Why is a cat’s tongue rough?

Par Pawtounes 8 Min de Lecture

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Have you ever noticed your cat’s tongue? If you haven’t done so, you might after reading our article. Discover the most interesting curiosities about the cat ‘s tongue!

What’s a cat’s tongue like?

If you’ve received a lick from your cat, you’ve probably felt different sensations. A cat’s tongue is rough because of the hundreds of papillae that cover it. These papillae are like little keratin needles or spines that give the rough feel you notice when the cat licks you.

You may or may not have liked this feline “little kiss”, but you should know one thing: it’s a great sign of affection!

But there’s much more to know about the cat’s tongue. A study conducted by researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology has determined that each of these papillae has a cavity inside. In this cavity, the cat’s saliva is collected and distributed in its own hair when it licks itself. So they’re as clean as ever!

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Curiosities about cats’ tongues

The cat’s tongue acts like a brush

One of the most important curiosities of the tongue is that its papillae help them not only to wash, but also to comb their hair and remove dead hairs. Of course, this can be a double-edged sword: by removing dead hairs, they swallow a significant quantity every day. You have to be very careful!

A practical language, but not as developed as our own

On the other hand, having such numerous and strong taste buds, you’d think they’d be able to perceive every possible flavor and more, wouldn’t you? Well, no! Our feline friends can’t distinguish sweetness. Well, on second thought, better for them. Cats can’t eat any of the treats we sometimes eat. So at least they don’t know what they’re missing. Don’t you think?

The essential accessory for eating and drinking

Another curiosity is that the shape of their tongue helps them to eat and drink.

When they drink, they don’t scoop up the water like dogs do, but when they dip their tongue into the liquid, it remains in the cavities that cover it.

As far as food is concerned, it has to be said that the papillae, in addition to allowing them to savor food, by their very shape help them to eat better, by removing the meat from the bone in case they need to feed on the prey they are hunting.

Why is grooming so important for cats?

As you can see, a cat’s tongue is primarily designed to enable it to clean itself and remove dead hairs without having to rely on us humans.

Image 1 (rough cat's tongue): Close-up photo of a cat's tongue, with visible papillae. - cat tongue, papillae, saliva, grooming, hygiene, survival, affection, body temperature, thermoregulation, dead hair, hairballs, cat hair, brushing, treats, sweet taste, drinking, eating, prey, body odor, knots, ties, stress, thermal regulation, thermoregulation, licking, cat health, parasites

Grooming is one of the most time-consuming of the cat’s daily routines. But why is grooming so important for cats? The truth is, they have good reasons for doing so, and we’re going to explain them to you.

Cat grooming is an instinctive behavior in felines. Kittens learn this from their mother, who devotes herself to cleaning them when they’re small.

One of the main reasons why this task is important to them is survival, but we’ll come back to that later.

The point we’re trying to make here is that it’s important not to prevent cats from grooming. By preventing a cat from grooming, we override a part of its being, its instinct, and we could cause our pet serious physical and mental problems.

What’s more, not only should you not avoid it, but you can help your feline groom.

Brushing your cat’s hair frequently removes dead hairs with the brush, preventing them from being swallowed during grooming and preventing hairballs from forming in the cat’s stomach.

Of course, it’s important to distinguish between a grooming routine and stereotyping, which is aimless, repetitive movement normally caused by an emotional problem. These stereotypes include compulsive paw licking. This must be avoided.

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Why do cats groom themselves every day?

1. Cat grooming for optimum health

The main reason a cat grooms itself is to promote good health and survival. Poor hygiene can make your cat sick, and by grooming, he can remove impurities and dirt from his skin, without needing to bathe.

But that’s not all: thanks to grooming, they also manage to eliminate and keep at bay parasites and other external agents that can cause health problems.

On the other hand, staying clean helps them maintain a neutral body odor, avoiding strong odors that can attract predators in the wild.

2. Grooming helps cats care for their fur

As we saw earlier, the passage of the rough tongue through the fur makes it cleaner, knots don’t form and it stays healthier.

Knowing that hair acts as a protective layer against thermal and external pathogens makes this all the more important.

3. Grooming is a sign of affection and protection

cat's tongue

You may have seen one cat grooming another, or even grooming another animal, such as a dog. In this case, it’s a show of affection and protection for the person the feline is grooming.

While mother cats groom their kittens to clean them, keep them healthy and protect them, one cat may feel so much affection for another that it will help with this routine. It’s also a way of strengthening ties.

4. Grooming gives them peace of mind

The fact that grooming is part of their daily routine, that cats are routine animals and, what’s more, that lack of hygiene can stress them, leads us to conclude that this task helps the feline to remain in a state of tranquility.

What’s more, in times of great tension, we can see how many cats run to a quiet place and start grooming themselves. It’s his way of relaxing.

5. Grooming cats helps maintain their correct body temperature.

Body thermoregulation is one of the most important reasons for grooming cats, and one that many people ignore.

One of the few ways cats can regulate their body temperature in the heat is by licking their bodies. With this, when the saliva evaporates, they manage to refresh themselves.

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