The physics of Fluffy’s milk bowl manners explained:

Dr Roman Stocker, a biophysicist from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US, was inspired to investigate the physics of cat laps after watching his own pet Cutta Cutta as it drank.

“I realised there was an interesting biomechanics problem hidden behind that very simple action. The project then snowballed from there,” he said.

Working with researchers from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and Princeton University, Dr Stocker trained a high-speed camera on his cat.

While humans and animals such as sheep or horses use suction to draw liquid upwards, and dogs curl their tongue into a cup-like shape to ladle liquid in, the footage revealed that cats use a more subtle mechanism to drink.

The study was inspired by Cutta Cutta the cat

The scientists found that the tip of the cat’s tongue curls backwards, not forwards, as it darts down towards its bowl.

Then, instead of penetrating the surface of the liquid, the tongue just lightly touches it.

Dr Stocker explains: “The fluid comes in contact with the tongue and sticks to it, then the action of the tongue being drawn upwards very rapidly creates a liquid column.

“Then, by closing its jaw, the cat captures part of that liquid.”

This strikes me as just the sort of smug, supercilious stunt one would expect from a cat.

But they’re not fooling anybody with their faux superiority:  Our pair get canned, wet food these days and they do a pretty thorough job splashing the stuff about and making a mess.  Sophisticated? Gawd!

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