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Sloppy Pups, Dainty Kitties

Posted by Suchaita Tenneti on 2011-04-18

The feline family is undoubtedly one of the classiest in the animal kingdom. From the pretty kitty to the majestic tiger, cats are gorgeous hunters with their stealth, agility and grace. A recent study at MIT has further celebrated the glory of the kitty. Apparently cats drink at such a great speed that the human eye can’t even see it!

Using advanced photography, the researchers demonstrated that cats only touch the surface of liquids with their slim tongues. This quick movement is called lapping. Cats lap around four times in a second. This is impossible for a human being to see and even mighty gravity can’t stop the kitty. After a lap, cats pull their tongues back into their mouth so fast that a vacuum is created. The water enters their mouth in an upward stream. But gravity finally catches up with the smart kitty. It pulls the liquid back into the bowl. But by then the clever kitty has had a mouthful to drink! Quite ingenious, don’t you think?

Cats have no competition from man’s best friend in drinking etiquette. One can see and hear a dog lapping fluids. But its feline counterparts prefer silence and swiftness. Member of the feline family use this method because they cannot fully close their mouths. So liquids would barely enter their mouths if they tried to drink like you and I do.

This discovery is an exciting feat of fluid mechanics. And it’s another reason to love kitties a little more!

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