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Whisker question

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
My husband trimmed my babies whiskers one afternoon while I was at work I have NO idea what made him decide to do that but he sure got an earful when I saw what he had done. Now, a couple of weeks later, it appears that Nermal's whiskers on one side have fallen out. Do whiskers just FALL out? Could this be from the trauma of having them trimmed? Or could Nermal maybe have pulled them out because he didn't like them short? OR MAYBE my other cat Smudge decided poor Nermie didn't NEED any whiskers on the right side.... I just don't know. He doesn't seem to care and doesn't indicate any sensitivity when I touch him there. Will they grow back or will Nermie be lopsided the rest of his life??
post #2 of 3
I know whiskers fall out gradually, and are replaced with new ones. Occasionally, I find one of Snowball's whiskers on the floor or on a piece of furniture. I really don't know why Nermal's whiskers on one side all fell out. Hopefully, someone here will have an answer for you.
post #3 of 3
Hi Swing Dance!

Here is an article by Desmond Morris for your information:

How does a cat use its whiskers?

The usual answer is that the whiskers are feelers that enable a cat to tell whether a gap is wide enough for it to squeeze through, but the truth is more complicated and more remarkable.

In addition to their obvious role as feelers sensitive to touch,
the whiskers also operate as air-current detectors. As the cat moves along in the dark it needs to manoeuvre past solid objects without touching them.

Each solid object it approaches causes slight eddies in the air,
minute disturbances in the currents of air movement, and the cat's whiskers are so amazingly sensitive that they can read these air changes and respond to the presence of solid obstacles even without touching them.

The whiskers are especially important - indeed vital - when the cat hunts at night.

A cat with damaged whiskers can kill cleanly only in the light; in the dark it misjudges its killing-bite and plunges its teeth into the wrong part of the prey's body.

Somehow the tips of the whiskers must read off the details of the shape of the prey, like a blind man reading braille, and in an instant tell the cat how to react.

Anatomically the whiskers are greatly enlarged and stiffened hairs
more than twice the thickness of ordinary hairs. They are embedded in the tissue of the cat's upper lip to a depth three times that of other hairs, and they are supplied with a mass of nerve-endings which transmit the information about any contact they make or any changes in air-pressure.

Technically whiskers are called vibrissae and the cat has a number of these reinforced hairs on other parts of its body - a few on the cheeks, over the eyes, on the chin and, surprisingly, at the backs of the front legs.

All are sensitive detectors of movement, but it it the excessively long whiskers that are by far the most important vibrissae, and it is entirely apt that when we say that something is 'the cat's whiskers' we mean that it is rather special.

Take care and Cheers!
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