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On the trail of the cat's sense of touch on velvet paws


Without their special sense of touch, cats could not move so elegantly. A velvet paw can perceive its surroundings with the help of its tactile hair. A cat not only has touch hair on the head, but also in many other places. The touch hairs of cats fulfill many functions in everyday cat life - Shutterstock / Nneirda

A cat has tactile hair, also called vibrissae, on the face on the cheeks, chin and over the eyes. In addition, it has smaller vibrations on the balls of the feet, elbows and on the back of the legs, which inform it about obstacles in the area as well as the smallest air movements.

Sensitive touch hairs: Vibrissen serve as sensors

The special thing about the vibrisses: their hair roots are three times deeper in the skin than the roots of normal hair. The touch hairs are connected to many nerves, through which coarse and fine signals are passed on to the brain of the Miez. For example, a velvet paw can easily move in the dark.

The mustache hair is particularly sensitive, of which a cat has an average of twelve on each side. These flexible touch hairs have already been developed in newborns and are used, for example, for communication. For example, cats with mustache hair pointing forward show sociability and curiosity, for example when greeting.

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A cat's sense of touch works at a distance

The cat's touch hairs can not only contact and forward information through direct contact, but can also work at a distance. With the vibriss, cats can, for example, perceive the finest air movements around an obstacle or the movements of a prey from a distance. Cats can also feel the smallest vibrations through the sensitive soles of their feet and "see" the movements of a mouse under the ground.

Also part of the sense of touch: the remarkable temperature sensors that a cat has. Kittens, for example, don't find their mother's teats by their smell, but rather by the heat emanating from the teats.