.
During this, there is a possibility that a cat’s whisker will suffer from an injury or trauma, causing it to even fall out.
Some slight variations are possible, but, in general, most cats have 24 whiskers on their cheeks.
Of course, any kind of trauma to your cat’s whiskers isn’t good, since they are so vital for your feline friend. However, you should know that one of your cat’s whiskers falling out usually isn’t so serious, especially if it doesn’t show any signs of distress.
Your cat’s whisker will be replaced with a new one. It’s possible that this new whisker will black in color, unlike the rest of them! This is also completely harmless and nothing to be worried about.
4. Cold Temperatures
Environmental factors can also be a reason for your cat’s black whisker.
When a cat is exposed to extremely hot weather, it’s possible its whiskers will lighten in color. On the contrary, when it’s subjected to low temperatures, its whiskers could darken.
It’s possible that this phenomenon will only be visible on one of its whiskers, while the rest will continue to have its usual coloring.
This happens because the proteins in the cat’s whiskers go through changes during temperature shifts, potentially resulting in a change in its color.
5. Medical Reasons
Finally, it’s possible that a black whisker on your cat indicates a certain health problem in it.
For instance, this could be a ringworm infection, which is a very common skin disorder among felines.
As the Cornell Feline Health Center explains, some of the most common clinical signs here are circular areas of hair loss, crusty skin, and alterations in hair or skin color.
If you observe these symptoms, including the presence of one black whisker, along with excessive grooming and scratching in your cat, it’s crucial to promptly consult a veterinarian.
Parasite infestation is another potential medical cause of your cat’s whisker to turn darker. A change in a cat’s hair, such as a dull coat is possible here, as well as other nonspecific signs, like diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and bloody feces.
As soon as you notice any of the additional clinical signs besides the change in the whisker’s color, it’s time to reach out to a veterinarian.
What’s The Normal Color Of A Cat’s Whiskers?
Most usually, cats have white whiskers. As we have seen, some circumstances can cause one or more of them to become black.
However, in general, you’ll usually see white whiskers in felines. A cat’s fur can come in various colors.
However, according to The Globe and Mail, a cat’s whiskers are different from its fur. They’re a lot thicker, their roots delve deeper, and they usually don’t retain melanin. This is the pigment that dyes a cat’s hair, which results in white-colored whiskers.
Therefore, a black cat breed like a Bombay doesn’t have to have black whiskers. Its whiskers could look black at first glance, but this can be influenced by looking at its completely black fur.
The whiskers don’t have to be black at all, but they will look that way since they will blend in with the rest of the completely black coat.
The Bottom Line
Is one black whisker in a cat a reason to worry?
Usually, this isn’t something to be worried about. A black whisker among white ones can occur due to genetics.
Also, cats lose melanin in their whiskers throughout the years, resulting in some of them having one or even more black whiskers.
Furthermore, sometimes a cat will lose one whisker, which will be replaced with a new one – potentially black-colored.
In some cases, it will be necessary to ask for professional help in case you notice any additional signs of distress in your feline friend.