Have you ever seen a cat investigate a space they’re interested in by putting their head in the space, only to back up and change their mind? A cat has a built- in measuring tape that lets them know when their curiosity may just get them stuck in a space that is too small for their bodies—their whiskers. A cat’s whiskers are the same length as the width of their body. They have small heads, which means going into a space head first without knowing if the rest of their body will fit can be problematic. Luckily, they know if their whiskers touch or bend upon entering a space, it is too small for their body!
You can create a set of cat whiskers with a few items at home that can help you get a hands-on look at how a cat uses its whiskers.
- Twist pipe cleaners together to form a set of whiskers. Trim them into desired length, but make sure they are symmetrical—meaning they are the same length from the center to the ends on both sides.
- Tape the center of the whiskers to the ball.
- Use the ball and whiskers and see if it can fit through tight spaces just like a cat. If the whiskers touch the sides of a space, bend or get pushed back, the space is too small for a cat!
Take notes, or pictures on where your cat whiskers will fit. What spaces would your imaginary cat be able to fit into and where would your cat need to back out of?