It is completely normal for a cat to lose 1 to 4 whiskers every now and then as part of its natural shedding cycle. However, it may sometimes seem strange if your cat seems to be losing its whiskers from one side of its face only.
Before you jump to conclusions and press your internal panic buttons, it may help to know that losing whiskers – on one side or both – is not always a cause of concern.
There are certain health-related issues as well, but these issues come with a whole set of symptoms of which loss of whiskers is only a singular part. And noticing those symptoms early on will allow you to take your cat to the vet as soon as possible.
In this article, we look at the various reasons why your cat may be losing whiskers from only one side of its face.
Why Are My Cats Whiskers Short On One Side?
Usually, cats have around 24 whiskers which are equally distributed between both sides of their face, and they are all roughly of the same length.
This is because the symmetry of whiskers helps them navigate through their surroundings in a balanced way and make proper calculative decisions regarding going through holes or jumping across surfaces.
If you notice that the whiskers of your cat are short on one side, then chances are that one of the following things may have happened:
1 – The groomer or a bully may have chopped off one side of the whiskers.
Chances are that the groomer may have accidentally trimmed one side of the whiskers – or if you hadn’t taken your cat to a groomer, and it was simply roaming outside in the neighborhood, then someone may have cut its whiskers – most likely a bully kid.
2 – Your cat may have gotten stuck somewhere.
Your cat may have gotten itself stuck somewhere, and that too face-first! This happens more often than you would like to accept, especially with cats that roam around outdoors.
3 – Your cat may have gotten into a brawl with another cat.
Again, this holds true for most outdoorsy cats – especially the male ones. If your male cat roams outside, chances are very high that it encounters another territorial male cat and gets into a fight with it.
Such brawls with other cats can lead to your cat losing its whiskers on one or both sides of its face.
4 – Your cat may have developed an infection on that side of the face.
Infections can cause irritation and may be the reason why your cat is losing whiskers on one side.
Check that side of your cat’s face to see if there is any redness, swelling, or any other unusual symptom visible.
5 – Your cat may be scratching an old wound.
As old wounds dry up, they get itchy. So, your cat may be itching that particular side of its face too much – which may be leading to it losing its whiskers from that particular side.
6 – Your cat’s littermates or roommates maybe chew it off.
Sometimes, due to rough play, cats accidentally remove their whiskers from each other. In some cases, the whiskers of the cat may be removed from both sides of its face, while in other cases, whiskers from one side may be removed more than the other.
In either case, it is your responsibility to put a stop to this rough play among your cats, or it can lead to grievous injuries.
7 – Your cat may be over-grooming itself on one side.
For whatever reason, if your cat seems to be over-grooming one side of its face more than the other, it can lead to whiskers from that side falling off faster than the whiskers on the other side.
8 – Your cat may have fleas on that side of its face.
Fleas are an annoyance for cats – they are itchy and painful, much like the lice that we humans end up having sometimes in our hair.
So, if your cat is scratching itself too much on one side of its face, you may want to check for fleas there. Fleas could also be the reason behind the possible loss of whiskers from that side of its face.
9 – Your cat may have accidentally burned off one side of its whiskers.
Either your cat may have been standing too close to a fireplace, or it may have accidentally touched one side of its face with something really hot.
Whatever the cause may be, your cat’s whiskers may be appearing shorter on one side due to the whiskers on that side being burnt.
Also, check out: Do Cats’ Whiskers Grow Back If They Are Burned?
10 – There may be some skin-related issues in the hair follicles of one side of its face.
If your cat is not showing any signs of any of the aforementioned reasons, then chances are that your cat may have some problems in the hair follicles on one side of its face that may be causing the unusual loss of whiskers from one side.
It is advisable, in such a case, to take your cat to the vet at the earliest.
Interesting Read: What Does The Position Of Your Cat’s Whiskers Mean?
Why Is My Cat Losing Whiskers On One Side?
There are some conditions that can cause whisker loss on a cat’s face, but most of them are nothing to worry about. The exception would be if your cat is losing whiskers on one side and you find a red, swollen area underneath.
This is likely caused by an infection in the area and should be treated promptly by a veterinarian. If your cat loses a few whiskers on one side of her face, it is nothing to worry about. These whiskers will grow back within a few weeks.
