Animals Pets The Hard Tiny Hooks of a Cat’s Tongue Are Just One of Its Many Wonders By Melissa Breyer Melissa Breyer Editorial Director Hunter College F.I.T., State University of New York Cornell University Melissa Breyer is Treehugger’s editorial director. She is a sustainability expert and author whose work has been published by the New York Times and National Geographic, among others. Learn about our editorial process Updated October 11, 2018 ©. Alexis Noel Share Twitter Pinterest Email Animals Wildlife Pets Animal Rights Endangered Species Among other remarkable features, a cat’s tongue is covered in little spines, turning it into the world’s most magical hairbrush. We love our cats for many many reasons, not the least of which is living in harmony (on a good day) with an animal that's not too far removed from living in the wild. Cats are mysterious and they're a marvel – their agility alone is enough to inspire wonder. And when one begins to explore all the little parts, the fascinations persist. Take their tongues. While our boring old human tongues may be covered in little knobby tastebuds, cat's tongues are covered in hooks. And not just any old hooks, but hooks made of keratin, the same material as our fingernails and their claws. Can you imagine having a carpet of claws on your tongue? Warning: The following macro shots of a cat's tongue may change the way you see your cat forever. Just sayin'. © Alexis Noel © Alexis Noel Crazy, right? Cats spend more than half of their waking time grooming – when they can be bothered to be awake, of course. But compare your hairbrush to a cat's tongue. You might find that your hairbrush is full of hair; your cat's tongue? Not so much. As you can see, the hooks are all angled in the same direction; they're designed in such a way that the fur basically rolls right off. Why this hasn't inspired a better hairbrush yet is baffling, but it's sure to happen eventually. And that's not all, there's more! From the anatomy of a cat's mouth to the fascinating way in which they drink water, you can see more in the latest installment of the KQED San Francisco DEEP LOOK video series. It's the cat's meow. Read more at KQED.