If a cat’s whiskers are the width of its body, do they get longer if it puts on weight?

10th February 2011
If a cat’s whiskers are the width of its body, do they get longer if it puts on weight?  (iStock)

Asked by: Tomo Hawk, Facebook

No. In the absence of scientific evidence, I asked my vet who measured the whiskers of different cats and found those of a very overweight cat to be no longer than the rest. My own tiny kittens have whiskers much longer than their body width – at the moment.

Whiskers have very sensitive nerves at the base and cats use them to feel objects and surfaces, to judge distances and even to detect air movement. Their near vision is poor, so they rely heavily on their whiskers for sensing close objects: old cats and others with poor vision rely on them even more. Individual whiskers start short, grow slowly and eventually fall out, so cats learn and adapt to such changes all the time. The precise length is not critical.

 


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