Why do cats have whiskers

Cats possess many physical attributes that make them some of the best predators out there, despite what you may think, cat whiskers play a key role in their everyday life. 

Cat whiskers also known as 'vibrissae' are unlike human hair. Whiskers are touch receptors, they sit slightly deeper in the cat's body than their fur and are connected to the muscular and nervous systems. When the whiskers come into contact with something they send signals to the cats sensory nerve system. This is vital for cats as it allows them to detect and respond to any changes in their surroundings. 

Cats will use their whiskers to help them in a number of different situations. Not only do they help them determine whether they will fit through a small gap, they also pick up vibrations whilst hunting and they can help them to 'see' in the dark. Cats use whiskers to feel their way around a room in darkness so whiskers essentially stop them from bumping into anything. 

You will usually notice cat whiskers either side of their nose, and shorter ones above their eyes, however cats also have whiskers along their jawline and on the back of their front legs. Cat whiskers are usually between 2-3 times thicker than cat hair. It is really important that you do not cut or trim cat whiskers as they indicate the cats mood, help with navigation, and judge if they can fit through gaps.