If you’ve ever been licked by a cat, you’ll know why their tongues have been referred to as “sandpapery.” However, recent research is revealing just how much we still have to learn about them.

Cat tongues are covered with spines (papillae) made of keratin (the same substance your fingernails are made of) and shaped like curved cones. The spines point backward toward the throat and the tips are hollow. The hollows pick up saliva, which is then spread on the cat’s fur during grooming and helps remove dirt. It is estimated that during a day’s grooming a cat will transfer an average of one-fifth cup of saliva to its fur!

If you’ve ever watched a dog drink, you’ll know that it can be a messy process. They use their tongues as a scoop, and the dog may dip its entire muzzle into the water at times. By contrast, the only part of the cat that touches the water is the tip of the tongue. This lets them pull up a column of water toward their mouths and just before the water is ready to collapse of its own weight, the cat snaps its jaws shut. Each mouthful is small, but the cat laps about four times a second, fast enough to transfer water quickly.

We’ve known for some time that cats’ tongues are effective at grooming, but recently some researchers used a 3D printer to produce a four-times-larger version. They found that this TIGR (for “tongue-inspired grooming”) brush was extremely effective at removing excess fur from cats and furniture and was also easy to clean. Someday we may find it available in our local pet stores, but it’s important to remember that the real inventors are curled up on our laps.

Our cat of the week, Mike, was so adorable that he already found himself his “fur-ever” home. He is a cute black-and-white tuxedo male who merrily wormed himself into a lucky family’s heart. He now has a young boy and an older dog to play with him and keep him company. No fears; we suspect this little talker will keep everyone quite entertained. Other kitties who found homes this week were our little black girl, Theresa May, and an adorable gray tabby youngster named Trout. However, our most exciting placement was a foster home for our special needs boy, Samson. This sweet guy found himself a loving home with two servants who were willing to work with his health issues. All reports indicate that he is happy and has definitely settled in to his new abode.

Hunter, our handsome orange tabby with white, is a laid-back fellow. He is a big, 8-year-old boy who loves people, gets along with other cats and is a totally chilled sweetheart. He just wants to be loved by everyone. Hunter does need to be on a special diet due to crystals in his urine. Sam is another orange- and-white tabby. While Sam is a fair amount shyer than Hunter, he is friendly and gentle when he interacts with you. Sam came in to PFC along with his sister Trixie, a beautiful little tortoiseshell female. She is also quite shy, but a total love when you interact with her. Sam and Trixie are a 10-year-young bonded pair, so we are seeking to adopt them out together.

Mittens is a handsome black-and-white tuxedo boy with a very rakish-looking white mustache. This 7½-year-old is a friendly cat who adores all the attention he can get. He loves to play and is quite the charmer as he purrs up a storm. Another charmer is Mickey, an all-gray, 8-year-old domestic shorthaired male. This sweet fellow has a silvery gray coat and is a very friendly and gentle cat. He came in to PFC with his daughter Cookie, a mostly white lady with a bit of grayish black accent color. While she is painfully shy, she warms up if you spend a bit of time with her and then she loves being petted and brushed. Mickey and Cookie are not particularly bonded, so they do not have to be adopted together.

Raven, our spicy little black girl, is still looking for her “fur-ever” home. She is an independent little character who meets the world on her own terms and has quite a bit of “catitude.” We suspect her ideal home would be with a person who has a fair amount of cat experience. Our new kid on the block is a laid-back, pale gray tabby named Tom. This fellow is a 4-year-old ex-street cat that was recently rescued. He is sweet, gentle and loves all the attention we give him. We are still assessing Tom to see if he will be comfortable adapting to living in a home.

Our census constantly changes and we frequently admit new cats every week. So come by frequently during adoption hours to see if your new kitty BFF is here waiting to meet you.

PFC is still accepting donations of flea market items at the shelter. The last day for leaving items is Monday, July 8. Please make sure items are clean. We are not accepting clothing, used litter boxes or Christmas items. Please call Anne at 617-645-1430 if you have questions.

The PFC shelter is at 44 Beagle Lane, Teaticket. Our mailing address is PO Box 422, West Falmouth, MA 02574.

The shelter is open for adoptions and visitors Wednesdays from 4 to 6 PM and Saturdays from 10 AM to 1 PM. If you need to get in touch with us when we are closed, call our hotline at 508-540-5654. We have added a new option to our hotline mailbox to make surrendering a cat or kitten more efficient. Press #0 if you have cat related issues, questions, are interested in volunteering or for additional information about People for Cats. Press #2 if you need financial assistance for veterinary care or spay/neuter assistance. Press #3 if you have a cat or kitten to surrender and be sure to leave your name, telephone number and a brief description of the cat. All calls are returned as quickly as possible.

Check us out at www.peopleforcats.org, look for our available cats on Petfinder and like us on our Facebook page.

All for the love of cats…

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