Image url: Pixabay.com
Has your cat appeared to be more unusually stressed? Does he/she
hesitate to eat food from the food bowl or tray even though they
are clearly hungry? These could be signs that your feline friend
is suffering from a condition known as whisker fatigue.While some
vets believe that whisker fatigue is not really a legitimate
condition in cats that require attention and treatment, the
result of it – stress and even aggressive behavior – is in fact,
a real cause for concern. So, if your cat has been showing these
signs, it’s better to get it checked as soon as possible.
What is whisker fatigue?
Whisker fatigue is a condition in which the whiskers of a cat are
overloaded with sensory information, which in turn, leads to
increased stress. Your cat’s whiskers are not just there to make
them look cuter than they already are. They are extremely
sensitive, enabling cats to use them as sensory receptors. In
short, whiskers help cats to be aware of and navigate their
surroundings.So, when the whiskers come in contact with objects
too often, or even if they only detect movements, they can easily
perceive these and send it to the brain. This includes even
things which may seem insignificant like a slight difference in
air current or a light brush against your cat’s face.When your
cat’s whiskers sense these changes and touches way more often
than they should, an overload of information is sent to the
brain, resulting in your cat being stressed, anxious and tired.If
your cat is down with whisker fatigue, he/she may exhibit
behavior like constant meowing and backing away from the food
tray when you try to feed them, pacing around their food instead
of actually eating it, and getting agitated and aggressive
whenever they are near the food tray. This is because they tend
to brush their whiskers against their food trays while eating,
and this has become the most common cause of whisker fatigue.
Preventing whisker fatigue
Since whisker fatigue is becoming common knowledge among cat
owners and those in the feline care industry, it is not very
difficult to prevent your cat from developing it. There are lots
of trusted brands that sell whisker-friendly feeding bowls and
trays for cats. This means that they are designed in such a way
that they are shallower and have a wider opening, allowing the
cat plenty of space while eating so his/her whiskers will not
touch the bowl or tray.You can even use plates and saucers that
you already have at home instead of buying new feeding trays.
They essentially have the same design and provide the same
All You Need To Know About Whisker Stress In Cats
Does your pet appear extremely fussy around food? Have you
noticed him spilling excessive food onto the ground and leaving a
huge mess for you to clean up? Has your cat ever rejected an
entire bowl of food after a few mouthfuls, only to beg you for
more food again? If you have wondered if this is a behavioral
issue, you’re right. But it’s not one to get annoyed about. Your
cat isn’t making your life harder, he’s suffering from whisker
What exactly is whisker stress
To fully understand what whisker stress means, you need to look
closely at your cat’s whiskers. What is their function? Whiskers,
in most animals, function as feelers that capture information
about the surfaces they contact. Most cats have whiskers so
sensitive that they pick up on subtle vibrations in the air.
Whiskers may appear to be hair, but they’re far more complex.
They’re cells rich in blood vessels and nerve endings, which
enhance a cat’s vision and senses.
So, what does this have to do with your cat’s eating habits?
Well, if your cat is eating out of a bowl that can’t accommodate
his whiskers, he is likely to feel a lot of pain. The pressure of
being forced to fit a narrow bowl can send pain waves through
your cat’s nerve-rich whiskers.
To really understand how painful this can be, imagine this. A
single whisker shoots out a stress signal if it moves 1/200th the
width of a human hair. Now picture how strong this signal would
be if a cat had to squeeze his entire face into the narrow walls
of a bowl. Cats’ whiskers have evolved over time to be able to
gauge spaces and send signals so the cat can respond accordingly.
This means that the whiskers are constantly screaming to the cat
that the bowl is too narrow for his head and that he should stop
forcing it to fit. Now you know why your cat behaves funnily when
you try to serve meals in bowls that are way too narrow.
How to save your cat from
The great news about whisker stress is that saving your cat from
it requires a simple fix. All you have to do is switch out your
cat’s feeding and water bowls for bigger ones that comfortably
accommodate his whiskers. Ensure that the bowls are wide and
shallow so there’s no chance of your pet’s whiskers touching the
sides even if he bends to reach the very bottom.
Many cat owners don’t understand why their pets choose to go
hungry over eating from certain bowls. They mistake this behavior
for their pet being fussy or finicky. This certainly isn't the
case. As you now know, whisker stress causes severe pain in cats
causing them to react very dramatically. The good news is that
you can use the simple fixes on this post to solve this painful