The whiskers of the Maine Coon are part of its morphology; like many other animals, the whiskers of this feline species play an important role. It is not just an extension of hair thicker than the rest that covers their body. Their whiskers have very special characteristics and help them to develop many of their activities normally.
So it is not only whiskers that provide an aesthetic appearance to these cats; they are also very useful for sensitivity and other aspects that you will know later.
In Maine Coons, they have long whiskers, which help them with their vision and transmit sensory information to their brain.
- 1 What Are Maine Coon Whiskers?
- 2 How Many Whiskers Do Maine Coons Have?
- 3 Why Do Maine Coons Have Whiskers?
- 4 Health Issues of Maine Coon Whiskers
- 5 Do Maine Coons Have Long Whiskers?
- 6 Should You Cut Maine Coon Whiskers?
- 7 Maine Coon Whisker Fatigue
- 8 Do Maine Coon Whiskers Change Color?
- 9 Do Maine Coons Shed Whiskers?
- 10 Final words
What Are Maine Coon Whiskers?
Whiskers are tactile hairs that differ from the rest by being three times thicker than the hair that forms the cat’s fur. They are popularly known as whiskers, but the correct name for these is vibrissae, which comes from the Latin word vibrio, which means to vibrate.
They are called if because every time your cat’s whiskers come in contact with an object, the mystacial pads from which they grow transmit a message to the brain to let it know the size and closeness of whatever their whiskers have touched.
Different sets of vibrissae grow in cats, including the so-called whiskers, which are the ones that are born and grow on each side of its snout.
How Many Whiskers Do Maine Coons Have?
Whiskers are sensory hairs, like those that also grow on other areas of your Maine Coon cat’s body. But when you want to know just how many whiskers your cat has, then you need to know that, on average, cats can have eight to twelve mystacial whiskers on each side of the muzzle. But Maine Coons cats usually have 16 on each side, representing more than double what other cat breeds have.
For instance; In the red tabby Maine Coon cat, you can easily count about 4 rows of 4 whiskers on each side of its face.
Why Do Maine Coons Have Whiskers?
Maine Coons cats have whiskers for different reasons; since these sensory hairs allow them to have sensations that they cannot perceive with their eyes, smell, and even directly with their touch.
The messages that cats can perceive through their whiskers are very important in many ways; they help you to:
Know if they can go through a space
Especially in the dark, when the capacity of vision is reduced, the cat’s whiskers allow knowing if the space they want to pass is wide enough to pass safely.
They detect nearby dangers
Whiskers are sensitive, so cats can perceive through them some minimal changes in the air stream, especially allowing them to act quickly in the face of what can mean a threatening danger for them.
Know if they can go through a space
In the dark, when the ability of vision is reduced, the cat’s whiskers allow knowing if the space they want to pass is wide enough to pass safely.
They detect nearby dangers
Whiskers are sensitive, so cats can perceive through them some minimal changes in the air stream, especially allowing them to act quickly in the face of what may mean imminent danger for them.
They perceive the movements
For a Maine Coon, their mustache is an invaluable hunting aid, as they send it an alert that allows it to detect any change in the air over a moving prey.
Health Issues of Maine Coon Whiskers
Observing the beautiful and long vibrissae of your cat also allows you to know how his health and his state of mind can be. These can appear straighter, curly, back, and each reveals a different attitude from your cat. For instance:
Whiskers sticking out to the sides
In general, observing that your cat’s whiskers stick out to the side reflects that it is a relaxed and calm cat.
Whiskers point forward
If your cat’s whiskers appear to be pointing forward, then this is a sign that he is alert and also that he may be excited about something.
Flat whiskers against the cheeks
You should be especially careful if your cat shows flat whiskers in position against the cheeks, as this is a clear sign that he may be angry. You may also be feeling fear of something.
Through the color, number, and position of your cat’s whiskers, you can tell if he is well, if he may be feeling ill. You can recognize discomfort in your cat just by looking at its whiskers.
Do Maine Coons Have Long Whiskers?
The whiskers of a Maine Coon reach up to six inches in length. Maine Coons have such long whiskers because the size of their whiskers is proportional to their body size. A small Maine Coon cat may have whiskers about four inches long, while a larger cat may have whiskers about six inches long.
These sensory hairs are proportional to the size of the Maine Coons, and thanks to this, they can help you recognize the size of any space you want to pass through.
You may also notice that some Maine Coon whiskers are considerably longer than others. What is normal in all cats.
Also Read: Can a Maine Coon Have Short Hair?
Should You Cut Maine Coon Whiskers?
Your Maine Coon’s whiskers do not need maintenance; the reality is that you do not need to do anything to care for them because the less you touch them, the better. Mustaches should not be attempted in any way and should never be trimmed.
If you cut a cat’s whiskers, you should know that you are damaging it and eliminating one of its important senses. After this, he begins to feel completely disoriented, especially in the dark. Cutting his mustaches makes it impossible for him to feel his surroundings, which generates confusion and fear.
You must know that not touching your cat’s whiskers; they do not require care or maintenance. Whiskers are sensitive, and no cat will be happy if you touch or cut them.
Since the excessive loss of his mustache prevents him from having his full capacity to sense his surroundings properly.
Maine Coon Whisker Fatigue
Whisker fatigue in cats is real and refers to a condition that occurs when a cat’s sensitive whiskers are struck very frequently.
The most common cause is the inappropriate use of water and food bowls. For this reason, cats can even stop drinking and eating because of the discomfort caused by the constant tripping of the bowls in their whiskers.
To prevent your cat from suffering the stress of whisker fatigue, it is advisable to choose dishes that do not allow your cat to bump his whiskers against the perimeter of his plate while eating or drinking his food. The right features are for the plates to be wider and shallower, so you can bring your snout closer to the food without hitting your whiskers.
In the market, there are different options specially designed to prevent cats from suffering from whisker fatigue. The line is complete and includes excellent sources of water for Maine Coon cats as well.
Do Maine Coon Whiskers Change Color?
Regardless of their coat color, most Maine Coons cats generally have white whiskers. It may be that some cats with black or gray fur have darker whiskers.
Maine Coon’s whiskers can change color, especially with the passage of age; when they are young, they can be white, and after they reach great age, their whiskers can have some black hairs.
Do Maine Coons Shed Whiskers?
It is normal for Maine Coons, even cats in general, to lose hair from their whiskers, as long as you notice that soon after they come out again. They molt or renew them at a certain stage, just as it happens with the rest of their fur.
Whiskers are one of the most impressive facial features of Maine Coons cats. To stay healthy, you need to know how important whiskers are to these cats.
It is not about cosmetic hairs on your face; mustaches also play an important role in your life. You should be careful not to alter the nature of your cat’s whiskers, avoid whisker fatigue, and monitor all aspects of its health if you notice too many of it falling out.