Whiskers are not just those adorable little hairs that frame the face of these beautiful felines but are, in fact, an essential part of how cats navigate and interact with their environment. Whiskers are an integral part of a kitty, but what happens if you see a few whiskers on the floor? Is this normal? Do cats shed their whiskers too? How many whiskers should they shed? Whisker shedding is quite normal and a healthy part of a cat’s life. Let’s look at some reasons for whisker shedding and possible situations that could cause concern.
What Are Whiskers?
Cat whiskers are specialized, fine hairs that protrude from both sides of a cat’s mouth, above their eyes, on the chin, and for most cats, behind their wrists. Cats usually have 24 whiskers by their mouths: twelve on each side. The chin area tends to have shorter whiskers. Whiskers are made of keratin and are embedded deep in their skin, making them highly sensitive. They are comparable to the fingertips of humans.
What Do Whiskers Do?
Whiskers help kitties sense movement, gauge space, navigate the dark, and orient their bodies. They serve as a sense of touch to transmit tactile information to the cat allowing the kitty to feel solid objects and air currents. Their whiskers help them hunt better at night, avoid possible injury to their face from branches or debris and determine where they will fit in spaces, particularly small spaces. Whiskers are extremely sensitive for these reasons.
Here is another fun fact about kitty whiskers. They can be used to communicate with their human family. If your kitty’s whiskers are flat against her face, she could feel threatened. If they are all sprawled out, it usually means she is happy and relaxed.
Is It Normal For Cat’s Whiskers To Fall Out?
It is completely normal for whiskers to fall out for a healthy cat. Cats are constantly shedding and regrowing their whiskers. It is healthy for this to occur. However, you should consult your veterinarian if you notice other symptoms in your kitty, such as weight loss, lethargy, or skin problems.
How Many Whiskers Can A Cat Lose Before It Is Considered Unhealthy?
Although it is common for cats to shed their whiskers, they usually shed one or two at a time. If you notice a more significant amount of whiskers falling out, you may want to assess your kitty’s medical and emotional well-being. It can be a sign of underlying conditions, and you should consult with your vet for diagnosis and treatment.
Some reasons kitties could be shedding more than usual include:
Stress can cause cats to shed more whiskers. They are sensitive creatures, and if there have been recent changes to their routine, food, living arrangements, or a new furry companion has joined the family, they may feel anxious. Ensuring your kitty is comfortable and feeling safe will be crucial in this case. If your efforts do not mend the situation, it may be time for a vet visit.
Cats get acne too! It usually comes out on the chin, but it can spread to the cheeks. Cat acne can be caused by food or oil build-up on plastic bowls. The easiest way to remedy this is to switch to glass bowls and regularly clean them.
Bacterial or fungal infections can cause a kitty’s whiskers to fall out. The good news is that whiskers grow back when the condition is treated. If you notice that your kitty’s whiskers are not growing back or continue to fall out, please consult with your veterinarian.
Kitties can also suffer from allergies. It is pretty common. Cats can be allergic to certain foods, grass, smells, pollen, etc…. If the allergic reaction is close to or on the area of the whiskers, this could cause them to fall out. Your vet will help you determine what your kitty is allergic to and the right course of action.
Cats can play rather rumbustiously or rough house one another. If your kitty got into it with one of his furry siblings and injured his face, this could cause his whiskers to fall out. If he fell on his own or ran into something or any other possible situation kitties can get themselves into that caused an injury to his face can increase the chances of his whiskers falling out. Sometimes, the injury isn’t apparent and could be under the skin like an abscess. If this is the case, a trip to the vet may be needed.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does It Hurt When A Cat’s Whisker Falls Out?
When a cat’s whiskers naturally fall out, it does not hurt. It is common for cats to shed their whiskers.
Can I Trim My Cat’s Whiskers?
You may trim your cat’s whiskers if it is absolutely needed. However, there are very few instances where this is required. For example, if a whisker grows crooked or twisted and is causing irritation, then it would be okay to trim your kitty’s whisker. If the irritation worsens or develops into an infection, your vet will assist with proper treatment. What one should never do is pull out a cat’s whiskers. It is uncomfortable, painful, and unnecessary.
Whiskers play a vital role in the life of a cat. This is why kitty parents need to observe the number of whiskers falling out to ensure their furry companion is healthy and happy. Thankfully, kitties shed their whiskers naturally, and there usually isn’t a need for concern. However, if you notice that your kitty is exhibiting other symptoms along with greater amounts of whiskers falling out, please consult with your veterinarian.