Every cat owner knows that cats shed a lot of fur, but what if your feline starts to lose its whiskers? While you’re cleaning, vacuuming, sweeping the floors, seeing a whisker or two on the floor might seem alarming. So, should you worry about it?
So, why do cats whiskers fall out? Is it normal? What can you do about it? Keep on reading to find out.
Why Do Cats Whiskers Fall Out?
Losing hair and whiskers is a normal part of the shedding process in cats. Stress and allergies can cause your cat to lose more whiskers than what is normal. This conditions can be diagnosed by your cat's veterinarian.
It’s pretty normal for cats to shed their fur and even whiskers from time to time. But if you suddenly see that your feline is missing a lot of whiskers or you can see them on your floors, this should be an alarming sign.
An extensive loss of whiskers is usually an indication of a health issue. Here are a few reasons why your cat might be losing its whiskers.
Cats develop allergies just like humans, and with their allergy flare-ups, there are usually some skin-related symptoms. If your cat has recently got in contact with pollen, it might develop an allergy and start to lose its whiskers.
Cats can also be allergic to parasites that cause several skin infections. The skin might start to look red, itchy, flaky, or bumpy to indicate a severe allergic reaction which manifests as the allergy gets worse. In this case, it’s quite common for your fur baby to lose its fur and whiskers.
Your cat can also be allergic to the cleaning detergents you’re using around the house. You need to make sure that every cleaning detergent you use is safe for cats, especially if you’re using it to clean the cat’s items or furniture that its body gets in contact with.
Some cats are also allergic to some food types or litter. If your cat is allergic to one of the ingredients in the food, it might develop a serious allergic reaction that causes the whiskers and fur to fall out excessively.
Physical and emotional trauma are common in cats, especially the ones that leave the house more often. Pets can get aggressive, so even inside the house, the competition between two cats can cause physical and emotional wounds. If your cat has been scratched or wounded where the whiskers are located, they might start losing them.
The best thing you can do is make sure that the cat isn’t wandering while unsupervised to make sure that it won’t get attacked by a bigger animal. You should also make sure that there are enough resources to accommodate all the cats you have in the house. This includes having enough litter boxes, water, and food, as this will prevent your cats from fighting together.
AcneYou need to have your cat checked by the vet to determine the cause of the problem and the best way to deal with it. No matter how long your cat’s whiskers get, you should never trim, dye, or curl them as this will affect their functions.
Cats can get whiteheads, blackheads, and pimples, usually around their chin and lips. Cat acne is usually related to the inflammation of the hair follicles and the oil buildup that causes the breakout. In more severe cases, the acne breakout can affect the area around the whiskers, and they might fall out.
It’s quite challenging for an ordinary cat owner to determine the nature or the best way to deal with a lesion on the cat’s skin. However, if you notice that your cat is losing whiskers and there are pimples on the skin, you should take it to the vet.
Your cat might develop a skin infection that eventually causes lesions and pumps. Bacterial and fungal infections are quite common in cats that leave the house where parasites from the garden can easily infect the skin.
Ringworm is a common fungal infection that can usually be seen in kittens. Other infections like Candidiasis, Valley Fever, and Histoplasmosis can also cause the whiskers to fall out.
Although some infections aren’t that serious, your furry baby might start losing its whiskers. Only the vet can determine the real cause of the infection and prescribe the medication.
Why Do Cats Have Whiskers?
Whiskers serve more than just cosmetic purposes. Although they accentuate the cat’s features, they serve several sensory functions like the antennae that insects have.
Whiskers are made of a special type of fur that differs from the fur that covers the cat’s body. Although they’re made of hair follicles, whiskers stand out on a cat’s body.
Compared to fur, whiskers are thicker and coarser. They also have roots that are about three times as deep as normal hair follicles, and this is why it’s not common for cats to shed whiskers as fast as they shed fur.
Cat's whiskers are not located on the entire body and can be found around the mouth, above the eyes, near the ears, and on the forelegs. The greatest number of whiskers can be found around the mouth, where cats usually have about twelve whiskers.
Because they have deeper roots, whiskers are more sensitive than ordinary hair follicles. Some scientists compare them to humans’ fingertips.
