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Cat Tips

When you adopt a new cat, be sure to ask for its health records. Then schedule a general checkup with a veterinarian to ensure your kitty has a clean bill of health.

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Expert Q&A

I avoid touching my cat's whiskers because I've read they can be very sensitive. Is that true?

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Some cat owners think their pets' whiskers are just like thick hair, but cat whiskers are actually very sensitive organs. They help to protect your cat's eyes and other vulnerable facial features. Additionally, they extend past the face so your cat can survey the dimensions of a space before fully exploring it. If the area passes your cat's "whisker test," your feline may then continue to move forward, sometimes squeezing its body through tight places.

Recent studies suggest cat whiskers perform an even more amazing feat: They appear to be able to sense prey, such as a mouse, even without touching the other animal. This may be due to heat, airflow or other motion changes the sensitive whiskers detect.

Touching your cat's whiskers when your cat is relaxed and enjoying some quality time with you will likely not cause your pet any discomfort. It is best, however, to avoid touching the whiskers unnecessarily. And don't worry if your cat sheds one or two whiskers from time to time. That's normal since the whiskers undergo regular, natural replacement.


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