top of page

Whisker Fatigue



A few years back, I noticed that my cats eagerly ate the mound of kibbles above the bowl's rim but slowed down eating when it got to the bottom.


Mimi, my partner David’s cat, takes it a step further. The moment the kibbles are level with the rim of her food bowl, she meows and squawks until someone fills her bowl.


Watching our three cats eat, I also noticed that they preferred certain bowl over others, and I eventually concluded … they didn’t like it when their whiskers touched the side of the food or water bowl.

I gave them a larger water bowl and ensured their kibbles were always above the rim.


Last week my friend Stephanie Sanders, publisher of Community Horse, forwarded me the scientific backup to what my kitties have shown me for years …


... cats have a sensory organ called a proprioceptor at the end of each whisker. These send ultra-sensitive tactile messages to the brain and nervous system. (…)Your cat’s whiskers are so sensitive that they can become easily fatigued by unnecessary contact with things like the sides of bowls. ...


The article suggests that food and water bowls should be shallow and wide … that makes total sense.

Have you ever tried on sunglasses and had the lenses touch your eyelashes? Pretty uncomfortable, right? That must be the same sensation our cats and dogs must have when their little whiskers touch the bowl.


Here are some examples of bowls that will protect your cat's whiskers from fatiguing. And if you don’t want to spend money on a new bowl, a retired dessert or saucer plate will do the job.


Recent Posts

See All