Steven Veach

Lap happy   Cats rely on fluid inertia to drink, rapidly drawing up a column of liquid instead of using their tongues like ladles, as previously thought, according to research by Princeton engineer Jeffrey Aristoff and colleagues from MIT and Virginia Tech that was published in Science Nov. 11. Using a robotic tongue and high-speed video of domestic cats and larger felines, including tigers and lions, the team studied the efficiency of the unusual drinking method. They found that cats regulate the speed of their tongues to maximize the amount of liquid ingested per lap. “This suggests that cats are smarter than many people think,” Aristoff said in a news release, “at least when it comes to hydrodynamics.”

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