Why Are My Cat’s Whiskers Falling Out?
Whiskers are more than an adorable physical attribute to our feline friends.
Whiskers play an important role in helping our cats maneuver the world around them, assisting them with everything from movement in tight spaces to communication with other cats.
Due to the importance whiskers have in a cat’s daily habits, you can imagine why we want to keep as many whiskers intact as possible.
So is it a big deal when our cats lose their whiskers?
In this article we will get into the details of whisker loss in our feline friends, and help you better understand when you should worry about your cat’s whiskers falling out.
What Are Cat Whiskers?
As we mentioned above, whiskers play an important role in many feline behaviors.
These hairs are made of thick keratin that embeds deeply into their skin, each of which are filled with sensitive nerve endings.
Cats typically have a total of 24 whiskers on their muzzle region, most of which will be proportional to the width of your cat’s body.
The nerve endings in a cat’s whiskers help them maneuver the world around them.
These touch organs help them with spatial awareness in an array of situations, allowing them to determine whether or not an area is safe to explore.
Whiskers help a cat detect obstacles in the dark, squeeze through tight spaces, and even pick up on airflow around them.
Not only are their whiskers an impressive navigational tool, but they can also help a cat better understand any feline friends they encounter.
Whiskers change positions with each emotion, often flattening closer to the face as they portray anger or aggression.
As you can see, whiskers are much more than an adorable characteristic!
Do Cats Shed Whiskers Occasionally?
Just as you and I shed eyelashes naturally, cats will shed the occasional whisker.
Cats will not lose their whiskers as often as they shed fur, but you can expect to find a stray whisker around your home from time to time.
Most whiskers that are lost will grow back during the next growth cycle, so you can typically expect a strong whisker to grow back in its place.
Why Do Cats Lose Whiskers?
While our feline companions can lose the occasional whisker, excessive whisker loss is not normal.
A sudden loss of whiskers can point to an array of underlying health conditions, ranging from chronic skin conditions to trauma.
To help you get to the bottom of your cat’s whisker loss, let’s discuss some of the most common causes below.
Just like you and I, our feline friends can suffer from skin allergies.
Cats can develop allergies to anything in the world around them, ranging from the dust in your home to the food they eat each day.
When they develop allergies to something they are often exposed to, significant skin irritation can develop as a result.
Skin allergies in cats can present in the form of skin redness, itchy skin, hives, fur loss, dry skin, and even whisker loss.
Whisker loss can be a result of poor coat health from their skin allergies, or even due to excessive itching around their muzzle.
If you think your cat may be experiencing any form of allergy, we suggest reaching out to your vet for further guidance.
Many cat owners are shocked to learn that their feline friends can develop acne just like we can.
Though cats may have different acne triggers than you and I, their struggles with clogged hair follicles and pores are just as significant.
Not only can cats suffer from painful acne on their chin, but severe cases of this skin condition can travel up into their muzzle.
If feline acne spreads up into a cat’s muzzle, this can lead to whisker loss.
Feline acne is most often a result of excessive sebum production or poor grooming habits in cats.
There have even been ties to the use of plastic food and water bowls, as scratches on these bowls can irritate the cat’s chin as they eat.
If you think your cat has developed feline acne, we suggest reaching out to your veterinarian for treatment advice.
Bacterial infections around a cat’s muzzle can lead to whisker loss in some cases.
Bacteria can invade a cat’s skin through compromised tissue, quickly leading to a slew of uncomfortable symptoms.
Bacterial skin infections can cause significant inflammation and irritation in the region affected, even causing hair loss as the condition worsens.
This hair or whisker loss can either be a result of damage to the tissue in the area, or even due to a cat’s constant scratching in attempts to relieve their irritation.
Some of the most common signs of bacterial skin infections in cats include redness of the skin, swelling, scratching or pawing at the area, odor, and even hair loss.
If you think your cat may have developed a skin infection, we suggest visiting your veterinarian immediately for appropriate care.
Fungus should always be considered when a cat is experiencing excessive fur or whisker loss.
Ringworm is likely the most common fungal infection diagnosed in our feline friends, leading to sudden fur and whisker loss in cats around the globe.
Ringworm causes dry circular lesions to develop on a cat’s skin, typically leading to fur loss in the affected area as well.
If ringworm makes its way to your cat’s muzzle, whiskers can fall victim to the fungus as well.
Ringworm is not only an irritating skin condition in our feline companions, but it can be transmitted to humans as well.
This is why it is so important to treat your cat’s ringworm from the moment symptoms develop, as everyone in the home can be at risk.
Injuries Can Cause Whisker Loss
Trauma is another potential cause of whisker loss in our furry friends.
Not only can fur or whiskers be damaged when a sudden injury occurs on the skin, but it can also disrupt the normal fur growth cycle as the injury heals.
If a cat endures any type of injury in the facial region, this can easily cause the whiskers to be ripped out or damaged.
If your cat ever endures trauma that leads to an injury, we always suggest reaching out to your vet for guidance.
Stress Caused Whisker Loss
Unfortunately, our cats are not immune to developing stress and anxiety.
Changes in a cat’s surroundings can be challenging for a cat to adapt to, ranging from a sudden move to the addition of a new pet.
Even subtle changes in a cat’s routine can cause distress for our feline friends, often causing an array of behavioral and physical changes.
Excessive shedding is not uncommon in a cat experiencing anxiety, as well as the development of excessive grooming habits.
If this happens in your feline companion the whiskers can be affected.
Do Whiskers Grow Back?
Thankfully, your cat’s whiskers will typically grow back anytime they fall out.
It may take a whisker anywhere from 2 to 3 months to grow back to their appropriate length, but most cats will have a full set of whiskers once the cause of their whisker loss is addressed.
As long as you get to the bottom of your cat’s excessive whisker loss, their whisker growth should be back on track.
A cat’s whiskers are an incredible touch organ that offer daily support.
If you ever notice any excessive whisker loss in your feline friend, we always suggest contacting your vet to get to the bottom of their symptoms.
My name is Amber. I am a dedicated animal lover that turned my passion into my career. I am a Licensed Vet Tech with 12 years of experience in veterinary medicine, but I recently took my career online to help spread accurate information on animal care. With how vast the online world is, I have a strong desire to ensure that the reader always walks away with helpful pet advice. With the experience I’ve gained from my time in this field, I have been able to travel the world, offering my services to as many animal rescues as I can find. If I am not at my laptop, or back home visiting family, you can find me somewhere in the world, cuddling every furry friend that I can find! More About Us