Sunday 18 May 2014

Domestic Cat Laps up 1/10,000th of a Litre Each Time

The domestic cat laps up a minute amount of liquid each time that she uses her tongue when drinking. Put another way the amount lapped up each time is 0.1 millilitres of liquid.  That's an average.  On average there are 4 laps per second.

The cat does not form a cup with her tongue to carry the liquid into her mouth.  It is far more scientific and complicated than that.  The tongue is simply placed onto the water and the water attaches itself to the tongue and is lifted up through inertia while gravity pulls the column of water back down.  It's a fine balance between 2 competing physical forces.  At a certain point in time gravity overcomes inertia and the column of liquid is broken and the liquid falls back into the bowl but obviously enough succeeds in reaching the mouth to provide sustenance to the cat.

The cat works out the speed at which she needs to lap up the liquid in order to maximise the amount of liquid that she can ingest per lap.  It's all about hydrodynamics believe it or not.  Cats are a lot smarter than many people believe.

It doesn't matter whether the cat is a domestic moggie or the biggest tiger in the world.  They all drink in the same way and use the same technique.

The dog, in contrast, does cup the liquid with his tongue and then lifts it up into his mouth.  It is, I suppose, a less sophisticated technique.

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