Why do cats have whiskers on the back of their legs?


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Ever noticed that your cat doesn't just have whiskers on his face? The long hairs on the back of his legs are also whiskers! Here's why cats have whiskers on the back of their legs...

Q) My black and white cat, Watson, seems to have some long hairs at the back of his front legs. They are white, the same colour as his whiskers. What are they? Your Cat reader.

A) These are whiskers. Like all cat’s whiskers, they are sensory organs. Watson has whiskers on his muzzle which can swivel forward and back. Since he cannot focus his eyes that close up, they also tell him what the mouse in his mouth is doing and if it is struggling!

The whiskers on his front legs are called carpal vibrissae and they give him information if he has got a mouse under his paws rather than in his mouth.

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He has whiskers above his eyes too, probably to help him protect his eyes if there is vegetation so close it might put them in danger, and whiskers on his cheeks which may help him spread his scent on to things in his territory.

Cats’ whiskers are a miracle of sensitivity — they can sense a tiny air current telling them if there is a solid object nearby.