Cat Whiskers

Those thick hairy things that stick out of your cat’s cheek. Yes, whiskers! What are they for? Let’s find out!


Copyright by Amy V. Miller.

Copyright by Amy V. Miller.

Cats use their whiskers for many reasons: they give important information about their environment. They also use them to communicate their emotions, and it’s an addition to their navigation system. It’s important to never trim them, or cut the whiskers off.

There about 24 whiskers on their face, twelve on each side of the nose, in four horizontal rows. There are also whiskers on their paws, eyes, chin and legs. Those whiskers are used for sensing objects, textures and boundaries.


Cats communicate with their whiskers, and they can be great mood indicators. Pulled back whiskers means your cat is angry and might be defensiveness. While whiskers that are relaxed and pushed forwards mean that your cat is curious, but it may also mean happy and content. Purring cats who have their whiskers pulled back, are in pain.

No Whiskers?

Copyright by Slight Cutter

Copyright by Slight Cutter.

A cat without whiskers becomes confused and lost. Their whiskers are their radars. They need their whiskers to feel their boundaries and to know what kind of size and shape an object is, and of course to find out if their body can fit through tight spaces. Whiskers will guide them in the dark, so they won’t be running into objects or us… Without their whiskers, cats will be lost. That’s why you should never trim or cut your cat’s whiskers.


The whiskers of your cat are rooted more deeply into the skin than their fur. The area around them also has a lot of supplies of nerves and blood. This makes the tip of their whiskers so sensitive that they can detect even the slightest change in the direction of a breeze. Because of that, it can actually cause discomfort if you mess with their whiskers. Eating out of a bowl that presses on your cat’s whisker can be very disturbing for your furry-friend, so consider feeding your cat from a plate or wider bowl.


21 Responses to “Cat Whiskers”

  1. littlemiao

    Aw. It’s hard to imagine why anyone would want to trim a cat’s whiskers, but actually there are people ignorant enough to do it. When I was little and my family were living abroad, our kitty Ramses stayed with my grandmother in the United States. His whiskers were so magnificently long that she thought she had to trim them. :( It was so sad. Once we moved back and he was living with us, he always hid when she visited.

    • Dianda

      Coincidence. My grandmother used to have a white persian called Ramses as well.
      Anyway, that was sad. :( He knew it was a bad thing!

    • Dianda

      Suki doesn’t like it when I touch her whiskers. She moves rthem away and stares at me with this look of ‘murder’.

  2. Janet@TheCatOnMyHead

    We and Mom always learn so much from your blog. One of our angel kitties, Chloe, got too close to the gas stove once and burned some whiskers off. She was so mad at the stove after that, she would pee on it. Mom and Dad did not like that. Thanks for the info. Purrs and hugs, Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth and Calista Josette

  3. Sid Dunnebacke

    It never occurred to me to trim or cut their whiskers. Eesh. And I also never thought about it being uncomfortable to eat from a deep bowl. Hmm.


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