Here’s What A Cat’s Tongue Looks Like Under A Microscope

Beyond the Press, a YouTube channel run by Finnish couple Lauri and Anni Vuohensilta, has wowed their over 700,000 subscribers with up-close, macro footage of their cats’ tongues.

The footage shows off the strange texture and hidden beauty of a difficult-to-capture part of the feline family.

When watching your cat in action, you may have marveled at the unique way they use their tongues to groom, drink, and interact with the world around them.

Photo: Max Pixel

The tiny barbs that cover their tongue (and give them their sandpapery texture) are called papillae and help the cats use their tongue as a finely tuned tool.

Lauri and Anni showed this off by filming two of their cats, Leo and Pepsi, both Abyssinians, with a variety of specialized cameras that capture intricate details in 4K and up to 30,000 frames per second.

Standard film runs at 24 frames per second, meaning that their specialized tools caught over a thousand times more definition and detail than even the human eye can see!


The setup, as Anni explains in the video, is elegantly “simple:” by filming the cats from under a pane of glass as they lick up a tasty treat, the duo grabs some sharply detailed and truly incredible shots!

Upon seeing their cats’ papillae for the first time, the duo is more than a little surprised and taken aback. “Woah, that’s nasty!” Lauri exclaims.

The extremely fine barbs are covered in a coating of keratin (the same material that makes up hair and nails), making them surprisingly durable. Not only do they help cats to groom their coats, but to also scoop up food from prey or meals. In the shot below, you can see the hair and whiskers of the cat’s nose on the left, with the curled tongue slowly rolling across the glass from the upper right:


“I think I’m going to like even less cats licking my hand after this,” Anni says with a laugh, though Lauri says the opposite. While it may not be the most beautiful sight in the world, it really is fascinating to see the fascinatingly intricate details of the common cat up close, and can definitely bring a new appreciation for them!

Check out the full video below, from the Beyond the Press YouTube channel, or see more of Leo and Pepsi on Lauri’s Instagram here!

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