A study conducted by Roman Stocker, an MIT professor and roommate of Cutta Cutta, a cat he rescued from a Boston animal shelter, has revealed a fascinating difference between the way cats and dogs drink liquid.
As it turns out, nature has designed kitties as more resourceful drinkers than their canine counterparts.
When a dog drinks water, she uses her tongue to scoop the liquid into her mouth. It’s an inefficient and downright sloppy method of hydration, as any dog owner can attest.
Cats, on the other hand, use a balance of gravity and inertia to get every last drop they lap into their mouths. Kitties use the tip of the tongue to pull water upward, and then know exactly when to close their jaws before gravity can return the liquid to the bowl.
This is truly a feat of speed and timing!
According to Professor Stocker in an interview with LiveScience:
"Perhaps the most intriguing part of what we found was that the cats seemed to know just exactly how rapidly or how fast they should lap. By lapping at the right time, [cats] take optimal advantage of this balance between inertia and gravity."
Because dogs and cats are the two most common companion animals, and because both species walk on all fours and are covered with fur (most of them, anyway), there's a tendency among humans to think they are more similar than they really are.
Ten Interesting Differences Between Cats and Dogs
- Dogs can be trained quickly, some in a matter of minutes, to obey basic commands like ‘come' and ‘sit.'
Most cats are difficult if not impossible to train to respond to directives.
- Cats can be housetrained in an instant as long as they have access to a litter box. There's really no training to it, in fact. It's instinct.
Most dogs take considerably longer to housebreak, and some just never get all the way there. Unlike with Fluffy, housebreaking a pup is usually a hands-on, time intensive project.
- Dogs are social beings. They want to be with their pack, wherever their pack may be.
Cats are solitary by comparison and their primary attachment (when forced to choose) is to their territory rather than other two or four-legged animals.
- Dogs have 42 teeth.
Cats have 30.
- Cats can jump and climb, giving them more options when they need to hunt for food, or when they feel threatened.
Dogs are earthbound, so they need their pack to hunt effectively. And when a threat triggers their fight-or-flight response, they are more likely to react with aggression because their ability to flee from a predator is limited.
- Dogs are scavenging carnivores, which means although they are primarily meat-eaters, if necessary they can survive on plant material alone (remember, surviving is different than thriving).
Cats are obligate or strict carnivores. Kitties cannot sustain life without eating meat in some form.
- Dogs in the wild catch their prey by running it down. They are long distance runners, not sprinters.
Cats creep up on their prey and catch it by surprise. They are sprinters, not distance runners.
- Cats cannot be fasted and should not be dieted down too quickly. Kitties don't efficiently burn fat reserves as an energy source. Instead, without food, their bodies break down non-fatty tissues for energy. This can lead to a life-threatening liver condition called hepatic lipidosis.
Dogs are much better at using their fat reserves and can tolerate a lack of food for much longer than cats.
- Cats have retractable claws that stay sharp because they are protected inside the toes.
Dogs claws are always extended and become blunt from constant contact with the ground when they walk.
- A dog's memory is only about five minutes long.
Kitties can remember up to 16 hours.