Belfast Telegraph

Purr-fect reason to curl up on couch

By Nuala McKeever

I was struck this week by the wonder of ‘things being various’ (Louis MacNeice, Snow) when I read that Dr Roman Stocker from Massachusetts had discovered how cats actually drink.

We’ve so much in common he and I – we both have cats and we’ve both been intrigued by the delicate action of the little pink tongue as the cat drinks. However, there the similarities screech to a halt.

On watching his cat drink, the doctor says: “I realised there was an interesting biomechanical problem hidden behind that very simple action.”

So he promptly set up a project to study exactly how the cat draws liquid up into its mouth.

He discovered that the process “was down to interplay between two forces: inertia and gravity”.

Meanwhile, in Belfast, I watched my cat and my reaction was: “How does she do that, it’s so cute!”

So I promptly set myself up a cup of tea and some buns and studied the TV listings. I discovered the interplay of inertia and gravity too — I tried to get off the couch, but couldn’t be bothered.

As a result of our differing approaches, Dr Stocker is now world famous, while I’m struggling to fit into my jeans.

So two discoveries really — how a cat drinks and why I’ll never be a scientist.

Belfast Telegraph

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