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September 26, 2020

Some Cats Eat and Drink with Their Paws

01.04.15  Some cats eat and drink with their paws; scooping food and water from their bowls before eating. The bowls may be too narrow and deep or in poor locations. Whiskers, with their own nerves and blood supply, are sensitive. Some cats are bothered by the sensation of their whiskers touching the sides. It is also difficult for cats to see possible threats when they are eating out of deep bowls. Bowls should be shallow and wide so that whiskers don’t touch the sides and views aren’t obstructed. Locations matter too. Cats need to feel safe while eating. Place bowls in quiet areas, away from other resident animals and threats; in places kitties can see and escape possible threats.

For lively discussions about cat behavior, please check out The Cat Coach on Facebook.

Brief Cat Fact: Whisker Basics

10.05.14 Whisker basics: They contain nerve endings at their base along with their own blood supply. Whiskers are more than twice as thick as individual cat hairs and they are rooted about three times deeper. They are sensitive, detect changes in air currents and help cats navigate and orient themselves in their environment.

Portrait of Maulee and her whiskers

Portrait of Maulee and her whiskers

Whiskers Tip Bits

03.11.12 In addition to the whiskers (vibrissae) located on each side of noses and on cheeks, cats have “whiskers” on the back of their front legs, on their chins, and eyebrows.

Communication Cat Tip: Whisker Watch

03.05.12 Whiskers are part of a cat’s communication system. When cats are relaxed, the whiskers usually are forward. Flattened and pulled back whiskers indicate defensiveness and aggression.

Whiskers (Vibrissae): The First Installment


Miss Mushu

Many years ago there was a lovely cat named Mushu who refused to eat like most other self-respecting cats. Instead of putting her head into her food bowl, she would dip her right paw into the food and scoop up big chunks with the intention of depositing the food in her mouth. Unfortunately, Miss. Mushu wasn’t very adept at this activity and would fling food around the room. Her meals would regularly end up plastered on the walls and sometimes on the ceiling.

Why was Mushu depositing her meals on the ceiling instead of in her mouth? Was Mushu a clumsy example of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution? Was she learning to use a knife and a fork?

The answer to this mystery lies in her muzzle whiskers and the shape and depth of her food bowl. A cat’s whiskers help her define her world. They are an important part of her navigation equipment. Whiskers help her find her way around in the dark. Whiskers are very sensitive, sensing changes in the wind and air currents, allowing her to sense objects and navigate around them in the deepest night. Since they are the width of her body; she uses them to determine if she can fit into tight places. They also help her hunt, are like little fingers outlining her prey. Her whiskers help her determine where to strategically bite her prey in order to kill it. Whiskers help her see.  They are sensitive. They feel.

Small bowls can annoy sensitive whiskers. The bowl Miss Mushu ate out of was small and deep, her whiskers touched the sides. Since Mushu couldn’t verbalize that she hated the way the bowl felt on her sensitive whiskers, she scooped the food out with her paw and flung it on the walls and ceiling.