We tend to think of cats as serene, elegant creatures – and for the most part, they are. At the Cat Sanctuary, we do have our raggedy, battered-looking favourites, and we know that when a cat starts looking unkempt it’s usually a sign of ill-health, and a quick trip to the vet follows. But for the most part, the cats do their own grooming, and lounge around looking picturesque.
Until you look closer..
Yes, that’s a tongue sticking out. Sometimes it’s deliberate
Or a sign of concentration
But for the most part it’s a signal to us that this is a cat that has had more than a few visits to the dentist, and has lost the front teeth that keep the tongue in place – so when the cat is relaxed, that cute little pink tip peeps out.
As humans, we’re aware that we have to look after our teeth – and sometimes that necessitates a dentist visit. But many non-cat people (and some cat-owners as well) don’t always realize that the same is true for their feline friends. And just like humans, some cats have naturally good teeth that never seem to need attention, others require a little care from time to time, and a few always have trouble with their teeth. So we watch for a cat that is drooling a bit, or shows signs of being uncomfortable eating, and a vet visit quickly follows. There are several cats in the Sanctuary with no teeth at all. Surprisingly, it doesn’t seem to make any difference to their liking for crunchy treats!
There are vets that recommend brushing your cat’s teeth. The thought of trying to do this with some of our feral cats is more than a little frightening – we rely mainly on good food and daily attention. It is noticeable that with our aging cat population, the dental bills have increased – but that’s just part of what goes with running the Sanctuary.
But some cats just stick their tongues out because they like to! Most of them have the ability to curl them way forward to get every tasty bit off the nose.
And like humans, some have the ability to curl them inwards
But for most of them, they do it just because it’s a sign of contentment, or that’s what’s most comfortable!
And the prize for the best tongue must go to a cat who is much shyer than he looks…