By a whisker

By Connie Orcutt • Published: January 1st, 2017
Category: Animal Airwaves

What would a cat be without its winsome whiskers? But charming though they are, whiskers serve some important functions.

These specialized hairs are controlled by their own muscles and nerves. That’s why trimming whiskers—unlike other hairs—can be painful. Whiskers feel surfaces as cats travel through tight spaces and they help our furry friends keep their balance. Whiskers may even help a cat’s sense of smell by moving air noseward.

Although some of us wear our feelings on our sleeves, our feline friends often reveal theirs in their whiskers. A contented cat is apt to have side-facing whiskers, while an inquisitive one tends to hold them forward. And if your cat’s whiskers face backward along her face, something has her bothered.

You could say that only by a whisker do cats retain some of their feline super powers.