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Abstract

The number of fungiform papillae has been counted on the tongues of six adult cats and of kittens both at birth and aged 2 and 4 months. Papillae were sampled from different regions of the tongue, and their size and the number of taste buds they contained were determined using histological sections taken parallel to the tongue surface. There were approximately 250 fungiform papillae on the tongues of the adult cats, the papillae were most numerous at the tip of the tongue, and there was no significant difference between the number of papillae on each side. The size of the papillae increased from a mean maximum diameter of 0.28 mm at the tip of the tongue to 0.48 mm at the back; the mean number of taste buds increased correspondingly from 6.9 to 16.6. The kitten tongues had a number and distribution of fungiform papillae similar to that found in the adults. In the neonate, papillae were smaller and contained fewer taste buds; these parameters increased with the corresponding increase in tongue size in the 2- and 4-month-old kittens.