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Fun Facts About Cats’ Tongues

September 28, 2013
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I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love sandpaper kisses — you know, when your cat licks you.

 

And every time I get one, I can’t help but think how cool and unique the feline tongue is. The other day I decided to read up on it a bit more, and I found out a few fun and unusual things that I thought you’d enjoy, too. Here we go!

Photo courtesy Malingering.

OK, let’s start with the “sandpaper” aspect. In the center of a cat’s tongue, there are small hairs that act like hooks — they’re called papillae. Oddly enough, this papillae is made of keratin, which is also what our hair and fingernails are made of.

The papillae serve several purposes including grooming the fur, and holding and gathering food inside the mouth.

There are also some papillae at the tip and sides of the tongue that are essential to a cat’s ability to taste. Apparently, a cat’s tongue can sense flavor and texture, which is why some cats may be picky about a kibble’s shape.

The tongue as a whole is also sensitive to temperature, and if you’ve always wondered if your cat likes cold wet food right out of the fridge, or a room-temperature can just opened, science has the answer: Cats prefer food to be served at room temperature, more than chilled or warmed foods.

Like dogs, a cat’s tongue is good for more than just eating, too.

Mother cats use their tongues as a form of stimulation to prompt their kittens to go potty.

And if a cat is too hot, he’ll likely pant, just like a dog.

Curious to learn more fun facts? Check out this post about cats’ mouths

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