Why Do Cats Have Whiskers

Why Do Cats Have Whiskers?

Custom Cat Furniture

Also known as tactile hairs, a feline’s whiskers play many important roles to a cat’s well-being and lifestyle. One of the most important reasons a cat has whiskers is to maintain a sense of balance. Whiskers are also a cat’s radar, transmitting navigation signals to the brain. Whiskers are nature’s built-in GPS system for a cat.

Cats are magical creatures with unique physical characteristics. For example, they have a superior ability to see in the dark, they have bristle like tongues for grooming and they have a highly attuned sense of smell. One of a cat’s physical attributes that ads beauty to her face as well as acts as an essential lifestyle tool are her gorgeous whiskers. This post is all about why do cats have whiskers.

  • Cat GPS

A cat’s whiskers are like her own personal GPS system. These long, lovely thread like antennas, give a kitty cat her directions as she moves about her daily routine. They aid in her vision, steering her around the environment she is prowling. Insects have similar GPS guides, which are called antennae. So you can think of a cat’s whiskers much like you think of an insect’s antennae.  

Cat Whiskers Are Also Called Tactile Hairs

  • Detection Device

Whiskers act as a detection device by monitoring the atmosphere. These tactile hairs can sense air current signaling speed and dimension of their physical surroundings. This helps them move about and also hunt their prey.

Related Article: The Anatomy Of A Cat Tongue

  • Balancing Act

Whiskers help a feline keep her balance. The whiskers are little messengers that signal the brain to help them align as they walk, jump and pounce. Cats DO NOT always land on their feet, but they do have excellent stabilization traits. Steady Eddie, they are poised with every prance. 

  • Mood Communicator

Like the kitty cat’s tail, you can actually determine what type of mood your cat is in by his whiskers. Elevated whiskers above the eyes signal happiness and a curious kitty cat. If the whiskers on a cat’s face are tight, pay attention where they are directed. Your kitty will point to his threat with his whiskers! That can help you manage the situation and calm your cat down, relieving cat stress.

RELEVANT: Why Do Cats Purr? What Is It A Sign Of?

Why else do cats have whiskers?

  • Measuring Stick

Whiskers can literally help a cat measure the distance of a doorway or opening they want to move through, like a cat door. Perhaps an outdoor cat wants to slip under a fence, he will be able to use his whiskers to determine if he has enough width to get through. His facial tactile hairs are his measuring stick. Instead of getting stuck in an uncompromising situation, he uses the whiskers to size up the situation. How magnificent is that!


Similar to the hairs on a person’s head, whiskers have a great deal of sensitivity at their root. In fact, they have MORE nerves on the roots then a human hair does so it is very painful for a kitty to have his whiskers pulled on or pulled out. Never tug on your cat’s whiskers or pull out a whisker. Gently touching them will not harm or hurt your cat, but they should never be pulled.


Since your cat’s whiskers are so very important, and yet very sensitive it is important to help your cat keep them protected. Creating an environment that is mindful of your cat’s needs will let your cat know how much you love him and make him feel comfortable and less stressed.


Whisker stress is a term used to define a cat’s whiskers bumping up against another object, especially at the base of the whisker roots, near the fur. This common occurrence is especially apparent at feeding time, when your cat uses the traditional cat bowl.

How to Avoid Whisker Stress

  • Wide Mouth Cat Bowl

A new trend that has picked up popularity is wide mouth feeding bowls for cats. This trend is welcome because it greatly improves the well being of felines. There are a variety of cat bowls to choose from on Amazon. They come in different colors, styles, materials and sizes. Click on any image below to find out the price and description of the bowls presented. 

  • Elevated Cat Bowl

Another style cat bowl that will also help your kitty during feeding time is an elevated kitty cat bowl. The elevated bowl will prevent your cat from crouching down during mealtime. His face and back will not slouch down, and his whiskers have a better chance of not smashing into his food and knocking against the sides of his dish. The elevated kitty cat feeding dishes are especially ideal for aging cats.

A favorite wide mouth and elevated cat bowl of Kritter Kommunity is the ViviPet ceramic bowl. There are several different styles and colors to choose from. Click the image below to take you to their buy page and learn more about these spectacular dishes.


The ViviPet bowls are made of ceramic, dishwater and microwave safe plus they are USDA and FDA approved. The portfolio of eye-popping colors they offer make it super easy to use these functional pieces as design elements as part of your kitchen.

Kitty plate

Cats are quite unique and extraordinary in nature. Keeping your pet as happy and healthy in her environment will show her how loved she is and reduce her anxiety and stress. Helping her maintain those beautiful whiskers is an important piece of feline care. 

Other articles on cat well being and healthy living can be found on our blog. Here is a list to get you started. 

Cat Eating Habits: When You Need To Worry

Safe-Guarding Cat Teeth With Good Dental Hygiene

A Step-By-Step Guide To Cleaning Your Cat’s Ears


Thanks for being part of Kritter Kommunity,