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my kittens wiskers

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
The other day my family was looking at our 2 week old kittens. We noticed that when the mama cat went to clean her babies she gnawed off the kittens whiskers! The tips of the kittens whiskers are frayed and uneven. Some of them just have small nubs in place of their whiskers. We don't know if this is a natural thing or if the mother thinks the whiskers are dirt...we have no idea. But we've noticed that the kittens are quite wobbly when they walk. Could this whisker chewing be the cause of this? If you know anything about this wierd whisker chewing please please respond to this. It is greatly appreciated! Thanks! If you also know any other sites that could help me solve this problem that would be great too!
post #2 of 8
I don't know if it is normale for the mother to do this. I do know that wiskers help the cat to balance. This is most defentaly why the kittens are unstable when they walk. Wiskers also help them to see if they can fit into spaces. Maybe someone else can help you more but this is all I know.
post #3 of 8
Whiskers are more for sensory than balance; their wobbling has nothing to do with their whiskers. You don't say what kind of cat you have but some breeds have brittle whiskers which break off on their own (Sphynx, for one). They may also be breaking due, in part, to a diet deficiency. I would consult you Vet about this situation and see what he/she has to say.

post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
my quetion wasnt about the balance...... it was about the mother chewing off her kittens wiskers. why is she doing it? i know they are not falling off though because i have seen her chewing them..that is a good idea .. i think i may call vet just because i am curious to know why she would do that... It might be that the whiskers get in the way of the suckling... i'm not quite sure... i dont think that the kittens are unhealty though. thank you for your responces.
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
My kittens are a mix . also they are very little still so they are drinking their mothers milk still. Do you think that would be a diet deficiency?
post #6 of 8
Originally posted by Catnip3k
My kittens are a mix . also they are very little still so they are drinking their mothers milk still. Do you think that would be a diet deficiency?
That would depend on what you're feeding the Mom, how many kittens she is trying to nurse and how much milk is available to them. We feed a nursing queen kitten food, both wet and dry. The dry is down 24/7 as she needs to eat as much as she wants when she wants it and the wet we feed twice a day. To the wet (a 6oz can) we add a teaspoon of plain yogurt to help with the calcium the kittens need and get from mom. If there isn't enough calcium in the food she eats her body will start taking it from her bones to supply the kittens and that is not good for mom. Talking to your Vet would be the best thing to do concerning the whisker chewing. Perhaps there is something in the whiskers that mom needs! I need to go to my books.

post #7 of 8
Your first instinct about a nutritional deficency is probably a good one. After all your cat was recently pregnant. Pregnancy typically depletes the animals reserves of fat, muscle tissue, and bones. Everything that your queen eats has to be shared with her kittens. Inside the womb and then during nursing.

You may want to consider adding a supplement like Felavite or Nutramalt to your queen cats diet. You could also feed a high quality canned food such as Nutro, Science Diet or Eukanuba in addition to the vitamin supplemt. Pica, a type of eating disorder that prompt the sufferer to eat non-edibles, is most commonly associated with a vitamin, mineral or combination of vitamin and minerals missing from your cats diet. Particularly, potassium and calcium (these line mammalian nerve cells) and the B vitamins. Icreased dietary fiber helps some cats who may respond to access to greens i.e. wheatgrass, barley grass, alphalpha sprouts, etc.

Pica is a condition in which cats may try ingest something besides what is considered food. Examples of pica would be licking paint or eating dirt.

If after six to eight weeks of feeding a well balanced diet with a supplement you still see this whisker chewing behavior you might want to consider that it is a more generalized form of pica. In some instances medications for obsessive/compulsive behaviors such as clomipramine -Anafranil Rx, or buspirone - Buspar Rx (my favorite) may be helpful. These medications will take four to eight weeks before the cat begins to feels some affect.

Some people feel that consistent punishment will work but this can damage your relationship with your cat, and I dont recommend punishing a cats as an effective form of behavior modification. You might try at that time painting your kitten's whiskers with apple bitters (sold OTC at Petsmart, Petco and the like).

Make sure that queen and brood alike have plenty of diversions in the form of toys and scratching posts.

Key word: Nutritional Supplements and a Balanced Cat Food and Greens, Greens, Greens Keep us posted.
post #8 of 8
Since whiskers are used for sensing/navigation, maybe mom chewed them off so the kittens couldn't wander off too far? Or maybe she doesn't want the whiskers of the kittens to poke eachother in the eye when all are packed in tightly to nurse? Just a couple wild guesses...
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