Are cat whiskers dangerous

The cat's whiskers

Usually we only perceive them unconsciously, but without them a cat would not be a real cat: the whiskers, also known as the cat's whiskers. But what is this hair all about? How do the cat's whiskers benefit our darlings and what do they have to do with purring?

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Cat's whiskers: functions

The cat's whiskers are considered the sixth sense and are a vital part of their sense of touch. The cat's vibrissae are connected to numerous nerve endings and perceive even the finest air eddies. If something moves near the cat, it will feel the changes in air or the drafts of air over these whiskers. The fine antennas are therefore essential for hunting. Even at night they give the cat a picture of their surroundings and are therefore important for their orientation. However, this only works with intact vibrissae. If they are broken off or damaged, the cat cannot use them. The "cat feelers" are not only important for the perception of the environment: With them, the velvet paw can also find the perfect spot for the fatal bite in the prey's neck area. When carrying the prey in its mouth, the cat uses its whiskers to feel whether the captured animal is still moving and where the blood is pulsing the most. There she then sets the fatal bite.

What do the cat's whiskers tell us?

The cat's vibrissae also reveal something about the mood of the little velvet paws.

  • Whiskers pointing backwards: fear and possible attack
  • Aligned to the side and hardly fanned out: calm and serenity
  • Wide-ranging and forward-looking: attentive tension and readiness for action

When cats lose whiskers

Each cat has an average of 24 vibrissae around the nose. But the fine antennae are also located on the chin, above the eyes and on some joints. Many cat owners have certainly found their favorite whiskers on the floor or sofa from time to time. Even if the cat's antennae are much thicker and deeper anchored than normal hair, the occasional loss is quite normal - they grow back quickly.

Cat's whiskers and purring

Contrary to what one might think, the cat's whiskers have nothing to do with the cat's purr. It is not clear whether they are called "whiskers" because they look like a mustache, vibrate slightly when purring heavily, or for some other reason. The fine cat feelers should not be underestimated. They have advantages both for the velvet paws themselves and for all cat lovers - be it as a hunting aid or a means of communication.

Photo: © farbkombinat /