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What Do Cat Whiskers Do? [2023]


What Do Cat Whiskers Do? [2023]

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Whiskers, also known as vibrissae, are long, thick hairs that protrude from an animal’s face. While they may seem like a cosmetic feature, they actually serve a very important purpose. Let’s pounce into this topic and unpack, what do cat whiskers do?

Whiskers are extremely sensitive, and they help animals navigate their environment and sense danger.

Whiskers are incredibly sensitive and help animals to navigate their environment and sense potential dangers. In this article, we will explore the fascinating world of whiskers and learn more about the important role they play in the lives of animals.

What are cat whiskers for?

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.

RELATED: Unique Cat Names Ending in Y

Come with me as we explore, what do cat whiskers do?

In this article, you’ll learn the cat whiskers purpose, including:

  • Antennas
  • Dectection device
  • Help a cat keep its balance
  • Communicating moods and emotions
  • Meausring stick for cats

What do cat whiskers do? Antennae

A cat’s whiskers are like her own personal GPS. 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 creeping. 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. 

RELATED: Everything You Need to Know About Calico Cats

Detection devie

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. 

Communicates mood and emotions

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!

Do whiskers have nerves?


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 than 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.

Do cats need their whiskers?


Yes, your cat needs to have whiskers. Since your cat’s whiskers are very important yet very sensitive, it is essential 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.

What is cat whisker fatigue?


Cat whisker fatigue 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 Many Whiskers do Cats Have?

Cats have between 8 and 12 whiskers on each side of their face, making for 16 to 24 whiskers.

How to Avoid Whisker Fatigue

Wide Mouth Cat Bowl

A new trend that has become popular is wide-mouth feeding bowls for cats. This trend is welcome because it dramatically 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

Concluding Thoughts

Cats are unique and extraordinary. Keeping your pet 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 a vital piece of feline care. This post is all about, what do cat whiskers do.

In this article we reviewed, what is the purpose of cat whiskers?

Whiskers are not just for show; they are sensitive touch receptors that help cats navigate their surroundings. When a cat moves its whiskers forward, it can detect changes in its environment and determine whether or not it can fit through a narrow space.In addition to helping cats with spatial awareness, whiskers also play a role in their social interactions.

When cats feel threatened or aggressive, they flatten their whiskers against their face to signal their mood to other cats.

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


🐾 Lisa Illman is the Founder of Kritter Kommunity, LLC! 🏡 She’s got a dapper tuxedo cat who’s been her sidekick since he was a tiny furball. 🐱 Before Finnegan came along, Lisa cared for two FIV-positive cats for over ten years! 🌟 Their love inspired her to create a cat enclosure and a portable catio, giving kitties the purrfect spot to bask in the sun and feel the breeze. ☀️🌿

As a kid, Lisa shared her home with a Poodle and a chirpy parakeet! 🐩🐦

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