The whiskers of a cat have been the source of discussion since a long time - mainly in relation to the functions they serve. There are around about 24 moveable whiskers around the nose of a cat, distributed evenly on either of its two sides. They are arranged in four rows, having a pattern that is as individual to a cat as fingerprints are to a human being. Apart from nose, cats have whiskers on other body parts as well, namely outer edges of the cheeks, above the eyes, and on the back of the front legs. However, those on nose play the most important role. In the following lines, we have provided complete information on 'what is the function of a cat's whiskers'.
Purpose Of Cats' Whiskers
- The whiskers of a cat are sensitive to the vibrations in air currents. This sensitivity makes them invaluable for a cat, in measuring the wind speed and direction. This, in turn, helps it sense the presence, size and shape of nearby objects without seeing or touching them. It can also identify the location of potential prey and protect a new litter of kittens from predators.
- The whiskers of a cat are almost as wide as its body. This helps it in knowing whether or not will it be able to get into a particular opening. As soon as a cat puts its head inside the opening, the whiskers indicate how wide it is and helps the animal decide whether it should enter the place or not.
- Researches have proved that a cat's whiskers help fix its eyes on its prey. In the absence of the facial hair, the animal would not be able to keep track of its victim.
- Observing a cat's whiskers, especially when it is confronted with another member of its species, can help gauge the mood it is in. While pushed forward, they indicate friendliness or inquisitiveness, pulled back, they signal defensive hostility or aggression.
- Moving their whiskers back and forth, cats can know the condition of their prey. Whiskers can help them determine whether the prey is still alive or not and whether or not can they put the captured animal down, without the danger of its escaping.
- Whiskers can help protect the eyes of a cat to quite an extent. Even the slightest touch to them can stimulate the process of an eye blink in your cat. However, their extra sensitivity can also be a source of botheration to the animal, at times.