10 Fun Facts About Cat Tongue

10 Fun Facts About Cat Tongue

Author WCF Staff


Cats are fascinating creatures known for their elegance, mystique, and charm, but have you ever stopped to wonder about their most unique feature? Yes, we are talking about cat tongue. With a rough surface, a cat's tongue serves multiple purposes that contribute to the cat's overall health and well-being. Because of this, we decided to list the top 10 fun facts about cat tongue you might not know about.

1. The cat's tongue is covered in tiny spines

One of the most unique features of a cat's tongue is its rough texture. This is mostly due to the presence of tiny spines that are facing backward, usually called "papillae." These spines are made out of keratin, and this is the same protein that can be found in human nails and hair. This papillae serves a variety of purposes, including grooming, scraping meat off bones, and drinking water.

cats tongue

2. The tongue is designed for grooming

We all know that cats are clean animals and will often groom themselves excessively. Papillae on their tongue allow them to do that and are crucial for the process. Because of the rough surface of the tongue, it helps them remove loose hair, dirt, and debris from their coat.

Also, papillae help distribute natural oils on the skin and coat, which will maintain cats' coats' overall health and appearance.

3. Cats have a unique drinking technique

While dogs are known for scooping water with their tongues, cats have a much more sophisticated technique. With their tongue's unique structure, they create a column of water, which they quickly close their mouth around and swallow. This is a fascinating thing to watch in slow motion since this process is a result of a balance between gravity and inertia.

cats tongue

4. The cat's tongue helps regulate body temperature

You probably know cats don't sweat like humans; instead, they rely on their tongues to help them regulate body temperature. When the cat groom itself, saliva evaporates from their fur, thus providing a cooling effect similar to sweating. This is extremely important during hot summer days and will help your cat with overheating.

5. Cats can taste scents

Cats have an incredible sense of smell, and their tongue is a big part of it. Cats possess a unique organ, usually called Jacobson's organ, which allows them to taste scents in the air. This will help cats gather all sorts of information about their surroundings.

When a cat exhibits this behavior, it will curl back its upper lip and expose their front teeth and breathe deeply through their mouth.

cats tongue

6. Cats have fewer taste buds than humans

Maybe you will be surprised when you learn that cats have fewer taste buds than humans. While humans have around 9 000 taste buds, cats only have around 470. As a result, their sense of taste is less developed, and they cannot taste sweetness at all. This is happening due to a genetic mutation that left them without the taste receptors necessary for detecting sweet flavors.

7. Cats use their tongues to detect texture

Despite having fewer taste buds, cats are still able to determine different textures of their food using their tongue. Papillae on their tongue can detect different food.

Cats use their tongues to detect texture in a matter of seconds and immediately can decide if that food is something they would like to eat.

cats tongue

8. Cat tongues can be a source of hairballs

Hairballs are sometimes dangerous for cats since they can create a few health problems for them. While cats groom themself, their tongue will capture loose hair that is then swallowed. Most of that hair will pass through the cat's digestive system, but sometimes it can accumulate in the stomach and create a hairball. This can cause discomfort for the cat and, in most cases, cause vomiting.

9. Cat tongue can be a source of dental health

Papillae is not only good for grooming, but it can also maintain good oral health for your cat. The rough texture of a tongue will scrape away some plaque and bacteria from the cat's teeth. You must understand that this is not a substitute for regular and proper dental care, but it provides additional measures for protection against dental issues.

10. Cat tongues can inspire science and technology

This unique texture of cats' tongues has captured the attention of many scientists, who have studied cats' tongues for some while to develop new technologies. One university in the US created a 3D-printed cat tongue brush that mimics the structure and function of a cat's tongue, thus allowing creation of a more effective tools for cats.


The cat tongue is a remarkable and unique tool that plays a vital role in cats' life. From fascinating structure to unique abilities, cat tongue is a testament to the beauty and complexity of nature designs.

So the next time you notice your cat groom itself, take a moment and appreciate the wonders of that cat's tongue.

World Cat Finder Team

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