Nov
22
2010

As if you needed it, here is another reason that cats are different from dogs: the way they drink.

Dogs often get the floor and their faces completely soaked when they slurp up water from the dish. Cats, however, keep their whiskers dry and employ complicated physics and careful timing when they imbibe their potables.

Thats not just semantics; new research shows that cats have a distinctive style of lapping up liquids that uses inertia to pull water into their mouths with their tongue.

"We show that the domestic cat (Felis catus) laps by a subtle mechanism based on water adhesion to the dorsal side of the tongue," the study says. "A combined experimental and theoretical analysis reveals that Felis catus exploits fluid inertia to defeat gravity and pull liquid into the mouth."

Basically, the cat’s tongue contacts the surface of the water, and then it drags a column of water up with the tip of its tongue as the tongue retracts. The cat then has to close its mouth and trap the water before the water column falls back down due to gravity.

The study, "How Cats Lap: Water Uptake by Felis catus," was published in the journal Science

More information:

Link to the slow motion video

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