I came across this picture of a close-up of a cat’s tongue. I thought it was so amazing, I searched for more information and pictures about the topic.
I learned that in the center of a cat’s tongue are papillae, which are little hooked, hair-like growths that face towards the back of the mouth. These strong hooks are made from keratin (the same stuff found in human fingernails).
Papillae are used for the following
- The hooks help clean and separate the cat’s fur.
- The hooks can help gather food into the mouth.
- The hooks can help hold struggling prey in place.
- Special mushroom-shaped papillae at the tip and along the sides of the tongue hold large taste buds. Another set of cup-shaped papillae sit at the back of the tongue.
Thanks to their unique tongue, a cat has a keener sense of taste than a dog does. Studies have shown that a cat’s tongue reacts to flavor AND to texture. This may be one of the reasons that dry cat food comes in a variety of shapes. The tongue is also sensitive to temperature. Studies have shown that many cats prefer food served at room temperature over warm or cold food.
When a cat drinks, the tongue takes on a spoon-like shape. A cat dips his tongue into the water several times before swallowing. The way a cat’s tongue dips under the water is similar to how an elephant curls its trunk.
Here are other pictures of cats’ tongues: