Q:

What happens if a cat loses its whiskers?

A:

Quick Answer

If a cat loses her whiskers, she becomes disoriented and unable to navigate through her environment. A cat without whiskers feels helpless and frightened and may end up in potentially life-threatening situations. It takes two to three months for a cat's whiskers to grow back. During that time, the cat may be wary of her surroundings due to loss of sensory input.

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Full Answer

Every cat has whiskers located on the cheeks, the chin, above the eyes and on the back of the front legs. These whiskers are deeply rooted in areas rich in blood vessels and nerves, which makes them very sensitive.

A cat uses her whiskers to navigate through the environment and measure openings. The whiskers are sensitive enough to pick up changes in air currents. This makes it possible for a cat to navigate in the dark and not hit obstacles. Whiskers are approximately the width of the body, so when a cat puts her head in an opening, she is able to judge if her body will fit.

A cat's mood can be determined from her whiskers. A frightened, angry and defensive cat pulls her whiskers back. A playful, curious and content cat generally pushes her whiskers forward.

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