Whiskers are one of the most prominent and visible features of a cat. It is difficult for anyone to imagine a cat without whiskers.
And it is more than just an aesthetic visual – the follicles of the whiskers of a cat have a lot of nerve endings and blood cells. This means that a cat’s whiskers allow it to navigate and feel the world around it.
But what about the hairless breeds of cats? And what happens when a cat starts losing its whiskers?
Read along as we navigate why a cat may be without whiskers and how it can affect the well-being of the cat.
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Why Does My Cat Have No Whiskers?
If you have not adopted or bought a specific breed of hairless cat, then your cat may have no whiskers because it must be losing them at an unusually faster rate.
Cats shed their whiskers in the same way as they shed their hair. This is so that they can go through a typical cycle of development, dormancy, and shedding as a cat’s whiskers are a unique sort of hair.
However, unlike fur, whiskers do not shed as frequently. The whiskers that are shed naturally, much like the fur, will come back.
It’s possible that this typical whisker loss won’t be noticed because cats typically only lose one or two at a time.
When whisker shedding becomes extensive or occurs together with hair loss or skin problems like peeling, leaking, or irritation, it becomes a problem.
A cat may lose its whiskers in addition to the typical shedding process because of allergies, illnesses, or feline acne. Loss of whiskers can also happen as a result of trauma or physical harm to the whiskers.
Interesting Read: Do Cats Like It When You Touch Their Whiskers?
Losing Whiskers Due To Allergies
Cats that suffer from allergies may have severe face itching. An itchy cat may rub its face against something or scratch at its face with a paw in an effort to reduce the irritation. The consequence might be damaged or blunted whiskers.
Environmental allergies, food hypersensitivities, and parasite allergies are the three primary categories of allergies that cats experience.
You should take your cat to the vet if it starts to compulsively groom, rub, or scratch, or if it starts to lose its hair or whiskers.
Once your cat’s specific allergy has been identified by your veterinarian, therapy aims to minimize exposure to the allergen.
In the case of food allergies, this may entail avoiding specific food kinds, and in the case of parasite allergies, it may entail keeping your cat’s parasite medication current.
Once the allergy is under control, whiskers lost as a result of the allergy will regrow.
Also, check out: Do Cats’ Whiskers Grow Back If They Are Burned?
Losing Whiskers Due To Infections
Cats can get bacterial, fungal, or parasitic skin illnesses, which can all result in hair loss. A cat’s whiskers may fall out along with its coat if a skin illness occurs in the same region.
- The whiskers and surrounding fur may be scraped or broken off by excessive rubbing or scratching as the cat tries to relieve the itching, just like with allergies.
- Another potential infection site is the hair follicle or hair shaft.
The hair shaft is directly infected by the fungus known as ringworm, which is not a worm. The outcome is that the whisker or hair grows thinner and more brittle, producing a bald spot.
- Folliculitis can also be brought on by bacterial, fungal, and parasitic illnesses that damage the hair follicle. Infected follicle-containing hairs and whiskers shed more quickly than healthy hairs do.
Oozing, crusting, peeling, and skin irritation are additional symptoms of skin infections, along with hair and whisker loss. Get your cat checked out by a veterinarian as soon as you detect any of these symptoms.
In order to identify the sort of illness your cat has, your veterinarian may want to collect samples from the afflicted regions.
Depending on the kind of infection present, different oral or injectable drugs, specialized shampoos, and ointments may be used as treatments for bacterial, fungal, and parasitic infections.
Once the infection has cleared up, your cat’s whiskers should grow back.
Interesting Read: Why Do My Cat’s Whiskers Keep Breaking Off?
Losing Whiskers Due To Feline Acne
Sebaceous gland overactivity is the root cause of feline acne.
Hair follicles and the majority of sebaceous glands are connected. Sebum, an oily fluid made by these glands, waterproofs the coat, maintains the suppleness of the skin and aids in scent-marking.
These glands may get obstructed as a result of excessive sebum production. In turn, this causes comedones, also known as blackheads. There are tiny specks of black substance in the fur in the afflicted region, which has a greasy appearance.
Although the lips may also be impacted, the chin is the most frequently afflicted location. Folliculitis, pyoderma, or deep skin infection of the lips and chin may result from a subsequent bacterial infection in severe instances.
Hairs and whiskers with diseased follicles fall out more quickly than healthy hairs, as mentioned in the section above. Additionally unpleasant and itchy, these diseases might cause loss of whiskers due to self-harm.
Cats that exhibit any of these symptoms should be examined by a veterinarian.
If your cat is found to have feline acne, therapy often entails oral antibiotics if a secondary infection is present and specialized shampoos or ointments designed to remove excess sebum.
Because some cats are sensitive to plastic and because plastic can store bacteria, plastic bowls have been linked to occurrences of feline acne. If your cat has feline acne, you might want to try switching to a metal or ceramic bowl for feeding.
When feline acne has cleared up, the whiskers and hair that were lost will regrow.
Losing Whiskers Due To Physical Trauma Caused By Injury Or Fights
During a confrontation with another cat, a cat’s whiskers may fall off. This is particularly true if your cat has access to the outside because catfights are frequent among wandering felines. During rough play, cats in the same home may also lose their whiskers.
