The Secret of How Cats Drink

Hint: It involves the tip of their tongue
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 11, 2010 5:57 PM CST
Updated Nov 14, 2010 9:11 AM CST

(Newser) – Big win tonight for cats in the cats-vs-dogs war. Engineers say they've figured out how the felines drink so neatly, and as the New York Times explains: "The cat's lapping method depends on its instinctive ability to calculate the balance between opposing gravitational and inertial forces." Impressive, especially when the story contrasts it with the method of dogs, who come off as neanderthal slurpers.

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It goes something like this: Cats dip the tip of their tongue in the water and pull it up at lightning speed. That draws up a thin column of water, which the cat swallows before gravity kicks in and the water starts falling back down. The laps come four times per second, so fast the human eye sees only a blur. The Times story has video and a much fuller explanation.
(Read more cats stories.)

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