Have you ever wondered what the function of these characteristic feline hairs is and what happens if they fall out on our cat or if we cut them off? Find out why cats’ whiskers are fundamental to their bodies.
The feline body does not stop storing curiosities that many people do not know. The whiskers of cats are hairs whose function is unknown to many people, however, are essential in various vital facets of these animals.
Do you want to find out what the basic functions of your cat’s mustache are? don’t you know what happens if they’re cut off? we’ll give you all the details below!
WHAT ARE CATS’ MOUSTACHES CALLED?
Before commenting on the specific functions of these parts of the feline body, it is advisable to comment on certain aspects. To begin with, the whiskers referred to in this article are called vibrissae, which are not only located on the feline muzzle.
Many people are unaware that vibrissae are also found in other areas of the feline body: the chin, above the eyes and on the back of the feline legs. They are much harder hairs than the rest that make up the feline body and reach a much greater depth.
Why are these whiskers so widely distributed in the body of the animal? is the depth of these hairs coincidental? By discovering the functions of these mustaches, you will know how to answer these questions.
FUNCTION OF CAT WHISKERS
The functionality of vibrissae is directly related to the sensitive cells they possess. Thanks to these, cats’ mustaches facilitate cat life in many ways. We explained all of them to you:
Encourage orientation in the dark
The high sensitivity of these hairs makes it possible that the orientation of the cats in the dark is excellent.
The cats’ whiskers are able to warn the animal of objects around it so that it avoids knocks and possible dangers when visibility is poor. It is also an ideal system for hunting predators when visibility is poor.
This sensory ability is obviously considered very relevant when it is done at night. Considering this function of the vibrissa, we are not surprised that cats are such nocturnal animals!
Useful for calculating spaces
In the same way that these whiskers guide the animal when there is little or no light, they also guide it when the animal is going to pass through narrower places than usual.
Cats’ whiskers are very useful when measuring distances. When the feline is located in a narrow place, it is able to find out if it fits through it thanks to its vibrissa, since the ones located in the muzzle form – approximately – the width of the animal’s body.
Considering this characteristic, the feline usually explores the space with his head before crossing it. With the information stored in this first scan, the animal will be able to find out if the rest of its body fits in the area or not.
In obese cats, this system often fails, as the body of the animal reaches a wider width than that of the muzzle whiskers.