Q: Do my cat's whiskers hurt when I touch them?

June 27, 2010 | By Mary T. | 1 answer | Expired: 2043 days ago

Mary T.

Why does a cat blink when you touch his whiskers?

Chosen Answer

Your cat blinks when his whiskers are touched because a cat's whiskers act as a remote control to close (and protect) the eyes from things that might hurt.

No one wants to get scratched in the eye — especially a cat running around in the dark. Those whiskers are “feelers” extending forward and to the side and telling the cat to blink and protect the eyes. A cat is much more sensitive to faint light than humans will ever be, but there has to be some light to see.

Whiskers would let a cat proceed — cautiously — through total darkness if it had to. Otherwise, cats blink very infrequently. Many minutes will go by before a cat blinks, even if you’re staring at him.

Try the whisker test on just one side, and see if the cat winks at you.

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