Now There's One More Reason To Love Your Cat

Ah, cats. Whether you think of them as the ideal low-maintenance pets or the source of everything bad in the world, there’s no arguing that felines have it easy. They nap, chase birds, and sleep. Then there's the topic of their very diligent self-care routines: Cats spend a significant part of their waking hours using their sandpapery tongues to tend to their fur, and it's not just so they look well-groomed in your next Instagram — the hygienic benefits are plenty.

If spending half a day sleeping (and the other half grooming) isn't enough to make you jealous, researchers at Georgia Tech have discovered one more reason to envy your furry friend. As The Washington Post reported, cats' rough, pink tongues are essentially self-cleaning hair brushes that can detangle better than a $150 Mason Pearson — or any other brush, for that matter.

The study, conducted by PhD candidate Alexis Noel, found that with just “a single grooming sweep,” the barbs of a cat tongue move in four directions, acting as a flexible comb for hair.

“When the tongue glides over fur, the hooks are able to lock onto tangles and snags,” Noel explained. “When it encounters a tangle, it is able to maintain contact, unlike a standard hair-brush bristle, which would bend and let the tangle slide off the top.”

If only researchers could somehow use this discovery to revolutionize the world of hair brushes made for humans. Oh wait — they can: Noel and her colleagues are hard at work patenting their 3-D-printed cat tongue, and the team plans to pitch various uses for its model in several fields. May we suggest the beauty industry as a starting point?


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