Cat whiskers are not just ordinary hairs. Also known as vibrissae, they are thicker, longer, and more deeply embedded in the skin than regular fur. They are also richly supplied with nerve endings and blood vessels, allowing cats to use them as specialized sense organs. Cat whiskers can also be present on the front legs, above the eyes, and on the back of the hind legs. These whiskers play an important role in helping cats navigate and sense their environment.
Cats can have whiskers on their legs, specifically on the front legs. These whiskers are called carpal whiskers or wrist whiskers and are located on the underside of the wrists. They also help cats navigate their environment and detect potential prey or obstacles.
Cats even have whiskers above the eyes, on the cheeks, and on the back of the hind legs. These whiskers are known as supraorbital, genal, and tarsal whiskers, respectively. These whiskers are less prominent than the ones on a cat’s face, but they still play a role in helping the cat to sense its surroundings.
More facts about cat whiskers
Cat whiskers are not all the same length. They vary in length and thickness depending on their location on the cat’s body.
Cats can also move their whiskers independently of their body movements. This allows them to sense their surroundings in a very precise way.
No doubt you’ve seen cats climb into some small and unlikely places. Well, whiskers can help cats determine if they can fit through tight spaces. If their whiskers can fit through a gap, then they know their entire body can fit through as well.
And did you know that when cats are hunting, they will point their whiskers forward to help them focus on their prey. On the other hand, if a cat is feeling threatened or fearful, it will flatten its whiskers against its face, making them appear smaller and less noticeable to potential predators.
Who knew there was so much more to know about cat whiskers?