The more you start to learn about cats and their behavior, the more it becomes apparent that we essentially have little lions in our home. Indeed, many of the things that they do are rooted in the same origins as their wild family members.

The more we learn about our fierce little housemates, the more it becomes apparent that certain things about domestic life can be stressful to them. From keeping them inside to forcing them into a family, we ask a lot of our feline friends.

Feline whisker fatigue is an issue that can result from the stress of life with humans, and Beverly Hills Veterinary Associates wants to save your cats from it.

The Venerable Vibrissae

A cat’s whiskers are a valuable tool and far more complicated than they appear on the surface.

These specialized hairs, called vibrissae, are thick and long with a large concentration of nerve endings. These very sensitive organs are found on a cat’s muzzle, lower limbs, and above the eyes and create a whole new way for your cat to view the world.

A cat’s whiskers serve to orient her in her environment and help to:

  • Explore the characteristics of objects in low lighting
  • Gauge the size of a space
  • Aid in accurate jumps
  • Detect changes in air currents
  • Position the perfect deadly bite
  • Protect the eyes by triggering the blink reflex
  • Communicate with other cats

It’s safe to say that cats would be lost without their whiskers!

Protecting Your Cat From Whisker Fatigue

Whisker fatigue happens when these sensitive organs become overloaded by stimuli from the world. Imagine being in a room and being bombarded by different sounds and noises from every direction. Stressful, right?

In our homes a cat’s whiskers receive much more input than they might outdoors. Even things like stimulation from the sides of food bowls can cause enough repeated input to cause your kitty some distress.

While whisker fatigue in cats is not a disease or condition to be diagnosed, it is likely a real sequelae of the indoor lifestyle most of our cats live. There are things that you can do to help, however. For instance:

  • Feed your cat from a shallow dish instead of a bowl
  • Utilize a free flowing water fountain instead of a small bowl
  • If a bowl must be used, large and shallow is best
  • Never trim your cat’s whiskers

If your cat seems stressed, whether it be in relation to eating and drinking or anything else, it is best to give us a call. We love your cat as much as you do, and are happy to help keep your kitty happy in any way we can.