We received a complimentary Dr Catsby whisker fatigue cat bowl for review. We only recommend products we believe are relevant to our readers.
When I first heard about ‘whisker fatigue’ I thought it was just another clever marketing gimmick to help drive sales of designer cat food bowls. I’ve since realised there’s more to it than that.
The importance of a cat’s whiskers
Whilst a cat’s whiskers are essentially just thick, long hairs that protrude from the sides of their face what makes them special and ultra-sensitive is the fact there is a sensory organ called a proprioceptor at the end of each whisker. This sends messages to the cat’s brain and nervous system.
A cat’s whiskers are so sensitive that they can detect movements in the air – sensing the size and shape of nearby objects before they reach them. This allows a cat to sense and navigate around a piece of furniture in a room in the dark of night. It also helps them judge tight spaces and whether they’ll fit, and sense the outline of prey when hunting to capture and kill in the most effective way (even it’s only a toy mouse in the comfort of your lounge room). That’s why, whiskers are vitally important to your cat.
Understanding whisker fatigue or stress
So if your cat’s whiskers get damaged, fatigued or become stressed by coming into frequent contact with a surface such as the side of a food bowl during meal times it can cause huge discomfort.
This can quickly turn meal times from a pleasurable experience for your cat into a stressful and painful situation. A water bowl with high sides can cause the same problem for cats that suffer from whisker fatigue.
Signs of whisker fatigue
If your cat exhibits any of the following behaviours at meal times, whisker fatigue could be the problem:
- Paws or pulls food out of the bowl before eating from the floor
- Makes a huge food mess on the floor
- Leaves food in the bowl but still seems to be hungry
- Eats only from the centre of the bowl
- Hesitates before eating – stands near the bowl or paces around the outside
- Insists that the bowl be filled to the brim when it’s not empty
- Behaves aggressively towards other pets at meal times.
Preventing whisker fatigue
Cats are known for their finicky eating habits. Often we assume that when a cat isn’t eating at meal times, the problem is the food. But sometimes, and especially if your cat is showing signs of whisker fatigue, the problem could be the food bowl.
Preventing whisker fatigue is simple, you just need to minimise any contact between food and water bowls and your cat’s whiskers. Opt for wide and shallow bowls like the Dr Catsby bowl. These allow your cat to eat and drink comfortably rather than deep bowls that force your cat’s whiskers into uncomfortable contact with the bowl as he eats or drinks.
There are many pet food bowls on the market that can help alleviate whisker fatigue or you could simply feed your cat from a ceramic plate or saucer. Personally, we prefer stainless steel food bowls for our cats because they’re easy to clean and dishwasher safe. Charlie eats from a Dr Catsby bowl for whisker fatigue. It is a low and flat stainless steel bowl by that is specifically designed with sloping sides to keep the food in the centre and prevent whisker stress.
Our experience using the Dr Catsby bowl
We wrote this initial review in July 2016. Since then we have used the Dr Catsby bowl twice a day, every day to feed one of our cats. That’s 6 1/2 years of continued use and counting. This is a well constructed, strong stainless steel bowl. It remains in excellent condition and we expect it’ll last the lifetime of our cat.
In the box you’ll also receive a black silicone mat to ensure the bowl doesn’t move during mealtimes which is great for tiled floors. We’ve washed the bowl by hand and in the dishwasher, so it’s easy to clean too. We continue to recommend this cat bowl for any cat who is suffering from whisker fatigue.
Have you noticed signs of whisker fatigue in your cat? Try changing to a wide and shallow bowl and let us know in the comments if this makes a difference for your cat.