Another way a cat could lose its whiskers due to stress is if it scorches them by coming too close to a fire, stove, or other heat sources. Singed whiskers typically have curled tips at their ends.
If a cat’s whiskers look to have been neatly shaved, a mischievous kid could have done the trimming!
There is no need to be concerned because these whiskers will regrow on their own unless your cat has injuries as a consequence of the trauma or physical damage to its whiskers.
Interesting Read: What Does The Position Of Your Cat’s Whiskers Mean?
Are There Any Cats Without Whiskers?
Yes, there are some cat breeds that are hairless and have either short or no whiskers at all!
The following are 10 breeds of hairless cats that have no fur and their whiskers are either very short or in some rare cases they don’t have any at all!
- Ukrainian Levkoy
- Devon Rex
Must Read: Do Hairless Cats Have Whiskers?
These breeds of cats are perfect for those who love cats but are allergic to their fur.
However, since whiskers play a major role in helping cats navigate, these breeds of cats may need some extra care and help – especially as kittens.
Interesting Read: Why Are My Cat’s Whiskers So Long?
Can A Cat Live Without Whiskers?
If we talk about the hairless breeds of cats, then yes, over time they get accustomed to managing without whiskers with decent levels of comfort.
However, if your cat had whiskers and it lost them for some reason, then your cat will experience a lot of discomforts navigating its daily life.
It turns out that the cat’s whiskers are a crucial sensory organ. Damage to a cat’s whiskers will make them uncomfortable, as well as have unfavorable side effects including confusion and disorientation.
In and of themselves, whiskers are simply a kind of thick/long hair. The significance of whiskers comes from the fact that they are firmly anchored in follicles that are encircled by muscle tissue that is highly dense in nerve and sensory cells.
Then, a specific region of the cat’s brain is linked to these nerve cells in the roots.
hey also have a propensity to become lost and trip. Cats with short whiskers also exhibit difficulty in making accurate distance judgments, which causes them to frequently misjudge their jumping distances and occasionally collide with objects.
Must Read: Why Are My Cat’s Whiskers So Short?
Can A Cat Balance Without Whiskers?
Cats can balance without using their whiskers.
The inner ear regulates a cat’s equilibrium, as it does in all animals. Because cat whiskers are sensory organs, the misconception that they alter balance may be connected to this. Their purpose is not to incorporate balance, but rather distance and space.
Many animals, including cats, can stay balanced without whiskers, which makes logical given that balance has nothing to do with whiskers.
Similar organs for maintaining balance have evolved at the base of the skull long before the development of hearing in all animals.
Mammals’ inner ears, which are connected to their middle and exterior ears, are responsible for tracking movement and controlling balance.
On the other hand, whiskers started to evolve with early mammals 120 million years ago. Technically speaking, they are termed vibrissae, and they are present in most animals. The vibrissae, or organs of touch, serve as feelers in general.
Interesting Read: Why Is My Senior Cat Losing Its Whiskers?
What Happens If A Cat Doesn’t Have Whiskers?
Cat whiskers function as radar. Even in the dark, cats use them to determine distances and the size of objects. They support the cat’s delicate, intricate movements.
Cats often assess the size of holes with their whiskers to see whether they can squeeze through narrow openings.
A cat that completely loses its whiskers is typically confused and bewildered. It could even get lost.
A cat’s regular routine life becomes tricky and uncomfortable when it loses its whiskers and is unable to grow them back.
Regular disorientation, confusion in navigating paths, running into things or furniture, miscalculating jumps, and falling off – are just some examples of the kinds of problems that may arise due to loss of whiskers.
Your cat will become more prone to accidents and injuries if it does not have whiskers.
Cat whiskers are extremely robust and flexible due to their tapering form. They develop and naturally shed. If whiskers are accidentally cut or damaged, they will naturally grow back.
Must Read: What Happens If You Cut A Cats Whiskers?
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take for a cat’s face whiskers to grow back?
A cat’s face whiskers might take anywhere from six weeks to three months to fully regrow and become functional. With various coat colors, it is rather common for white whiskers to reappear as black or vice versa. Their functionality won’t be impacted by the color change.
Is it painful when a cat loses its whiskers due to shedding?
Since cat whiskers resemble human hair and lack nerves, losing whiskers through shedding is not unpleasant or painful for cats.
How often does a cat lose its whiskers by natural shedding?
A healthy cat that undergoes regular shedding will lose its whiskers every couple of months. This shedding of whiskers does not cause any problem because it loses only a very small amount of its whiskers – so, there is no problem in navigation or other functionalities of whiskers. Moreover, whiskers that are shed naturally regrow pretty quickly.
For cats, their whiskers are more than just a cute aesthetic feature. A cat’s whiskers are its sensory mechanism that allows the cat to feel and make sense of the world around it.
Losing its whiskers for any reason apart from healthy and natural shedding can lead to problems such as confusion and disorientation which will make navigation difficult for cats and they will become more prone to accidents and injuries.
Interesting Read: Why Does My Cat Have One Black Whisker?
Interesting Read: Top 5 Cat Breeds That Have Long Whiskers!