Cat’s tongue: study reveals all uses

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Cat’s tongue: study reveals all uses

A study reveals all the uses of the cat’s tongue, including the design of a new brush for human use.

Cat owners certainly know the properties of their language. The feline has recourse to it for much more extensive operations than the simple feeding, for instance, taking advantage of it for removing the excess hair, collecting small elements present on the ground or, again, for bringing water to the mouth. A truly multi-purpose tool, made so unique by its unique rough surface. The researchers of Georgia Tech wanted to study this organ and the results, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, led to the creation of a similar object thanks to 3D printing.

The analysis showed that the structure of the feline tongue, made of hundreds of small protruding appendages, has numerous capabilities. Besides retaining the dead hair, in fact, it allows a uniform distribution of the saliva, facilitates the ingestion of the food, removes the parasites and provides some thermoregulation functions.

The merit is the unique papillae which, mostly composed of keratin, see a particular “U” shape, as the scans carried out by the researchers have shown. In particular, this form would be very efficient in distributing saliva from the tip to the base of the hair, protecting it from external agents but also providing immediate cooling of the skin. Experts estimate that the cat’s tongue is even responsible for 25% of the animal’s thermoregulation.

The researchers then created a flexible, 3D-printed object called “Tongue Inspired Grooming” (TIGR). A real brush that could also be very useful to man, as it is much more efficient in untangling hair and, again, to be used for tearing off hair in some sensitive parts of the body. It could also be useful for applying and distributing skin lotions and medicines, as well as for easier removal of skin residues caused by dandruff, dermatitis and much more.


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