Where did all the eyebrows go?
July 16, 2008 12:41 PM   Subscribe

Should I stop worrying that my one of my cat eats my other cats' eyebrows? It appears to be an entirely consensual act.

All right, so I have two male cats (unrelated, neutered) who love each other. They express this, in part, through mutual grooming. I've noticed recently that the orange cat has been vigorously nibbling at the brown cat's eyebrow whiskers during the grooming sessions. Now, all the eyebrow whiskers on one side are entirely gone. His fur and skin in this area look perfectly normal.

This happened before--but with the other side of the brown cat's head. Those have grown back in now--so I guess they've been switching sides. Both the orange cat and brown cat appear to be extremely blissed out during the eyebrow nibbling.

The brown cat is fully capable of defending himself. He is, in fact, the dominant cat in this situation.

Of course, one cat over-grooming himself is signs of bad things. But this? I'm not so sure how much to worry about it. Plus, I don't know how I'd stop it if I'd try. Much of the loving action takes place when I'm not home.

And yes...I could call the vet and ask. But, I'd like some outside cat-loving opinions before I call and have my vet make fun of me over this one.
posted by divka to Pets & Animals (13 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
huh. i think if it doesn't bother either of them, let it go.
posted by thinkingwoman at 12:55 PM on July 16, 2008

Being the owner of a single male cat, I am now terrified that he will try to eat my eyebrows at night.
posted by fusinski at 1:04 PM on July 16, 2008 [14 favorites]

One of my cats does this to the other one, too. My vet never had any problem with it, and they don't seem to suffer any adverse effects. Oddly enough, it is also my submissive female that does this to my dominant male.

If I try to break it up, I get the evil eye from both of them.
posted by CurlyMan at 1:05 PM on July 16, 2008 [2 favorites]

Ah, okay. It makes me feel better already to know that my cats aren't the only freakjobs doing this.

And...they haven't made a move for my eyebrows.

posted by divka at 1:08 PM on July 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

My cats are a bonded pair (both neutered male). There's eyebrow grooming here too, although it's only part of the full mutual-grooming routine that includes whiskerwashing, earlicking, chin nuzzles, and - well, this is my work machine. Maybe I don't go there. Suffice it to say that there's nothing like being woken at 3 am by blissed-out cat humping. ON TOP OF YOU.

As for your boys, I think it's normal. One of mine is chewier than the other, and now that I look at his boyfriend I can see that there's a slight eyebrow imbalance.

Maybe we should get all four of them together for drinks.
posted by catlet at 1:18 PM on July 16, 2008 [15 favorites]

Two of our cats do the same thing. Little Girl doesn't have any whiskers left, but heaven forbid I stop Otter from chewing away. They both seem to adore it. I'm beyond trying to understand cats at this point.

Mad beasts.
posted by Space Kitty at 1:51 PM on July 16, 2008

What kind of household do you run where you cats are picking up this sort of disgusting behavior?

Just kidding! But I had cats long ago who did this, and I found out that they had (just a few) fleas. Cured of the fleas, they never did it again. So you might want to check this, just in case.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 2:25 PM on July 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

Weird! I have nothing.. but need to ask - Are the whiskers cut or plucked? Like is there stubble-y whiskers left behind or is it just smooth?
And what happens to them?? (The whiskers) Are they removed whole? Do you find them around the house or do they get eaten? Or do they get nibbled down and so who knows what becomes of them...?
posted by mu~ha~ha~ha~har at 2:56 PM on July 16, 2008

My parents' cats have this behaviour too. About a year ago, they brought a young (one-year-old) cat into the house with the already-established eight-year-old cat. Before the younger cat arrived, the older cat had impressive five-inch-long whiskers. Now they're about an inch or two long at most in all four locations (both eyebrows, both cheeks.) Their vet was unconcerned, and the only thing injured is the older cat's dignity.
posted by Johnny Assay at 3:05 PM on July 16, 2008

A friend's cats do this--male and female fixed siblings. She eats his eyebrows down to little stubble. They've done it for years to no ill effects.
posted by Mavri at 3:12 PM on July 16, 2008

I used to wake to my cat sucking on my eyelashes. I always thought is was super weird- but I guess not that unusual.
posted by beccaj at 3:29 PM on July 16, 2008

My cat situation in the exact same as CulyMan's. And yes, there's eyebrow stubble on Yoshi... And the sides aren't even, either - I guess Holly isn't the best at brow shaping.
posted by neblina_matinal at 4:27 PM on July 16, 2008

My cat tries very hard to get rid of her wiskers, even though she has tons. She rubs them repeatedly and roughly, and her eyebrows get the same treatment on any hard surface (this is different than the "marking territory" rubbing, which she also does). Usually when I notice her doing this a lot, I find a whisker on the floor the next day, and I've concluded that those suckers must itch quite a bit at times. They do have a very large root to them, so it's possible they get bothersome.
posted by agregoli at 10:29 AM on July 17, 2008

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