Ah, whiskers. We’ve all been there, enjoying a nice sleep, dreaming or not, when it happens. You feel a little tickle on your face and you brush it away. It happens again, and you open one eye and then another, and see your cat staring you in the face. She’s just accomplished her mission of waking you up…with her whiskers on your face.
While cats may think that’s the best reason to use their whiskers, humans understand that cats’ whiskers are valuable for other reasons.
The most important aspect of a cat’s whiskers: They help the cat navigate throughout the day. Because they are touch receptors and extremely sensitive, the cat can better understand what is around them and make decisions on their next move. Whiskers are very important in this way, and you should never cut them. They are more comparable to human fingers than human hair.
Whiskers also can let you know a little bit about your cat’s mood. They don’t move when the cat’s at rest. They move forward when the cat is interested in something or playing. But watch out if they move backwards to lay against his face: Your cat is not happy.
In the cozy mystery series, The Cat Who…, by Lilian Jackson Braun, the main character is a firm believer that the more whiskers a cat has, the smarter he is. How many whiskers does your cat have?