Nobody wants their cat to get too close to something dangerous, but just occasionally, this might happen. Your cat might have found a lit candle to investigate, got too close to a fireplace, or singed its whiskers on something else – and if that has happened, you may be wondering “do burnt cat whiskers grow back?”
You should avoid letting your cat burn its whiskers if you possibly can, but everyone knows that accidents happen. If your cat burns its whiskers, they will eventually fall out and new ones will grow, replacing the ones that got damaged. However, it’s not a good idea to let your cat burn its whiskers just because they will regrow.
Do Burnt Whiskers Heal?
No, burnt cat whiskers will not “heal” as such, in that the individual whisker that got burnt will remain burnt. The cat cannot regenerate the damaged cells in that particular whisker. Instead, the cat will simply shed the whisker (as this is a normal process for cats anyway) and grow a new one to replace it.
Cats do replace whiskers as time passes anyway, whether or not they are damaged. They shed them just like they shed their normal fur, and you might occasionally come across a whisker lying around in your home that looks perfectly fine.
Your cat will soon grow one to replace it, although there is no fixed number of whiskers that a cat has, and individuals will have more and less at different times. As long as it has a few (since whiskers help a cat to navigate), it will be fine, even if it loses a couple after the burning incident.
How Can I Avoid Whisker Burns?
Cats are naturally very curious creatures, and you shouldn’t blame yourself if your cat occasionally gets hurt while poking its nose into places that it shouldn’t be. However, that does not mean you should be negligent, because it is your responsibility to keep your cat as safe as you can at all times.
It is a tricky balance because you shouldn’t carry the guilt of accidents, but you do need to keep your cat safe. Some simple steps that you can take to increase the safety of your home include:
- Don’t light candles if you have cats unless you can put them on a surface that you can absolutely guarantee that your cat cannot reach. Your cat may not notice its whiskers are burning if it sits close to a candle, and this could be very dangerous and might result in fire catching in the fur on your cat’s face, which would lead to serious skin burns.
Even high shelves are not necessarily safe places for candles, because cats can be amazingly agile and often get into places where they shouldn’t be through sheer determination.
Unless you know for sure that a surface is beyond a cat’s reach, do not place a lit candle on it, even when you are in the room. Accidents can happen fast, and your cat could also knock the candle over, which might lead to a house fire.
- Use a fireguard at all times if you have an open fire in your home. Do not let your cat walk up to the fire, and don’t leave it unattended in the room if possible.
- Don’t let your cat near a lit stove, especially a gas stove. If you are cooking, you should shut your cat out of the kitchen. This minimizes accidents of all kinds, including tripping over your cat while carrying pans and food.
- Keep your cat away from outdoor fire pits and barbecue while they are lit if possible.
How Long Does It Take For Whiskers To Grow Back?
You might be wondering how quickly your cat will replace its whiskers, but unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this. Whiskers can grow back at varying speeds, and it totally depends on the cat. Some cats will grow their whiskers back quickly, while others may take a few months.
Estimates seem to range between a few weeks and several months. You can’t do anything to speed up the process, besides making sure that your cat is healthy and well-fed so that it has sufficient nutrients to grow more whiskers.
Otherwise, you will simply have to wait. The whiskers should grow back eventually, although it will probably take longer for elderly cats, as they tend to heal from injuries more slowly on the whole. Don’t expect the whiskers to be restored overnight.
Burnt whiskers will drop off and be replaced by new, intact ones. Your cat cannot heal the cells that got burnt, but will simply replace the whisker as part of its natural regrowth processes, in the same way, that you would replace burnt hair over a period of time. There’s nothing to worry about, but try to keep your cat away from a fire in the future!