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Kitty Tongues:

  • A cat's tongue is rough on top and smooth underneath.
  • The rough upper surface is covered in papillae, or small bumps.
  • There are 4 kinds of papillae.
    1. Conical papillae -- the most numerous, large, and backwards-pointing. They give the cat's tongue its rasping quality.
    2. Flattened papillae -- found at the root of the tongue.
    3. Fungiform papillae -- along the sides of the tongue.
    4. Circumvallate papillae -- the least numerous, found at the back of the tongue
  • A cat uses its tongue for tasting and to move food into the mouth.
  • The tongue also can rasp mosels of meat from bones.
  • It is used to lap up liquids.
  • It also is important for grooming. The tongue is used to clean the fur and to smooth the fur when its ruffled.
  • The tongue also will dry the fur if it gets wet.
  • Cats use their tongue to greet their close companions with a little lick.
  • And cats will pant, drawing air over their tongues, to help cool themselves.

Source: Cat Breeds of the World, by Desmond Morris, Viking, New York, 1996, p.24.