Men grow beards as a form of a fashion statement but such is not the case with your cat’s whiskers or vibrissae. These have nothing to do with style but rather whiskers serve many important functions such as helping cats see clearly in the dark. But, what if you accidentally cut your cat’s whiskers? Do cat whiskers grow back again?
Before we delve deeper into the growth of your cat’s whiskers, allow us to share with you:
Why Your Feline Pet Has Whiskers?
- These help cats figure out if they can fit themselves into a hole or not.
- Since cats are farsighted, they make use of the whiskers to gauge if their prey is near or not. They can sense if the target is in the proper position for that fatal bite.
- Cats’ emotions can be manifested through their whiskers. For example, they are calm if the whiskers are sticking out sideways. But, if these are flattened, it is an indication of fear.
- For balancing and for moving swiftly along narrow areas like tree branches.
- To judge distance before jumping.
In short, a cat’s whiskers can be likened to radar and this is the reason why you should never cut the whiskers.
If you do, it will give your feline pet discomfort like dizziness and confusion. However, there may be instances when your cat’s whiskers are cut. Do cat whiskers grow back? Yes, but we do not recommend that you try it just to see how long will these whiskers grow back again.
Non-Medical Reasons Why Your Cat Lose Its Whiskers:
- You have kids at home who played as ‘groomers’ and cut the whiskers for fun.
- The whiskers are accidentally burnt.
- There are those who believe that cat whiskers are good luck charm, as a result, they cut these in the hope of winning a lotto jackpot.
- The cat groomer is not aware of the important functions of whiskers and decides to cut-off entirely.
- Catfights may result in damage in their whiskers. Do you have more than one cat in the house or perhaps you allow your cat to roam around outside alone? Catfighting can lead to wounds and eventually whiskers falling off.
If you worry that your pussycat has lost its whiskers due to the reasons above, no worries since these will grow back again in time.
Possible Medical Reasons Cats Lose Whiskers:
- Alopecia is not only a problem among humans but among cats, too. If you start to notice that your kitty has a large scale loss of whiskers and coat, then it is time to get medical advice.
- Cats are also affected by skin allergies. Factors like food and change in weather can lead to whiskers fall off. The common symptoms are sneezing, itching, swollen paws, and diarrhea.
- Fungal infections like ringworms can affect the health of a cat’s whiskers. But with the proper treatment method, your kitty will be well and soon, you will see its whiskers growing back again.
- Bacterial infections in the face will have an impact on the coat and whiskers of cats.
- Do you know that there is such a thing as feline acne? It begins with the formation of blackheads along with inflammation in the chin area. Causes of feline acne are bad grooming habits, abnormalities in the skin, and increased oil production.
- Mite infestations are another reason why cats lose their whiskers in a non-natural manner. Cats who live outdoor can easily get mite infestation. The symptoms are skin reddening and inflammation.
- Hormonal disorders like hypothyroidism have a strong effect on whisker loss in cats.
- Immune disorders. There are different kinds of immune disorders that lead to loss of whiskers. Some of these disorders are life-threatening.
- Known causes of stress are moving to a new home, having a new pet in your house, and change in temperature.
If the issue is due to a medical reason, it is best to seek professional help for your feline pet.
What Happens If You Cut Your Kitty’s Whiskers?
Will it hurt your kitty if you or the groomer cut its whiskers? Not really. Whiskers are like any other hairs in your cat’s body. The only thing that makes these unique is the volume which is always thicker and has sensory functions.
But, if you cut your cat’s whiskers, you will risk your cat in a situation wherein it loses its ability to measure itself in space correctly (confusion). Additionally, your feline pet will have a difficult time distinguishing whether an object is far or near (dizziness).
In other words, cutting the whiskers can lead to a tremendous amount of stress in your cat. Here are some of the other reasons why it is a “mortal sin” to cut your cat’s whiskers:
- The whiskers are attached to the muscular and nervous system which makes these extremely sensitive. They assist in sensing and feeling. In fact, your cat can detect the size and the texture even without seeing the objects.
- Your cat can detect even the slightest movements in the environment such as air breeze and change in wind direction.
- Your cat can detect if there is a predator nearby through its whiskers. This allows your cat to play hide and seek from its potential ‘killer’.
- Since your cat can sort of measure distance through its whiskers, it can prevent an accident if you will not cut its whiskers.
- Whiskers make your cat feel confident about itself.
- You will detect if your feline pet is happy or not, if it is feeling anxious, angry, or if it is under the weather.
So, for your cat’s happiness, avoid cutting its whiskers.
Do cat whiskers grow back after cutting? Again, the answer is yes but we strongly advise you not to do it for your cat’s wellness.
Is It Painful for Cats if Whiskers Are Cut?
