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All you need to know about vibrissae

All you need to know about vibrissae

Cat whiskers, called vibrissae, are some of the most important organs for our furry friends. Seemingly being just a majestic decoration, whiskers play an important role in their body. Loosing even one of their 24 vibrissae would be a great handicap for every cat.

They serve as a mood indicator

The position of vibrissae is a very clear message, showing the owner what their pet is feeling at the moment. Whiskers hanging loosely are a sign of relaxation and overall positive mood.

Whiskers raised or flattened against and pulled back along the face indicate a distressed, fearful cat showing their readiness to fight. If you can’t read your cat’s mood just by looking at whiskers, try to look for the signals visible in their posture.

They determine if the opening is wide enough

Vibrissae correspond to the width of cats’ bodies. This feature allows them to determine, if they will fit into the particular opening without the risk of getting stuck. It helps our pets in playing and helps their wild cousins to hunt for food.

They help in movement

Whiskers allow cats for graceful, noiseless movement. In bright daylight and in the dark of night cats can use this secret weapon as they please. Incredibly sensitive whiskers are able to sense even the slightest changes in air circulation. These highly-developed sensory receptors allow your cat to remain undetected when moving around. It is particularly important for wild cats, as they use their vibrissae during a hunt.

Do not touch!

Vibrissae are an integral part of your cat – you should never cut them or pluck them out. If you ever find a cat whisker on the floor, it means this one was already dead – it fell out bringing no suffering to your cat and was replaced by the another one. Remember that vibrissae are vital for the proper functioning of your cat’s body – their removal will cause severe impairment.

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