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Copyright 1999-2018 by crazyforKITTIES (SM) Privacy

How many kinds of hairs do cats have? :

Most cats have four kinds: down hairs, awn hairs, guard hairs, and vibrissae. There can be up to 200 hairs per square millimeter!

The down hairs are the closest to the skin. They are the shortest, finest, softest hairs on the cat, and their purpose is to keep the cat warm. If down hairs are viewed under a microscope, they will reveal their crimps (or waves) that help make them such good insulators. But to our eyes, the down hairs appear straight.

The awn hairs make up the middle coat of the cat. They partly insulate the cat and partly protect the down hairs underneath.

The guard hairs are the protective topcoat. They are the longer and thicker than either the down or awn hairs. They protect the underfur from the outside elements, keeping it dry. The guard hairs are straight and evenly tapered along their length.

The vibrissae are greatly enlarged and toughened hairs that are used as organs of touch. These specialized tactile hairs are the whiskers found on the upper lips, the cheeks, above the eyes, and on the wrists of the forelegs.

The down hairs are the most numerous. On the average, for every 1000 down hairs, there are about 300 awn hairs, and 20 guard hairs. But their is considerable variation among the different cat breeds. For example, Cornish Rex cats have no guard hairs. And the size and shape of these three types of hairs can vary by breed as well. Wirehaired cats, for instance, have all three hair types, but all three are short and curly. But most cats have all the hair types described here.

Source: Catlore, by Desmond Morris, Crown Publishers, Inc., New York, 1987, pp. 123-125.