While the significance and functionality of a cat’s whiskers on its cheeks are very well-known by many, its eyebrow whiskers remain fairly unnoticed.
A cat has an equal set of whiskers on both sides of its cheeks.
Additionally, it also has whiskers on the top of its face, right above its eyes – ideally where a human would have their eyebrows. That is why they are called a cat’s eyebrow whiskers.
In this article, we look at what eyebrow whiskers are and what is their significance for a cat’s functioning and well-being.
Do Cats Have Whiskers Above Eyes?
Yes, some cats have whiskers above their eyes. Some cats, especially hairless breeds like Sphynx, may not have eyebrow whiskers. But a lot of the cats of regular-haired breeds have eyebrow whiskers on the top of their faces.
If you look at your cat long enough, you will notice that it has strands of hair coming out from the top of its eyes too.
Quite often, these hair strands are much longer than the fur of your cat. These hair strands are what make up your cat’s eyebrow whiskers.
Some cats, like sphynx and Devon rex, may either have very short whiskers above their eyes, or they may not have any whiskers at all. That is normal for hairless breeds of cats.
However, for every other breed, a cat will most likely have either full-fledged or short eyebrow whiskers. These are technically the upper vibrissae of the cats.
Interesting Read: Do Hairless Cats Have Whiskers?
What Are Cat Eyebrow Whiskers Called?
The set of whiskers on top of a cat’s eyes, commonly known as its eyebrow whiskers, are called the superciliary whiskers. This set of whiskers may not be as long as the whiskers on a cat’s face, but it is equally significant and performs similar functions.
The superciliary whiskers, or eyebrow whiskers, are just one of the 3 sets of whiskers a cat has on its face. The other two sets are the mystacial whiskers, which are present on a cat’s cheeks or muzzle, and the mandibular whiskers, which are present on its chin.
Of these three sets, the mystacial or cheek whiskers are the longest, and the eyebrow (superciliary) whiskers are almost the same length as the chin (mandibular) whiskers.
While their lengths differ, the functionality of all three sets of whiskers is the same.
How Many Whiskers Do Cats Have Above Their Eyes?
A cat’s superciliary whiskers, better known as its eyebrow whiskers, are present in an even-numbered set of either 6 or 8 whiskers. These whiskers are equally distributed between each eyebrow, i.e., 3 to 4 eyebrow whiskers on each side.
This is in addition to the 12 whiskers per side on the cheeks of the cat. Moreover, a cat also has around 12 whiskers on its chin. So, in total, a cat has around 30 whiskers on its face.
The number of eyebrow whiskers, however, varies from breed to breed and cat to cat.
While some cats may have as many as 4 eyebrow whiskers per side, some others, like the sphynx, may have 0 eyebrow whiskers.
Why Do Cats Have Whiskers Above Their Eyes?
Cats have whiskers above their eyes for the same function of navigation and perception as the whiskers on their cheeks.
The superciliary whiskers of a cat, commonly known as its eyebrow whiskers, have the same functionality as the mystacial or cheek whiskers.
They help the cat make sense of its surroundings by perceiving the world and taking inputs and sending them to the nerve endings at their roots.
The eyebrow whiskers act as auxiliary or secondary whiskers to the whiskers present on the cheeks. In fact, a cat also has whiskers on its chin, called mandibular whiskers, and whiskers on its paws, called carpal whiskers.
All sets of whiskers perform the same function of navigation and perception.
Cat Eyebrow Whiskers Falling Out: Reasons
Just like their functions and physical structure, even the reasons for falling out of eyebrow whiskers are the same as that of mystacial or cheek whiskers.
The eyebrow whiskers of a cat fall out due to reasons such as natural shedding, skin infections, allergies, brawls with other cats, and chewing off by littermates or mommy cats.
1. Natural Shedding of Eyebrow Whiskers
Just like its fur and mystacial whiskers, even the eyebrow whiskers of a cat undergo a natural shedding process.
Your cat may lose one odd eyebrow whisker every time it goes through its shedding cycle. Such whiskers regrow naturally in due time and their absence does not impact your cat’s orientation.
2. Skin Allergies and Infections
If your cat is suffering from some skin-related infection or allergy, it may affect your cat’s eyebrow whiskers either directly, by weakening their roots, or indirectly, by making the area around the eyes so itchy that your cat accidentally plucks off its whiskers while trying to scratch the itch.
3. Rough play
Either brawls or rough play with littermates can sometimes lead to the whiskers of your cat falling off – and yes, this includes eyebrow whiskers too.
Can You Trim Cat’s Eyebrow Whiskers?
You should never trim your cat’s eyebrow whiskers.
As a matter of fact, you should never trim any set of whiskers of your cat – be it on the cheeks, chin, eyebrows, or paws.
All sets of whiskers are significant for your cat’s ability to navigate and make sense of the world around it.
Trimming any whisker can cause disorientation and make your cat more prone to accidental injuries due to miscalculations and improper spatial judgment.
Do Cat’s Eyebrow Whiskers Grow Back?
Yes, a cat’s eyebrow whiskers grow back in almost the same period as its cheek whiskers – in roughly 6 weeks and 3 months.
If your cat’s eyebrow whiskers have undergone natural shedding, they will naturally regrow in the aforementioned period.
However, if your cat’s eyebrow whiskers have been trimmed or broken from between, you will have to wait for them to first naturally shed from the root and then regrow in the aforementioned period.
Must Read: Does Cat Hair Grow Back?
Frequently Asked Questions
What are cat eye whiskers for?
The cheek and eyebrow whiskers can also alert the cat to impending danger, and the eyebrow whiskers also serve to shield the cat’s sight. Cats may communicate by using their whiskers as well.
Most cats, especially those who are not from a hairless breed, have eyebrow whiskers. These are strands of whiskers above their eyes and are called superciliary whiskers.
A cat will have an average of 6 to 8 eyebrow whiskers, with 3 to 4 whiskers on each side.
These eyebrow whiskers are similar to the whiskers on cheeks in terms of their functionality, physical structure, and natural shedding process.
Eyebrow whiskers of a cat also help it navigate and perceive the world around it.
Interesting Read: Do Cats Like It When You Touch Their Whiskers?