Researchers Developed A Cat Brush That Looks and Works Like a Feline Tongue

You can’t go wrong if you go to felines for inspiration. From their 8-hour naps to refined tastes in food, cats really are living the life we’d all aspire to have if we could. So, when a team of scientists from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta decided to research the unusual texture of a cat’s tongue, they ended up potentially creating a perfect grooming tool.

The team paid special attention to the papillae on a feline tongue- those spiky thingies that make your cat’s tongue feel like sandpaper. Those spines, or papillae, are made from keratin, same as nails or hair, and they apparently have hollow endings. The team realized that the papillae efficiently draw up saliva and spread it all over the cat’s fur. After studying 6 different types of cats, from domestic tabbies to big cats in the wild, the scientists identified four stages of cat grooming: tongue extension, tongue expansion, and tissue stiffening, a sweep of the tongue through the fur, and tongue retraction.

The result that followed was the so-called tongue-inspired grooming (TIGR) brush.

Of course, even though they realized how cats used their tongue for grooming,  the real reason behind why cats have spiny tongues is still a mystery. There have been speculations that it’s for gripping food or improved grooming through skin simulation. Regardless, the one-of-a-kind “mechanism” of their tongue inspired the team to try and mimic it with a 3D printer.

The result that followed was the so-called tongue-inspired grooming (TIGR) brush. This new grooming tool features 3D-printed artificial papillae that are 4 times larger than in a regular feline, and that are placed on top of a flexible silicone substrate. They’ve immediately noticed that this brush is incredibly effective and easier to clean than other types of tools.

Additionally, it seems that there are indications that the TIGR brush could help with removing allergens from cat fur or help spread medications or lotions more thoroughly. Hopefully, will get the opportunity to try out one of these in a fair lick– it would be a shame if something so pawesome stayed in the prototype phase forever.

So, does this mean that there are no decent cat grooming options to use while you wait for this revolutionary new brush to go from the prototype phase to a pet shop staple? Even though not many tools can boast the same ingenuity that the TIGR brush has, there are still some great cat brushes out there- as long as you know what to look for, you’ll have no problem finding a perfect grooming tool for your pet. Of course, a lot will depend on the type of fur your kitty has, but whether they are a long-haired breed or a regular short-haired domestic, you should have no problem finding a proper match. Here are some of our favorites when it comes to cat brushes- you can’t go wrong with any of the choices from our list. 

Furminator for Cats

There’s a reason why Furminator has a cult status in the pet parent community: it truly works miracles for felines and canines both. With its innovative design, this grooming tool effectively de-sheds your cat by removing all dead hair from their undercoat. Of course, this means that it is designed for cats that have long hair and an undercoat to start with- it won’t be as useful for short-haired breeds.

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Hertzko Self Cleaning Slicker Brush

A classic slicker brush at first glance, this grooming tool hides one nifty design feature: its bristles retract with a push of the button so all the hair is removed in one second- no need to pry it from the densely spaced bristles. It is suitable for different fur lengths, as well, so it will be a good match for cats of all breeds.

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CELEMOON Ultra-Soft Silicone Washable Cat Brush

This silicone brush might not look like it’s efficient, but boy will you be surprised once you start brushing your kitty! Ultra soft and comfortable to your cat, this innovative brush will remove shed hair with ease – and as it can be rinsed underwater, you’ll be able to clean it with the same ease it grooms your feline friend. 

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DELOMO Pet Grooming Glove

If your cat hisses at the sight of a brush, don’t despair- you can trick her into thinking that a grooming session is actually a cuddle session. With these grooming gloves, you can pet your cat and get the job done at the same time: the silicone nubs will gently remove all that dead hair with a few strokes.

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Oster ShedMonster De-Shedding Tool for Cats

The rake-style design is ideal if dense brushes pull your pet’s hair and make her uncomfortable. The stainless steel curved teeth massage your cat skin while you brush, and penetrate deep into the fur to grab every loose hair that’s stuck in there. This brush will detangle, de-shed, and de-mat fur of all lengths, but works best on longer coats.

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