Whisker Fatigue

06/07/2017

Whisker Fatigue...and I'm not talking about men tired of shaving. This is something that can irk a cat so much he is reluctant to eat.

You know that a cat's whiskers gather a lot of information that is sent to his brain and nervous system. They help orient her and help her move around a dark room and even hunt because they sense air currents. And don't forget how whiskers can tell a cat whether it can get through a tight spot.

But all the input from those hairy antennae can also overwhelm an animal with too much information and that can cause stress. True, not all vets agree this is actually a condition, but those that do point to the fact that when cats put their faces into a deep bowl to eat, their whiskers rub against the sides and that can result in constant stimulation. The stress can be so extreme the animal paws its food out of the bowl onto the floor to get at it. The anticipation and dread of the stimuli coupled with hunger can lead to an upset, frustrated animal at mealtime and that can trigger fighting.

This may be a new-ish diagnosis, but companies have noticed. How about a $40 dish that is one inch deep and several inches wide? Or, how about a plain small plate that costs considerably less?

Various sources also say another issue to watch for with plastic bowls is chin acne. Apparently, bacteria from bowls that aren't cleaned well can cause what some call "catne." Who knew?