Why Does My Kitten Have Short Whiskers?

Originally published Sep 25, 2015

Whiskers Short - Cash - 14 weeks2Why does my kitten have cut off whiskers?

The other day on Facebook, I received the following question from a reader, “When we picked Cash up there were some whiskers that looked clipped short?? Or broken off..ever heard of this?”

Ironically, I had!  When Caymus came to us his whiskers were short as well.  It looked like someone had literally cut off his whiskers and made them into stubs.

Of course, this was concerning – until we learned from the vet that his littermates bit them off. Murphy, not a littermate, didn’t continue to bite at his whiskers – so they grew in.  And I must say, Caymus has the most exquisite whiskers today.

Ragdoll Kitten with Whiskers Biten Off
Smooch with her whiskers bitten off – thanks to her sister for grooming her! Thanks to Betty for sending in this photo!

Did your kitty come to you with short whiskers?  Are there other reasons why a kitten might have short whiskers that look like they have been cut off?

Kitten Short Whiskers

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Hi, I’m Jenny Dean, creator of Floppycats! Ever since my Aunt got the first Ragdoll cat in our family, I have loved the breed. Inspired by my childhood Ragdoll cat, Rags, I created Floppycats to connect, share and inspire other Ragdoll cat lovers around the world,

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  1. I know this is an old thread, but I had this happen to my kittens whiskers, they look cut, but had not been cut to my knowledge. I came across a forum online where some people had confirmed it was due to stress, that they had broken off pretty uniformly. A few others also had experienced a child cutting them. But I really don’t think that it could be due to play if they are all about the same length. It seems the good thing is that for pretty much everyone that I’ve read about, this seems to be something that resolves itself pretty quickly.

    1. Stress? Doubtful – it’s definitely from littermates chewing on them. Maybe on an adult cat? But on a kitten, it’s usually the littermates that do it.

  2. ALWAYS a great topic to revisit, Jenny honey! TYSVM for this fabulous & super pawesome re-post!!! 🙂 <3

    Gah! SOOOO FREAKIN' HOT! Hope you are enjoying this extreme heat (as I know it's Your Jam!)! 🙂 <3

    Big hugs & lots of love & purrs!

    Patti & Miss Pink Sugarbelle 🙂 <3 <3 <3

    1. yes, crazy hot. i decided to stay in my backyard and transplant hostas rather than going for a run. all of my clothes were wet by the time i was done – so got a great sweat on, without the strenuous run in this heat. hope to run tomorrow. hope you got your walk in!

      1. Smart girl!! 🙂 <3 No long walk for me today as I slept through my early morning walking window. With the extremet heat and high UV indexes of the afternoons I MUST walk at daybreak or pretty much not at all because of my sun sensitivity and the heat rash I get on my ankles & calves if I walk for hours in temps over 80 degrees. Unfortunately, my hours are in Night Owl mode right now. Grrrrrr. Just waiting for them to shift back around again. #MyLife…. 🙂 <3

        1. =) i understand night owl mode! and as we discussed, sometimes that might be your natural rhythm. and with the days being longer now – you can walk in the evenings, instead =)

      2. You are right. The only issue with walking late in the afternoon (after the UV index is less than 5…usually around 4 or 5PM) versus early morning walks (which I lurve to do at daybreak between 5 and 5:30 AM) is that I can walk for longer distances and times in the early morning as the UV index and temps are much more manageable during the hours of 5AM to 5:30AM through 9:30 to 10:00 AM (I like to spend about a total of 3-5 hours out and about with my walking & Starbucks time). In the late afternoon and early evening hours I’m restricted with the time more because of the looming darkness coming after sunset (and hubby has a hissy fit if I’m out in the dark). Plus, the late afternoon and early evening hours can have much hotter temps which means that my “disney rash” (aka “golfer’s rash”, a type of circulatory heat rash under the skin which is not painful or dangerous but very unsightly and requires two or three days of staying out of the heat to disappear) will flare-up around my ankles and on my calves if I walk for long periods of time in temps higher than 80 degrees. I discovered that last year towards the end of summer and confirmed it a few times already this season. But, I will figure it all out. I always manage to do so somehow. 🙂 <3

        1. man – that’s a lot – but yes, sounds like you’ll get it figured out.

    2. It’s because the mother cat was OCD when she was cleaning them she lick those whiskers right off they’ll grow back though…

  3. Teresa Reid says:

    Sounds really reasonable that their littermates might have chewed on them. Neither of our girls came with short whiskers. If I had the blessing of having a kitty when I was little, I might have cut them too like someone else (above) who kinda confessed (he,he!) Didn’t have a kitty to love, but I cut my eyelashes off with my dulled play scissors the night my parents were having a dinner party. My mother almost had a cow when she saw what I did, then made me have to tell everyone what happened!♥♥♥

  4. Becca Dutill says:

    I wondered why our new kitten had short whiskers!
    They have since grown long and lovely.
    Thanks for the info!

  5. strikersmom says:

    Our ragdoll had his whiskers “trimmed” by a littermate, but they’ve grown back just fine 🙂

  6. Patricia McDermott says:

    the only time one of my cats had short whiskers is when i cut them. i only did it once. i cute my cat “puff”s whiskers off, i don’t even know why (i was 7) and my dad told me that she wouldn’t be able to navigate without them, told me that that is how they can tell what they can and can’t fit in to. i felt horrible and cried my eyes out and was terrified that my puff would get stuck in something and die. i never did that again.

  7. Patti Johnson says:

    Very interesting info, Jenny! To tell you the truth I never even noticed if Miss Pink Sugarboo’s whisker’s were short as a kitten. I was so blown away by her adorableness that all I saw was this fully white furball who needed my love and attention ASAP! lol 🙂

    I never even knew that littermates would bite off the whiskers of each other but it makes sense during their rough and tumble playing.

    Other than someone cutting off a kitty’s whiskers (and I’ve heard urban legends about people’s children doing that to a cat in the household — horrors!), I have no idea how they would get short (unless it’s from a cat fight between two or more kitties or perhaps playing with a very rambunctious puppy or doggy friend).

    Big hugs!

    Patti & Pink Sugar (who is Whiskerlicious!) 🙂 <3

    1. My guess is that hers weren’t bitten off because you probably would have noticed if they were =).

      I might have cut a whisker or two in my childhood days =)

      1. Patti Johnson says:

        lol 🙂 (Yes, I can see you as a mischievous little girl curious about everything!) 🙂 <3

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