Well praise the Lord and pass the cat litter! At long last, thanks to US researchers, I now know how our feline friends manage to drink their milk with such grace and decorum. Scientists have been scratching their heads about cat-lapping since 1940, so perseverance has certainly paid off.
Turns out some MIT engineer filmed a cat lapping some liquid and became fascinated with the little “J” like positioning of the cat’s tongue. Apparently it was a slow day back at MIT in 1940, and now both MIT and Princeton have joined forces to solve the mystery.
Together they have discovered via high speed video that our finicky feline friends “balance gravity and inertia” as they slurp up liquids! Well yippee skippy! I don’t know about you, but I’m sure thrilled that that burning question topping my list of curiosities has finally been answered!
Lemme see if I can explain this to those still a bit confused. Cat tongues don’t really form a “J” and scoop up the milk like a ladle. Cats can’t slam their little yaps shut and create suction. Cats lap four times per second. Bigger cats lap slower.
(Uh, don’t worry. I don’t know what any of that has to do with the price of milk either.)
Maybe I should just give you the real low-down as I decipher it. When the cat’s tongue just barely touches the milk, kitty sucks it back at warp speed, forming a column of milk. Then kitty slams his mouth shut, cutting the column and keeping his little chinny-chin-chin dry.
That’s it. There you have it. The ingenious cat “instinctively knows just how quickly to lap in order to balance these two forces and just when to close its mouth.” (The forces being gravity and inertia) This is amazing stuff here, folks. For those cat lap “J” theorists who want to follow up on this spine tingling phenomenon, mark your calendars. The research will appear in the November 12th issue of the journal of science, which doesn’t give me much time to reserve a copy for myself.
I’m also going to sit Goddam down and explain to her that she must be the only cat in the universe that drools when she laps up milk. Of course there is that small accident to consider…