Whiskers don’t actually feel anything, but when they hit an object or another pet, the air around them vibrates. Whiskers pick up these vibrations that later stimulate the nerve cells at the roots of the hair follicles and send signals to the brain. Whiskers serve several purposes.
Whiskers help cats judge the space around them. Cats have flexible bodies, but they might accidentally get themselves stuck into tight corners. When cats feel trapped and unable to move, they might even push themselves a little bit further.
The whiskers are usually as wide as the widest part of the cat’s body, so your feline can determine if the area can fit. Using the whiskers, the cat can be safe.
Cats have special organs located at the end of their whiskers. These are called proprioceptors and are sensory organs that send continuous messages to the brain regarding the cat’s body position with respect to the limbs.
When they jump, cats always land on their feet because of their whiskers. The proprioceptors help the cat assess the situation when its body is in the air. It also helps it stay aware of its limbs and what each part of the body is doing when it’s not standing on a solid surface.
Cats have excellent senses of hearing and smell, but their vision isn’t that strong. So they use their whiskers to help them identify objects and spaces better.
Most cats have no issues with seeing far-away objects. But things can be a little bit tricky when the cat is trying to locate the exact dimensions of an object that is nearby or right under its nose.
Cats rely on their sensitive whiskers to be more aware of their surroundings as the vibrations in the air bounce back off a nearby object and hit the whiskers. These signals are later sent to the brain, and the cat knows that there’s an object along its path.
In this way, whiskers work just like radar detectors. They can detect the slightest changes in the vibrations in the air, so they can better detect the location of prey, enemies, and other members of its pack. Whiskers are the main reason why cats can hunt successfully at night.
At home, young and old cats use their whiskers to locate food bowls or toys in low light conditions. They don’t bump into walls or run into objects, so they protect their bodies while optimizing their movement inside the house.
You can tell how your furry baby is feeling by keeping an eye on the whiskers. Cats are sensitive creatures, and they can communicate their emotions through their whiskers.
When cats are relaxed, safe, and resting, their whiskers are rather relaxed too. But when the cat is experiencing strong emotions, it will use its whiskers to show these feelings. A happy cat will elevate its whiskers above the eyes, giving the cat a surprised look that shows happiness.
When the cat is feeling scared or threatened, the whiskers around the mouth move. They point forward towards the threat to show that your kitty is trying to protect itself.
Cats use their whiskers for protection from different objects. Because they’re quite sensitive, tiny dust particles touch the air around the whiskers before they hit the cat’s face. As a result, your cat will move its head or close its eyes before a flying or falling object hits the eye.
This fast reaction protects the cat’s eyes. Sharp objects that can be found in the cat’s environment like sharp pieces of metal, pieces of glass, and thorny bushes can hurt the cat, especially when it’s moving fast, but the whiskers can protect the cat when it’s moving outside because they allow it to take fast reactions.
Should I Trim My Cat’s Whiskers If They Are Too Long?
In some cases, cat whiskers can get too long as they get older. So, some cat owners think about cutting or trimming the whiskers. However, this is not a good idea at all.
You should never cut or curl your cat’s whiskers because this will affect their functions. When they’re trimmed, whiskers don’t brush against the objects as efficiently as they should. Cats won’t be able to detect prey at night or move away from sharp objects that represent a threat.
Moreover, trimming, dyeing, curling the whiskers will also affect the sensory organs at their ends. They won’t be able to detect the changes in the air when there’s something approaching the cat.
Whiskers keep your feline alert even when it’s sleeping, and this is why you can never sneak up on your cat. But if they’re cut or damaged for any reason, they lose all their functions.
Your cat’s whiskers are the perfect size for its body. They should be almost as wide as the cat’s body to help it measure the space around. If you cut them, your cat will become disoriented and lose its balance. Trimming or cutting the whiskers can actually threaten a cat’s life.
Cat’s whiskers are not present for cosmetic purposes, as your feline uses them for balance, to measure the space around them, and to detect the presence of prey or other objects in its environment. Although you might occasionally see a whisker or two on the floor, when whiskers fall out excessively, there’s usually something wrong with your feline.