Why is My Cat’s Tongue like Sandpaper?

August 14th, 2012

Have you ever wondered why getting licked by a cat feels like you are being brushed with sandpaper?

My Cat’s Tongue like SandpaperIt is because cats have little hooked papillae, barb-like “hairs” pointing toward the back of their mouths that cover the top part of their tongue. These are very stiff and pointy barbs that act like the bristles of a hair brush, or the teeth of a comb.

Cats are by nature very clean animals and they are constantly grooming and cleaning themselves. The barbs on their tongue make grooming a particularly efficient affair for cats.

It is also thought that these barbs also help do the delicate work of separating flesh from bone when a cat eats their prey.  But that would seem more likely to be the case for big cats like lions and tigers, whose papillae are significantly more developed.

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