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27 April 2012

Saturday PhotoHunt - texture (learning about a cat's tongue)

Sammi's cat tongueAnyone who's been licked by a cat knows their tongue can be very rough. A cat's tongue is an amazing structure that serves many purposes. The center of the tongue is rough due to the backwards-facing spines called papillae. The spines are stiff because they contain keratin, the same substance that makes up hair, fingernails, and claws.

The texture on a cat's tongue makes it a perfect tool for eating and grooming.  The spines help cats in the wild lick meat off a bone. For Sammi, they help her lick canned food off a plate! During grooming, the spines act like a comb and help a cat smooth their fur. But since the barbs face backwards, it also means they ingest a lot of fur. This can be a problem for long-haired cats who then get hairballs.  Yesterday was National Hairball Awareness day and you can learn about the seriousness of hairballs from Raven.

Surprisingly, the barbs on a cat's tongue aren't very important for drinking. The tip of a cat's tongue is smooth because it doesn't have barbs. Cats drink by dipping just the tip of their tongue into liquid and quickly pulling it up into their mouth, so the barbs don't matter much.

Different cats have different roughness to their tongue. Sammi had a very soft tongue while Raven's tongue is much rougher.

This week's PhotoHunt "Texture" starts here.

11 comments:

  1. WoW!!! What a fang-tastic image. I LOVE CATS!!!

    My Photo Post today is: BUTTERFLY HOUSE Textures

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  2. My dad likes to use his tongue to lick the peeps. Personally, I think that's icky... I kind of think the peeps do, too. They'd rather have cuddles.

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  3. Fantastic shot of the cat and great for the theme.

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  4. And the barbs wear out as they age! My vet told me that.

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  5. Donna1:14 AM

    I didn't know that. Makes sense thought.

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  6. Mowzers! Really? They wear out as they age? As Spock would say...FASCINATING! (We saw himz on the TV yesterday when the shuttle made its way to the Smithsonian).

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  7. Thanks for coming by to see my texture. That picture of your cat is interesting.. but the post about the cat's tongue was even more so.

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  8. Hehehe, I love this picture! What a cute kitty and thanks for all the great info! It's amazing how well a cat's tongue does it's job! Thanks so much for visiting my entry! :)

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  9. Yes, we are quite familiar with the texture of a cat's tongue. Fortunately, Luna is very gentle when she gives licks :)

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  10. I have indeed been licked by cats and been surprised by the roughness of their tongues -- very unlike that of dogs... and also way less wet (and slobbery)! ;b

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  11. Ha! I never knew all of the about a cat's tongue~
    That was purrfect.

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