Your cat’s whiskers
What are cats’ whiskers used for?
A cat’s whiskers are long, thick, flexible hairs located on his or her face. These hairs are located in horizontal rows on the puffy area between the top corners of the cat’s mouth and the outer edges or his or her nose. Whiskers, much like hair and nails, fall out and are replaced. Not only are they two to three times thicker than the cat’s hair, they are also rooted very deep in his or her face, in an area rich in nerves and blood vessels.
A cat’s facial whiskers are used for navigation, measuring an opening, and mood indication. Cats use their whiskers to feel their way around. In fact, a cat’s whiskers are so sensitive that they can detect the slightest directional change in a breeze. This makes it easy for cat’s to walk around at night without bumping into anything. The air currents in a room change depending on where things are located.
When a cat is happy or content his or her whiskers will be more relaxed and pushed forward. This goes for when they are feeling curious as well. However, when your feline companion is feeling angry or defensive don’t be too surprised if their whiskers are pulled back.
Last but not least, the primary use of a feline’s whiskers are to help them judge whether or not they can fit through an opening. In fact, a cat’s whiskers are roughly as wide as their body. The tips of the whiskers are sensitive to pressure. This is why you will most likely see your cat stick his head in and out of an opening before attempting to climb into it. By doing this, he is judging the width of the opening and determining whether or not he can fit into it. It is very important that you never cut or trim a cat’s whiskers as it can leave them disoriented, and make it difficult for them to accurately judge distances and keep their balance.
I just rescued a cat and her gums are black.They are not swollen. Is this normal?
A healthy cat will have firm pink gums, not an angry red, white, and/or black or brown colour. While some cats may have been born with a few black spots on the gums here and there, if a cat’s gums are mostly black or brown and are accompanied with bad breath, cracked or brown teeth, etc. there may be an underlying medical issue.
Even at a young age, cats can begin to develop plaque and other harmful bacteria that lead to black or brown gums. This unsightly problem can result in gingivitis or periodontal disease. Blacking or browning of the gums in cats can begin as early as two years old. It sometimes occurs when small bits of food get stuck inside the cat’s gum lines. This causes inflammation and discolouration of the gums. Food slowly begins to build bacteria over time and as a result the surrounding teeth begin to develop plague. Plaque’s interaction with saliva eventually creates a substance known as tartar. The degree of browning or blacking of the gums depends on how long the tartar and plaque have progressed.
Cats with early stage gum disease, or gingivitis might have difficulty eating. Pet owners may also notice their cat having trouble chewing, or you might even notice your cat has simply stopped eating altogether. A telltale sign of late-stage gum disease is very bad breath that is caused from the buildup of bacteria in the mouth.Unfortunately when a cat has this disease, they might also suffer from bone loss in the jaw and/or severe tissue damage. Remaining teeth may be loose and/or have multiple cavities.
You need to take the cat to a vet and have a professional teeth cleaning done.Treatment of advanced gum disease focuses on eliminating symptoms, since veterinarians cannot actually reverse the damage that has been done. A deep cleaning of the teeth and gums along with a regular application of antibacterial gel to the gums stops advancement of the disease.
Regular teeth cleanings can help prevent this problem before it starts. Here is what you will need to brush kitty’s teeth:
One small toothbrush
Toothpaste that is formulated for felines
Never use toothpaste that is meant for humans, as this is toxic to cats. While brushing kitty’s teeth you can also use salt and water. Get your cat used to the idea of having his or her teeth brushed. This can be done by starting off gently massaging their gums with your fingers or touching a cotton swab to them.
After a few sessions, put a tiny bit of feline formulated toothpaste on kitty’s lips to get them used to the taste.
Introduce a toothbrush that is designed specifically for cats. These brushes are much smaller than a human’s toothbrush and are equipped with softer bristles meant for kitty’s sharp but sensitive teeth. Toothbrushes that you war over your finger are also available and are easy to use. They allow you to give your cat’s gums a nice massage that they might actually enjoy.
Apply toothpaste to kitty’s teeth and gently brush.
Chew toys are wonderful and can help satisfy your cat’s natural desire to chomp on things, while also making her teeth strong. Gnawing on a chew toy can also help floss kitty’s teeth, massage her gums and scrape away any soft tartar that has developed. There are a lot of toys designed specifically for kitty’s dental health. There are even toys meant for kitty to chew on that massage her gums and clean food debris from her teeth.
Send your questions to - firstname.lastname@example.org