"A cat tongue works like a very smart comb"
November 26, 2018 1:52 PM Subscribe
Cats love to groom themselves almost as much as they love to sleep, spending up to one-quarter of their waking hours cleaning their fur. The secret to their self-cleaning success? The spines on their tongues are curved and hollow-tipped, according to a paper published today in the journal PNAS. These tiny spines, called papillae, can transfer large amounts of saliva from mouth to fur, which not only cleanses Fluffy down to her skin but also lowers her body temperature as the saliva evaporates.
The results don’t just provide insight into how one of the world’s most popular pets stays clean. They’ve also inspired a new type of brush, called the TIGR (the Tongue-Inspired GRooming) brush [has picture of severed cat tongue attached to a handle]. Studded with small, curved flexible spines just like those on a cat’s tongue, the TIGR prototype readily removes loose hair or fur from humans and felines alike but can be cleaned with the simple swipe of a finger. It may even possibly make cats less allergenic by removing excess dander, Hu says.
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