When grabbing a drink, neither cats nor dogs are able to squeeze their cheeks closed to suck up liquids the way humans can. Instead, they have to use their tongues in processes researchers didn't understand until recently, Reuters reports. Cats, researchers found a few years back, put their tongues on the surface of water and quickly pull it back out. This leads to a column of water that the animals grab with their mouths, shutting them over the water four times per second. "When we started this project, we thought that dogs drink similarly to cats," a researcher says in a press release, as per Discovery.
"But it turns out that it's different, because dogs smash their tongues on the water surface—they make lots of splashing," he adds. When dogs do this, they drive water upward with an acceleration some five times that of gravity. Researchers investigated the process by placing a camera under the water's surface. A large portion of a dog's tongue hits the water, as opposed to just a small bit of a cat's tongue. And the bigger the dog, the more water it can bring up, Discovery notes. Once the water is moving, a dog, like a cat, closes its mouth over the water column. So that's drinking; as for eating, here are some common foods—like grapes—you should never feed your dog or cat. (Read more dogs stories.)