How cats drink
Cats are better physicists than dogs, according to a new study at least when it comes to drinking.
A cat lapping milk strikes a delicate balance between gravity and inertia, the research finds. Unlike dogs, which use their tongues to scoop water into their mouths, a cat uses the tip of its tongue to pull water upward, closing its jaws before gravity pulls the column of liquid back toward earth.
The method requires cats to lap at just the right speed to balance the inertial force that keeps the water moving upward with the gravitational force pulling the water back down.
"Perhaps the most intriguing part of what we found was that the cats seemed to know just exactly how rapidly or how fast they should lap," study researcher Roman Stocker, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, told LiveScience. "By lapping at the right time, [cats] take optimal advantage of this balance between inertia and gravity."