You’ve probably seen your cat’s tongue many times during one of kitty’s frequent grooming sessions. While cats use their tongues often, they tend to use it in ways that only they experience. Because of this, many cat owners are pretty clueless about this important organ and how vital it is for a feline. Keep reading to learn some truly fascinating facts about your cat’s tongue:
It’s Rough…for a Reason
If you’ve ever been sitting too close during a grooming session, you might have noticed that your cat’s tongue feels rough like sandpaper. This is because it is made from filiform papillae, which are created from keratin protein. This forms small spines that work like backward hooks and help a cat with most aspects of daily life.
So Fresh and So Clean
One of the main functions of this rough cat tongue is to help your cat keep her coat clean and free from tangles. Cats regularly groom themselves to remove dirt, debris, and hair that could tangle in their coat. Grooming also helps your cat maintain a comfortable body temperature and encourage good circulation.
Food and Drink
As hunters in the wild, the spines on your cat’s tongue make it easier to remove meat from bones when eating. Their magical tongues also let them taste far more than humans can, including the compound Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP), which is what gives our cells energy. Unfortunately (for them), cat tongues are not able to taste sweet or salty foods. Their tongues also make it easier for them to drink water. Unlike dogs, cats only need to dip the very tip of the tongue into the water. The shape of the tongue forces the water into a tunnel that travels up the tongue and down the throat. Because of this, a cat can drink about five teaspoons in a single second.
A cat’s tongue can even give you an insight into her overall health and wellness. Healthy cats have pink, dry tongues. Any visual changes to a cat’s tongue could be a sign of an underlying health issue. These changes might include:
- White patches on the tongue
- Noticeable saliva
- Color change (might be blue, white, or a paler pink)
If you notice any changes to your cat’s tongue, it is important to schedule a checkup with your veterinarian. The sooner you can find the cause of the problem, the sooner you can find a good treatment option.
Although it might not feel great on your skin, if your cat uses her tongue to lick you, it means that she really loves you. Sometimes cats will also forget to pull their tongue back and might look at you with an adorable bit of it hanging out. While this is nothing to be alarmed by, it can present the perfect opportunity for a great photo.
At Union Lake Pet Services, we love all the fascinating characteristics and quirks that make our pets’ personalities shine. We offer a wide range of services to make it easier for you to give them the care and attention they need. To learn more about our services, please call us at (248) 363-6262.