Do Cats Whiskers Get Longer as They Get Older?

by Naomi Millburn, Demand Media
    Your cat's whiskers will grow for his entire life.

    Your cat's whiskers will grow for his entire life.

    If you find your cat's whiskers to be one of his most charming features, then never fear. If your little one's whiskers are for whatever reason accidentally clipped, they will grow back just as strong as before -- phew. Whiskers aren't just hairs -- they also offer useful sensory properties.

    About Whiskers

    To an unassuming outsider, a cat's whiskers may just look like thick and sturdy hairs spouting from his face. However, there is more to it than that. According to the Merck Manual for Pet Health, the long hairs also provide sensory functions to a feline. Whiskers are directly connected to facial nerve cells. Essentially, whiskers are a lot more useful than human facial hair, from being able to assist a cat in seeing more clearly at night to detecting the availability of nearby prey. Because of these types of benefits, whiskers are extremely helpful to a cat, no matter his age.

    Clipped Whiskers

    For any cat owner, it is crucial to know know never to cut off a cat's whiskers. If a fluffball's whiskers are trimmed for any reason, even if by pure accident, it could lead to a world of uncertainty. When a cat seems just be out of it and in a daze, problems with the whiskers are a likely culprit. Because whiskers are indirectly linked to a cat's brain via the nerve cells, the lack of them could trigger everything from general coordination and balance dilemmas to problems getting around in the dark. According to the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, whiskers are capable of detecting even the most subtle of motions -- highly useful for cats.

    Growth

    Thankfully, cat whiskers are similar to other types of hair in that they do eventually grow back, at least if there isn't major destruction to the follicles. It usually takes a couple of weeks for a kitty's whiskers to grow back in full force, so be patient!

    Aging

    Cat whiskers do not grow at a faster pace when a cat ages. The rigid hairs usually stay the same length for a cat's entire life, unless of course someone accidentally cuts them. The biggest differences you may notice in a cat's whiskers as he ages are a little bit of possible graying and possibly a stray strand falling out every now and then -- no biggie, of course. When a cat whisker falls to the ground, a new one is always going to be ready soon to take its spot.

    About the Author

    Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.

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