What are cat whiskers for, anyway? If you own a kitty, you’ve probably wondered about this before — when you weren’t being distracted by the utter adorableness of cat whiskers, that is. Turns out, they’re not just for show after all.
According to a 2016 article published in Pursuit, cat whiskers are fully functional parts of a cat’s anatomy. They allow your precious pet to navigate around his or her environment with the signature ease that only a cat has. Considering cats are natural predators, whiskers could hypothetically help a kitty determine if prey is in the optimum “bite” position, Catster reports. A powerful sensory tool, whiskers can also help clue a cat in on whether he or she can fit inside a box (because we all know how much cats love boxes). Oh, and cat whiskers can also give their humans clues as to how they’re feeling.
In the Pursuit article, one of Australia’s top veterinarians named Leonie Richards revealed that cat whiskers can be an indicator of your pet’s mood in three different ways. According to Richards, you really want to see your cat’s whiskers looking relaxed and droopy — that position is a sign of content and happy cat. But if the whiskers start moving in a different direction, you’ll want to watch out.
“If the whiskers are pinned back up against its face, it can mean they’re quite fearful,” Richards said in a press release. “Straight forward can mean they’re angry.”
Considering that cat whiskers span out across the face, we suppose we shouldn’t be too shocked that they can clue us in a feline’s mood. After all, we look closely at every part of a human facial expression when we’re trying to figure out what a loved one is thinking. Why wouldn’t we do the same thing for our fur babies as well?
Although cats are still notoriously mysterious, it’s always good to have a clue or two about how your precious pet feels.
Next, check out some adorable two-faced cats that make us do a double-take below: