About Your Cats Tongue
A feeling of rough sandpaper as you are licked by your cat is a reminder that its long, muscular tongue serves many functions, including grooming.
A Grooming Tool and More: A cats ability to groom itself is the result of numerous knobs called papillae on the surface of a cats tongue. Located at the tongues center, the papillae form backward-facing hooks containing large amounts of keratin, the same material found in human fingernails. These hooks provide the abrasiveness a cat needs for self-grooming. The strength of these hooks also helps a cat hold food or struggle with prey.
Your Help is Needed: Although the abrasiveness of a cats tongue helps it to clean itself and untangle its hair, your help is needed through regular grooming. As you groom your cat, you are removing loose and dead hair. Otherwise a cat may ingest this