Cats are obsessed with staying clean.
They can spend up to half their waking hoursgrooming.
Their tongue is covered in tiny spines.
They’re what makes the tongue feel so sandpapery.
These spines, called papillae, are made ofkeratin, just like their claws and our fingernails.
The papillae even look like miniature catclaws.
They do an impeccable job of detangling theirfur.
Researchers at Georgia Tech made a 3D modelof a cat’s tongue… to test how it works.
See how the fur just peels off? It’s because the spines are all angled inthe same direction.
With a typical hairbrush, you’d have topick the fur out from between the bristles.
So why are cats so preoccupied with grooming? For them, it’s about more than just vanity.
For one thing, it’s a way to show affection–to build bonds.
That’s why they appreciate us petting them.
And it spreads out oils produced by the cat’sskin that gives their fur some water resistance.
But when it really comes down to it, for cats,staying clean is a matter of life and death.
Cats are carnivores… ambush predators.
They hide and sneak up on their unsuspectingprey.
One whiff of the wrong odor could give thecat away.
But when they pounce, it’s their bite thatfinishes the job.
Cats have extra-wide mouths so they can gettheir teeth around their prey’s neck.
It would be like having the corners of yourmouth go all the way back by your ears.
But there’s a tradeoff that comes with thatbig bite.
Those wide mouths mean their lips can’tcome together to form a good seal.
They can’t create suction to drink the waywe do.
So, they flick the water with the tip of theirtongue Researchers at MIT made a model using a glassdisc, to show how ine;”>cats get a drink by just barely touching the water’s surface.
The water sticks to the disc and to itself.
Lift the disc at the right speed and it pullsthe water up into a column.
Then, the cat bites it at precisely the rightmoment to get as much water as possible.
And all of this happens four times per second! It’s a complicated way to take a drink,but it’s just one of prices cats pay to be the expert predators they are… Hey guys, It’s Lauren.
You know you love fuzzy critters.
So check out our other episodes like thisone.
See what you can learn about a squirrel'smood just by looking at its tail.
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