Monday, November 29, 2010

teachable moments: why cats have whiskers.

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Thank you, Wikipedia.

The other day, my friend's pet Chloe was catting her way around the living room; chasing the laser beam, climbing into the Christmas tree to disassemble the branches, laying her head on the couch cushions like a person, stretching dramatically ‘cross the sofa before getting up to do it all again. At one point we wondered aloud what the heck whiskers were for. Neither Bailey (my friend), Andrew (her husband) or myself had any idea. Enter: Wikipedia.
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Friends, this is why cats have whiskers:

"A large part of the brain of many mammals is devoted to processing the nerve impulses from vibrissae [whiskers], because this is important for survival. Information from the vibrissae is transmitted and processed through the trigeminal nerve into the brainstem and thalamus before relaying to the barrel cortex of the brain."
Uhhhmmm….so they uh...?
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Why cats have whiskers, in English:

So they don’t bump into stuff.
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Next time on Teachable Moments: what happened to the statue?
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*Amendment: apparently, the question wasn't about cat's whiskers, but about dogs and other animals. The good word is that it's the same for all animals: whiskers serve the same purpose on mice as they do on elephants. Good to know!
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5 comments:

Mama said...

This is cute. I also read that it is not usual for cats to meow alot. They do it in response to us talking to them. Feral cats generally don't meow.
I love kitties. Even Hector when he tries to bite the Christmas tree.

Bailey said...

Ashley...we knew this!!! we were wondering if its the same for puppies!!! :)

afterthoughtcomposer said...

Bailey - woops! Well I looked it up again just to be sure and it's the same for all the animals. I've ammended the post just for you :) haha.

Mom - you should take a picture of Hector in the tree!

Mama said...

We don't let Hector near the tree so, no pics of that, sorry.

Bailey said...

Elephants have whiskers!! I learn something new everyday!! Cool beans!