Do Cats Have a Sense of Touch?

CatChannel expert Jeanne Adlon, professional cat sitter, discusses the role that cat whiskers play in cats' sensory experiences.

Q: Do cats have a sense of touch?

A: Yes, cats have a sense of touch, particularly with their whiskers. Not only are they cute, cats’ whiskers offer a key sensory tool for cats. Known as tactile hairs, cat whiskers are super sensitive and can detect even the slightest puff of wind. They help your cat sense her surroundings and navigate in small spaces. In the darkness, cats’ side whiskers can extend out like shields to feel obstructions. Cat whiskers are also found around a cat’s nose, mouth and above the eyes and cheeks.

The good news for accident-prone curious cats and kittens is that whiskers will grow back. I remember a curious cat who got too close to a holiday candle and had her whiskers singed. Thankfully, that was the extent of the damage but I will take the opportunity again to ask readers to be very careful with lighted candles around cats. Also with BBQ season starting, please keep an eye on any hot grills and make sure you cat does not take the opportunity to bolt outside during a backyard party.

Paw pads are also part of a cat’s sensory perception makeup. Although the skin there is thicker than in other parts of cats’ bodies to protect the pads, cat paw pads are very sensitive to touch. Cats sweat through their paw pads — another way that cats leave their scent. That super sensitive nose, however, usually gets our attention. We’ve all seen our wonderful cats rub their noses on our legs and face. I think that they are leaving their mark on us as if to say, “I’ve been here and I like it!” We do too. As always I welcome your comments and stories.

See more articles by Jeanne Adlon>>


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Article Categories:
Cats · Lifestyle