Cat Whisker Fatigue: What It Is, the Signs, and How to Prevent

Whisker fatigue

What is cat whisker fatigue?

Whisker what? It sounds fake, but it is real. So real that concerned cat parents have sought out veterinarian care for help. Let’s explore this medical condition. 

Cat whisker fatigue – also called whisker stress – is a term veterinarians use to describe the sensory overload cats feel when their sensitive whiskers repeatedly touch a surface, according to an article by Oklahoma State University Veterinary Medical Hospital.

Cats use their whiskers to understand the environment around them, such as sensing the tightness of a space, changes in air currents while hunting for prey, and keeping their balance on four paws. You can think of whiskers as little antennas that constantly send signals to their brain and nervous system to help them navigate through their world.

Are Your Cats Showing Signs of Whisker Fatigue?

Have you noticed any odd behavior in your cats during mealtimes? Check the list below to see if they could be experiencing whisker fatigue.

• Approaching the food bowl with caution, acting hungry, but also nervous
• Dropping food out of the bowl to eat off the ground
• Making a big mess around the bowl while eating or drinking
• Leaving food in the bowl, but continuing to act hungry
• Refusing to eat food left at the bottom of the bowl
• Acting aggressively toward other pets or people in the home

What Causes Whisker Fatigue?

Eating from a bowl that is too deep is the most common cause of whisker fatigue. As cats' sensitive whiskers rub against the sides of a deep bowl, they can become irritated and hurt.  

In the past, cats pawing food out of their bowl to eat off the floor may have been dismissed as “cats being cats”. But now we know that is a symptom of whisker fatigue.

Solution: Use a Whisker-Friendly Cat Bowl

The best preventative measure you can take is to buy the right food and water bowls. Stay away from using dog bowls, since they are too deep. Instead, buy cat bowls and in particular cat bowls designed to prevent whisker fatigue.  

Oklahoma State University Veterinary Medical Hospital shared that "If your cat appears to be healthy and is not eating, try providing a flat surface or a wide-enough bowl where its whiskers won’t touch. A stainless steel bowl will not harbor bacteria, which can lead to chin acne."

Americat Company stainless steel cat bowls are specifically designed for cats’ sensitive whiskers. The wide, low-profile design allows cats' whiskers to remain above the bowl while they eat or drink, preventing whisker fatigue. See Bella's little whiskers above the bowl!

Cat eating from whisker friendly bowl

Customer reviews for these bowls include how cats are eating straight from their bowls for the first time ever. Also many mention cats eating and drinking more after they switched to these bowls.

Americat Company also offers a whisker-friendly elevated cat bowl stand that holds their whisker-friendly, stainless steel cat bowls. 

Cat eating from bowl

We believe the bowls our cats eat and drink from are just as important as what they eat!

Keep your cats comfortable during mealtime by giving them whisker friendly cat bowls.


About Us: Americat Company is where love for cats meets American craftsmanship. Founded in 2016, we are a cat-loving, woman-owned, small business. We make cat products in the USA from safe, durable, U.S. materials. Shop all our made in the USA cat products here.

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This is not medical advice. If you are concerned about the health of your cat, contact your veterinarian.

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