Science explains the cleaning mechanism of cats’ tongue to clean up
The cats are known for their self-cleaning ability: they wash the hair by themselves using their language, that explained why to spend most of the day to lick and clean up and it does not serve to bathe the cat. The small feline tongue is raspy, covered with small papillae that help them in cleaning (the so-called grooming), and a group of researchers has noticed how this kind of scales are made almost in the shape of a claw and work as a sort of velcro that cleans automatically the cat’s coat from dirt. A lick of our feline friends is a gesture of affection and cleanliness, even if their love is rough and pungent!
Feline tongue for grooming: because there is no need to bathe the cat
To understand the functioning of the cat’s tongue, this team of researchers has seen fit to soil a tasty cat food blanket, and then resume the movements of the cats to remove and clean up the entire area through special high-speed cameras. Subsequently, thanks to a 3D printer, they reproduced a cat’s tongue by enlarging it four times, so as to have a view of all the smallest details. This is how they discovered that the rough papillae present on the tongue of the cats are real curves shaped like hooks and very sharp, almost similar to their claws. Their peculiar shape means that when they hit something, they rotate so as to penetrate the obstacle and remove it permanently.
Cat’s tongue, the grooming inspiration for the future
A great discovery, no doubt about it, but it has not helped to improve the knowledge on the physiology of cats and grooming operations: the aim of these scientists was to create robots with more fluid movements and not jerky ones, capable of grasping objects, just to emulate the movement of the tongue and the papillae of our beloved feline friends. Or, you could create brushes for more functional hair, able to untangle the knots without pain. Moreover, it is due to the obsessive licking of the hair of our cats it is really shiny, clean, shining and without knots. It is true, especially long-haired cats need some additional human brushing, but the suit is a sort of stress for the feline, also because the tongue is not a brush in which the hair stops. Unfortunately for the cats, they end up swallowing more hair than necessary, thus causing the boluses and so-called regurgitations.