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5 Crazy Cat Anatomy Facts

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4. The Rough Side of the Tongue

If you’ve received a loving lick from your cat, you know that sweet pink tongue feels like rough-grade sandpaper or Velcro caressing your skin. And a jungle cat’s tongue is even harsher. All feline tongues, from tabby house pets to 600-pound (272 kilogram) Bengal tigers, are covered with tiny barbs or hooks, giving the tongue a rough texture. These microscopic projections face toward the cat’s throat, and are the tools that help to groom his coat. The barbs work like a comb, catching and cleaning the cat’s fur. In the wild, these rasps tear the flesh off the bones of the big cat’s prey.

Cats’ tongues may be the busiest part of their anatomy. They lick their coats not only to keep clean, but to regulate their body temperatures, fluffing up the fur in winter and wetting it down with saliva to stay cool in summer.

As cats’ tongues work, they collect flakes of skin, loose fur, fleas and dirt. Cats swallow this debris — which is usually dissolved by stomach acid. Some cats, especially long-haired or older ones, may ingest too much hair to dissolve, and upchuck hairballs. Giving your cat hairball ointment will help him digest the hair he or she swallows.

Study: How Cats Drink

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Read more: Behavior & Communication, Cats, Do Good, Pets, , , , , ,

By Kathy Blumenstock, Animal Planet

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440 comments

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1:29AM PDT on Sep 17, 2014

Thank you :)

6:14PM PDT on Sep 14, 2014

noted

5:48PM PDT on Sep 14, 2014

Furry facts about cats are always welcome. I have read about these before, but never tire of reading about them again and again.

The power of the purr, purrfectly marvellous.

11:53AM PDT on Sep 14, 2014

sin mis 4 felinos no sabria que hacer

2:29PM PDT on Sep 13, 2014

Beautiful, that´s also why I love cats, I´ve got 3, Gizzy, Thori and Sisi!

6:54AM PDT on Jun 21, 2014

Awesome, thanks for sharing!

12:48AM PDT on May 7, 2014

The relaxing sound of my beloved cat purring in my arms is one of the most enjoyable sounds in the world for me.

1:42AM PDT on Apr 28, 2014

tks

1:40AM PDT on Apr 28, 2014

thanx for sharing

8:27PM PDT on Apr 25, 2014

Thank you

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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