Why is my cat losing whiskers on one side?

If you just found out that your cat is missing whiskers on one side (or when they’ve broken off or appeared shorter) there’s no need to panic! Before you jump to conclusions, let’s take a look at the possible reasons why cats suddenly lose whiskers.

What are whiskers for?

The whiskers finely tuned sensors that are used by cats to help them navigate the world. Like the antennae seen in insects, they provide additional information about the surroundings. Whiskers are believed to have evolved because they aid with hunting during night time. If needed, a cat can completely close her eyes to protect them and hunt with only the senses of smell and touch.

The whiskers are so sensitive that they give a cat enough information to create a three-dimensional map of its surroundings while hunting. This map is used to determine where the prey is exactly upon contact, which helps the cat deliver a fatal bite.

Why do they fall off?

Most of the time, it does not indicate anything terrible. Whiskers, like any other sort of hair, or supposed to fall out every so often. Under normal conditions, a new hair will grow to replace the old one in a few weeks.

But when a cat is losing multiple whiskers above the eye or next to the nose and the hairs are not growing back (or worse, even more of them start to disappear over time) this could be worth investigating.

Studies show stressed cats lose more hair, and that includes whiskers!

Cat’s tend to lose more whiskers when they are stressed. But there are many other health-related issues that can cause hairs to fall out at a faster rate. For one, a common problem seen is found within the skin or the coat. For instance, fleas and ticks are known to cause hair loss. But things like allergies and hormonal problems can contribute to the problem as well.

What to do?
If you’ve been checking a few weeks and the whiskers don’t seem to be growing back, a trip to the vet might be in order. This could mean that something more serious is going on.

How often do cat whiskers fall out?

A cat will lose a few whiskers every so often. They usually fall out in groups of two or three. If a whole bunch of whiskers has fallen out in a short time period, this might be worth getting checked out by your vet.

Recommended: Joanna shares a few tips on finding the right vet

Broken whiskers

Whiskers may break off during fights. Especially for outdoor cats, who frequently come into contact with members of their own species, fights are not uncommon.

If you have multiple cats in your family and you notice one of your cat’s whiskers is shorter on one side compared to the other, it’s very possible that one of your other cats could be chewing them off! If you suspect this to be the case, make sure to keep a close eye on your cats in the coming weeks. You should be able to find out soon enough.

What happens if my cat loses all her whiskers?

If a cat loses her whiskers, she’s not a happy cat. While whiskers are not 100% essential to a cat’s survival, they are still an important visual and auditory instrument. Be sure to investigate and determine the possible cause.

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