Understanding Whisker Fatigue and Effective Remedies for It!

What is Whisker Fatigue:

Whisker fatigue is a condition that may affect some cats when their sensitive whiskers come in contact with the sides of their food bowl.

“In basic terms, whisker fatigue is simply over-stimulation of the sensory system of the whiskers. What happens when the whiskers are touched too much, even if it is basic brushing against food and water dishes, is the cat’s brain gets an onslaught of sensory messages transmitted to their brain.” Dr Keyes from Cat Vet Tucson. A full article on this condition can be found here.

This may cause them discomfort, stress and irritability during mealtime. To prevent this condition, you may offer wider bowls, flat saucers or even paper plates instead of deep bowls. By providing your cat with the right bowl, you may help them feel calm and comfortable during their meals.

It is something we had never really thought about until we noticed that one of our cats would ignore her normally favourite food! But what are the exact signs to look out for?

The signs of whisker fatigue in cats may include avoiding the food bowl, pawing at the food, and even meowing excessively during mealtime. Some cats may also leave food behind in the bowl or appear overly anxious during feeding time.

  • Refusal to eat or drink from their usual dishes
  • Pacing in front of the food bowls and meowing like something is wrong
  • Pawing at food and water to try and pull it from the bowl
  • Acting more aggressively around food or treats when it is given to them out of the dish

Making adjustments to their feeding bowls, as well as their feeding environment, may help to alleviate these symptoms and make mealtime more enjoyable for your feline friend. and that’s why we invested into the Necoichi extra-wide bowls!

It’s not surprising that this bowl from Japanese company Necoichi won the 1st place in the Global Pet Expo awards. Not just does it address the whisker fatigue problem but it also addresses the issue of cats liking to eat from the middle of the bowl! Thanks to its designed curve the food naturally gravitates towards the center avoiding the oh so common issue of a cat complaining that the bowl is empty while it’s still half full! 😉

Further to this, the bowls are made of ceramic which avoids the common issue we saw with wide bowls made of bamboo composite or plastic. With the bamboo composite or plastic no matter how hard we cleaned them they lead to the problem eater cat developing feline acne due to the bacteria living in the material of the bowls we used prior to the ceramic bowls.

And lastly, the raised design just makes it easier for cats to eat as well as reduce the risk of vomiting in cats that are prone to the latter!

“The use of an elevated bowl allows gravity to assist in moving food from the mouth to the stomach. Cats with other eating or swallowing problems may also benefit from an elevated food bowl.” Quote By Catherine Barnette DVM

The extra-wide raised bowls now come in 7 fabulous designs from Necoichi and we are very lucky to have been able to source these for our online shop alongside the rest of the impressive Necoichi range. And until the end of August you can get 12% off with the code Sakura (Discount can be applied in your basket / cart on the right hand bottom side or as a clickable link on the top of the checkout page) in our online shop.

The designs currently available for this bowl are Classic, Sakura , Modern Sakura, Fuji, Botanical Garden, Colourful Dots and Nala cat which features an image of the brands’ mascot Nala!

Of course, the brand also has more affordable standard sized and large bowls as well as water bowls for those that don’t necessarily require the extra-wide bowl to avoid whisker fatigue! This really does depend on the size of your cat and all of their bowls are whisker friendly designed. Our three-legged cat Nubia is especially pleased about this as it makes it easier for her to drink and eat at all times.

The full range can be seen here.

And if you have problems with spillage despite the special lip design to minimise this in the first place… why not add a Necoichi dining tray!



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1 thoughts on “Understanding Whisker Fatigue and Effective Remedies for It!

  1. Jen says:

    I first heard about whisker stress on a Jackson Galaxy video — as soon as I watched it I switched my Nicki’s food bowl to a plate, and started filling her water bowl not as full to cut down on whisker contact. I had no idea this was a thing until I saw his video.

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