Thursday, March 13, 2014

Adorable Long-Whiskered Kitty Makes the News!

Closeup of cat whiskers
Photo by Hettie van Nes. Originally posted on Wikimedia Commons and used here in accordance with the copyright owner's Creative Commons 3.0 license.

An adorable kitty named Whiskers (not the one pictured above) currently lives with a foster family in Somerset, England while she awaits a new home. Her whiskers aren't the longest in the world, but they are believed to be the longest in Britain. The whiskery feline was featured in the online version of Britain's The Mail newspaper. She recently had a litter of kitty babies, who also sport long whiskers. If you live in rural Somerset and want to adopt Whiskers, contact the Cats Protection cat rescue. To see a picture of adorable little Whiskers and her whiskers, read all about it here.

I have three cats, and one of them is a black-and-white tuxedo cat like Whiskers. I love the way his white whiskers contrast against his black velvety pelt. When I pet him, he stretches out his whiskers in front of him with all his might, and then his whiskers remind me of the projections on a lionfish:

Lionfish
Photo by Christian Mehlf├╝hrer. Originally posted on Wikimedia Commons and used here in accordance with the copyright owner's Creative Commons 2.5 license.

The long, graceful whiskers on little Whiskers are so feminine and sweet that they look like something you'd see on a Disney fairy. And yet these elegantly swaying whiskers are important sensory organs for a cat. According to the experts, each whisker on a cat is connected to such a rich set of nerve endings that the cat can use them to sense slight air movements around their body. Cats have a specialized region of the brain to process information from their whiskers: it's called the "barrel cortex" and has some similarities to the visual cortex. Here's a haiku inspired by Whiskers:

Whiskers
By Cathryn Chaney © 2014

Slender silver wisps,
Help you run and dodge in dark,
Like eyes I can pet.

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