Why Do Cats Have Whiskers?

Here's your nightly math! Just 5 quick minutes of number fun for kids and parents at home. Read a cool fun fact, followed by math riddles at different levels so everyone can jump in. Your kids will love you for it.

Why Do Cats Have Whiskers?

September 15, 2017

Cats look so cute with those furry, fuzzy whiskers.  But the whiskers aren’t there just for fun. They are super-sensitive, meaning when they brush against anything, cats really feel it. The whiskers help the cat figure out if it can squeeze through an opening without getting stuck. You never want to trim (cut) those whiskers, because it will leave the cat dizzy and confused. The 8-12 whiskers on each side of the nose also show a cat’s mood: whiskers sticking straight out show that a cat is calm; whiskers tilted forward mean the cat is excited and alert; and whiskers flattened back show anger or fear. Cats also have whiskers above their eyes, on their chin, and on the backs of their front legs — and they all look cute.

Wee ones: If a cat’s whiskers reach 8 inches across and a hole in the wall is 9 inches across, will the cat think it can sneak through?

Little kids: If a cat has 10 whiskers on each side of its nose, how many does it have?  Bonus: What if it has 12 on each side — how many more whiskers does it have now?

Big kids: If a cat had 9 whiskers on each side of its nose, above each eye, and behind each front paw, how many whiskers would that be in total?  Bonus: If 1 cat has 80 whiskers in total, another has 36 in total, and a 3rd cat’s number is halfway between those, how many whiskers does the 3rd cat have?

 

 

 

Answers:
Wee ones: Yes! The hole is wider than its whiskers.

Little kids: 20 whiskers.  Bonus: 4 more whiskers since you added 2 on each side.

Big kids: 54 whiskers (6 sets of 9).  Bonus: 58 whiskers. The difference between the first 2 cats is 80-36 = 44, so the 3rd cat’s number will be 22 less than one cat and 22 more than the other cat.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About the Author

Laura Overdeck

Laura Overdeck

Laura Bilodeau Overdeck is founder and president of Bedtime Math Foundation. Her goal is to make math as playful for kids as it was for her when she was a child. Her mom had Laura baking while still in diapers, and her dad had her using power tools at a very unsafe age, measuring lengths, widths and angles in the process. Armed with this early love of numbers, Laura went on to get a BA in astrophysics from Princeton University, and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business; she continues to star-gaze today. Laura’s other interests include her three lively children, chocolate, extreme vehicles, and Lego Mindstorms.

More posts from this author