Stiffened hairs above domestic cat eyes are for triggering blink reflex

This is just a snippet of information about the domestic cat’s anatomy which I bumped into on my travels.

You know those stiff hairs above the domestic cat’s eyes which are a bit like whiskers but shorter, thinner and less stiff: they are there to protect the eyes by triggering the blink reflex. So when a domestic cat is in a fight and these hairs are moved/dislodged the cat closes his eyes.

Hairs above eyes trigger the blink reflex

Hairs above eyes trigger the blink reflex. Photo: Michael

There are obviously numerous instances when these hairs can be moved for whatever reason and they should under normal circumstances trigger a blink reflex in the domestic cat.

PS: Whiskers are modified hairs and where they are attached to the skin they are equipped with receptors which tell the cat how far they are bent on how quickly. Domestic cats have these different hairs also on the sides of the head and near the ankles. They work in tandem with the whiskers attached to the muzzle to enable domestic cats to judge the width of openings they can squeeze through. Muzzle whiskers also help the cat to ‘feel’ prey and assess where to bite.

In addition, information gathered from these hairs help to keep the cat up right together with the vestibular system in the inner ear which contributes to the cats amazing sense of balance.

FB comments (see below)
This entry was posted in coat and tagged , , by Michael Broad. Bookmark the permalink.

About Michael Broad

Michael is retired! He retired at age 57 and at Aug 2018 is approaching 70. He worked in many jobs. The last job he did was as a solicitor practicing general law. He loves animals and is passionate about animal welfare. He also loves photography and nature. He hates animal abuse. He has owned and managed this site since 2007. There are around 13k pages so please use the custom search facility!


Stiffened hairs above domestic cat eyes are for triggering blink reflex — 1 Comment

  1. Yes, cats are amazing creatures. They would be the animal I’d want to be able to tell me all about the natural world, in the ways they are better adapted.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Please try and upload photos that are small in size of max 500px width and 50 KB size. Large images typical of most default settings on digital cameras may fail to upload. Thanks. Comment rules: (1) respect others (2) threatening, harassing, bullying, insulting and being rude to others is forbidden (3) advocating cat cruelty is forbidden (4) trolls (I know who they are) must use real name and upload a photo of themselves. Enforcement: (1) inappropriate comments are deleted before publication and (2) commenters who demonstrate a desire to flout the rules are banned. Failure to comply with (4) results in non-publication. Lastly, please avoid adding links because spam software regards comments with links as spam and holds them in the spam folder. I delete the spam folder contents daily.