The Curious Way that Cats Drink

Cats and dogs drink in really different ways. In fact, cats drink in such a unique way, that it's even been researched at the MIT.
The Curious Way that Cats Drink

Last update: 17 April, 2019

Unlike dogs, cats drink in an elegant way and never get dirty. In fact, the way cats drink is so curious that it’s led some people to study it scientifically. Some people have even said that cats defy gravity when drinking.

Let’s have a look at the research that has been done and how they came to their conclusions.

The way that cats drink

Several researchers came together at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to find out why cats drink the way they do.

An example of the curious way that cats drink.

Although they originally believed that cats made a J-shape with their tongues to drink, high-speed videos revealed that only the upper surface of the tongue actually touched the water.

Then they realized that cats have a drinking technique which doesn’t disturb the water. When the tongue touches the water, it is then removed quickly and the cat immediately closes his mouth.

So, why does this happen? It’s down to the combination of gravity trying to keep the water in the bowl and the inertia of the movement created by the cat. It happens because cats are able to move their tongue 4 times per second and drink about one-fifth of a teaspoon each time.

Cats vs dogs

By drinking this way, cats avoid making a mess. It’s very different to how dogs drink. They’ll spill water all over the floor and end up drooling everywhere.

Unlike cats, dogs do make a J-shape with their tongue. This way they can scoop the water out of the bowl. It’s not a very clean way to do it and there’s always some spilled water. It’s quite different from how cats do it.

A cat’s tongue moves so fast that it’s impossible to spill anything. Have you ever seen the tablecloth trick where someone pulls the cloth from underneath a load of crockery on the table and manages not to break anything? This is pretty much what cats do when they drink.

More curious things about cats

Cats have always been mysterious animals and, although we understand them more these days, they still have some curious traits that grab our attention. Here are some of them:

A cat sleeping and being stroked.

  • Sleeping for around two-thirds of the day. If day merged into night, cats wouldn’t mind at all. They could spend all day asleep.
  • The other third of the day is spent on their grooming and hygiene. In fact, if you look, cats are constantly licking themselves.
  • They can produce 100 different sounds. This is something else that sets them apart from dogs, who can produce only 10.
  • They get bothered if something lands on their nose. There’s a blind spot there and if they see anything there, it really catches them out.
  • They hate water because of their skin. It doesn’t protect them from water properly so they don’t like being bathed. Some species of cat, like some Asian cats, have more resistant skin which can tolerate it.
  • They can’t differentiate between sweet flavors. Their tongue is not developed enough. But this doesn’t mean they’ll turn down sweets, definitely not!

So, these were just a few interesting things we wanted to share with you. If your cat has some curious traits, share them with us!

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