If you are a cat owner, you might already be familiar with the many different details involved with having a cat: they have big personalities, sometimes like to exhibit some questionable behaviour (ahem, trying to eat tape), and . . . shed their whiskers? Sometimes finding a whisker around the house can feel a bit surprising, and may even cause you to scratch your head and think, "Wait, what?" But, thankfully, this is totally normal — to an extent.
To help learn more about why cats may shed their whiskers, and when this may be a cause for concern, POPSUGAR connected with two vet experts.
Is It Normal For Cats to Shed Their Whiskers?
Pet owners may be relieved to know that, yes, it is totally normal for a cat to shed their whiskers. However, they will not shed their whiskers as often as they may shed their fur. "[Cat whiskers] will occasionally shed as part of regular hair growth and cycling," explained Justine Lee, DVM, DACVECC, DABT. "It's not common, but occasionally happens and is not to the same frequency as fur."
Melissa Brandley, DVM, veterinary technical solutions at Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health noted that it is important to keep in mind that even though it is normal for cats to shed their whiskers, it does not happen all at the same time and it is not seasonal. "In a healthy cat, an individual whisker is shed every couple of months," said Dr. Brandley. " At any moment in time, individual whiskers will be in different phases of the shedding cycle."
When Does Whisker Shedding Become a Cause For Concern?
Although whisker shedding is normal, pet owners must know that it could be something more serious if it is excessive or seen with other skin or health issues. For instance, Dr. Brandley explained that if multiple whiskers shed at the same time, or if whisker shedding is accompanied with skin lesions, hair loss, scabs, or flaky skin, a visit to the vet is advised. "These signs may indicate the presence of an infection, allergy or, rarer, a more serious skin disorder," Dr. Brandley cautioned.