Cats possess many interesting physiological properties that give them amazing abilities. One of the outstanding features that all cats have is the cat’s whiskers. Whiskers not only add beauty to our feline friends, but in many other respects, they also serve unrivaled complexity and capabilities. If one day, the whiskers cease to be in their place for some reason, will they grow back? Or can cats regrow whiskers? The answer will be in this article.
What are the cat’s whiskers? How do they work?
According to Animal Planet, cat whiskers have another name, “tactile fur” or Vibrissae. Kittens have a cat’s whiskers from birth, and that is how they first begin to become aware of their surroundings in the world.
A cat’s whiskers can be most prominent on the sides of its nose and upper lip. They develop between the cat’s mouth and nose. You may also notice that your cat’s whiskers are shorter on each of his eyes (like their eyebrows) and their chin. In addition to the above positions, cats also have cat’s whiskers on the jaw and the forelegs’ back.
A common mistake people make is to assume that cat whiskers and human hair are the same. Cat whiskers, unlike human hair, are actually receptors for sensors. These longer, stiffer hairs adhere deeper to the cat’s body than the short hairs on the head. The whiskers at the base are thicker than the tops.
Do you know that…
Studies show that this shape allows cats to be more sensitive to their surroundings. The whiskers are deeply attached and connected to the cat’s nervous and muscular systems. Vetstreet explains that a cat’s whiskers do their job by vibrating when the object touches it. This vibration stimulates nerve ends in the hair follicle, thereby sending messages to the brain’s right part for processing. Thanks to this mechanism, cats have a more sensitive sense, detect and react to changes in their surroundings. People can say that the cat’s whiskers act like an antenna!
The length of a cat’s whiskers varies widely from breed to breed. Some cat breeds, such as the Maine Coon with large body size, have very long whiskers to correspond to their size. The longest cat whiskers in the world are seven and a half inches long. By contrast, cats that are small in size, or cats with less fur, may have much shorter whiskers.
Find out more interesting things about the cat’s whiskers with Why Do Cats Have Whiskers? 5 astonishing facts about cat’s whiskers
Effects of a cat’s whiskers
A cat’s whiskers have the following effects:
Find out where they are
A cat’s whiskers are about the same length as the cat’s width. Therefore it is a tool to perceive space, determine whether their bodies can pass through holes or move in narrow places. Cat’s whiskers also allow cats to locate locations where they can jump up and climb down easily.
A cat’s whiskers play an essential role when it hunts.
Cats are farsighted. That means that when an object or prey is nearby, the cat will not see it clearly. So the cat needs some way of determining the distance to the target. And the cat’s whiskers come in handy.
When in hunting mode, the cat’s antennae will spread out to feel a larger area. That gives it the correct prey details like its position, size, and slight movement. Without whiskers, your cat becomes poor at hunting!
Your cat’s whiskers will indicate its mood, helping you appreciate how your cat feels right now.
For example, when the cat is calm or resting, you will notice that its whiskers are relaxed and protruded. When cats are frightened or startled, their whiskers will lie flat on their face.
Your cat’s whiskers will also likely move forward when it notices a prey or when you’re playing with your cat. That indicates that the cat is very excited.
As the second eyes
The whiskers are sensitive to factors such as temperature, pressure, or weather. From there, it helps them detect even the smallest change around. So cats use cat whiskers for balance, moving quickly and easily in any area, even along with narrow areas like tree branches. Besides, the cat’s whiskers will help it navigate and move in the dark by detecting small airflow changes.
Thus, a cat’s whiskers have three main jobs. They aid in navigation, give cats spatial awareness in nearby areas, and act as mood indicators.
Reasons why a cat may lose its whiskers
Whiskers can fall out for several reasons:
- Cut or pluck by humans: Some people believe that cat whiskers are a lucky charm, so they cut these beards in the hope of good luck. The cat groomer is not aware of whiskers’ essential functions and cuts it off in other cases.
- Whiskers accidentally burned.
- During battles, cats can accidentally damage the whiskers. If your cat is involved in a fight, it is likely to be injured, and in the event of another cat scratching your cat’s face, its beard will likely fall off.
- The body naturally loses dead skin cells and hair, so sometimes beards suffer the same fate.
- Skin allergies: Like us, allergies can occur in cats. Things like food, pollen, shampoo, and parasites can cause allergies. If this happens around the cat’s face, your cat will respond by licking and rubbing the affected area, leading to the whiskers’ loss.
- Factors like food and changes in the weather can cause hair loss. The most common symptoms are sneezing, itching, swelling of the feet, and diarrhea.
- Fungal infections such as ringworm can affect the whiskers.
- Bacterial infections of the face affect the fur and whiskers.
- The appearance of acne in cats begins with the formation of blackheads and inflammation in the chin area. The cause of this condition is poor grooming habits, abnormal skin manifestations, and increased oil secretion.
- Tox infestation is another reason why cats are unnaturally losing their whiskers. That is more likely to happen in outdoor cats with red and inflamed skin symptoms.
- Hormonal disorders such as hypothyroidism have a strong influence on whiskers in cats.
- Immune disorders.
- Causes of stress: moving to a new home, raising a new pet, and changing the temperature.
The article Do Cats Shed Their Whiskers? will give you more information about this.
Can cats regrow whiskers?
When we discover that a cat’s whiskers have fallen, we will ask can cats regrow whiskers? And the answer is YES if it falls out for any reason: either through pruning or through the cat’s body’s natural mechanism. In other words, a cat’s whiskers can regrow if they have been damaged or fell off naturally. The answer is that the cat’s whiskers grow in a natural cycle and the hair cycle works like any other hair in an animal’s body!
The development of whiskers will depend on three factors: diet, breed, and health issues. Diseased cats may not regrow whiskers until they are healthy again.
In the case of whiskers is cut, when regrowth, there will be no change in its function or use, but that will reduce the ability and sensitivity to the previous whiskers. If you cut whiskers many times, the whiskers’ re-growth will become more complicated; even the whiskers may lose the ability to regrow. So, although cats may grow whiskers, don’t be foolish to cut off the whiskers! (If you did, check out the article Things to know if you accidentally cut cat’s whiskers) Cats need a cat’s whiskers in the same way we need our senses to get around!
How long does it take for a cat’s whiskers to regrow?
As long as the cat is healthy, it will take an average of two to three months for the whiskers to regrow. This process will take longer for older cats. Regardless of the cause of your kitten’s whiskers loss, the amount of time you have to wait is about the same.
During the regrowth process of a cat’s whiskers, the cat will show signs of eating, lying in place often, and having negative emotions affecting its health. Therefore, you need to pay close attention to your cat. Do not let cats roam outdoors, especially at night, because when there is a lack of whiskers, cats will not be able to perceive surroundings such as predators and other hazards.
If your cat’s whiskers have not regrown after two or three months or continue to fall off rapidly, check to see if your cat has any problems. Besides, keep an eye on your cat’s symptoms and talk to your veterinarian if necessary.
In a nutshell
The whiskers are a vital part of a cat’s ability to move and feel, making our feline friends unique.
Sometimes the whiskers may fall out, or something may happen to them. So can cats regrow whiskers? The answer is yes. Although a cat’s whiskers will naturally regrow if damaged, they should not be trimmed or pruned. And it’s important to remember to keep an eye on your kitten to detect unusual behavior.