Q: Why does a cat's hair stand up?

June 27, 2010 | By Mary T. | 1 answer | Expired: 2042 days ago

Mary T.

What makes hair stand up on the back of a “Halloween cat”?

Chosen Answer

A set of special muscles, called arrector pili muscle, makes a cat’s hair “stand on end.”

Besides arching its back to appear taller the hissing “Halloween cat” has one more trick to appear more awesome: arrector pili muscles (attached to the hair follicles all over the body, but especially along the back) contract and cause the hairs to stand erect.

Cats do this to prepare for combat against an adversary — and sometimes just to be playfully tough. A little sideways dance sometimes accompanies the play.

Halloween Cat’s trick is a treat to watch.

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