Felis Catus is now the subject of a serious scientific study reported in Science, the official magazine of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. That means the data is thoroughly institutionalized and all!
See the discussion at the NYTimes, and view the video below. It’s all about those precious little cat sips, which turn out to be precise and subtle exploitations of the physics of fluids.
From the NY Times:
Cats lap water so fast that the human eye cannot follow what is happening, which is why the trick had apparently escaped attention until now. With the use of high-speed photography, the neatness of the feline solution has been captured. …
Dog owners are familiar with the unseemly lapping noises that ensue when their thirsty pet meets a bowl of water. The dog is thrusting its tongue into the water, forming a crude cup with it and hauling the liquid back into the muzzle.
Cats, both big and little, are so much classier, according to new research by Pedro M. Reis and Roman Stocker of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, joined by Sunghwan Jung of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and Jeffrey M. Aristoff of Princeton.
Writing in the Thursday issue of Science, the four engineers report that the cat’s lapping method depends on its instinctive ability to calculate the point at which gravitational force would overcome inertia and cause the water to fall.
To some the classiness of cat will be a surprise. Others have long suspect that cats are physicists. What else would account their assured sense of superiority? [JOKE!]