Why does my cat lose its whiskers? That our cat behaves differently or that something happens to it that we have never seen before is something that can easily disconcert us. For this reason, it is good to learn about the subject and consult our veterinarian if something really worries us. One thing that surprises many people who live with felines is finding mustache hairs on the floor or on their bed or seeing them fall off when brushing.
From oneHOWTO, we want to help you get to know your pet better and thus improve your coexistence and enjoy it to the fullest, therefore, with this article, we are going to answer your questions about why does my cat lose its whiskers and to tell you many more things about these hairs on the snout.
What Are Cat Whiskers And What Are They For?
What we know as cat whiskers are actually called whiskers and are found throughout the body of felines, but they are in greater quantity on the snout. Here are some more features of these specialized hairs:
- vibrissae are hairs like those of the rest of the body but they are much thicker hard and can be mainly white or black (they are usually white on the mustache and those on the rest of the body can be of both colors).
- The whiskers, or whiskers of the muzzle, usually measure exactly the same as the width of the cat’s body and serve to measure space and unconsciously calculate if they can fit and pass through that area well or on the contrary, it is too narrow.
- In the same way, they serve as sensors to know if they are going to collide with an object or to perceive the movements of other animals around them. All this is so thanks to the fact that at the base of the vibrissae there are many Nerve endings very sensitive that communicate all this information to the animal’s brain, depending on the pressure they feel.
- In addition, these facial hairs also serve to express your mood. If they have relaxed mustaches, a little down and some straight to the sides, it is a sign that they are calm. However, if they put them forward, backward or very low so that they hit their snout, they are alert, scared, or angry.
- The most common is that a cat has between 16 and 24 mustaches in total, between the two sides of the snout, and distributed equally between both sides in two or three rows in each one.
We recommend you read this other article on What a cat’s whiskers are for to learn more about them.
Why Does My Cat Lose Its Whiskers?
As we have seen, whiskers are a type of hair present throughout the body of the feline, but it is found in greater numbers on the sides of the nose. So really the main reasons why cats lose their whiskers are the same as those that lose the rest of their fur:
Normal Hair Cycle And Shedding
Domestic cats can shed a couple of times a year when the weather changes from hot to cold and back again to increase or decrease the coat. But they can also shed their hair because the heating is always on in the house where they live and that makes the body believe that we are in hot weather or vice versa with the air conditioning. The point is that some whiskers will fall off when it is very hot and the coat needs to be renewed. In addition, the natural cycle of the hair is exactly the same in the case of the vibrissae of the snout: they are born, grow, mature, and fall out.
Stress And Anxiety
This is one of the main causes that can be identified by various signs and one of them is the excessive fall of the coat and also of the whiskers. Therefore, if you see that your feline companion is losing too much hair and also thick hairs on the snout and has behaviors such as being very anxious, running and meowing much more than normal and hiding, perhaps he is suffering from anxiety and stress. Consult your veterinarian to find the best solution for you. We recommend you read this other article about How to know if my cat is stressed.
Skin Allergies And External Parasites
Another of the main reasons why your cat loses its whiskers is that it suffers from a skin allergy, some type of dermatitis in cats or has external parasites such as fleas, lice, or ticks.
Both cases involve great itching and discomfort for the animal to the point that it scratches a lot in the most affected area and this causes its coat and whiskers to fall off a lot. Your vet will need to examine the cat to pinpoint the exact problem and then prescribe the best cat allergy treatment or dewormer based on the type of parasite, degree of the infestation, and your pet’s overall health.
Do Cat Whiskers Grow Back?
Without a doubt, this is one of the questions that is still frequently heard regarding these feline hairs. Many times those who see how the cat’s whiskers fall out, and especially if a good amount falls off, wonder if the whiskers will come out again or not.
If this happens to you, you can stay calm because the answer is that yes, cat whiskers grow back. If they have fallen by normal cycle they will take a short time to come out again, if it is due to illness such as stress or an allergy until this problem is solved they will not start to grow again, but once it is resolved we will see them again populating the snout of our cat.
You can learn more about this question here: Do cat whiskers grow back?
Can I Trim My Cat’s Whiskers?
There are those who consider a cat with long or irregular whiskers to be a scruffy animal and choose to trim these whiskers to give the animal a cleaner and more symmetrical appearance. There are those who do not do it at all because they think that, being thicker and harder, they have nerves inside them and, therefore, cutting them can cause pain, damage, and bleed to the feline.
So if you’re wondering you trim a cat’s whiskers?“, pay attention to what is the truth about this:
The reality is that when dealing with hairs like the rest of the animal’s body and these they have no nerves inside so the fact of cutting them will not cause pain or bleeding to the cat. But this does not mean that it is indifferent or good to trim the mustache of cats or any of the other whiskers they have on their body.
In fact, is it bad to trim cats’ whiskers since what does happen when making them shorter is that the animal lose your ability to orient yourself in their environment and it will be difficult for them to detect things up close since they do not see as well at close range as they do at a distance? All this will easily make him very clumsy and cause bumps, stress, falls and other accidents that can be avoided simply by leaving the whiskers in place. At OneHOWTO we do not recommend trimming cats’ whiskers under any circumstances.
Misconceptions About Cat Whiskers
As we have seen, the whiskers both on the snout and on the rest of the feline’s body are very important and special. In addition to the doubts that we have already resolved in this article, it turns out that there are many more about it and many are false beliefs about cat whiskers:
- When cats have their whiskers trimmed it hurts and bleeds.
- They cannot grow back after being dropped, pulled, or cut.
- There is nothing wrong with cutting them, the animal does not suffer and nothing happens to it.
- They lose the ability to land on their feet when they jump or fall from a certain height.
- Cats with trimmed whiskers do not leave the house.
- If their mustaches are cut, they will surely return home after leaving.
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