Cat is more Sophisticated than the Dog when Drinking

Dog drinking

Dog drinking

‘Cats rule, dogs drool’ is a funny way to describe the difference. The dog has a cruder drinking technique than the cat. That’s what I claim! We know that cats are more sophisticated than dogs, don’t we?!

Research, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Virginia Tech and Princeton University in the USA, has explained how cats get liquid into their mouths. It is a sophisticated technique evolved over eons, I suspect. The dog, in contrast, just grabs hold of it with their tongue and shovels it into their mouth 😉 .

For the cat, “sophisticated hydrodynamics” are employed – yes, it’s very scientific and shows how anatomically sophisticated the cat is whereas the dog slurps and splashes. In the video of the dog on this page it seems that he/she scoops up the water by cupping his tongue underneath (the opposite direction to what we would assume) whereas the cat does not employ cupping and scooping. For a cat, it is all about a balance between surface tension, inertia, gravity and hard science, which I am yet to fully understand 😉 .

The study shows that, when drinking, the cat’s slightly curled tongue is the only part of the tongue which touches the liquid. In fact it is the only part of the cat to touch the liquid. The tongue brushes the surface and as it does this a…

“column of fluid forms between the moving tongue and the liquid’s surface. The cat then closes its mouth, pinching off the top of the column to drink”.

Gravity pulls the liquid off the tongue (downwards) while inertia keeps it on the tongue as inertia creates a tendency for the liquid to carry on moving in the direction it has been pulled. It is a question of timing for the cat. If the cat delays in closing his mouth and drinking, gravity will pull the liquid off the tongue. In other words, gravity overtakes inertia if there is a delay. The video below is a slo-mo version of a cat’s tongue in action.

Whereas the dog, as mentioned, does it differently and more clumsily, if I may say so. The dog causes more mess because he drives his tongue onto the liquid with force. This causes a splash. Then dogs withdraw their tongues rapidly which forms a water column. It would seem inertia, gravity and surface tension also play a part but the dog also scoops up the water in the same way we do when we drink with our hands. This is a distinct departure from the more sophisticated, and dare I say it, more elegant cat technique.

FB comments (see below)
This entry was posted in tongue and tagged , , , by Michael Broad. Bookmark the permalink.

About Michael Broad

Michael is retired! He retired at age 57 and at Aug 2018 is approaching 70. He worked in many jobs. The last job he did was as a solicitor practicing general law. He loves animals and is passionate about animal welfare. He also loves photography and nature. He hates animal abuse. He has owned and managed this site since 2007. There are around 13k pages so please use the custom search facility!


Cat is more Sophisticated than the Dog when Drinking — 3 Comments

  1. Dog are so much more slobbering.
    But, like Babz, I feel sorry that pets have to bend over to eat and drink. It seems exhausting. I think I’ll have to come up with some solution here.

  2. Great videos. Really interesting to see the difference in drinking techniques.

    It looks as though the cat creates an invisible straw to draw water into their mouths.

  3. Both very clever and lovely to watch, but it makes me feel very humble that I can pick up a cup or glass, with my fingers and thumbs and sip my drinks while cats and dogs have to bend over and lap their up, more so eating when they have to stand over their meal and put their faces into it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Please try and upload photos that are small in size of max 500px width and 50 KB size. Large images typical of most default settings on digital cameras may fail to upload. Thanks. Comment rules: (1) respect others (2) threatening, harassing, bullying, insulting and being rude to others is forbidden (3) advocating cat cruelty is forbidden (4) trolls (I know who they are) must use real name and upload a photo of themselves. Enforcement: (1) inappropriate comments are deleted before publication and (2) commenters who demonstrate a desire to flout the rules are banned. Failure to comply with (4) results in non-publication. Lastly, please avoid adding links because spam software regards comments with links as spam and holds them in the spam folder. I delete the spam folder contents daily.