Whiskers definitely make the shape of a cat's face. I have always wanted to know why cats have whiskers.


3 Answers 3


Cat whiskers are actually touch receptors. They have a sensory organ at the end of their whiskers that is called a propriceptor. The propriceptor actually sends signals to the cat's brain and nervous system related to the position of their body and limbs. This helps them make decisions about their next movement and allow them to gauge if they would, or would not, be able to fit into a small space, without seeing it. Without their whiskers they would not be able to visually measure distance, i.e. jumping on to something very narrow.

They also use their whiskers when they are chasing prey because the whiskers are sensitive enough to pick up the vibrations in the air. They also allow the cat to see in the dark and avoid predators. When a cat rubs their whiskers up against an object, they can detect the exact size, texture, and location of that specific object.

To summarize, a cat using their whiskers to receive information about their surroundings, directly into the cat's sensory nerves, which allows them to respond to changes in their surroundings.


Whiskers on a cat serves several functions, as noted below:

  • The whiskers will detect even the slightest changes in air currents.
  • This is tremendously important when moving around in the dark.
  • The air pressure changes as it hits any solid forms such as furniture, walls and so on.
  • The cat whiskers inform the cat of all possible obstacles.
  • This is why the cat can move around in the dark without bumping into things.
  • The cat whiskers are also used to navigate exactly where to go for the lethal bite when hunting.
  • The cat will use the whiskers to determine exactly where to bite the mouse with perfect precision for the kill.
  • The cat needs its whiskers to determine whether or not an opening or hole is large enough to get through.
  • The cat most certainly does not want to risk getting stuck. That would definitely cause panic and your cat could end up getting seriously hurt.
  • The lengths of the whiskers are just about the width of the cat’s body.
  • Using the whiskers as a kind of ruler will help your cat make an educated decision if it is safe to go through the opening.
  • 1
    "• The cat needs its whiskers to determine whether or not an opening or hole is large enough to get through." is probably the most commonly known reason.
    – Geremia
    Commented Dec 19, 2016 at 18:50

Pretty much all mammals have wiskers. Many fish have whiskers. They are feelers around the mouth / nose. Feeding and navigation in general.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.