If you’re anything like me, you’ve spent some time observing your feline friend. And, let’s be honest, I know I could stare at my cat for hours. They’re just so fascinating! During one of those marathon staring sessions observing your cat as he or she sits there (perhaps glaring back at you), have you ever wondered about their whiskers? If you have more than one cat, you might also have thought to ask yourself why some cats have longer whiskers while some have shorter.
Before we take a look at that question, it helps to back up a bit and understand a little more about what exactly whiskers do and why cats even have them in the first place.
According to LiveScience, whiskers are super-sensitive. You may have figured this one out already if you’ve ever accidentally petted your cat’s whiskers and he flinched or pulled away. Whiskers are so sensitive because cats use them to navigate their surroundings, especially when it’s nighttime and they’re stalking prey (or a fluffy toy) in the dark.
This same article mentions that cat whiskers change a bit depending on mood. (It’s kind of fun to think of your kitty’s whiskers as “mood whiskers,” don’t you think?) When your cat is comfortable and not sensing any immediate threats in the area, her whiskers are probably sticking out as usual. If she decided to draw her whiskers in against her cheeks though, it may mean that she doesn’t feel safe for some reason. In this case, you might want to give her some space in case she decides you are the threat and reaches out with her claws.
Now that you know whiskers are so sensitive and actually have a couple of different functions, let’s go back to the original question about why some cats have longer whiskers than others.
Treehugger mentions a few interesting facts about cats, including the length of their whiskers. The length of a cat’s whiskers is generally related to how wide a cat is. Pretty simple, isn’t it?
It makes sense though, when you consider that cats rely on their whiskers to help them navigate. How else will your fur kid know whether he can fit into that teeny tiny cardboard box that has been sitting on your dining room table for a week?
From my personal experience, it seems that cats might not all have this spatial concept down. My lovable cat seems to frequently misjudge whether or not he can fit into boxes or bags he finds throughout the house. Actually, he has gotten himself into a few pickles, figuratively speaking. He may or may not have gotten himself stuck in an empty tissue box once and needed his human’s help to extricate himself. (I can neither confirm nor deny, because he’s probably reading this over my shoulder as I type.)
Well, there you have it. Some cats have longer whiskers because they’re generally wider in size than other cats. This seems to provide further proof that cats are, in fact, awesome!
About the Author
Brittany VanDerBill is a freelance writer who lives in Minnesota with her husband and spoiled cat. She writes for a variety of brands and her clients include politicians, nonprofits, small businesses and several online publications. She loves anything sparkly and spends her spare time reading. Learn more or view her portfolio: bvanderbillconsulting.com