Some thick and bushy, while others thinner, or maybe even microbladed, blonde, brunette, red, or other colors, the eyebrows have a place of honor on our face, with the role of maintaining our eyes clean and clear, keeping moisture from sweat and rain away from them, as well as for a better sight. But do cats have eyebrows?
But do cats have eyebrows?
Cats do not have eyebrows like humans; they would look funny with thick and bushy tufts of hair above their eyes! Cats have whiskers instead of eyebrows, which serve a well-defined purpose: to function as antennas, helping the cat guide itself well at night and not run into obstacles in its path. They also protect the cat’s eyes from dust, dirt, moisture, or other debris. The whiskers of a cat (also known as vibrissae) are located on either side of the muzzle – on the cheeks (mystacial), under the chin (mandibular), above the eyes – “eyebrows” (superciliary), but also on the back of their forelimbs.
What are cats’ eyebrows for?
The vibrissae of a cat, including those from the eyebrows, have deep roots and are very sensitive to external factors; a cat can detect with their help the most subtle changes that occur in the environment. For example, cats can perceive with the help of whiskers even a change in airflow, which can give them important information.
Another role that whiskers have is to help them “see” at a short distance – cats do not see well below 30 cm; they use their nose and whiskers to detect what is happening in the environment.
Also, eyebrow whiskers help protect the eyes and eyesight from dust particles, moisture, foreign objects, etc.
They are useful in helping the cat determine the speed and direction of the wind before making a jump, as well as to estimate as accurately as possible the width of a passage – cats have a preference for narrow spaces, and whiskers help them not get stuck. If the whiskers touch the edges lightly, the cat will most likely fit in there; but if they bend or flatten, your fluff ball will withdraw, understanding that it doesn’t have enough space to cross through.
Do all cats have eyebrow whiskers?
In theory, all cats should have eyebrow whiskers. However, there are some breeds, such as Sphinx, Devon Rex, or Cornish Rex, that do not have whiskers at all or have them very short and fine. This is caused by an abnormality that leads to total hair loss. Hairless breeds are the result of genetic mutations, leaving them without protective fur.
In other cases, they do not grow at all, but this is not a reason to panic – cats can do just as well without eyebrow whiskers.
If they start to fall out and do not grow back or grow very thick, again, you should go with your cat to a veterinarian as it could indicate a health problem.
Why are my cats’ eyebrows falling out? Do they grow back?
It is normal for eyebrow whiskers to fall out at some point, as it happens with hair. Under physiological conditions, new hair will replace the old one every few weeks.
Whiskers usually fall in groups of 2-3; if your cat loses more than that at once, including those above the eyes, and they eventually do not grow back, it is worth investigating! According to the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, cats can start losing hair and even whiskers due to environmental stress, a disorder that is called psychogenic alopecia. Other factors that can cause eyebrow whiskers to fall are fleas or ticks, hormonal problems, or allergies.
Therefore, if you see that your cat loses several whiskers at once or they do not grow back, go with it to a veterinary consultation to determine the cause and apply the appropriate treatment.
Do cats use their eyebrow whiskers for expressing themselves?
As we have established so far, cats do not have well-defined hair eyebrows like humans, but instead, they have facial muscles that work similarly. Therefore, with the help of these muscles, cats can express worry (a worried look), tension, or fear. Although these changes are very small, if we take a closer look, it’s possible to predict if our cat is scared, for example.
In order to better understand how cats express themselves, we should also pay attention to the way they position their ears because this aspect also provides us with important information.
When cats keep their ears forward, it indicates gratitude and that they feel playful.
If they keep them pointed upwards, the cat is alert with its ears pricked up to catch any sound.
When they hold back their ears, cats may feel irritated and ready to attack. So it’s a good time to leave them alone if you see them that way!
Ears turned to the side or back mean that your cat is nervous or anxious.
If your cat keeps its ears back and flat on its head, it means that your pet is defensive, feeling scared, or may even indicate anger or aggression.
Can I cut or trim my cat’s eyebrows?
Under no circumstances cut, trim, or burn your cat’s whiskers. In my practice, I have seen many cases in which cats had their whiskers burned, intentionally or not. Without them, a cat can lose its sense of direction and become scared, which is why it’s very important for them to have long and healthy whiskers.
