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Whisker Fatigue in Cats

September 15, 2020

Have you heard the term whisker fatigue before? If not, you aren’t alone. It’s definitely not one of the more common phrases associated with cats. Whisker fatigue is a real thing, however, and it can have a detrimental effect on your feline pal. A Tipp City, OH vet discusses whisker fatigue in this article.

What Is Whisker Fatigue?

As you may know, kitties’ cute whiskers are very sensitive. Whiskers are very important to your pet’s balance. They also act as antenna, giving your feline buddy information about things like weather and wind direction, and help alert her to the movements of both predators and prey nearby. They also help her gauge whether or not she can fit into small spaces. (This doesn’t always work out very well for fat cats, but that’s another topic.) Because Fluffy’s whiskers are so sensitive, it can be very overwhelming and uncomfortable for her when they brush against the sides of a dish or bowl. This is known as whisker fatigue. Think of it sort of as the kitty version of nails on a chalkboard, but much worse.

Signs of Whisker Fatigue

One thing you may notice is your kitty dropping food from her bowl and eating off the floor. She may pace before her food dishes, and maybe yell at you a little. Fluffy might also act much more aggressive about or interested in food that is given to her outside of her bowl. In extreme cases, cats may even flat-out refuse to eat or drink.

Choosing A Bowl

Whisker fatigue was pretty much unheard of until recently, but awareness is growing. This is a good thing, because companies that manufacture pet products are starting to make bowls more whisker-friendly. These are usually wide and shallow, so Fluffy can eat her 37 daily meals without her whiskers brushing against the side of the bowl. You can also just use a small plate.

What To Do?

Do you think your furball is suffering from whisker fatigue? Don’t worry! This isn’t exactly something that would warrant an emergency visit to the clinic. Start by changing Fluffy’s bowl. If she still seems uneasy about eating, or is losing whiskers, that’s when you would want to contact your vet.

Please contact us, your Tipp City, OH vet clinic, with any questions or concerns about your kitty’s diet, health, or care. We’re here for you!