8 Cat Tongue Facts That All Kitty Owners Need to Know


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Cats are fascinating creatures and make for great pets. One of the most fascinating features of cats is their tongue. Do you want to understand your feline housemate better? Here are some interesting facts about its most active body part โ€“ the tongue!

  • Cats cannot taste sweetness: If you are planning to treat your kitty to some of your favorite sweet treats, you are in for a surprise. Cats cannot taste sweetness, and therefore, find sweet food tasteless.
  • Cat tongues have thousands of tiny barbs: Cat tongues contain thousands of tiny barbs called papillae, which are made of keratin, the same protein that makes up human nails. You may have felt the roughness of your catโ€™s tongue if it has ever tried to lick you. The surface of its tongue has a texture similar to sandpaper.
  • Cats clean and swallow skin debris with their tongue: The tiny papillae on your catโ€™s tongue are bent inwards and draw in whatever they get hold of into the catโ€™s mouth. When a cat grooms, the tiny barbs trap dead skin cells, loose hair, and other debris trapped on the skin and in the fur and push them into the catโ€™s stomach.
  • Cats strip meat from bones by licking: The rough tongue of your cat is designed to strip meat off its preyโ€™s bones in the wild. Even though most domestic cats do not hunt or eat meat off bones, the tongue is designed to help your cat to utilize every tiny piece of meat from its prey.
  • Catsโ€™ body oxygen adequacy can be checked using the tongue: The color of your catโ€™s tongue can indicate if it is getting enough oxygen. A pale pink or blue means your cat may be starved of oxygen, while a bright pink color means that your cat is getting enough oxygen to function.
  • Cats groom you to show affection: Cats use their tongues o show affection to other animals and to humans. If your cat is trying to groom your other cats, your dogs, or you, it means that the cats like you and wants to show you affection.
  • Cats cool down in summer using their tongue: Grooming not only cleans fur and skin but also covers cat fur in a layer of saliva. As the saliva evaporates, it helps cool your cat down. This is why cats groom often in summers but not much in winters.
  • Cats test food temperature using their tongues: Most cats like eating food that is at room temperature. They use their tongues to test if the food given to them is too hot or too cold and ensures they do not injure their mouths or digestive tracts.

So, the next time your kitty tries to groom you or refuses sweet treats, you know why it is behaving that way!

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