If you observe the dorsal surface of the cat tongue, you will see numerous pointed papillae. These are the smallest lingual papillae in the cat’s tongue and remain throughout the apex and body.
Sometimes the filiform papillae of the cat may extend caudally to the level of vallate papillae. The filiform papillae are inclined, so their tips become pointed caudally.
The cornification of the filiform papillae on the cranial part of the body is more than on the caudal part. The lingual nerve (branch of the mandibular nerve) innervates the filiform papillae of the cat tongue.
Normally the fungiform papillae of a cat spread on the rostral two third of the tongue. Occasionally, some fungiform papillae may be found caudal to the vallate papillae.
The fungiform papillae of the cat tongue are the second most numerous papillae. You will not find any fungiform papillae on the median or longitudinal groove of the tongue (at the body).
Fungiform papillae are shorter and broader than these filiform. You will also find the cornification on the cats fungiform papillae. But, the cornification of these fungiform papillae is less than these of the filiform.
The cat’s fungiform papillae are well vascularized and possess microscopic taste buds. You will see the centrally located primary dermal core at the sagittal section of the fungiform papillae (microscope).
Cat vallate and foliate papillae
The cat vallate papillae are located at the tongue’s caudal third of the dorsum. These papillae are marked between the body and root of the cat tongue.
Generally, you will find four to six vallate papillae in the cat tongue. Then these vallate papillae of the cat tongue are arranged in the form of V evenly located on both sides of the median sulcus.
But, sometimes, you may find three or five vallate papillae in the cat tongue. They arrange asymmetrically on the caudal third of the dorsum of cat tongue.
There are two types of vallate papillae in the cat tongue – simple and complex. You will find the same arrangement of the simple and complex vllate papillae in the cat tongue as the dogs.
Here, the simple vallate papillae are more prevalent in the cat tongue, which may be four or six. Again, the complex vallate papillae occur occasionally in the cat tongue. You will find some serous gustatory glands at the base of the cat’s vallate papillae.
Like the dog, the cat tongue also possesses two groups of foliate papillae. They are also cornified papillae and remain 8 -12 in each group.
Each group of the foliate papillae locates on the dorsolateral aspect of the caudal third of the cat tongue. The long axes of these foliate papillae run obliquely from the side of the tongue towards the dorsum.
The microscopic view of the cat’s foliate papillae shows a central primary dermal core. Again, you will find the taste buds in both vallate and foliate papillae of the cat tongue.
Cat mouth and tongue muscle anatomy
You know the tongue is the muscular organ that fillup most spaces of cat mouth anatomy. So, you might know the details of the anatomical features of the cat tongue’s intrinsic and extrinsic muscles.
I have already mentioned the extrinsic and intrinsic muscles from the cat tongue. Again, you may learn more about these muscles from another article by an anatomy learner (cat muscle anatomy).
Here, I will summarize the anatomical features of the cat tongue’s intrinsic and extrinsic muscles –
Extrinsic muscles of the cat tongue
The styloglossus is the most lateral extrinsic muscle of the cat tongue. This extrinsic muscle of the cat locates at the caudal third of the tongue.
You will see a narrow proximal extremity and wide, thin distal end in the cat’s styloglossus muscle. There are three divisions of the styloglossus muscle in a cat tongue. All the fiber direction of these parts goes ventrally and rostrally.
The main action of this styloglossus muscle is to draw the cat’s tongue caudally. You will find the hypoglossal nerve innervation on the cat’s styloglossus muscle.
The hyoglossus is another main extrinsic muscle of the cat tongue that locates at the root. This muscle (hypoglossus) arises from the ventrolateral surface of the basihyoid and the adjacent extremity of the thyrohyoid bone.
Ventrally, you will find the myolohyoideus muscle and geniohyoideus laterally. It crosses the medial side of the styloglossus muscle at the base of the cat’s tongue.
