Can a cat lose a sense of balance if their whiskers are cut?

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A cat will become very distressed if his whiskers are cut or damaged. The animal’s equilibrium will be affected, and he will have trouble walking or running to the point of becoming disoriented and even falling over.

When a cat’s whiskers are cut, the animal cannot accurately judge distances and may “miss” if he attempts to jump. The cat will likely collide with objects, and get so anxious vomiting may occur.

The whiskers, which are made of keratin, require weeks to grow back. Although cats do shed old whiskers, the sensitive structures should never be cut or trimmed.

The densest concentration of whiskers is found on the whisker pad at the corners of the mouth and the edge of the nose. There they sit in horizontal rows, embedded deep in tissue rich in blood and nerve endings.

These are not, however, a cat’s only whiskers. There are also tactile hairs at the “eyebrows” and on the chin as well as at the back of the front and hind legs. These structures are so sensitive they can detect the slightest change in wind current.

Cats use whiskers in concert with their eyes and ears to interpret the world around them. They are not only sensory organs, but also key indicators of mood and overall health.

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