How does the cat's tongue work?

 How does the cat's tongue work?

Tracy Wilkins

The cat's tongue is the most curious part of the cat's anatomy. After all, it is responsible for the feline's incredible self-cleaning ability - and in some cases, there are animals that use the feline tongue to express that particularly canine behavior of licking their owners. However, one thing that catches the eye about the cat's rough tongue is its shape, which is full of hairssmall dots that look like thorns.

Its function, however, goes beyond the "cat bath" and influences the behavior of kittens in several aspects. As everything has an explanation, we will show you how the cat's tongue works and its abilities to facilitate the animal's daily life. So, if you want to know why the cat's tongue is rough, why cats stick out their tongues, what the anatomy of the feline tongue is like, meaning ofits functions and even how a cat's tongue can revolutionize human technology, just keep reading!

Why is a cat's tongue rough?

If you've ever looked closely at a cat's tongue or received a lick from them, you may have noticed that its texture is quite different from the human tongue. It is a rough tongue, even resembling sandpaper. But why is a cat's tongue rough? The answer is related to the filiform papillae. Cats have a rough tongue because they have, on their surface, these structures that are nothing more than small onesThis explains why a cat's tongue is rough: when we touch it, we are actually in contact with the filiform papillae made of very resistant protein.

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The anatomy of the feline tongue helps with everything from chewing to self-cleaning.

After all, what does the cat's tongue look like? The anatomy of this organ helps not only in functions related to feeding, but also to personal hygiene. We can divide the cat's tongue into apex (outermost part, close to the face), body (more central region, close to the teeth) and root (innermost part, close to the pharynx). The tongue of cats has taste buds, found on the edges of the tongue. Catcan taste food through part of the cat's digestive system

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The papillae are called filiform papillae. Cats use them for several functions. As we explained, they are the reason why a cat's tongue is rough. With their rigid and curved anatomy, they help to remove meat that gets stuck in the teeth, brush the hair along the animal's body and promote self-cleaning. Another important function of the feline tongue is to drink water. The tip of the tongueof a cat is the part that will come into contact with water, ensuring hydration. In short, cats' tongues have a perfect anatomy to assist in the most diverse functions, such as:

  • Taste the food
  • Drink water
  • Controlling body temperature
  • Assist in chewing
  • Removing food debris from teeth
  • Self-cleaning of the body
  • Brushing body hair

How does cat tongue work for daily bathing?

The feline tongue is composed of several bristles, which are actually called filiform papillae. These "spines" on a cat's tongue carry many functions, including storing saliva to distribute between the fur and skin when self-cleaning. As this habit is daily, it is not recommended to give traditional baths too often to felines, as they can do it themselvesCats also remove dead hairs in their self-cleaning. Yes, cats have a natural "brush" inside them, but this function ends up bringing a problem: hairballs, which are usually eliminated in faeces or vomit. That's why you should always brush your cat's hair so that it doesn't harm him.

Although the habit of using the cat's tongue to lick itself several times during the day is common, it is important to make sure that the kitten is not doing it too much. Excessive licking can mean stress and even more serious health problems, such as atopic dermatitis . If the licking is accompanied by flaws in the coat or sores on the body , take the kitten to the doctor.veterinarian so that the professional can analyze the condition and indicate the best form of treatment.

A cat's tongue helps with body temperature control

There is a very interesting function of the cat's tongue: the animal manages to control its body temperature by licking its body. The saliva present on the tongues of cats in contact with the hair gives a feeling of coolness, because, by evaporating, it reduces the body temperature. Also, have you ever stopped to think why the cat sticks out its tongue? One of the reasons is related to the temperatureWhen the feline opens its mouth, the saliva on its tongue evaporates into the environment. In doing so, its temperature also decreases. This explains why cats stick out their tongues, especially on hot days. So keep an eye out for this sign - after all, to know how to speak cats' tongues, you have to observe their behaviors. For a cat, tongue out during awalk may be a sign that he is too hot and it is time to hydrate and rest.

The cat's tongue does not recognize all flavors and plays an important role in hydration

A cat's tongue can only taste salty, sour or bitter flavours. This is because cats' tongues only have 400 taste buds, whereas we humans have between 2,000 and 8,000. In fact, a cat's tongue is what makes them so picky and discerning in their taste. The thing is, they don't identify food by taste, but by smell. The sense of smell in cats ishighly developed and works together with the taste buds so that the kitten recognizes the tastiest foods. This explains the action of rejecting the food that stays in the bowl for a long time, since the food does not smell so pleasant and attractive. The taste buds of cats are not able to recognize sweet flavors - that is why they are more attracted to salty foods.

The cat's tongue plays an important role not only in feeding, but also in hydration. Felines use this organ to drink water in a different way. They dip the tip of their tongue in the water as if they were tapping it. This makes the droplets rise up and, before they fall, they close their mouth drinking a small sip. To notice it you have to be very attentive, because it is a very good!

The structure of cats' tongues is the subject of technological research

The anatomical properties of the rough cat tongue are so fascinating that they inspire scientists in technological research that could be very important for humans. Mechanical engineer Alexis Noel was one of the first to analyze and research the organ. She started observing the biomechanics of the cat tongue after noticing how her own kitten used it, and noticed that the papillae werevery good at removing knots from the cat's own fur and also from blankets. So she and other Georgia Tech researchers began analyzing samples of cats' tongues, realizing that the papillae present looked like claws. Because of their hook-like shape, they can twist knots, making them come loose more easily than a traditional hairbrush.

The researchers made a perfect cat tongue mold and 3D printed a version 400% larger than a normal tongue, mimicking a hairbrush. When testing, they realized that the cat tongue functions much more efficiently than a classic straight-bristled hairbrush. In addition to removing knots more effectively, it is also easier to clean, as theThe cat's tongue, in addition to improving the effectiveness of brushes, can play a very important role in robotics! Scientists have difficulties in creating materials that can make a robot hold smooth objects without letting them slip. The rough cat's tongue and all its mechanics can help to get around this situation, as it would facilitate touch. This means that the tongue wouldcat could revolutionize science!

Originally published on: 18/12/2019

Updated on: 28/10/2021

Tracy Wilkins

Jeremy Cruz is a passionate animal lover and dedicated pet parent. With a background in veterinary medicine, Jeremy has spent years working alongside veterinarians, gaining invaluable knowledge and experience in caring for dogs and cats. His genuine love for animals and commitment to their well-being led him to create the blog Everything you need to know about dogs and cats, where he shares expert advice from veterinarians, owners, and respected experts in the field, including Tracy Wilkins. By combining his expertise in veterinary medicine with insights from other respected professionals, Jeremy aims to provide a comprehensive resource for pet owners, helping them understand and address their beloved pets' needs. Whether it's training tips, health advice, or simply spreading awareness about animal welfare, Jeremy's blog has become a go-to source for pet enthusiasts seeking reliable and compassionate information. Through his writing, Jeremy hopes to inspire others to become more responsible pet owners and create a world where all animals receive the love, care, and respect they deserve.