In Hungary there’s a biscuit called a Macskanyelv. In Germany, they call the same thing a Katzenzunge.
The French call it a Langue de Chat, and the British say Cat’s Tongue. It’s a little biscuit which looks like a cat’s tongue if you’ve never seen a cat or a tongue.
Langues de chat (if in doubt, opt for French - it usually sounds better, unless you’re saying “yes”) have been in production since 1892. Maybe nineteenth century cats looked different to nowadays cats. Maybe they’d be like, “you don’t know you’re born kiddo - back in our day, we had tongues like biscuits”.
Actual cats’ tongues are fascinating. They’re covered in tiny backward-facing barbs called papillae. That’s why it hurts when they lick your face. The barbs are useful for removing flesh from bone (not necessarily useful for iams cats), and grooming - they trap dirt, debris, and loose fur.
The fact that they’re backward-facing barbs means that most stuff that goes in your cat’s mouth gets swallowed, hence all the furballs, and their inability to let go of tinsel. The theory is flawed though - ever tried orally medicating a cat?
Grooming is a cat’s go-to activity. If in doubt, cats groom. They groom for survival, for comfort, and to treat behavioural issues.
When a cat kills in the wild, it must groom itself in order to survive. They must erase all evidence that they just totally had a mouse supper, lest someone else rocks up and is all up in their grill saying, “dude, where’s the mouse at?”.
They groom for comfort, but not as in to make themselves feel better after a tough day - comfort as in if they’re too hot, it cools them down.
Stop thinking comfort blankie, start thinking ecological validity - when have you ever known a cat who gets “too hot”?
To solve behavioural issues, like stress or anxiety, a cat won’t bite his nails or pay a therapist to blame his mother; a cat will groom his troubles away.
When you’re lucky enough to exist within a multi-cat environment, you will undoubtedly witness allogrooming. Although this sounds like my father in law greeting a man called Grooming, it is in fact what you call a cat-on-cat grooming session.
What an insightful column - we’ve all learnt something there, and I now fully understand why it doesn’t work out as planned when I lick my cat. Oh come on, we’ve all done it.