Do you remember the very first time you were licked by a cat? If you had been used to the smooth sensation of a dog’s tongue then it was probably quite surprising to experience the rough feel of a cat’s tongue. If, however, you’ve lived with cats for many years, you probably don’t even think twice about that sandpaper sensation. Here are some facts about the cat’s tongue:
The Tongue is Covered with Papillae
The tongue of a cat has tiny, backward-facing barbs (papillae) on it and they’re the things that create that rough sensation. The barbs serve several important functions. They make it easier for a cat to rasp the meat from the bones of his prey. The barbs also aid in grooming as they collect dirt, debris and loose hair from the cat’s coat. The downside to the backward-facing barbs though is that anything the cat collects on her tongue will usually end up getting swallowed and that’s how your cat may end up with lots of hairballs. The barbs on the tongue also make it dangerous should your cat get some yarn, string or tinsel in his mouth because he won’t be able to spit it out.