Should I Trim My Cat’s Whiskers?

If you have a cat, are thinking of getting one, or you are simply fascinated by these animals, you have certainly wondered about their whiskers. For example, do you know what they are like and what they are for? 

In this article we are going to explain everything you need to know about cat’s whiskers and what happens if cats lose their whiskers accidentally, if someone trims them or if they are cut, and also the amount of time it takes for your cat’s whiskers to grow back and what kind of effect cutting them has on your cat!

What Are Cat Whiskers For?

These hairs so characteristic of felines are called whiskers and are not only on the cat’s face but can also be found in other parts of the body. These are thicker hairs than the rest and usually their length corresponds to the width of the cat. For this reason, one of the functions of the whiskers is to measure the space to understand where they can pass.

To the animal, whiskers are like sensors, since at the root or base each has many nerve endings that communicate information to the brain such as distance to various objects, size of spaces, air pressure, and anything else with they come into contact with.

Also, the part of the body where they have the most whiskers is next to the nose because they use them to “see” and “hear” up close. ” The sight of cats is not very good up close, so for orienting and identifying nearby objects they use these thick hairs Surely these vibrissae data are among the 10 things you didn’t know about cats , click on the link to find out more!

A cat usually has between 16 and 24 whiskers distributed equally on both sides of the muzzle in at least two equal rows.

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Through vibrissae, cats usually express their mood and the sensations they feel. For example, if you see that your cat is keeping her mustache relaxed, it is because she is relaxed. On the other hand, if she has them straight forward she is at attention and if she is holding them to her muzzle it is because she is angry or scared.

Cat’s whiskers tell the cat how wide a space the it can fit through, also communicating mood and intent to other cats; it’s a language in itself. Interestingly, cat’s whiskers can be a color different from their body hair – black cats frequently have white whiskers.

How Do Cat’s Whiskers Look Like?

Try to visualize about four horizontal rows {vibrissae), 12 to a row on each side of a cat’s face, more or less, and this will give you a good indication on how cat’s whiskers look like. Vibrissae are also above the eyes(spatial and protective indicators), under the chin, and on the backs of the front legs (climbing indicators).

All of these are tactile, directional indicators to the cat about her environment. They are about twice as thick as other hairs, and deeply rooted in the cat’s facial musculature.

What Are Cat’s Whiskers Made Of?

Cat’s whiskers are made of the same thing as human hair: a strong fibrous protein called keratin, deeply embedded into the cat’s vibrissae, which explained in the paragraph above.

The vibrissae grow from a special hair follicle incorporating a capsule of blood called a blood sinus which is heavily innervated by sensory nerves.

But whiskers are two to three times thicker than the other hairs in your cat’s coat. That’s why the long whiskers at the cheek and eyebrow protrude so gracefully from cats’ faces.

What Happens To A Cat If You Cut Its Whiskers?

Cat whiskers are an important sensory organ. In fact, they are so sensitive that they can detect objects and movement around them based on air flow. This is one of the ways that a cat “sees” in the dark. Cats are far-sighted, and have trouble seeing things close up. So they rely on their whiskers to identify nearby obstacles.

Whiskers are also critical to a cat’s balance and equilibrium. Because of that, if a cat loses its whiskers, the cat will having trouble walking straight or running, they will likely become disoriented and scared.

Cutting the whiskers will be painful. The cat with likely go into hiding for awhile, their overall behavior will probably change, and they will be pretty angry with you.

Please do not cut or trim your cat’s whiskers!

Doing so, you are mutilating the cat and damaging her sensory information and navigational systems. It will now be in danger of getting stuck in places that it can’t get through. Cat’s don’t need humans messing with their essential sensory equipment.

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It is usually thought that if the whiskers of the cat’s muzzle are cut, the cat may feel pain and may bleed. This belief is due to the fact that most people think that there are nerves inside them, just like in the nails which, if they are cut incorrectly, bleed and the cat feels pain.

As we have seen, however, this is not true because whiskers are exactly the same as other cat body hair, only they are thicker and have different functions. There is no nerve inside the cat’s whiskers, so there is no risk of bleeding or pain when cutting it.

In any case, what you risk by cutting the whiskers off the cat is making her lose its ability to orient itself in space: she will have a hard time perceiving things closely because may not not see well at short distances. 

Your cat will not understand well if an object is near or far and will not be able to understand if she can enter a space or not. For this reason the cat is likely to become clumsy, and as a consequence, begin to suffer from stress.

In general, it is not recommended to trim the cat’s whiskers. In fact, it is neither more comfortable for the cat nor do you do it a favor, on the contrary. If you want to cut cat’s mustache for aesthetic reasons, we advise you not to do it because you would just confuse her.

Help! I Accidentally Cut My Cat’s Whiskers

Remember that cat’s are not like humans, and do not need their hair to be trimmed or cut down. Cat whiskers shed and grow back naturally, and should be left alone.

However, on rare occasions it may happen that cat’s whiskers get accidentally trimmed or burned. While there are not many things you can do help your cat’s state of being, as it is likely she will feel disoriented after having her whisker’s trimmed, fear not if you accidentally trimmed your cats whiskers, because they will grow back again naturally within a few weeks.

Please remember that grooming, trimming or cutting off a cat’s whiskers is a big no-no. Without their tactile hairs, cats become very disoriented and frightened. In short, whiskers enable cats to gauge and make sense of their environment.

Whiskers do grow back, but cats need their whiskers to remain intact in the same way you and I need our touch senses to get around. That is, cats use their whiskers in the same way that we use the touch receptors in our finger tips to feel our way around in the darkness, and to alert us to potentially painful situations.

Why Did The Vet Cut My Cat’s Whiskers?

While it would be impossible to answer why the vet cut your cat’s whiskers, it was most likely that the veterinarian was not the person doing the clipping. It may have been a technician who was not very experienced in clipping cats, perhaps.

There is no reason for anyone to cut or trim your cat’s whiskers, not even in the case of surgery.

However, fear not, because your cat’s whiskers will grow back eventually. To find out exactly how much time it takes for your cat’s whiskers to grow back after being cut, continue reading below.

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How Long Does It Take For Cat’s Whiskers To Grow Back?

One of the biggest doubts that assails you when you see that your cat has lost some of these prominent and showy hairs is whether they will grow again. 

But rest assured, the answer is yes, cat’s whiskers will grow back, whether you have cut them off or if they have fallen off on their own. 

The growth cycle of the whiskers follows is the same as for other body hair of the animal.

It can happen that the body hair of the cat, including the whiskers, falls out spontaneously. However, if you accidentally or deliberately cut them, they will likewise grow back following a natural fall and growth cycle.

It takes approximately 2-3 weeks for cat’s whiskers to grow back again.

There are no special agents that accelerate the growth of vibrissae. Everything will happen naturally, as long as the hair follicle is not damaged.

Yes they do – cat’s whiskers naturally fall out/shed, in fact all cat’s hairs fall out when their growth cycle is expended. Once a new whisker starts, it takes about two weeks for a it to grow back.

False Myths About Cat Whiskers

As we have seen, the hair of the cat’s muzzle is very special, fundamental for their orientation in space. There are many false myths about cat’s whiskers, and for this reason, below we will reveal the most common ones:

  • Whiskers do not grow back if they fall off or are cut.
  • If cut, cat’s whiskers bleed and hurt.
  • If cat’s whiskers are cut, there are no consequences for the animal.
  • Felines with clipped whiskers do not want to leave the house.
  • If you cut your cat’s whiskers and they leave the house they will come back for sure.
  • Cat’s lose the ability to fall to their feet when they fall or jump from a certain height.