Whiskers serve a variety of important sensory functions for cats, and a cat without whiskers will suffer from several adverse effects, including a sense of disorientation that can make it seem unbalanced. Feline whiskers are essential appendages that are connected to powerful nerves, making the whiskers extremely sensitive to touch. Cat owners should never trim their cat's whiskers, even if they appear to be overgrown or curly; these are not decorative hairs, and even a mild trim will have a strong impact on the cat's ability to sense their environment and move around in a safe and comfortable manner.
In addition to being attached to powerful nerves, cat's whiskers themselves contain powerful organs known as proprioceptors. These tactile organs are located at the end of the whisker and allow a cat to feel what surrounds it, an ability that is especially helpful in the dark.
Though it is a bad idea that borders on cruel treatment for cat owners to trim their pet's whiskers, whiskers do grow and shed naturally, meaning cat owners shouldn't necessarily be alarmed if they find a stray whisker every now and again. Additionally, some cat breeds, such as the sphynx cat, typically have very sparse whiskers, and some may naturally have no whiskers at all.