A cat’s whiskers are seldom intriguing – but if you are as much of a cat lover as most cat parents here, then you might actually find whiskers to be as interesting as any other aspect of your cat.
Amidst this intrigue, while it is already known that a cat’s whiskers are not just for show, but are actually its sensory mechanism – it might make you wonder why some cats have longer whiskers while some others have shorter whiskers.
Some cats have really long whiskers, and on the other extreme of the spectrum, there are also cats who seemingly do not have whiskers at all!
However, in this article, we will be looking at the third kind of cat, that is, cats who have short whiskers.
So, if you have a cat whose whiskers seem to be shorter than normal, read along to find out why!
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What Do Short Whiskers Mean?
Short whiskers in a cat do not carry any extra deep meaning about the health or psychology of the cat.
However, the shorter whiskers of a cat could be an indication of one of the following things:
- Your cat may have gotten into a brawl with another cat and thus it may have broken a few whiskers midway in their length.
- A mean kid may have bullied your cat by trimming its whiskers short (no really, it does happen!)
- Your cat is physically smaller in size.
- Your cat’s mommy cat and/or daddy cat had short whiskers and it has inherited the genes for short whiskers.
- Your cat has weak whiskers.
- Your cat may be experiencing some kind of infection or allergy or some other health issue.
- Your cat was excessively groomed by its mommy cat or pet groomer when it was a kitten.
In the subsequent topic, we see a little more in detail how each of these 7 reasons could become a potential cause behind a cat having short whiskers.
Why Does My Cat Have Short Whiskers?
Your cat may seemingly have short whiskers due to any one of the 7 following reasons:
Reason 1 – Brawl With Another Cat
If you have a cat who goes outside often, then there is a very good chance that your cat gets involved in verbal and physical fights with other cats.
This is a natural and expected behavior from cats, as they are very territorial and do not like it when another cat “invades” their “territory”.
However, there are very good chances that your outdoorsy cat may accidentally walk into another cat’s area – or the other way round, another cat may walk into your cat’s territory – thereby instigating a fight between the two.
Now, when this happens, sometimes, your cat may end up having a couple of its whiskers broken midway in length – therefore giving an appearance of short whiskers.
Reason 2 – Whiskers Being Trimmed
Now, this may happen due to one of the following reasons:
- Some neighboring prankster kid may find it funny and may have bullied your cat by trimming its whiskers. It is less likely, but it does happen every now and then – it really depends on the neighborhood you live in.
- You may accidentally trim or cut the whiskers off your cat while grooming it.
- Some owners intentionally ask groomers to cut off the whiskers from their cats’ faces – you should never do that. It is wrong and unfair to the cat because the whiskers of a cat are its sensory mechanism and its way to see and perceive the world around it. Trimming the whiskers causes problems in navigation and calculations for the cats and ruins their judgment of space and orientation.
Must Read: What Happens If You Cut/Trim A Cat’s Whiskers?
Reason 3 – Small Physique And Size
A cat’s whiskers grow in proportion to its size. This is because the whiskers help a cat judge whether or not it will be able to make the jumps of a certain length or fit into spaces and holes of certain sizes.
So, usually, a smaller cat will have relatively shorter whiskers.
Reason 4 – Inherited Genes For Short Whiskers
The length of a cat’s whiskers, much like a lot of other traits, is dependent in some parts on the genes a cat inherits from its parents.
So, if your cat’s mommy and daddy cats had short whiskers, then your cat is much more likely to have shorter whiskers too.
Reason 5 – Weak Whiskers
One reason why you may see shorter whiskers on your cat very often could be that your cat has weak whiskers.
Weak whiskers are more likely to shed in more numbers and more frequency, and they are also most likely to break in the middle – this could happen due to your cat getting its face stuck somewhere.
And yes, it is very common for cats to get stuck in unusual places and get their whiskers and paws injured every now and then.
Interesting Read: Why Do My Cat’s Whiskers Keep Breaking Off?
Reason 6 – Infections, Allergies, Or Underlying Health Issues
Sometimes, a cat may suffer from some infection or allergic condition that may cause the whiskers to fall and break by becoming weak.
