Will Cat Whiskers Grow Back If They Are Pulled Out?

by Elton Dunn, Demand Media
    Tell your groomer not to pull out cat whiskers.

    Tell your groomer not to pull out cat whiskers.

    If someone took the tweezers to your cat's whiskers overnight, she may have a tricky time finding her way around the home until they regrow. While kitty whiskers will grow back most of the time, it's not a good idea to remove them in the first place.

    Significance

    If your kitty's whiskers are pulled out, they should grow back in time. However, if damage occurred to the whisker root when Kitty received her facial trim, the hairs may grow back in an irregular manner. Veterinarians and animal hospitals advise against pulling out or trimming your cat's whiskers due to their specialized purpose.

    Purpose

    While they may resemble old-man whiskers, cat whiskers serve as sensory organs. Known as vibrissae, these whiskers supplement cat sight, especially in low-light situations. Whiskers can move in all directions to process information about objects and spaces. Vibrissae can tell Kitty whether she'll fit in that narrow crawl space or bump into that table leg when exploring. The whiskers meet sensitive nerve endings inside your kitty's skin that transmit the information received to the brain, so the cat can act accordingly. Cats have approximately 24 whiskers arrange in four rows and can move the rows independently to glean information from the world around them.

    Types

    Generally, these whiskers are fairly straight. Some cats -- particularly rex coated, curl coated and hairless breeds -- have oddly shaped, irregular or brittle whiskers. Even if the vibrissae look funny, it's best to leave them in. Cats can easily function with irregular whiskers.

    Whisker Loss

    Some amount of whisker loss is normal. Just like cat hair, they fall out and are replaced by new whiskers. Additionally, if Kitty's been on a diet, her whiskers will be replaced by new, shorter ones that complement her slimmer shape. If your kitty suddenly seems hairless, give your vet a call. Whisker loss combined with hair loss, watery-looking eyes and brittle nails can be a sign of vitamin deficiency.

    About the Author

    A successful website writer since 1998, Elton Dunn has demonstrated experience with technology, information retrieval, usability and user experience, social media, cloud computing, and small business needs. Dunn holds a degree from UCSF and formerly worked as professional chef. Dunn has ghostwritten thousands of blog posts, newsletter articles, website copy, press releases and product descriptions. He specializes in developing informational articles on topics including food, nutrition, fitness, health and pets.

    Photo Credits

    • Michael Blann/Lifesize/Getty Images