If your cat is losing whiskers on one side and other signs such as lethargy or lack of appetite persist, you should visit your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Also, read about Why Do My Cat’s Whiskers Keep Breaking Off?
What Happens If You Cut Off One Side Of A Cat’s Whiskers?
As is well known by many, the whiskers of a cat are more than just hair. They act as a sensory mechanism that helps them make sense of the world.
So, whether you cut off the whiskers on one side or both, you are essentially tampering with the sensory mechanism of a cat.
If you cut off the whiskers on one side of a cat, it may:
- Experience difficulty navigating outdoors or around the house
- Miscalculate jumps and injure itself
- Become more prone to accidents
- Misjudge the size of holes and get stuck, thereby increasing the risks of injury
- Feel disoriented and have difficulty perceiving and making sense of the world around it
You should never cut the whiskers off any side of your cat’s face.
And if, for some unavoidable medical reason, you do have to cut the whiskers off, do so only at the advice of a vet. And keep your cat indoors until the whiskers grow back.
Do Cat Whiskers Grow Back On One Side After Being Cut?
Yes, the whiskers do grow back even if they are cut from one side of a cat’s face.
But it is still advisable that you never trim off the whiskers of a cat from any side.
Do not get conscious if your cat seems to have really long whiskers.
There is nothing wrong with having long whiskers, and that does not justify the decision to trim or cut whiskers.
Interesting Read: Can A Cat Live Without Whiskers?
What To Do If Cat Is Losing Whisker On One Side?
You need to find the root cause behind why your cat is losing whiskers on one side of its face.
If your cat loses whiskers on one side of the face due to factors like rough play or brawls with other cats, it may help to keep your cat indoors and supervise the playtime it has with its other feline friends.
If your cat is losing whiskers due to fleas, skin infections, or issues in the hair follicle, you should take your cat to the vet. This will ensure that your cat gets the right medical attention and treatment in a timely manner.
These are the factors that have controllable variables. You can control the solution to these problems through changes in the lifestyle of your cat and help from the vet.
Once these root causes are resolved, the problem of loss of the whiskers from one side of the face will automatically be resolved.
Other than these, other factors like shedding or accidental burning cannot be controlled. You can simply be a little more cautious about keeping your cat away from heat sources. But for shedding, you don’t need to intervene at all.
Shedding is a natural process and it happens in cycles – some cats follow a daily cycle, some may have a monthly cycle, and some others may lose their whiskers only once in a couple of months.
Either way, it is completely normal for cats to lose 1 to 4 whiskers on average during their single shedding cycle.
The whiskers, whether lost from one side or both, grow back on their own. It may however take anywhere between a couple of weeks and a couple of months to regrow the whiskers to a length that makes them functional for the cat in terms of navigation, perception, and sensory inputs.
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens if a cat loses one whisker?
Your cat losing one or two whiskers now and again is typical. Natural shedding causes whiskers to fall out, but they will grow back, so losing one or two whiskers won’t make it harder for your cat to get around.
Do cats eat their whiskers?
Cats have reportedly been caught chewing off other cats’ whiskers, according to observations and proof. According to certain research, mother cats have been observed to remove their newborn kittens’ whiskers when they are feeding in order to create more room. This habit ought to stop as soon as the kittens are weaned.
How do you stop whiskers from fatigue?
Simply changing your cat’s food and water dishes can reduce or eliminate tension connected to whisker fatigue at mealtime. When feeding your cat, make sure the dish is large enough or flat enough that the cat’s whiskers don’t touch the sides.
Whiskers being lost from just one side of your cat’s face may be a new experience for you to witness as a pet owner. It is understandable for you to get concerned about the same.
However, there are many factors that may cause this loss of whiskers from one side of the face of your cat – and not all of those factors are scary or risky to the well-being of your cat.
What’s more is that all of those aforementioned reasons or factors can be controlled and prevented from happening, except the natural shedding process, of course.
So, you don’t need to panic about your cat’s loss of whiskers. Just find the root cause and judge if you need to intervene or if you can simply let it be.
Interesting Read: Why Is My Senior Cat Losing Its Whiskers?