Your feline friend probably isn’t trying to freak you out with its disappearing whiskers. There are several common reasons why your cat may be going through a phase where it seems like they’re losing its whiskers.
Cat hair is composed of different lengths of hair, from the longest guard hairs on their tails and back to the shortest undercoat hairs on their chest and stomach.
Cats can lose some or all of their secondary bristles as part of a healthy shedding process or as an indicator of a medical condition.
Fortunately, in most cases, this is nothing to worry about. But if you’re worried that something could be wrong, read on to find out more.
Is It Normal For Your Cat To Lose Whiskers?
Are your cat’s whiskers disappearing? If so, you’ll be relieved to know that it is completely normal for cats to sporadically lose their whiskers.
Many cat owners worry that these hairs are indicative of something more concerning, but in almost every case, losing whiskers is a natural process and not cause for alarm.
Temporary Loss Of Whiskers Due To Fright Or Stress
If your cat has been spooked or frightened by a noise or movement recently, it may have lost some of its whiskers as part of a self-defense mechanism.
The ability to detect the presence of danger is an essential part of the feline threat response.
When the “fight-or-flight” response kicks in, cats will typically react with their instincts in order to protect themselves from harm. Cats will run away from danger or freeze with their tail raised high above them; all actions which help them escape from potential threats.
When threatened or spooked, cats will also shed their whiskers temporarily in order to reduce visibility and make themselves appear smaller.
While this doesn’t necessarily mean that you should try to scare your cat again if they’ve just gotten over the last time you did it, it does go some way toward explaining why they might have lost some of their whiskers recently.
All in all, yes, it is perfectly normal for your cat to lose between 1 to 4 whiskers every couple of days or weeks. It is part of the normal shedding process of cats. And the temporary loss of whiskers due to some momentary scare is nothing to worry about either.
Interesting Read: What Does The Position Of Your Cat’s Whiskers Mean?
How Often Do Cats Lose Whiskers?
Whiskers are typically shed and replaced every three to four months.
However, this can vary between cats, as some felines may lose a whisker every now and again, while others may spontaneously lose a slightly larger number all at once.
However, if you notice your cat losing more than 4 whiskers at once, it could be the sign of an underlying infection, allergy, or any other health-related or injury-related concern. It is recommended then to get your cat checked by the vet to rule out any such medical emergencies.
If your cat is a long-haired breed, you may notice that a whisker is missing if the hair around it is noticeably shorter and thinner. In some cases, a cat may lose a whisker but the hair and skin around it remain intact.
In short-haired or hairless breeds of cats, the whiskers themselves are short and sometimes hard to notice. So, it may be difficult to notice when your cat has shed more whiskers than it is normally supposed to.
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Why Does My Cat Keep Losing Whiskers?
Loss of whiskers in cats may have several potential underlying reasons:
- Normal shedding
- Brawls with other cats
If your cat’s whiskers keep breaking off more often than usual, it may be advisable to consult a vet to rule out any underlying health condition.
Why A New Rescue Cat Tends To Lose More Whiskers Than The Other Littermates
One of the most common causes of whisker loss on a cat’s face is a flea infestation. Fleas are small parasites that feed on the blood of cats and dogs.
The problem of fleas is more persistent in the newly rescued kittens and cats because they have been straying for a long time and haven’t even had their first proper bath. And naturally, more fleas mean more chances of hair loss – both in terms of their fur and their whiskers.
This can lead to irritation and infection in the area where the fleas are feeding. If you notice that your cat is losing whiskers on one side of her face, it is a good idea to check for fleas. You can do this by combing your cat’s hair backward with a flea comb.
If you find any fleas on the comb, it is likely they are feeding on your cat’s follicles and thereby weakening the whiskers.
Interesting Read: What Happens If You Cut/Trim A Cat’s Whiskers?
How To Treat Fleas In Cats To Stop The Fall Of Whiskers And Fur?
To treat fleas on your cat, you will want to use flea shampoo. Flea shampoos are usually insecticide shampoos that kill fleas and their eggs on your cat’s body and in her fur.
You will want to follow the instructions on the flea shampoo you have selected carefully. Different flea shampoos have different instructions for the amount of time they should be left in your cat’s fur.
Another product that can be used to treat fleas in cats is flea powder. Flea powders are usually insecticides that kill fleas and their eggs in your cat’s fur. Once applied to your cat’s fur, flea powders need to be brushed out of your cat’s fur completely.
Interesting Read: Why Are My Cat’s Whiskers So Long?
What Happens When Cats Lose Whiskers?
Whiskers are an important part of the cat’s sensory perception, so you might notice that your cat moves and behaves differently once they’ve lost an unusual amount of its whiskers.
However, the whiskers that are lost due to the normal shedding cycle of cats do not impact the mobility and sense of perception of the cats as much – they may barely even notice the loss of 1 to 4 whiskers every now and then.
The case is completely different if your cat has lost a large number of whiskers due to infections, allergies, or injuries. It’s likely that your cat will feel a little less confident and agile without their whiskers, so they might seem a little less adventurous and playful.
If your cat is aging and losing its whiskers as a natural part of growing old, then you probably won’t notice any change in its behavior or level of confidence.
However, you should always keep an eye on your senior cat’s health and keep an ear out for any possible changes in their behavior.
Must Read: Why Is My Cat Losing Whiskers On One Side?
What Happens If A Cat Loses All Its Whiskers?
Cats rely on their whiskers for navigation, so if a cat loses all of its whiskers, it may start to struggle when navigating around its environment.
Cats are very tactile animals, so they rely on their whiskers to help them navigate and avoid bumping into things.
While losing all of your whiskers doesn’t mean that your cat is going to stop using its other senses, it will definitely impact its ability to move around freely.
Cats use their whiskers to gauge the width of an opening, navigate stairs, and even gauge the height of their food bowls.
If your cat loses a significant amount of whiskers, you may notice them compensating for their lost sense of touch with other areas of their body.
If your cat loses all of its whiskers, it’s worth speaking to your vet to find out whether they can offer you any advice.
What To Do If Your Cat Is Losing Whiskers?
If your cat has begun to lose whiskers and you aren’t sure why it is important to check them for fleas and/or ticks. If you find an insect or parasite on your cat, you should contact your vet to discuss appropriate treatment.
Once your cat has been treated for ticks or fleas, you should contact your vet to discuss the cause of the whisker loss.
Your vet may recommend a dietary change, vitamin supplements, or even antibiotics if your cat has been stressed and is losing whiskers due to stress-related illness.
Also, check out: Do Cats’ Whiskers Grow Back If They Are Burned?
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take for a cat’s whiskers to grow back after shedding?
The time it takes for a cat’s face whiskers to regrow to the proper length to be effective might range from 6 weeks to 3 months.
How many whiskers does a cat have on average?
Cats normally have 24 mystacial whiskers, 12 on each cheek, grouped in four rows of three horizontally. Although some cats may have more than 24, they are the longest of the vibrissae on the face, and their total number should always be even. For the cat to accurately assess its surroundings, it is critical that the whiskers are spread symmetrically on either side of its face.
Cats have an innate ability to navigate and hunt using their whiskers, but it isn’t always straightforward. Cats often lose a whisker here and there, as this is a natural part of their growth and shed cycles.
While it is not always obvious when a cat has lost a whisker, they can usually feel it when they have lost more than one or two whiskers.
Whiskers grow back over time, so it is important when your cat begins to shed their whiskers again to ensure that they have a healthy diet and an enriched environment; this will help to ensure that their new whiskers grow healthy and strong.
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Also, check out What To Do With Cat Whiskers?