The tongue is a muscular organ that performs a number of tasks. Cats tongues are an integral element of their grooming equipment and play a vital role in feeding and drinking. If you are looking for an answer to the question, why are cats tongue so rough, then you are at the right place.
1. Why do Cats Have Rough Tongues?
Cats tongues contain useful barbs or papillae made of keratin, the same material that makes up our nails and hair. The main reason why are cats tongue so rough is that it is a set of small and stiff spikes that point backward. Sometimes, cats’ mouths can become inflamed, resulting in enlargement of the tongue and the loss of papillae. The change that occurs after a disease can be exceptionally long-lasting in some cases, meaning that they may have a smoother area of their tongue. (See 7 Chupacabra Animal Facts)
2. What are the Uses of a Cat’s Rough Tongue?
To answer why are cats tongue so rough, below are some vital uses of a cats tongue:
- Eating: A cat’s tongue is good at tearing meat from bones and allows them to get the most nutrition out of their prey quickly and efficiently. They not only tear the flesh with their tongue, but they also sip water with it. The papillae on their tongues suck water up from the surface, forming a pocket, which the cat then closes.
- Self-grooming: A rough tongue has a more subtle use. It makes an excellent hairbrush. When a cat licks their hair with their tongue, they effectively brush themselves. It removes debris and loses hair, as well as smells that could alert prey and hunters to its location. As the spikes on the tongue detangle and remove fur and grime, they act as a comb for their hair. This is a reason why are cats tongue so rough. (See Why do cats meow?)
3. Do Cats Tongues act as Air Conditioners?
Surprisingly, cats lick their coats to cool their bodies. The spikes on a cat’s tongue are empty. When it grooms, the space inside each spike wicks up saliva from the cat’s mouth. When a cat licks, it wets its fur with its tongue, and the water on the fur evaporates over time, cooling the outer layer of its coat. This produces a temperature difference between the outside layer of its skin (very hot) and the outer layer of its fur (much cooler, at 63ºF), allowing heat to create some distance from its body surface. Cats only sweat from bare areas of their bodies like their paws and jaw, not from the rest of their skin. So, this kind of evaporative cooling through grooming is a truly significant way for cats to control their internal body temperature, particularly with such thick and extravagant fur coats. (See Why do cats love catnip?)
4. Do Big Cats have Spiny Tongues?
The spikes on the tongues of big cats like lions, leopards, and tigers are not similar in size and shape to the spikes on our little homegrown cats tongues. Luckily, their bigger tongues have many more of these spikes. These are convenient for the animals because lions have significantly more fur to cover with each grooming. The grooming conduct runs all throughout the family of cats and looks indistinguishable. (See Why do people like cats so much?)
So, today you have learned why are cats tongues so rough and also their uses. Their tongues are used as an extremely effective tool of self-grooming, and cooling. (Also read 7 Facts About Dog Sled Teams)