Q: Can my cat taste his fur?

June 27, 2010 | By Mary T. | 1 answer | Expired: 2035 days ago

Mary T.

Can my cat taste his fur when licking and cleaning with that raspy tongue?

Chosen Answer

The raspy feature of a cat’s tongue, the hundreds and hundreds of backwards-raked spines called filiform papillae, do not have taste buds.

All the cat tongue’s taste buds are located in the other “bumps,” the fungiform, vallate, and foliate papillae. Cats don’t have much appreciation for sweet tastes; sugar was never a part of their ancestors’ natural diet. But they have exquisite discrimination among all the kinds of amino acids, the building blocks of proteins that are so important to natural carnivores.

The cleaning function of the raspy filiform papillae is to rake and comb debris from individual hairs in the cat’s fur. Seen but not touched, the multitude of filiform papillae gives the cat tongue its velvety appearance.

Smear a cat with honey and it will clean meticulously, never knowing what it’s missing.

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