You will not hear your feline pet cry out loud if you cut its whiskers. There are no nerves with their whiskers so cutting these won’t entirely cause pain nor bleeding. However, what is painful is when you pluck the whiskers because the hair follicles have plenty of nerves. The whiskers are situated deep in your cat’s face, an area where there are nerves and blood vessels.
You can compare it with your hair. You do not feel any pain every time you get a haircut. But, you will feel pain if your hair is plucked.
How Long Will It Take for Your Cat Whiskers to Grow Back?
It will take an average of two to three months before the whiskers grow back again. It will take a little bit longer for senior cats.
Regardless of the cause of your kitty’s loss of whiskers, like if pulled out or got burnt, the amount of time that you will have to wait is the same.
While you are waiting for the whiskers to grow back, make sure that you do not allow your cat to roam around outdoors especially at night time. The reason for this is because a lack of whiskers means insufficient radars to sense what is out there for them such as predators and spatial problems.
Why Do Your Cat’s Whiskers Grow Long?
The whiskers grow to an equivalent width of your cat. So, there is really nothing to worry about if you notice that your cat’s whiskers are growing long.
Even if your cat’s whiskers grow long, leave it to nature and allow it to handle the length of your kitty’s whiskers. In time, these will fall-off naturally and regrow again.
Does Your Cat Need to Have Extra Long Whiskers?
Your cat’s whiskers will grow long as long as your feline pet needs them to be. In case these grow extra-long, these whiskers will break and shed off in a natural way. Age is not a factor in the shedding of whiskers.
Since the size of the whiskers is related to the size of the cat, then the larger breeds have naturally longer whiskers. However, it does not mean that you can cut these to your liking.
For your information, the longest world record of a cat’s whiskers is 19 centimeters (7.5 inches) which were measured on a Maine Coon cat breed.
Do Cat’s Whiskers Fall Out?
Are you worried that your cat may be losing its whiskers? Unless it is a serious medical condition, there is no reason for you to stress over the issue.
Your cat’s whiskers go through a natural process of growth, dormancy, and shedding. Thus, occasional fall out of whiskers is a normal process. In fact, for normal shedding, you may not notice it at all.
Typically, your cat will only shed one whisker or two.
The only time that you have to worry is if the shedding happens a lot and you notice that the whiskers are not regrowing.
So, in the case of finding more than two whiskers on the floor, we suggest that you inspect your kitty’s face. If you see fewer whiskers, then it is a signal for a visit to the Vet.
Do Whiskers Break-Off and What Are the Signs?
Cat whiskers can be likened to your fingernails. If your cat is lazy as Garfield, then the chance of breaking its whiskers is very slim. But, if it is active and it is interacting with other cats all the time, then it would break its whiskers. Do cat’s whiskers grow back after breaking? Yes, definitely!
Here are signs to watch out for:
- One whisker is shorter than the other.
- One whisker is hanging limply while the others are not.
If your cat plays aggressively, then breaking its whiskers cannot be prevented. For as long as your kitty is not bothering it, then you shouldn’t, too.
If you are concerned about your cat’s breaking its whiskers, the best thing to do is to calm it down. The less alert your kitty will be, the less chance of wear and tear of its whiskers.
Facts vs Myths About Cat Whiskers:
- They do not grow back after cutting. That is simply not true.
- When cut, the whiskers will bleed. False, because as we have said earlier, the whiskers have no nerves around.
- A cat will be afraid to go out of the house if its whiskers are cut. False, because a cat will go about its daily routine except that it will have a hard time navigating its way without the help of whiskers.
- Blind cats use whiskers to help them navigate their surrounding. True.
- Similar to the fingerprints of humans, cats’ whiskers’ patterns are unique. True.
Don’t ever think of cutting your kitty’s whiskers, more so plucking them. Though cutting won’t hurt your feline pet (plucking does), but this is a form of animal cruelty. Whiskers may look like ordinary hair, but these are not.
Whiskers serve many purposes such as navigation and seeing through the dark, thus, cutting these will cause your cat to lose its balance, its orientation of space, and confidence. Compare it with a human being navigating its way in the jungle blindfolded.
Whiskers do not need to be groomed. These will fall off naturally but cats will get new ones as nature intends them to be.
Why is your cat losing its whiskers? Here’s a short checklist:
- The occasional falling off is a natural shedding process.
- It is not normal for your cat to lose a lot of whiskers in a short span of time.
- Fungal and bacterial infections are responsible for whisker loss but these can be treated with antibiotics.
- Mites, alopecia, and other illnesses are responsible for whisker loss.
But, whatever the reason is, do not cut your kitty’s whiskers. In fact, one of the best things that you can do for your cat is to leave its whiskers alone.