Do cats have nerves in their eyebrow whiskers?
The whiskers of a cat are a sensory tool that they use every second; it gives cats information about the environment. The official term for whiskers, vibrissae, comes from the Latin word “vibrio“, which means “to vibrate”. Their hair follicle is loaded with nerves, and the tip of the mustache has a sensory organ (proprioceptor). Both make the whiskers incredibly sensitive to external vibrations, helping cats understand the world around them better.
Also, unlike normal hair, cats’ whiskers are deeply located in their body, being connected to the nervous and muscular systems, allowing them to send sensory messages to the brain.
Which breed of cats has longer eyebrow whiskers?
Five cat breeds with the longest eyebrow whiskers are Persian, Maine Coon, Siberian, Ragdoll, and Norwegian forest cat.
The cat with the longest whiskers, which entered the record book in 2005, is a Maine Coon cat named Missi, which had 7.5-inch long whiskers (approx. 19 cm).
In terms of gender, males tend to have longer whiskers than females because they are usually larger in size. In other words, the length of the whiskers is directly related to the size of the cat.
These are not only proportional to their body size but also to their fur; extremely fluffy cats will have longer whiskers. As well, cats with thick coats will have thicker whiskers.
But these are just generalizations; what really matters when it comes to the length or thickness of a cat’s whiskers is genetics and what genes it inherited from its parents. And this is best seen in domestic cats with long and short hair, and especially in mixed breeds, because these cats come from a large pool of genes, from where they took various characteristics from different breeds. Therefore, to find out if your kitten will have long whiskers or not, it is best to look at its parents to get an idea.
Why does my cat have curly eyebrow whiskers?
If you put pressure on both sides of a hair, it will curl. The same thing happens with cat whiskers. Because they like to rub their face and especially the area of the whiskers on sharp objects such as the corner of the table or the wall, their whiskers can curl.
There is also the Selkirk Rex breed which has curly whiskers from birth.
What breed of cat has eyebrow spots?
A black Bombay cat has white “eyebrows”, but this is due to the thinning of the hair in that area, which gives the sensation of a light color.
Cats usually do not have well-defined “eyebrows” of another color. The most common thing that happens to cats in that area is thinning or hair loss – two aspects that occur due to old age or some health conditions. Besides, there is the case when the cat has thinned hair above their eyes, and that is why you can see the skin that is pigmented in places, giving the feeling of a different color.
Why did my cat lick and bite my eyebrows?
One of the reasons a cat chooses to lick or bite its owner’s eyebrows is because it considers him/her to be a favorite. When a cat grooms, it is said is a behavior of affection, as they do between them!
This behavior most often occurs when you lie down or sleep, being considered a gesture of “affection grooming”.
If your cat eats or pulls your hair when you are awake and active, most likely, it just wants to play.
Another reason why your cat will lick or bite your eyebrows is that of territoriality – they are trying to leave their scent on you.
Do not let your cat do this often, as it can irritate and cause redness due to their abrasive tongue. Not to mention, if your cat has an infection in its mouth and you have a skin lesion, it can infect that area as well.
Why is my cat scratching its eyebrow area?
This area can become itchy due to allergies, parasites (such as ear mites), or ear infections. When your cat has an ear infection or mites, it can itch so hard that when it scratches, it hits with its back foot the eyebrow area, leaving marks.
Most common “eyebrows” problems in cats
The most common medical conditions in cats in the eyebrow region are thinning or hair loss (alopecia), which can have parasitic (fleas, ticks, or mites), allergic, immunological, or genetic causes. Keep in mind that hair thinning can also occur due to old age!
Cats do not have eyebrows like humans; they have whiskers, which help them stop dust or moisture from entering their eyes, protecting their eyesight.
Eyebrow whiskers also have the role of providing the cat with information about the external environment, such as changes in air currents.
Cats do not see well below 30 cm, and their eyebrow whiskers help guide them.
Never cut, trim, or burn a cat’s whiskers, as they will lose their orientation in space and get scared.
I hope this article answered all your questions about cats and their eyebrows.
Happy Cat Care!
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