There are many things that are strangely adorable about cats; From their weird ears, to their flexing toes, even those adorable whiskers! But what about those lovely kisses they give us? That spiked, little, pink, ridged tongue that feels like sandpaper to our skin. Here are 7 cat tongue facts you may not have known!
A cat’s tongue is coated with fine, backwards-facing bristles called “papillae” which are made up of keratin. This is the same mineral found in human fingernails. These are meant to aid in grooming as well as feeding.
Just as a human bites their nails when nervous, a cat will use its tongue to “over-groom” itself when overly stressed. When they clean themselves, their body releases endorphins that make them feel fuzzy on the inside. While this is a great stress reliever, it can lead to something called “psychogenic alopecia”. The result of this disorder is balding, sores, and even self-mutilation if not addressed in early stages.
YOU SAW NOTHING!
You may notice your cat cleaning itself after a recent meal. The natural instinct of a cat is to clean itself off after a kill to cover its tracks. This keeps other animals from tracking them down, whether it be other predators or more prey. Both large and small cat breeds are known for covering their tracks in the wild in a number of ways.
One Cool Cat
Cats do not have the ability to sweat, so in order to keep themselves cool, they let excess heat escape from their mouths. They also keep cool by, you guessed it, cleaning themselves! This is due to the evaporation process. When they lick their fur, moisture slowly evaporates leaving pockets between the skin and the fur moist and cool.
It is said that felines are not capable of tasting sugar. This is based on the amount of taste buds on a cat’s tongue and their natural carnivorous pallet. More research has to be done to have better understanding of this subject; 3 out of my 5 cats love sweets, and I doubt they enjoy something they can not taste. What they taste exactly, may not be the same way our taste buds work but if you stick natural sugar (from fruit, for example) in front of them, they will likely snub it. I believe the felines out there that do enjoy sugar, enjoy the processed stuff the same way we do, not so much for the taste, but the “high” they get from it, so to speak.
It Don’t Taste Feelings!
Cats are known for being picky eaters. This is not always due to how food tastes to them. Because of the textures of the papillae, a cat may simple refuse food based on the way it feels on their tongue. Talk about being finicky!
Magical Water Witchcraft.
When a cat drinks water, they are not simply lapping up water like a dog. The bristles on a cat’s tongue actually form a pocket between the moving water, allowing the cat to pull in water quickly, but only swallowing it when their mouths are filled. Their jaw allows them to lock water in place without it spilling out as they drink. This has only recently been discovered.