This is how cats are cleaned with each lick


A team of researchers has studied the languages ​​of six species of felids and reveals the existence of an internal cavity in each papilla that collects saliva from the mouth and distributes it through the licks.

Cat tongues have papillae that play an important role in feline grooming.

Domestic cats sleep an average of 14 hours per day, but when they are awake, spend a quarter of their time licking each other to eliminate fleas, rests and refreshes the hair that covers your body. (Read: Cats are not good rat hunters, scientists say)

Their tongues are covered with hundreds of pointed spines curved in the same direction called papilla, who are responsible for giving such a rough touch to the sinhueso. According to a study published this week in the journal Annals of the National Academy of Sciences, these fine structures contain an empty cavity at the tip which plays a key role in feline grooming.

"It has been studied before as the amount of fleas increases if cats do not clean and there were already microscopic studies of the papillae. But we were the first to discover that the papillae have a hollow who is involved in licking, "says researcher David Hu, co-author of this work for Sinc.

Each U-shaped cavity is responsible for collecting saliva from the mouth and then distributing it through the hair in licks. Specifically, each of the holes can hold up to 4.1 μL of saliva, equivalent to one-tenth of a drop of typical eye drops. In addition, at each lick, the tongue deposits about 50% of the fluid in the coating to cool and regulate body temperature.

The cat's papillae have an empty cavity that stores saliva / ALEXIS NOEL

In this way, the relief experienced by cats after cleansing depends on whether the papillae can penetrate the skin to reach the skin. This explains why some species of domestic cats, withor Persian cats with long hair, they have a difficult time preening. (You can read: The first and only cat in space is 55 years old)

"The papillae have to reach the skin to dissolve the oils and the rest of the materials. Persian cats have a very thick coat to penetrate the papillae. As they can not reach the skin, the cat can not completely clean itself, "adds Hu.

To reach these conclusions, researchers Alexis Noel and David Hu recorded high-speed images of cats licking each other and used a technique of computed tomography, as well as measurements of licking power, to understand the mechanism behind each lick. In addition, they analyzed the organ of six different species of cats – Wildcats, puma, irbis, tiger and lion – which they took after their death.

Language analysis of six species

From the data obtained, the authors of the study designed a brush inspired by the tongue of the cat. According to the researchers, this tool can be useful to eliminate allergens from the cat's skin and apply lotions and medications to the cat's skin. Its curved teeth also allow to detach the excess of hair with ease, which differentiates them from the traditional brushes. (Read also: a New Zealand village will eradicate cats to protect their native birds)


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