When your finicky feline friend finally snuggles up, it’s hard not to shiver a little bit as they lick you. Their textured tongue seems alien, with a weird sandpapery quality that our other furry friends just don’t have. What makes a cat’s tongue feel so different?
If you look at a tongue, you’ll see little dots or spots called papillae, and for most animals, the papillae are straight in shape. However, a cat’s papillae are specialized, thickened with more keratin, and have a claw hook-like bend to them. This curved design is perfect for detangling fur, and it puts the modern human hair brush to shame because when the cat presses down and up on their tongue, they dislodge any of the fur wrapped around their papillae — talk about easy detangling!
A cat’s textural tongue evolved for the oddest thing – to clean off smell. The smell or lack thereof is important for hunting. Cats take down prey alone, and a cat’s hunting tactics require the element of surprise to pounce on their next meal. Essentially, cats only get one shot and one shot only, most prey animals are sensitive to smell, so a whiff of a feline’s odor could give them away.
You may be wondering, what about dogs or canines they hunt as well wouldn’t they be worried about their smell? Luckily for canines, they hunt in a pack, so the strategies for getting an animal are quite different. Canine animals branch off and encircle their prey (teamwork does really help), so if canines smell or not doesn’t factor into their success at hunting.
Now it may not be the cleanest of ways to brush, but let your cat lick, especially short-furred breeds, they are excellent self-groomers. Cat a la tongue cleaning also helps lubricate their fur coat, making it naturally water-resistant with a blend of saliva and fur oils. Oils sound a little gross, but no worries, unless the cat got into a real nasty mess or smells like their litter box, don’t bathe them too frequently.SKM: below-content placeholder