My Cat Doesn't Have Bristles on Her Tongue

CatChannel veterinary expert Arnold Plotnick, DVM, offers advice on a puzzling condition.

By Arnold Plotnick, DVM | Posted: Oct. 10, 2008, 3 a.m. EDT

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Q: I have a 6-month-old female Siamese cat. When she licks me, I noticed there was no “sandpaper” texture to her tongue. Her fur is very messy and dirty. Her brother, same age, is a male spayed and his coat is very fluffy and soft. What should I do?

A: This is a situation I have not come across. The first thing that needs to be determined is whether she does have bristles on her tongue. I have seen cats that have had ulcers on their tongue, either from calicivirus, FIV or contact with a caustic substance. Sometimes after the ulcers heal, the bristles do not grow back on the ulcerated area. It would also be interesting to know if her fur is messy and dirty despite her attempts to clean herself, or if it's messy and dirty because she doesn’t bother to clean herself at all. If she grooms herself like a regular cat, but her fur remains scraggly, and her tongue has no bristles (or fewer bristles than normal), then it would be reasonable to conclude that this was the cause. Some cats, however, are unkempt simply because they stop grooming themselves, although this is much more common in frail older cats and would be unusual in a 6-month-old cat. Regardless, it sounds as if you’ll need to help her out with the grooming chores. There are a lot of options available to you at your local pet store, including pet wipes, dry shampoos, wet shampoos and, of course, a professional groomer.

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Reader Comments

Betty    International

3/28/2015 2:16:34 PM

Kerry I have to say Eddie is not very happy about all this talk of spikey tongues and spikey growlers !!!
Eddie said maybe you should admit yourself into a mental institution as he thinks you really need help and maybe you should take Lucy Lou with you

Kerry    International

3/28/2015 2:11:59 PM

Interesting comments. Firstly Lucy Lou, what medication have you taken this evening. And to you Betty, maybe my boyfriend could use his spikey tongue on your spikey pussy? Maybe we could all come together some time and embrace our spikiness? Just an idea

Betty    International

3/28/2015 2:07:09 PM

Oh my dear , I do apologise !!!
Iv just told Eddie my husband and he said WTF am I even doing talking about my spikey growler to people I don't even know !!!
I'm rather perplexed now

Lucy Lou    International

3/28/2015 2:06:36 PM

How bizzarre i feel that maybe spikey tongues wether on humans or cats could mean an intergalactic intrusion..the human race could be at an end.

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