This muscle of the cat retracts and depresses the tongue. Again, you will find the hypoglossal nerve innervation in the myolohyoideus muscle.
Genioglossus is a fan-shaped muscle that originates from the medial surface of the mandible. You will see the three bundles of fibers that form the cat genioglossus muscles –
Vertical bundle – locates at the rostral part,
Oblique bundle – lies caudal to the verticle bundle, and
Straight bundle – lies lateral to both verticle and oblique bundles,
The cat genioglossus muscle depresses and protrudes the tongue. You may also find some other intrinsic muscles in the structure of a cat tongue.
Cat tongue intrinsic muscles
You will see the proper lingual muscle in the cat’s tongue. This is the one type of intrinsic muscle that form the core of the cat tongue.
This proper lingual muscle of the cat tongue is arranged bilaterally and divided into four groups –
Superficial longitudinal muscle,
Deep longitudinal muscle,
Transverse muscle of the cat tongue, and
Perpendicular muscle fiber of the cat tongue,
Deep into the dorsal lingual mucosa, you will see the superficial longitudinal muscle fibers. They are well developed at the caudal segment of the cat tongue. The superficial longitudinal muscle fibers are well viewed at the rostral end in a small group.
Again, at the ventral half of the cat tongue, you will find the deep longitudinal muscle fibers. These are less numerous and less organized than the superficial longitudinal fibers.
These muscle fibers connect with the extrinsic lingual muscle and the transverse and perpendicular fibers. Now, the transverse and perpendicular muscle fibers occupy a wide area in the center of the cat tongue.
The intrinsic muscle of the cat tongue plays a wide variety of functions. They protrude the tongue, bring complicated local movement, and prevent the tongue from being bitten.
If you see the microscopic figure of the cat tongue, you will find different salivary glands. Again, the glands associated with the base of the vallate and foliate papillae of the cat tongue are serous (gustatory gland).
Cat tongue vessels and nerves
The paired lingual arteries and lingual veins are the main vessels of the cat tongue. Here, the lingual artery enters the cat tongue deep into the hypoglossal nerve.
Cat lingual artery crosses the medial surface of the hypoglossal muscle at the root of the tongue. You will find different muscular branches of the lingual artery for the intrinsic and extrinsic muscles of the cat tongue.
The right and left lingual arteries of the cat tongue anastomoses in the apex, body, and root areas. There is also a sublingual artery that supplies to the genioglossus and geniohyoideus muscle of the cat tongue.
The lingual veins are the primary vein in the cat tongue that are innervated by the sympathetic nerve fibers. Anastomoses of the lingual vein may find at the apex of the cat tongue.
Cat lingual nerve, a branch of the mandibular nerve, possesses the general somatic fibers. It innervates to the rostral two third of the cat’s lingual mucosa.
You will also find the lingual branch of the glossopharyngeal nerve in the cat tongue that carries special visceral afferent fibers. These branches of the glossopharyngeal nerve innervate to the caudal third of the cat’s tongue.
Finally, the branches of the cats hypoglossal nerve innervate the extrinsic muscles of the tongue.
Cat mouth gums
The cat mouth gums are another important soft tissue that surrounds the teeth. In the structure of the cat mouth gums, you will find dense fibrous tissue that covers with smooth and highly vascularized mucosa.
There is thick gum around the neck of the teeth. Then it extends down into the alveoli to continue with the alveolar periosteum.
Due to the presence of numerous blood vessels in the cat’s mouth gums, it may bleed readily and heal quickly. There are two surfaces in the cat’s mouth gums –
Labial surface or external part of the cat gums, and
Internal surface of the cat gums,
The external surface of the cat mouth gums continues with the mucosa of the vestibule. Again, the internal surface of the cat’s mouth gums blends with the floor of the oral cavity proper. It also blends with the hard palate of the cat’s mouth cavity proper.
Now, I will discuss the anatomical features of the cat teeth. Let’s continue to read the cat teeth and know the unique features that help you to differentiate them from the other species.