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Franny Syufy

Cat Whiskers

By March 12, 2013

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Cats' whiskers, also called vibrissae, are another type of cat hair, only longer and thicker, and with completely different functions.

Photo of two cats exchanging information with their whiskers
Image © Franny Syufy

For example, the photo above shows my cats, littermate brothers Joey on the left and Jaspurr on the right, exchanging information through their whiskers. First, the whiskers thrust forward indicate friendliness and possibly curiosity. I envision Joey telling Jaspurr via his whiskers about the catfish he saw in the water below the dock, or Jaspurr warning Joey to watch out for the mean stray cat who had been snooping around. For as long as I can remember, my family has collected cat whiskers, and we have two or three containers of white whiskers, scattered with a few black ones, dating back about 25 years. We consider it good luck to find a cat whisker, and can spot a stray one on a blanket 10 feet away. Anyone else a crazy cat whisker collector?

Comments

March 14, 2013 at 6:07 pm
(1) suayres says:

Yes, my family collects cat whiskers too –and our “Meezer”, Sam, has somewhat unusual whiskers, in that some are a lovely, mottled cream-and-brown in color. I’ve even share a few of his whiskers with a friend who also is a vibrissae fancier.

July 6, 2013 at 8:58 pm
(2) Lisa says:

Have a bottle full of whiskers from 16 different cats. My family also considers it good luck too find a whisker.

July 19, 2013 at 11:18 pm
(3) Cathy Darling says:

I also collect cat whiskers! My family is from Sicily, our family name
Gatto, means cat. We have been taught to believe collecting cats whiskers will keep you safe. From what, I do not know! The whiskers must have fallen out naturally, never been cleaned by people, kept safe and dry.
amen to cat whiskers!

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