A team of researchers has determined how cats are able to drink water and, unlike dogs, keep their chins and whiskers dry, The Washington Post reports.
The scientists discovered that cats manage to apply the laws of physics, carefully balancing gravity and inertia to achieve the dynamics needed to perform the feat.
"What we found is that the cat uses fluid dynamics and physics in a way to absolutely optimize tongue lapping and water collection," said Jeffrey Aristoff, who was one of the four Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers involved in the study. "Nobody had ever studied it before, so nobody knew how the water went from the bowl into the cat’s mouth."
According to the story: “While dogs curl their tongues to collect the water and then pull up what they can, cats barely touch the liquid with the tips of their tongues. A slight backward curl of the tip encourages liquid to adhere to the smooth top of the tongue. … The water on the tongue, combined with the low pressure created by the slight-curled tongue moving back up, creates a momentary stream into the mouth. The cat then snaps its mouth shut and the water is captured before the countervailing force of gravity pulls it down. An average house cat, the team found, can make four of these ministreams per second.”