What do cat whiskers do?

Whiskers are the long hairs that extend outward from the side of a cat's face. Whiskers are sensitive to touch, and cats have them so that they can feel their way around more effectively. This is part of what lets cats operate so well in the dark. They have better night vision, true - but they let the cat sense subtle changes in the air that tell them where objects are. Because air flows around an object, a cat can tell where it is by the feel in its whiskers, and it knows not to run into it.

   

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They are also used by cats to tell whether they can fit through narrow openings. Cats can wriggle into small places, and they're just long enough to tell the cat what it can and can't fit through.

Why is my cat losing its whiskers?

They will fall out naturally, and you will often see your cat losing them around the house. That's not a problem so long as it still has whiskers on its face - if you find them around the house, don't worry. It is only a problem sign if you see blood or drainage around the whiskers, or if the cat is also losing weight. Both of those things can be signs of illness. Remember, these are basically just complicated hairs. They're going to fall out once in awhile, just like a normal person's hairs will sometimes.

Can I cut my cat's whiskers?

Cutting a them is not a good idea. They are part of what they use to get around, and you're basically depriving a cat of one of its senses if you do that. If you trim your cat's whiskers and your cat ever goes outdoors, it is much more at risk from predators or accidents because it will be more easily disoriented. If your cat is an indoor pet, it is more likely to run into things in the dark and get hurt. While they are sensitive, I do not believe it is painful (I did it to a cat when I was five, and I don't remember any resistance from the cat). However, trimming a cat's whiskers is not responsible and could be dangerous for your pet.

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