Feeding Bowls and Whisker Stress in Cats

Is whisker stress a real thing?

Whisker stress in cats is not a medical term or diagnosis, but – is it a real issue for some kitties?

Whiskers are an interesting attribute cats have. They have these on their upper lip, above the eyes, on the chin and even some on their forelegs! Whiskers are extremely sensitive and help cats judge distance and direction accurately. They give our kitties sensory feedback about their environment.

Whisker stress in cats happens when these hairs are irritated. When the whiskers come close to anything it triggers a sensation.  Most often you will see symptoms of whisker stress in cats when they are eating from a feeding bowl that is too deep or narrow.

Have you ever noticed that your cat will only eat the food in the center of their bowl? How about when they take food out of the bowl and put it on the ground to eat instead? These are symptoms of whisker stress in cats.

Because whiskers are tools that our cats use to judge and navigate their world, we certainly don’t want to contribute to their irritation. Although the term “whisker stress” hasn’t been researched deeply and may actually be used as a marketing tool for cat food bowl companies, it makes complete sense to us.

That being said, there’s no reason to run out and spend $20-$40 on a new bowl for your cat. Simply grab a shallow bowl or plate from the cabinet and start using that instead. Our cats started eating all of their food once we surrendered our own shallow bowls for their use. We know how important it is to do what we can to avoid stress in our cat’s lives, and that includes those whiskers!

We always say, “once we know better, we DO better”. We will continue to learn better ways to care for our cats and hope that you’ll join our journey and do the same.

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