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Why Do Cats Have Whiskers on Their Legs? Vet Reviewed Facts & FAQ

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By Nicole Cosgrove

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Vet approved

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Paola Cuevas

MVZ (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Do you know why some cats have whiskers on their legs? It’s actually a pretty cool story! Whiskers on the legs of a cat help them to feel around when they’re hunting prey. These whiskers, called carpal whiskers, act as a “sixth sense” for the cat and help them to be more successful hunters. Continue reading to learn more about carpal whiskers and why cats have them.

Carpal Whisker Facts

  • Carpal whiskers help cats while hunting. They provide information about the orientation of the cat’s prey in relation to their paws.
  • Carpal whiskers help cats to feel around in the dark and identify prey.
  • Carpal whiskers are found on the front legs, near the “wrist.”
  • Carpal whiskers provide a cat with information about the ground and territories they are walking on.
  • Carpal whiskers are also used during climbing, helping the cat perceive the surface that they are clinging to.

Why Do Cats Have Whiskers on Their Legs?

close up of cat paw with whiskers on its legs
Image Credit: Efraimstochter, Pixabay

As we mentioned, carpal whiskers help cats to hunt more effectively. In the wild, carpal whiskers give cats an edge when they’re trying to catch prey. These whiskers help them to feel around in the dark and identify prey that they might not be able to see. Additionally, carpal whiskers help cats to balance when they’re climbing or jumping.

You might notice that your cat’s carpal whiskers are thicker and longer than the whiskers on its face. This is because carpal whiskers are specialized for hunting and need to be able to withstand more wear and tear.

Do Cats Shed Their Carpal Whiskers?

Yes, cats shed their carpal whiskers just like they shed the whiskers on their face. If you notice that your cat is losing carpal whiskers, don’t worry! This is a normal part of the shedding process, and your cat will grow new ones in to replace them.

Do Carpal Whiskers Need Special Care?

No, carpal whiskers don’t need special care. You can groom your cat as you normally would, and their carpal whiskers will take care of themselves. However, if you notice that your cat is losing a lot of carpal whiskers, it might be a good idea to take them to the vet to make sure that there isn’t an underlying medical condition.


While carpal whiskers might look like a strange quirk, they actually serve a very important purpose for cats. These whiskers help them to hunt more effectively and give them an extra sense that helps them to identify prey. If you notice your cat has carpal whiskers, you can rest assured knowing that they’re perfectly normal! And, if you’re ever curious about why your cat does something strange, remember that there’s usually a good reason behind it. After all, they are mysterious creatures!

We hope that this article has helped you to better understand why some cats have whiskers on their legs.

Featured Image Credit: Jumpstory

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