Dec 4, 2010

how do cats lap??

Some interesting research has just revealed what we already know - that cats are very mysterious and unique creatures!  The mechanism they use to lap water into their mouths is quite different from that of dogs or other animals.  This story comes from Scientific American online.

One morning scientist Roman Stocker was watching his cat Cutta Cutta drink, and began to wonder about the mechanism by which cats lap fluid into their mouths. He thought that there was an interesting biomechanical problem. The cat has a curious method of lapping, which involves bending the tip of its tongue downward toward its chin to pull liquid into its mouth

Stocker took high-speed movies of Cutta Cutta and found that she did not dip her tongue into the water and scoop it like dogs do. She touched her tongue, with tip bent downward, against the surface of the liquid before drawing it rapidly back into its mouth. Liquid at the surface rose with the retreating tongue, which pulled it up into a column of fluid. Cutta Cutta then trapped that liquid in her mouth, swallowing only after several laps had accumulated a significant volume of fluid in her mouth.

Fluid inertia is the prime mover in forming the column of liquid that rises with the tongue into the mouth. When the tongue leaves the liquid, adhesion pulls fluid with it from the surface, and inertia causes more liquid to follow. Gravity acts against the upward motion of the column, eventually pinching it off at a certain height. To trap the most liquid in its mouth, the researchers found, a cat should close its mouth around the column just before gravity pinches it off—a strategy that house cats, at least, seem to have internalized.

Amazing but simple research!
How do cats lap?

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