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Have you ever noticed that your cat has whiskers on more than just its face? While whiskers are easily one of the most adorable features of our feline friends, those whiskers are not just there to be cute! Whiskers play an essential role in helping a cat transmit information to its brain about the outside world. As it turns out, cats don’t only have whiskers on their face; they have them in several places on their body. But, do cats have whiskers on their legs?
Yes, cats do have whiskers on their legs. This includes whiskers on their back and front legs. The leg whiskers are known as carpal vibrissae which are essential for cats to process terrain and adjust their legs. Leg whiskers are more obviously visible on particular cats.
If you look closely, you will also notice that they have whiskers on their legs, chin, and near their ears. We’ll get into more about why cats have whiskers on their legs, and the important role those whiskers play in your cat’s daily life.
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Why does my cat have whiskers on his legs
Your cat’s leg whiskers play an essential role in helping them be a competitive hunter. The whiskers on a cat’s legs are called carpal whiskers, and they allow a cat to be alert and aware of its surroundings by acting as a radar. The carpal whiskers on the back of a cat’s front legs are specifically designed to aid them while they are out looking for prey.
If a cat has caught prey and has it trapped with its front two legs, the whiskers act as a guide for your cat to assist them as they go in for the kill. Cats do not have the best-nearsighted vision, so the carpal whiskers give them the extra insight they need to make decisions while hunting.
Cats may use the whiskers on the back of their legs to help them in other non-hunting-related situations too. A house cat may not be taking down any predators, but they will use their whiskers to help themselves with depth perception and better navigate your home.
Do all cats have whiskers on their front legs
Yes, all cats have whiskers on their front legs, but depending on the breed of cat, it may not be easy to spot the whiskers. Some cats have very long whiskers on their front legs, while they may be obscured by a cat’s fur on other cat breeds.
Overall though, cats do have whiskers on more than just their face. Most cats have shorter whiskers in a variety of places around their body. Those whiskers on the front legs are an essential attribute for a cat to “see” the world around them, so it’s a good thing that all breeds of cats have them.
Do cats have whiskers on their back legs
Much like their front legs, cats also have whiskers on their back legs. The role of the whiskers remains much of the same; to help them navigate their surroundings.
The back leg whiskers are actually called carpal vibrissae. It’s essentially a part of your cat’s sixth sense. Like all whiskers, the back leg whiskers are firmer than normal cat hair. They are stiff and deeply rooted. Even during a grooming session, these won’t simply fall out.
Within those follicles are nerves and blood supply. All of that is essential to sending messages to the brain about your cat’s activity so they can move around well.
The carpal vibrissae have essential functions. There are quite a few studies available that analyze how they work. Research suggests that they work to adjust the rigidity of the legs. Cats can use them to adjust every step that they take and to make quick calculations depending on the terrain.
Can cats grow whiskers on their body
Cats grow whiskers in specific other places on their body besides their face, including their legs and ears. A cat cannot grow whiskers in any random place on its body. Cats are genetically built to have whiskers on certain parts of their body to help them be better predators out in the wild. The places where cats grow whiskers have been passed down genetically through the generations of cats for particular reasons.
Is it normal for cats to have whiskers on their body?
Should you cut cat whiskers
Cat whiskers never need to be trimmed, and you should never let anyone try to cut your cat’s whiskers off of their face. This includes cutting whiskers from your cat’s legs; they are just as important as the ones on their face. Sometimes a cat’s whiskers might look a little long and crazy, but there is nothing you need to do about it. While it is possible for your cat to shed whiskers on their own, there is no reason ever to cut them yourself.
If you cut your cat’s whiskers, it will upset them because it will be painful. This may make your cat grow distrustful around you for inflicting pain on them and for damaging one of their natural features that helps them navigate through life.
Also, keep in mind that whiskers on the legs might naturally be cut during a grooming session. That’s entirely normal.
What happens when you cut off a cat’s whiskers
It would be very cruel and painful to your cat if their whiskers were cut off. A cat’s whiskers play an essential role in helping them make sense of their surroundings, and without their whiskers, a cat would be a bit lost as they navigate around your home. The whiskers help them know how far they are away from things and help them anticipate potential movement from their external environment.
All the whiskers on a cat’s body are extremely sensitive, and having any of their whiskers ripped out or cut off would feel like someone cutting off your fingertip. Whiskers are not just long hairs but are made of much stronger follicles that go deeper under a cat’s skin.
What is whisker fatigue
Whisker fatigue is the name for a condition where your cat’s whiskers are overstimulated and causing them to be excessively stressed out. The cat’s whiskers are a very delicate part of its body, and the whiskers are constantly picking up on changes in external stimuli around your cat.
This is a normal part of your cat’s life, but in some cases, if your cat is picking up on too much external stimulus, it can cause them to feel anxious and become stressed out.
While whisker fatigue can describe a mental condition when your cat becomes upset and overstimulated, it can also refer to a cat physically bothered by its whiskers. A cat whose face always gets wet while eating or drinking water may be experiencing whisker fatigue.
If you notice your cat suddenly seems bothered while eating or drinking, it might be because they are experiencing this phenomenon. To prevent whisker fatigue, feed your cat out of a shallow dish where they have easy access to bend down and eat or drink without getting their face all dirty.
Some cats also place their legs into their water bowls to test it’s cleanliness before drinking. You may want to get a smaller water bowl to prevent them from doing that so those whiskers on their legs are not also stimulated.
Do cats like it when you touch their whiskers
Cats do not like when you touch their whiskers. It is ok if you accidentally touch one of their whiskers now and again, but make it a point to avoid that part of your cat’s face. They might enjoy being petted near their whiskers but do not ever want someone to tug on or play with their whiskers. The area near a cat whisker’s are very tender, and they will be protective over anyone getting too close to their face.
While your cat may trust you implicitly, they are going to be cautious when it comes to such a delicate part of their body. Avoid touching your cat’s whiskers, as you do not want to upset your cat or cause them any harm.
Things To Consider
Cats are very sensitive about their whiskers in general, and trying to pet them in a spot that is too close to any of their leg whiskers may result in your cat trying to scratch or bite you.
You should not be offended, as this is just their natural defense mechanism to protect themselves. If you are looking for better places to scratch your cat, try itching them at the top of their head in between their ears. This is usually a spot where they enjoy receiving affection. Another spot to test out is underneath their chin, which is usually a fan favorite for cats.
You can usually learn over time where on your cat’s body they enjoy receiving attention. Some cats are more particular than others about where they enjoy getting belly rubs. If your cat puts up resistance when you touch them in a specific spot, try to avoid that moving forward.