There are times when I look at my cat and wonder what he would look like if he lost all his whiskers. Probably not very cat-like. A cat’s whiskers are more than just part of its identity and they do play a very important role in your cat’s day-to-day life.
Although we tend to usually notice the whiskers on our cat’s whisker pad, there are whiskers growing at certain parts of your cat’s body.
But what if you find that your cat has whiskers on its head? Cats do have whiskers on their heads to warn them of impending dangers like predator attacks that are coming from above the cat. It could also be due to an abnormal whisker growth that can happen to see cats.
In this article, we will be taking a deeper look at the purpose of your cat’s whiskers and what you should do if you find whiskers on your cat’s head.
What Are Whiskers For?
Your cat’s whiskers are more than just hairs that have been randomly thrown on your cat through the process of evolution.
If you were to take a closer look at your cat’s whiskers, they are usually white whiskers and are thicker than the hair on your cat’s body.
There are some cats that can have all black whiskers like the Bombay cat.
Cat whiskers are also known as tactile hairs because that’s the main role which is to provide tactile feedback to your cat.
This is because your cat’s whiskers extend deep into your cat’s skin, almost three times deeper than its normal hair. At the end of each whisker lies a complex network of blood vessels and nerve endings.
Your cat’s whiskers are sensitive at both ends. In fact, at the tip of your cat’s facial whisker lies a sensory organ called a proprioceptor. These features make your cat’s whiskers extremely sensitive to vibrations.
Your cat has whiskers in these areas:
- Cat’s upper lip (whisker pads)
- Eyebrow whiskers
Whiskers exist in cats for good reason and for the following reasons:
- See in the dark
- Determining space
- Zero in on their prey at close range
Without its whiskers, a cat is pretty lost and uncoordinated. You will also notice that bigger breed cats like Maine Coons have longer whiskers than smaller breed cats.
Why Do Cats Grow Whiskers On Their Head?
Our cats are furry radars on four legs. Wherever they go, their bodies are always receiving and reading information being gathered from their surroundings.
One spot on your cat that has whiskers is on its eyebrows. If you were to take a close look at your cat, you can even notice whiskers growing from its eyebrows to near the top of its head.
These whiskers are known as superciliary whiskers and they help your cat detect danger from above and around its eyes.
Cats are extremely amazing hunters with one of the highest kill rates in the animal kingdom. Even though our feline friends are great predators, they are not the apex predator out there.
There are many other bigger animals and birds that can prey on cats and your cat’s eyebrow whiskers act as an early warning device when something is attacking from above.
Big birds like hawks and eagles are known to swoop down on cats from above and carry them away.
When your cat’s eyebrows and head whiskers detect danger from above, this gives your cat time to run away or hide under shelter to try and escape. This explains why many cats have an innate fear of balloons that are floating above them.
All cats share the same love of sleeping and napping. It is during this time that cats are most vulnerable to attacks. Having whiskers on their head can help the cat detect vibrations and changes in wind speed.
You’ll be surprised to know that a cat can go from sleeping to full alert in a blink of an eye.
Why Are There Whiskers At The Top Of Cat’s Head?
As I’ve mentioned earlier, it is common to find whiskers growing from your cat’s eyebrow and on its head.
But what if you find a whisker or whiskers growing at the top of your cat’s head?
As weird as it might sound, it is possible that your cat might have a couple of rogue whiskers on its head. It’s similar to you finding a lone strand of hair growing on your nose.
It happens and there’s nothing to be concerned about.
Can Cats Grow Whiskers On Their Bodies?
Cats do not have stiff hairs or whiskers all over their bodies. Besides finding whiskers on their faces and heads, the next spot where you will find normal cat whiskers will be at the back of their legs.
These whiskers are known as carpal whiskers and they come in handy when a cat is hunting prey in the wild.
The carpal whiskers can transmit important information to the cat when it has caught a prey with its paws. The cat will know if the prey is still moving and where to bite the struggling prey.
What Not To Do With Your Cat’s Whiskers?
Now that you know your cat’s whiskers are more than just for show, it is important that you keep those whiskers healthy.
Here are some things that you should never do to your cat’s whiskers.
Don’t Pull On Your Cat’s Whiskers
Your cat’s whiskers are very sensitive and have many nerve endings. Pulling on them will make your cat feel pain and discomfort.
You wouldn’t like it if someone was constantly pulling on your eyelashes
Do Cut Or Trim Your Cat’s Whiskers
Cutting or plucking out your cat’s whiskers will make it disoriented and scared. Remember that there is a sensory organ at the tip of each whisker. Your cat’s whiskers are supposed to be long which helps the cat determine if it can squeeze through a tight opening.
Cutting it off won’t make the whiskers effective any longer.
Cutting or trimming your cat’s whiskers is similar to you being blindfolded in a dark room and trying to make your way out.
Use The Right Bowls
Using food and water bowls that are too small for your cat can cause whisker fatigue. The next time your cat goes to eat or drink from its bowl, observe if the whiskers are pressing against the side of the bowl.
If the whiskers are folding every time your cat tries to eat or drink, it can get uncomfortable for your cat after some time.
It can even cause some cats to stop drinking or eating if their whisker fatigue is causing a lot of discomfort.