Face of a grey/brown cat with text "Whisker Fatigue"

Whisker fatigue sounds like a very tired whisker or something a man may get while shaving. Many humans have never heard of it and may think it sounds ridiculous and laughable, but it can be misery at mealtime for a cat. It’s true, whisker fatigue could be causing Kitty some serious stress around mealtimes.

What is whisker fatigue?
Cute cat whiskers are more than just long, thick hairs that complement the face. At the end of each whisker is a sensory organ called a proprioceptor that sends signals to the nervous system and brain. The whiskers provide cats with information about the environment such as navigating a dark room, hunting prey, and determining if the cat can squeeze into a tight spot. Whiskers are so sensitive that they can become easily fatigued by eating from a bowl where the whiskers can touch the sides.

Signs of whisker fatigue:
• Remove food from the bowl to eat on the floor instead
• Leaving food in the bowl, despite being hungry
• Showing aggressive behavior towards other pets when eating
• Displaying signs of hunger, but hesitating to eat by pacing near the food bowl

What can we do to prevent whisker fatigue?
Preventing or stopping whisker fatigue is an easy fix. Feed Kitty on a flat surface such as a small plate or saucer, or a wide-enough bowl so the whiskers do not touch the sides. Paper plates can be used in a pinch for mealtimes. Most cats prefer drinking from a fresh source of water such as a cat water fountain.

Never cut or trim the cat’s whiskers. Whiskers are a crucial part of feline anatomy. The whiskers act as a navigation aid. Cutting off the whiskers can cause very serious problems for cats and maybe traumatic.

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