Getting in the Mood
Whiskers serve another purpose besides acting as guidance, tracking, and radar systems – they also serve as a kind of barometer for the cat’s moods. When a cat is resting or content, its whiskers will be mostly immobile. But if you see the whiskers suddenly bunch up and lay flat against the cat’s face -- that may be a sign that the cat is scared.
Perhaps when playing “chase the toy” with a cat, you’ll notice its whiskers are pointing forward. This is probably its “game face,” a sign that your cat is in hunting mode.
The whiskers also make it pretty easy to tell when a cat is startled or excited, because every hair on its body will be standing on end, including the whiskers, which will point almost completely forward.
Whiskers are a vital part of a cat’s mobility and sense of security. Without whiskers, cats would not be able to achieve the great acrobatic feats that are so awe-inspiring, or protect themselves from dangerous situations.
Image: L. Whittaker / via Flickr