do cat whiskers grow back

Do Cat Whiskers Grow Back? – The Magical Power of Cats

Our question of the day – do cat whiskers grow back? The answer: a resounding YES.

How long does it take for a cat’s whiskers to grow back? It will take 2-3 months for a whisker to grow back.

Do cats’ whiskers grow back if you cut them? The short answer: YES. 

BUT a human should never trim or cut a cat’s whiskers. This would be like making them put on a blindfold and noise-canceling headphones simultaneously.

Does cutting a cat’s whiskers hurt them? YES! Cutting their whiskers would take away what makes your cat a cat. Whiskers are your cat’s magical weapon, defensive armament, and orientation device. With their whiskers, your cat is ready for almost anything.

Why did my cat lose a whisker? Cats naturally lose their whiskers. They fall out and regrow in a naturally staggered pattern.

Do cat whiskers fall out? Cat whiskers grow back if pulled out? Do cat whiskers hurt when cut?

This article will answer these questions. We will also explore what makes cats so fascinating, their connection to ancient gods and magic, how they evolved to gain their special powers and attributes. We will cover all the ways whiskers help cats and other furry friends, and how wild cats settled down to live among us. 

Whiskers help cats to navigate the world with intrepid grace.

Do cats whiskers grow back if you cut them?
Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Cats Are Magic

If you have spent time with a cat, you might say they are mysterious and hard to read. Cats can be standoffish. A cat is unlikely to come to you when you call them and is not inclined to cuddle up when you would most like them to. Cats have their own schedules. They will come to see you when the time is right. 

Cats can fit through impossibly tiny openings. If you really watch a cat, you might feel they are attuned to forces that you cannot sense. A cat can seem to us like they are operating in a different plane of reality.

Some ancient people agreed with this notion. Bast was a cat god of the Ancient Egyptians. They believed that if a cat’s whisker were burned Bast would grant one wish – but it was important that the whisker NOT be pulled out. It needed to have fallen out naturally.

In Ancient Greece, the famous historian Herodotus recorded that killing cats was forbidden. When a family’s cat died, all family members grieved together and shaved their eyebrows. Family cats were embalmed and buried in sacred repositories. 

Witches believed that cats possessed a magic that enabled them to walk between worlds, and that a cat’s whiskers would protect them from malevolent forces. This was why witches valued cat whiskers so highly. A cat’s whiskers provided extra protection for witches engaging in potentially harmful magic.

The Egyptians and the witches may have been on to something. A cat’s whiskers are enormously powerful but for natural and not supernatural reasons. You should never trim a cat’s whiskers or pull them out. To do so would be to (temporarily) rob a cat of some of its special powers.

The Evolution of Cats – From Wild to Mild

The domestic cats of today are remarkably like their wild counterparts. The ancestors of our housecats hunted from dusk to dawn and relied on low light vision while stalking their prey. They evolved with the ability to see things far away and to keenly detect movements during hunting. 

This evolutionary adaptation had a big drawback though – as a result, the modern-day cat can’t focus on anything closer than 30 centimeters in front of its face.

That is where whiskers become especially important! While cats are prowling through tall grass, whiskers help keep them from being poked in the eye. The whiskers of domesticated cats will come to a cat’s defense when needed at close range. The whiskers move forward to protect the cat’s face and the trigger blink reflex helps protect their eyes. 

Since cats cannot see well up close, they need some way to sense if they have positioned their prey properly for a fatal bite. The whiskers on cats’ forelegs, chin, and either side of the face provide the orientation the cat needs.

Whiskers are attuned to even the slightest vibrations in the air. When hunting, this helps a cat perceive even the tiniest movements of its prey. 

Non-Feline Whiskers

Almost all primates and some mammals also have whiskers. Seals also became hunters under low light, but underwater. Seals’ whiskers are also extremely sensitive, enabling their amazing hunting abilities even when they can barely see. The special shape of seal whiskers enables them to detect tiny disturbances left by other animals moving through the water – even while they are swimming.

The whiskers of dogs function very similarly to those of cats. Perhaps because they have been domesticated for much longer than cats, dogs seem more attuned to humans. Some feel that dogs are more grounded than cats, less magical, and less attuned to the natural world. Others, like some passionate cat owners, might disagree!

Mice, beavers, walruses, and many other animals also have whiskers – though these may be harder to observe!

Does cutting a cat's whiskers hurt them?
Image by Annette Meyer from Pixabay

Cats Among Us

Historians believe that cats were domesticated about 12,000 years ago. This was long after dogs had joined us. Dogs helped humans with hunting and realized it was an easier and more comfortable way to survive.

It was not until humans settled down, began to farm and store grain that cats became especially useful. We needed cats to take care of the mice that started hanging around all the grain storage. Cats were happy to have the prey and humans were happy to have pest control.

After being domesticated, cats underwent only minor changes in anatomy and behavior. Your precious pet cat could probably still survive in the wild!