If your cat has naturally long whiskers but you have suddenly started noticing the reduction in the length of your cat’s whiskers due to excessive breaking – it may be a good idea to monitor its health for a few days to look for any symptoms of any underlying health issues.
Reason 7 – Being Excessively Groomed As A Kitten
The whiskers of newborn kittens are quite short. They will get longer whiskers as they become older and start to groom themselves more.
On the other hand, if a kitten overgrooms itself or is overgroomed by its littermates, the whiskers may suffer harm and experience inhibition of growth.
Must Read: Why Is My Cat Losing Whiskers On One Side?
Why Are My Kitten’s Whiskers So Short?
Seeing a newborn or an infant kitten is one of the most pleasing experiences.
However, if you have been around kittens for a substantial time, you may have noticed that some kittens often have very short whiskers.
Here we see what could be the possible reasons behind a kitten having short whiskers.
Reason 1 – Overgrooming
Either a kitten may groom itself way too much, or its littermates may overgroom it. Or sometimes, the mother may accidentally groom the same kitten multiple times a day.
Either way, when a kitten is overgroomed, it could lead to stunted growth of its whiskers.
Reason 2 – Mommy Cat Chews Off The Whiskers
In the initial days of weaning, the mother cat may chew off the whiskers of her kittens to make it easier for all of them to be able to drink milk without much inconvenience.
It is completely normal behavior and will stop once the weaning period ends.
Reason 3 – Regrowing Whiskers Are Shorter Initially
Shedding is the natural phenomenon of the fur and whiskers falling off – much like how humans shed some strands of hair every day, cats and kittens shed their fur and whiskers every couple of weeks or months.
So, the new whiskers will naturally be shorter in length compared to the older whiskers that did not fall off during shedding.
Reason 4 – Your Kitten May Be Of A Cat Breed Of Short Or Less Fur/Hair
Even if your kitten is not from a completely hairless breed like sphynx, your kitten may still belong to a breed of cats that are not as hairy as a tabby or a Persian cat.
So, genetics may also be behind why your kitten seems to have shorter whiskers.
Interesting Read: What Does The Position Of Your Cat’s Whiskers Mean?
What Determines Cat Whisker Length?
The general rule of thumb for the length of a cat’s whiskers is that the whiskers of a cat will be as long as the width of the cat’s body.
So, essentially, the major factors that determine the length of a cat’s whiskers are:
- The physical size of the cat.
- The genetics of the cat.
- The breed of the cat.
Do Cats’ Whiskers Get Shorter With Age?
No, a cat’s whiskers do not get shorter with age.
With age, as the physical size of a cat increases, the length of the whiskers will increase. Once the cat becomes fully grown in size, the whiskers also stop growing. But there is no natural phenomenon in which the whiskers of a cat will grow shorter with age.
If you are observing a reduction in the length of your old cat’s whiskers, then chances are that the whiskers are shedding more frequently and growing at a slower rate – or your cat’s whiskers have become weak and are prone to breaking easily.
Interesting Read: Why Are My Cat’s Whiskers Curling?
Frequently Asked Questions
How long should kitten whiskers be?
Cats normally have twelve whiskers on each side of their muzzle, for a total of 24 whiskers. In general, their body breadth and the length of their whiskers are in proportion.
Do kittens’ whiskers break off?
A kitten’s whiskers can break or sustain damage much like fingernails, which is completely normal. However, because they play such a significant role in your kitten’s daily activities, whiskers that frequently break or fall out are bothersome and an excellent reason to visit a veterinarian.
Do cats like their whiskers rubbed?
Certain cats like having their whiskers stroked or rubbed. Some cats hate it. The reason for this is that cats use their extremely sensitive whiskers to process and interpret more sensory information. They resemble tiny, sensitive fingertips in several ways.
The length of your cat’s whiskers is determined by factors out of your control, like genetics, breed, physical size, etc.
However, since the whiskers of a cat are essentially the sensory mechanism that allows it to process and interpret data to perceive and make sense of the real world around it, it is essential that you take good care of the whiskers of the cat too.
It can be as simple as never trimming the whiskers off your cat, monitoring for any symptoms of infections or allergies, and having regular vet visits to ensure that there are no underlying health issues troubling your cat.
Interesting Read: Top 5 Cat Breeds That Have Long Whiskers!