Why do cats have whiskers?

Why do cats have whiskers?
Cat's whiskers. They do a lot more than make your cat look cute!

The 5 functions of whiskers

Whiskers are body balancing

Cats have special sensory organs called proprioceptors located at the ends of their whiskers. The proprioceptors send messages to the brain regarding the position of the body and limbs to keep the cat aware of what each part of his body is doing. This is part of how cats almost always land on their feet!

The cat's whiskers are like sensors

Your cat's whiskers can sense vibrations in the air, making them incredibly useful when measuring distances or hunting prey. In addition, they can also detect changes in air currents, allowing them to sense approaching dangers – making them much like their own radar.

The cat's whiskers communicate emotions

Whiskers can also give you an insight into a cat's behavior or emotions. , if you notice that your cat's whiskers are pushed forward, it may mean that it is interested or curious.

Whiskers are protective

Your cat's whiskers also serve to protect your cat's sensitive spots from possible danger or injury. The whiskers around their eyes react to the slightest touch (even a small speck of dust), causing your cat to shake or blink to remove it.

The burrs are for nearsightedness

It may surprise you to learn that your cat's near vision is not that great and that they cannot easily see anything closer than 30cm in front of them. They use their whiskers to navigate the world straight ahead, as by touching them against an object they can determine its location, size and even texture.

What happens if you cut your cat's whiskers?


Because whiskers are so important to a cat's ability to function safely inside and outside, we need to protect them. Never cut or shave their whiskers. Even indoor kitties rely on sensory input from their whiskers, and a sudden change in the information they can get from their surroundings can be very stressful and confusing.