New research explains the physics behind how cats drink liquids with such elegance.

Ever wondered how cats lap up milk from their bowls so elegantly without spraying it over their mouths and chin? Scientists at MIT and Princeton now have an explanation for this phenomenon. When cats and other felines like tigers drink liquids, they insert their tongues in and out of the bowls so fast that a column of liquid is formed between the moving tongue and the liquid's surface. The cat then closes its mouth, while lapping off the liquid, all in one quick motion. On an average, cats can lap 0.1 milliliters of liquid in each lap and are able to do four laps per second.

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