Listed mainly on the muzzle, under the chin, above the eyes and on the back of the legs, the vibrissae of the cat are sensory receptors par excellence.
It is the third most important organ in cats after Jacobson's organ for smell and the pads for touch.
Like hair, vibrissae are constantly falling and growing back.
In this article, discover their essential roles for the cat in its perception of the world.
The usefulness of vibrissae
Ultra-sensitive organ, the moustachesor cat vibrissae send himinformation by vibrating in contact with air. Deeply rooted in its hypodermis, they are surrounded by nerves and blood vessels.
They work like antennas that connect the cat to its environment, sharpening all of its senses.
Acting as a real exploration tool, the vibrissae allow the feline to find its way in space.
Representing the total width of the cat, they show him the narrowness of a passage, how to squeeze, jump, play or move in a small space.
Particularly active at night, the action of the vibrissae complements the sight of the cat, which perceives only light waves in the dark, ensuring safe travel.
Always moving,vibrissae force the cat to blink for protection, to maintain balance and to remain alert to the slightest danger.
A precious aid for hunting
Indicating the speed and direction of the wind, whiskers are valuable attributes for hunting. They allow all cats to analyze a scentto find food, spot prey or meet a female in heat.
To compensate for his poor near vision,the cat can touch its prey with its very tactile whiskers to verify its death before letting it go.
By this action, he avoids injuring himself or having his lunch fly away.
A way to communicate
At the end of the clerk, the cat expresses his mood with his vibrissae.
- Placed forward, he threatens, he attacks ...
- Brought back, he is worried and scared.
Can a cat's whiskers be cut?
This is a bad idea, because although a cat's life is not threatened by the temporary loss of its whiskers, it is a handicap for proper functioning in its environment.
Note that the cat nevertheless cuts the whiskers of her cubs to prevent them from moving away from the nest.
- If your kitten breaks his whiskers while playing, don't worry, they will grow back within 6 months. It will simply be less beautiful and even more awkward!
Are all whiskers the same shape?
8 to 12 in number on each side of the cat's nose (plus those spread over its entire body), they are mainlylong and stiff, rare and short(Devon Rex) or wavy and curly(American Wirehair) according to breed.
Avoid offering a bowl that is too narrow for your cat. His vibrissae could detect an obstacle and make him feel like eating when he perceives danger.