Whisker Fatigue

What is Whisker Fatigue?

What do you know about whisker fatigue?  Yes, there really is such a thing!!  We loved this article in a recent issue of Modern Cat.  Already we knew that a cat’s whiskers are approximately as long as he is wide so your cat knows if he can fit into a space.  But we also learned that in addition to serving as a ruler, your cat’s whiskers help him to respond to changes in vibrations.

There are proprioceptors at the end of your cat’s whiskers that actually do the work. If you are a human of a certain age you probably have noticed your proprioception has become somewhat compromised. I surely have and am always careful going up and down steps for this very reason.

Your cat’s whiskers are quite sensitive and easily become fatigued.  That’s why it’s so important to give him food and water bowls that allow him to eat and drink without his whiskers brushing against the side of the bowl.  Think low and shallow for food bowls and low and wide for water bowls.  Many cats will also paw at their water bowls so it’s a good idea to have a plate underneath the water bowl to serve as a “catch pot.”

Remember that stainless steel or ceramic bowls are the best option for keeping clean. Washing their bowls daily is a must to keep from getting slimy buildup on the food and water dishes.

whisker fatigue

Chester getting a drink

Or you could just let your cat drink from the sink the way Chester is drinking in the photo above. Gotta love those cats.

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About Beth Harwell

Beth Leatherman Harwell and her husband, Billy Harwell own and operate a local pet sitting business, Dog Walkers & More at Coddle Creek, LLC. Beth and Billy take care of your dogs, cats, birds, fish and small caged pets in the comfort of your own home. Services are provided in Mooresville, Davidson, Cornelius and Mt. Ulla, NC.
Beth is a retired clinical social worker turned business owner. She blogs about pet care needs and the human animal bond.
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