Cats come in many different shapes, sizes, and breeds, but many of their adorable features are commonly shared amongst all cats. One such feature that baffles many cat parents is the area around their eyes; for instance, do cats have eyebrows?
Cats don’t have eyebrows as humans do, but they do have brow bones. This is evident in the various facial expressions that cats can make. Additionally, their facial structure is built in order to serve a different purpose for them than eyebrows do for humans.
Understanding the unique physical characteristics of your furry feline can help you keep them adequately groomed, plus learn more about what makes your cat so special.
Do Cats Have Eyebrows?
Some cat enthusiasts would answer this question differently. Depending on a cat’s coloring, it does sometimes appear that cats have eyebrows or strips of hair that follow the shape of their eyelids. Other than these cats with distinct color patterns, it would technically be almost impossible to tell whether or not there are actually eyebrows hiding in all that facial fur.
Cats don’t need eyebrows the way that humans do. For humans, eyebrows help to catch any sort of dirt or debris that could get caught in the eyes and hurt them. Additionally, eyebrows help to trap sweat falling off of the forehead. Since cats don’t sweat and avoid water as much as possible, they don’t need eyebrows for this function.
Of course, it’s easy to see whiskers in place of where eyebrows would naturally sit on the face when you look at your cat. These whiskers are an important feature, as are the other whiskers on your cat’s face. However, these whiskers don’t exist to keep your cat’s face clean.
How Eyebrow Whiskers Work
The whiskers on your cat’s eyebrow area help your cat navigate through their surroundings. Their whiskers are extremely sensitive to sensation and the elements around them, helping them determine what is safe and unsafe around them. These particular whiskers are known as superciliary whiskers.
As whiskers help the cat understand their surroundings, they can also help cats determine whether or not they can fit into confined spaces. Since cats don’t have the best vision, especially during the day, these whiskers can help make up for the sensory functions they are missing from their eyes.
At night, they don’t have the ability to see very far ahead, so their whiskers will make up for that.
Where Else Cats Have Whiskers
Almost every single cat will have long whiskers growing out of the area surrounding their nose. These whiskers are used for the same purposes as eyebrow whiskers. Additionally, cats will sometimes grow whiskers on their chin, though these whiskers may be less noticeable. The name for chin whiskers is mandibular.
The whiskers around your cat’s nose are known as mystacial whiskers and are often referred to as muzzle whiskers as well. These ones are usually much longer than any other whiskers, and cats will usually have multiple rows of mystacial whiskers.
Some cats even have whiskers on other areas of their body. These whiskers may be less detectable to our eyes, but again, they function in the same way as whiskers on the face. For example, some cats grow whiskers on their feet or their arms, while others might grow a few whiskers on the top of their head.
The Many Uses For Whiskers
As previously stated, a cat’s whiskers are quite delicate. This sensitivity lends itself to working in the cat’s favor for a number of reasons. At the top of the whiskers, the fibers are extremely sensitive; embedded in the skin are very tender nerves. Whiskers will help a cat understand their surroundings completely.
Whiskers also allow cats to sense movement around them. This was an important tactic for wild cats to avoid potential danger. Their whiskers can also sense the atmosphere around them, including wind, and they also provide cats with a keen sense of direction. It’s truly incredible what their cute little whiskers can do for them, and the amount of information they can absorb through these hairs.
Have you ever watched your cat attempt to squeeze themselves into a tiny box, wondering why they think they can fit into it? Their whiskers will tell them whether or not they can fit before they even try. Their whiskers will essentially measure the area of the item they want to squeeze into in order to determine if it’s deep enough or spacious enough.
Why Some Cats Don’t Have Whiskers
Some cats don’t end up growing eyebrow whiskers, and it’s unclear why this is. It’s assumed that some breeds of cats just simply evolved without finding their eyebrow whiskers necessary. This isn’t a bad thing, as cats are very adaptable creatures.
The only time you should be concerned is when your cat did have whiskers, but they seem to have disappeared or have fallen out. A cat losing whiskers can happen as they get older, but it could also be a sign that your cat may not be feeling well. If this is the case, monitor them and take them for a check-up if their behaviors or habits change.
Do Cats Need Whiskers?
Whiskers are an extremely important part of a cat’s anatomy. These distinctive hairs grow longer and thicker than the rest of their fur, and they also form much deeper into the skin than fur does. They are also one of the first parts of a cat’s body to develop. Since they serve so many important purposes for your cat, they are extremely important.
Given that whiskers are such sensitive areas of their body, it is crucial that you take care around their whiskers so as to not damage one or accidentally remove one during playtime or grooming. There are extremely sensitive nerves at one end of the whiskers, which could cause your cat to become very uncomfortable when they are played with.
You don’t need to do anything to help a cat maintain their whiskers. While you might occasionally wipe their face or give their fur trim, you should avoid the whiskers. Cats do a fine job washing their face and take care to clean their whiskers while doing so.
Without whiskers, cats can have a really difficult time keeping themselves oriented to their surroundings. They could also lose their keen sense of balance, so you might notice them becoming a little wobbly. For outdoor cats, losing whiskers could also make it difficult for them to find food. Indoor cats are safe, as they know you’ll always make sure they’re fed.
Do Cats Raise Their Eyebrows?
Some cats are more prone to making facial expressions than others, and you’ve surely seen your cat raise their “eyebrows” at you before. When you look very closely at your cat, not only can you see them adjust their eyes and brow bones into facial expressions, but they can also use their whiskers to communicate with you.
When a cat is happy and relaxed, their whiskers will usually sit upright, but not in a rigid fashion. They almost appear to jut out of their face at a slight angle. When your cat is nervous or unhappy, their whiskers will pull back towards their head and face. When you’ve caught your cat’s interest, their whiskers will look as though they’re spread out and perked up.
Your cat might also appear to furrow their eyebrows when something is upsetting them, or they feel nervous in their current environment. If their eyebrows seem to be angled towards the middle of their forehead, you know they are not happy. Be sure to give them some pets and reassure them that they are safe.
Do Cats Shed Whiskers?
Cats will sometimes shed whiskers naturally. This isn’t very noticeable, as they don’t all shed at once. Generally, one or two will come out at a time in order to make room for a new, healthier whisker to take over. If you do notice a few whiskers missing, you don’t have to be concerned about anything.
Regrowth can take quite a while. Sometimes, new whiskers won’t be noticeable for a few months. They can also take a long time to grow to the same length as their current whiskers. If you notice a shorter whisker or a whisker with a little bit of damage at the end, don’t try to cut it off. Your kitty will deal with this whisker in their own way.
When wondering “do cats have eyebrows?” you may technically consider their whiskers to be their eyebrows. Many cat parents do. For all we know, cats might in fact have eyebrows that blend in with their fur. However, it’s mainly understood that instead of having eyebrows, cats have whiskers in the place of eyebrows.
Cats don’t need eyebrows for cleanliness, but they do need their eyebrow whiskers for many different reasons. As long as you ensure their “eyebrows” stay intact, your cat will be perfectly content regardless of what you call their whiskers.
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