My cat has lost a mustache: is it serious?

My cat has lost a mustache: is it serious?

It is desirable that the cat’s mustache remain intact. This attribute is not there to look pretty. Each hair is a organ sensory full-fledged, absolutely indispensable to the kitty in many circumstances. This is why it is essential to teach children as early as possible not to cut their cat’s vibrissae. But it happens that a few hairs fall spontaneously and even that a cat can lose its mustache on part of its muzzle. Let’s see what the causes may be, what impact this may have for the animal, and let’s take the opportunity to discuss this famous ” whisker fatigue which we have been talking about for some time.

Cat’s mustache: a sensory organ

A cat’s mustache is made up of 16 to 24 bristles or whiskers. Each vibrissa, more or less long depending on the breed, has at its end a sensory organ allowing the small feline:

    • To express certain emotions such as fear (mustache pressed), curiosity (whiskers erect),
    • To communicate with his congeners,
    • To find the balance,
    • to locate oneself in space,
    • To measure the speed of the wind, which is particularly useful to him before making a jump,
    • To remotely detect the contours of a prey,
    • Find your way around in the dark and avoid obstacles,
    • To assess the width of a passage before taking it to make sure that it will not get stuck…

In terms of importance, the mustache represents the third sensory organ of the cat.

Falling cat’s mustache: the different causes

Owners informed of the importance of whiskers for the cat are generally very worried as soon as their little companion loses a whisker hair. Before rushing to the veterinarian, it is useful to identify the cause, because in some cases this drop of vibrissa is quite normal.

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So don’t worry if it’s a old mustache hair which will eventually grow back in 8 to 12 weeks, or even a little longer if the cat is older. Whiskers experience rounds like our hair, our eyelashes and our eyebrows… We can also see that in autumn while moult is important, the kitty can lose several mustache hairs which should therefore be replaced by new ones before spring.

On the other hand, the fall of whiskers is sometimes abnormal and do not hesitate to consult the veterinarian whether :

    • The vibrissae bend or even break,
    • The cat loses its mustache unilaterally (i.e. the hair only falls on one side of the muzzle),
    • The cat has lost all of its mustache.

This may be the consequence of a health problem. Generally, the cat presents various symptoms which should alert its breeder, namely:

    • Itches,
    • skin problems,
    • weight loss,
    • great fatigue,
    • A disinterest in the game
    • The tarnishing of her fur,
    • Vomitings,
    • A change in his feces and/or urine…

Some pathological causes can explain why a cat loses its whiskers abnormally. It can for example be:

    • A problem of allergy to a material, dust, pollen or even a food allergy,
    • From a parasitic infestation,
    • From excessive stress,
    • From a nutritional deficiency,
    • Of a disease that only complementary examinations can diagnose.

What about “mustache fatigue”?

For some time now, we have frequently heard about this famous “mustache fatigue”. It is a serious subject which designates a bad state (or the fall) of the whisker hairs of a cat following too many signals sent to the nervous system and at brain by whiskers.

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This problem, which can be considered as a information overload would be common in cats that eat or drink from a bowl that is too narrow. This leads to very frequent, even continuous contact (or friction) of these sensory organs against the container.

Cats that have this type of bowl are generally bothered by the unpleasant side of the sensation they perceive and are more and more stressed. They become anxious or nervous when going to drink or eat. Some find a parade such as placing the kibble or bites on the ground before eating them. Alas, other cats do not resort to this subterfuge, preferring to sulk their meal rather than having to undergo this torture again due to the incessant brushing of their vibrissae against the edges of a bowl that is too cramped.

“Mustache fatigue” resulting in high stress in many cats, it could also ultimately explain the loss of whiskers in some small felines. If you observe your cat when he eats, you can very quickly realize that his bowl does not suit him because:

    • He only eats what is in the middle of his bowl,
    • He remains planted in front of his bowl but does not touch his food,
    • He only comes to eat if his bowl is full, but is satisfied with a few mouthfuls,
    • He let himself die of thirst while there was still a little water at the bottom of his bowl.

When a cat systematically scatters food all around its bowl, before thinking that it is eating dirty, the master should therefore have a flea in his ear. For the problem to disappear quickly and for his little companion to regain his serenity, all you have to do is offer him a container that is simply large enough so that the whiskers of the kitty are no longer in permanent contact with the edge.

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