The following is a brief overview of how cats touch things using whiskers to explore and interact with their environment:

  1. Cats generally have about <B>a dozen whiskers</B> in four rows on each upper <B>lip</B>, a few on each <B>cheek</B>, tufts over the <B>eyes </B>and bristles on the <B>chin</B>.
  2. Whiskers may also be found on the cat's <B>inner "wrists"</B>, and there are similar hairs which make up the cat's <B>eyebrows</B>.
  3. The <B>Sphynx</B> (a nearly hairless breed) may have full length, short, or no whiskers at all.
  4. Whiskers (technically called vibrissae) can aid with <B>navigation and sensation</B>.
  5. Whiskers may detect very small shifts in air currents, enabling a cat to know it is near <B>obstructions </B>without actually seeing them.
  6. The upper two rows of whiskers can <B>move independently</B> from the lower two rows for even more precise measuring.
  7. It is thought that a cat may choose to rely on the whiskers in <B>dim light</B> where fully dilating the pupils would reduce its ability to focus on close objects.
  8. The whiskers also spread out roughly as wide as the cat's body making it able to judge if it can <B>fit through an opening</B>.
  9. Whiskers are also an indication of the cat's <B>attitude</B>: Whiskers point forward when the cat is <B>inquisitive and friendly</B>, and lie flat on the face when the cat is being <B>defensive or aggressive</B>.