How many taste buds to adult cats posses?
Adult cats have 473 taste buds, whereas humans average around 9,000. Receptor cells make up the taste buds, which sit on bumps called papillae. Each of these is outfitted with microscopic hairs called microvilli.
The papillae hook backwards so cats can efficiently use their tongues to remove the outer coating of their prey, such as feathers or fur, and to strip meat from bones. The cat also uses its tongue for hair removal in grooming, and cups it into a spoon formation for drinking.
Cats can distinguish four tastes: sour, salty, bitter, and sweet, but they rarely show any interest in sugary foods. The receptors for sweetness are at the back of the cat’s tongue, which may account for their lack of interest in that range of flavors.
Their limited number of taste buds in comparison to other species (dogs have 1,700) helps to explain, in part, their finicky dining habits. Cats do, however, have a unique linking of taste and smell via a structure in the roof of the mouth behind the top teeth called Jacobson’s organ.
When a cat slightly opens its mouth and grimaces, an expression called the Flehmen response. In essence, he is channeling scents into the organ to essentially “taste” them for closer evaluation. So, while the cat’s taste buds are not as diverse as those of other animals, they do have highly developed senses unique to their own physiology.