How do breeds like the Cornish Rex use their curly whiskers?

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One of the most distinctive features of the Cornish Rex breed are the whiskers, which are often compared to coiled watch springs. Along with the cat’s wavy coat, a Rex can often look a bit like a wrinkled cat left in the dryer too long!

Just because his whiskers are curled, does not disable their function in the cat’s life. It should be noted, however, that not all Cornish Rex cats have curled whiskers, and some will have whiskers that are more sparse. Since this is a mutation in the breed, its presentation varies.

Whiskers are highly sensitive organs that receive information about the movement of prey near to the cat’s body as well as the size of any opening the cat is considering entering. Most cats have twenty four whiskers, or vibrissae, which are movable. They exist in four rows on either side of the nose, as well as on the “eyebrows” and even at the backs of the front and hind feet. The whiskers are so versatile that the top two rows on the fact can move independently of the bottom two rows.

A cat whose whiskers have been damaged will suffer from impaired balance to the point of suffering nausea. This is also true of the Cornish Rex. His whiskers may be a little “funky,” but they are still one of his most important tools. Working along with his eyes, ears, and nose, a cat’s whiskers are one of his most important tools.

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