Here’s Why Your Cat’s Tongue is Amazing


Cat lovers can spend hours detailing all of the things that are remarkable about felines…like eyes that can see in the dark, super-sensitive whiskers on their faces (and legs), paw pads made for silent stalking…the list goes on and on.  But a cat’s tongue just may be the most amazing body part of all!  Read on to learn why.



A recent article in the Washington Post explains some unique research that has been done by mechanical engineers at Georgia Tech using 3D printing technology.  While many of us refer to a cat’s tongue as being like sandpaper, it’s actually more like the ultimate hairbrush…a perfectly designed grooming tool that any Kardashian would covet.



Magnified many times, your cat’s tongue is actually covered with small, backward-facing barbs made of keratin (the material that’s in your fingernails).  One swipe of your cat’s brush-like tongue not only detangles your cat’s fur and removes any knots, it also removes dirt and fleas, spreads beneficial oils over the body, and even improves blood circulation.



The Georgia Tech scientists made a 3D printed model of a cat’s tongue, enlarged 400 times.  The model shows how the spines on the tongue lay flat when not being used for grooming, but when a cat is licking and comes across a knot of fur, the barbs are able to hook onto it, rotate, and tease the tangle apart.



What inspired this study?  One of the researchers became intrigued when she noticed her cat’s tongue getting stuck (and then unstuck) on a blanket.  Besides possibly being the inspiration for better hairbrushes (and other types of cleaning brushes), this cat tongue research could also contribute to the emerging field of soft robotics.


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