What do the cats whiskers do?

The whiskers on the cat are specialized sensory hairs grouped in three specific locations on the cats head. The Supercilary whiskers are positioned above the eyes, the Genal whiskers to the rear of the cats cheek area and the Mystacial whiskers, which are the longest and most prominent are carried either side of the cats muzzle

The Mystacial whiskers are primarily used as an alternative sensing device when the eyes are no longer effective i.e. in the dark. It is now believed that there is a link between sensory and visual input in the cat and that a degree of parallel processing takes place within the brain. This can be demonstrated by simply touching the end of the whiskers the automatic response is for the cat to blink.

The extreme sensitivity of the hairs can register very small changes in air pressure thus enabling the cat to avoid objects whilst moving around in the dark. It is thought that the whiskers may also be used to establish the position of prey and to help locate the exact position for the killing bite.

Interestingly, cheetahs who mainly hunt by day, have less developed whiskers than many other 'night hunting' cats.

Cats are able to change the position of their whiskers depending on what they are doing - at rest the whiskers are elongated, at 90% to the head, whilst when walking they are tilted forward to aid their sensing ability.

How big are the Big Cats - The male Siberian or Amur Tiger is the largest cat in the world - Compare the the body size and weight of the wild cat species.

Species Geographical Range - View the global geographical range of all 36 wild cat species.

What is a Black Panther? - The term 'Black Panther' is quite often used in connection with large black cats - however there is no one distinct species of wild cat called a Black Panther.

What do the cats whiskers do? - The whiskers on the cat are specialized sensory hairs grouped in three specific locations on the cats head. Just what do these whiskers do?

Why do cats eyes glow in the dark? - Why do cats eyes glow in the dark? Why is it that large cats do not have slit-type eyes like the domestic cats.