How many whiskers do cats have on each side of their upper lips?

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Cats have four rows of whiskers placed horizontally on either side of their face arranged 12 to a row for a total of 24. These are not, however, the only tactile hairs or vibrissae on the animal’s body.

The cat’s “eyebrows,” the whiskers located farther back on his cheeks, and the ones on the back of his front legs all perform sensory functions. These hairs are twice as thick as normal cat hairs and their roots extend three times as deeply into a dense mass of surrounding nerves and blood vessels.

A cat’s whiskers are part of the animal’s locator system. Since they extend to roughly the width of his body, the whisker’s help a cat judge where he can fit and where he won’t. The structures are so sensitive, they can help a cat keep track of a captured mouse and are even indicators of mood.

See a cat with his whiskers flat back against his face, and you’re dealing with a defensive, hostile feline. Whiskers forward? He’s happy, and likely curious to know what’s going on.

Whiskers are so important to a cat’s sensory perception of his world, they should never be cut. Whether long or short, they are vital structures that help the cat understand and interact with his environment.

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