Throughout their history with humans, cats have had a lot of ups and downs. In Ancient Egypt, cats were revered. If you killed a cat, you could receive a death sentence. The Ancient Romans also held cats with special regard and placed cats as a symbol of liberty.

In the Middle Ages, though, cats were thought to be in league with the devil and with witches. Sadly, many cats were killed in an effort to ward off evil.

Finally, in the 1600s, cats came to be appreciated again. Now of course cats have conquered the internet and are the most popular of pets. They live in 34% of American homes and number more than 90 million. 

Whisker a Go Go

Whiskers are much more than just hair. They are also called vibrissae (from the Latin “vibro,” or “to vibrate”). They are much thicker and longer than normal hair and sit three times deeper under the skin. At the base of each whisker are many blood vessels and nerve endings. As a result, each whisker is extremely sensitive! Every individual whisker can be traced back to a specific area in the brain.

Each whisker has a tiny sensory organ at the end called proprioceptors, which send tactile signals to the cat’s brain and nervous system. The proprioceptors relate to the position of the cat’s body, helping the cat know how to make decisions for their next moves. They help the cat perceive tiny changes in their environment and to know whether they can fit into a tight space. When a cat is chasing their prey, the proprioceptors can respond to vibrations in the air.

The complex system of whiskers helps cats to perceive distances, enabling them to leap with grace and speed, whether onto a tiny space or out of danger. It gives cats an incredible sense of balance.

A larger proportion of a cat’s brain, as compared to humans’, is dedicated to the detection of movement.

Whisk Us Away

A cat’s whiskers (around its nose) usually number 24, and all are connected to the cat’s muscular and nervous systems. Each side of the cat’s face has 12 whiskers. They are in a completely symmetrical distribution, helping the cat to accurately measure the environment. A single whisker of a cat is served by more than 200 nerve cells.

The vibrissae help the cat to know if something is getting closer, helping them to avoid collisions with obstacles. Walking a very narrow path or sleeping on an exceedingly high perch all become an ordinary part of a cat’s life because of these unique attributes.

The whisker pad – the horizontal rows of whiskers on a cat’s cheeks – is the location we mainly think of for a cat’s whiskers. But a cat has whiskers in several other places – on the chin, above the eyes, and on the back of the front legs. 

Whiskers can communicate a cat’s mood. Whiskers held gently at the sides of the face indicate the cat is feeling relaxed. Angled forward, they show the cat is on the alert. When pulled back, the cat is feeling fearful. You can also watch your cat’s tail and movements to get a sense of how they are feeling! But the whiskers can telegraph this simply and clearly.

The Sphinx cat is a hairless breed that often has almost no whiskers. Sphynx cats need to find ways to make up for the lack of whiskers, and like other cats use their tails for balance. They may not be able to fit themselves into tight spaces as well as other cats and probably do not have the same abilities to perceive potential hazards. For these reasons, Sphinx cat owners usually keep their precious pets inside.

Why did my cat lose a whisker?
Image by Иван Стрижлев from Pixabay

A Cat Without Whiskers

Cats will become disoriented and agitated when their whiskers are cut or pulled out. They may start acting dizzy and confused because they are no longer receiving vital navigation signals.

It will take 2-3 months for the whiskers to grow back if you are lucky. During that time, it is recommended that you do not let your cat outside. Staying indoors, when the cat’s instincts and perceptions are so limited, will help keep your cat safer.

There is a video online showing someone cutting their cat’s whiskers. After learning so much about how important whiskers are for cats, you might not be able to watch. The people in the video are behaving foolishly, seemingly only for their own entertainment.

Cutting a cat’s whiskers should never be done without good reason. It would be like putting a blindfold on the cat. It might not hurt the cat physically at the moment that you cut the whiskers off, but afterward would be very damaging.

Research has shown that cats without whiskers have trouble estimating the size of openings and can easily get stuck. Also, since whiskers are important to a cat’s equilibrium, without them, they have trouble walking straight and have difficulty running. 

Interestingly, experiments done with cats with whiskers cut short also show that they struggle to judge distances accurately. Their jumping ability is hindered, and they also will occasionally run into things. Luckily, a cat’s tail can also help them with their balance.

If someone is misguided enough or cruel enough to clip a cat’s whiskers, the cat still possesses good luck in that the whiskers can regrow. Of course, the damage could happen in a fight or an accident. If the follicle itself is not damaged beyond repair, a cat should regain its special whisking abilities. 


It is a truth universally acknowledged that a cat must possess whiskers. (Unless they’re a Sphinx, of course.)

Whiskers are a big part of why cats are the amazing creatures they are. Cats evolved in the wild with great hunting abilities. Those wild talents were invaluable to humans, who quickly perceived cat’s extra special abilities and qualities.

Whether your cat is navigating a tight space, leaping to great heights or balanced and sleeping peacefully on the narrow back of your sofa, you can easily see how special they are. Their whiskers are their antenna, their GPS, and part of an impressive defensive capability. 

Protecting your cat’s whiskers will help them to remain a contented companion in your world.

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