Cats are pretty amazing animals because they possess the characteristics of an ideal pet. Cats are also attractive creatures. The luxuriously soft and shiny hair is one of the admirable features of cats. Being hairy is a typical characteristic of cats. Can this be the reason why some people would believe that cats have hair on their tongues? A cat’s tongue is actually hairless the tongue surface is covered with backward facing barbs called papillae.
Cats are well loved pets and it is not uncommon for cat owners to find so much enjoyment in watching the pet’s every move. The antics of the playing cat will bring so much amusement for the owners. Owners would tirelessly watch when the pet eats or grooms. It is therefore not uncommon for cat parents to notice anything unusual. An owner watching the pet lick its fur would notice the whitish hair-like things that cover the tongue.
Anyone licked by a cat would notice the sand-papery texture of this animal’s tongue. These tiny barbs that point backwards give the cat’s tongue a rough or a Velcro-like quality. If the cat’s tongue is examined, it will be noticed that the surface is covered with rows and rows of hair-like growth. This barbs that points to the back of the tongue is called papillae. Papillae are rather hard because they are made of keratin. Human fingernails and the cat’s claws are made of the same material.
Cats have a very special kind of tongue. The tongue is in fact a multipurpose tool that serves the cat in many ways. The efficiently structured tongue serves as the cat’s very personal spoon that carries food from the bowl to the mouth. Once inside the mouth, the food will be pushed by the tongue to the back of the mouth. Have you ever seen a cat drinking water? The cat would curl the tongue until it takes a spoon-like form and then it will be dipped into the water bowl and carry the water into the mouth. The tongue is also an effective hunting tool. The papillae help in holding the struggling prey. Cats are known to have keener taste as compared to dogs. This is because the hair-like spines at the tip and at the sides of the tongue has more taste buds. Cats are noted for being fastidious self groomers. These animals would tirelessly lick the fur for hours. The backward facing hair-like growths on the surface of the tongue is not unlike a brush that cleans the fur by removing dirt. The rough tongue effectively removes parasites and untangles the hair. This kind of tongue effeciently removes loose hair as well.
Effective removal of loose hair is the downside of having a tongue of this kind. When the cat licks the fur, the backward facing barbs will not only untangle the fur but efficiently remove loose hair from the coat as well. The spines or barbs would prevent the cat from spitting out the loose hair. Loose hair would then be ingested. The acids in the stomach of the cat should dissolve whatever was ingested. Ingested loose hair can also be passed with the feces. Large amounts of hairs though can develop into hairballs. Hairballs are more common in long haired breeds. Normally cats would vomit the hairballs that were not passed out with the feces. Large hairballs that were not excreted normally can create a blockage that would need a surgical procedure to remove.