Many animal species have whiskers, including our domestic felines. But what can they be used for?
What is a moustache?
The "vibrissae", more commonly known as moustaches, are thick hairs whose diameter can be 5 to 6 times larger than a classic hair. They are connected to several sensory sensors of the skin.
They can be found on different parts of the cat's body: the muzzle, the cheeks, above the eyelids but also on the plantar side of the front paws.
What are they used for?
Their main role is the tactile exploration of their environment. Indeed, in addition to vision, vibrissae allow cats to control their environment by detecting precisely air movements and vibrations. Thus, they can calculate quite precisely their trajectory during jumps, distinguish reliefs and obstacles, move in narrow passages, and this even at night!
Thanks to this notion of tactile exploration, whiskers make our cats very good hunters. Have you ever noticed your cat's whisker movements during a play session? When hunting, felines use them to locate prey and catch it with great precision. Then, once caught, the vibrissae also inform the cat on the state of life of its prey.
Finally, in a more anecdotal way, it seems that vibrissae are also a means of communication.
Preserve them well!
For your cat, whiskers are a real 6th sense that allows him to communicate, move and hunt day and night. It is therefore important to protect them and not to cut them!
It can happen that you find a moustache on the places where your cat lives: don't panic, vibrissae like any hair fall and grow back!