Whisker Fatigue Is Real and Your Cat Probably Has It

first_img Cat’s whiskers are much more than just a fun way to provoke your pet. (I’m not the only one who does that, right?)The movable hairs, called vibrissae, allow felines to “see” in the dark by touching objects and sensing air currents; they also trigger protective blink reflexes.But facial hair can be a blessing and a curse for some cats that suffer from whisker fatigue.As reported last week by The New York Times, the “fairly new diagnosis” occurs among cats whose sensitive sideburns rub against the sides of their food or water bowl.So if you’ve caught your pet pawing grub onto the floor, making a mess of their dinner, hesitating before eating, or acting aggressive or anxious around mealtimes, it might be time to replace that deep dish with something wider and more shallow.Cats’ “highly tuned whiskers are environmental sensors and are always sending signals to their brain,” according to Hepper, maker of the whisker-friendly NomNom feeder ($39.99). “When their whiskers hit the sides of deeper bowls, constant signals are sent, causing unnecessary stress and distraction while eating.”The two-bowl NomNom are only 1 inch deep, so “whiskers are not bothered.”Despite its ridiculous title, whisker fatigue is an issue many (but not all) veterinarians take seriously, the Times said. It’s also on the minds of many manufacturers, which, like Hepper, are introducing more cat-friendly options.Dr. Catsby’s Bowl for Whisker Relief ($19.99), for instance, was invented by “a medical expert renowned in the field of Whiskerology.” Alternatively, Trendy Pet’s stress-free cat feeder—essentially a plate sitting on top of a box—sells for $42.It’s easy to laugh the problem away. But imagine being tickled every time you tried to take a bite of your meal: You’d probably fight back, too. Stay on target Firefighters Respond to Fire Alarm at Shelter, Discover Cat Triggered ItCat Gets Stuck in Washing Machine for 35-Minute Cycle last_img read more