How Do Cats Drink? A Physics Lesson

By Domenica Di Piazza, Editorial Director, TFCB

I know I’ve said before that I’m a cat lover (I have three), and here’s proof positive that you can use your personal passions as fodder for science projects. The New York Times recently ran a fascinating article about the science of how cats drink. Turns out that felines have a way of balancing the forces of gravitation and inertia to suck liquids upward with their tongues in a column of whatever it is they’re drinking. Click on the slow-mo video clip above to see this trick in action.

The science of how cats drink was recently published in Science magazine. (Click on the live link for a PDF of the research article itself.) It took four engineers to figure it out!

The reporting of the discovery was the most popular article on the New York Times website the day the article went live. So for those science educators out there reading this blog entry, challenge your students to study and create experiments about the things they love in their own daily lives. We may end up reading about their scientific discoveries in the New York Times one day!

Check in next week for more from TFCB.