Whisker Fatigue in Cats: What It Is and How to Help

Posted by Christopher Shipton on

Whisker Fatigue in Cats: What It Is and How to Help


Have you ever noticed your tabby tipping over a bowl of food or acting a bit jittery around mealtime? Examine your cat’s behaviour during snack time if you haven’t already! Those cute little whiskers that render your kitty so photogenic might be distressing them and preventing them from properly enjoying a treat. This is what we call whisker fatigue or whisker stress in the cat world. Discover how to tell if your cat has whisker fatigue as well as some easy tips and tricks to defend against this condition!


Cat Whiskers: What They Do and Why They are Important

Before we talk about cat whisker irritation or whisker stress, let’s review what these little things are actually for and why they’re so important! 

It’s a given, cats wouldn’t be cats if they didn’t have those long, thick hairy antennae, but they don’t have them just to make them adorable. Whiskers are essential to the daily lives of felines. Serving as touch receptors, these sensory organs are actually very useful information transmitters. 

Tactile hairs or vibrissae feed the brain and nervous system crucial information and signals on a continuous basis. Never a dull moment for your kitties!

So why are cat whiskers so important? They help your feline friend with orientation and navigation through darkness, sensing wind and air changes, squeezing into corners and many more fun things. Imagine them hunting or moving around at nightfall if they didn’t have these practical tools to navigate their environment!

Now you know how your felines crawl into tight spaces without getting stuck. It’s all thanks to their touch receptors we call whiskers!


What Is Whisker Fatigue?

Cat whisker fatigue can be described as simply receiving too much information at once. If you have children, you most likely can relate with your cats about overstimulation of their sensory whiskers. Whisker fatigue in cats resembles a kid pulling on your shirt and screaming out your name constantly while you’re trying to focus on a task. Daunting, isn’t it?

Is whisker fatigue real? Constantly receiving messages and sending them to your cat’s brain isn’t actually tiring the whiskers out, that’s why whisker stress might be a more appropriate term in reality. However, mousers are unable to tune out the signals they’re receiving, which can lead to stress and a sense of overwhelming intensity.

The worst part about this stressful overuse is it’s generally caused by day-to-day activities like eating or drinking. It’s not as severe a stressor as you’d have imagined, right?

What are whisker fatigue symptoms? When digging into their bowl to get their food, cats have no choice but to rub their whiskers against the container. This is when irritation may settle in and when they receive messages that may overwhelm them.

To prevent this, most animals will develop techniques like eating only from the middle of the bowl to avoid their whiskers touching the sides, or even making a bit of a mess to feast directly from the floor where nothing irritates them. If you see them pacing in front of their bowl, pawing at their food or being aggressive if other animals are present at mealtime, you can definitely start to suspect this condition.


How to Prevent Whisker Fatigue

Obviously, the symptoms mentioned above can be related to other health conditions, but here are some tips and tricks to easily prevent whisker fatigue. You’ll notice that a small change on your part will have a big effect on your pet.

Replace your cat’s feeding bowls with wider, flatter containers. If there’s plenty of space for your baby’s whiskers to clear the bowl on both sides, you’ve solved the issue. You might want to opt for a plate for an even easier reach. Yes, it really is that simple to find an anti whisker fatigue bowl. Think about updating the water container too! 

Photos Courtesy: @alexetstitch

Have you ever considered a cat water fountain that will provide fresh hydration in a lipless dish or these practical stainless cat feeder bowls? Their non-slip base will contain messes and stop the feeder from moving all around your floor. Their saucer-shaped bowls offer low sides perfect for protecting your animal’s antennas.

Reducing the risk of cat whisker fatigue by staying alert, examining their eating habits for signs of tired whiskers, and ensuring you are using the best cat dish for whisker fatigue are all good animal parenting. Ensure your baby stays safe, healthy, and comfortable; shop now for the best cat food bowls for whisker fatigue!

Photo Courtesy: @alexetstitch


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