Cats and dogs both lap up liquids with their tongues, but new research describes in detail why dogs are inherently sloppier drinkers.
The findings also help to explain why large, hefty dogs produce more backsplash mess than tinier ones. This and more related info was discussed today during the presentation "How dogs drink water," made at the American Physical Society's Division of Fluid Dynamics Meeting held in San Francisco.
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If the topic seems familiar, it's because the research team has been analyzing pet drinking habits for a while.
"Three years ago, we studied how cats drink," Sunny Jung, an assistant professor at Virginia Tech, said in a press release. "I was curious about how dogs drink, because cats and dogs are everywhere."
Both cats and dogs cannot suck in liquids as humans can because their cheeks facilitate the lifestyle of a four-legged predator. Dogs are omnivores, but their wolf ancestors predominately prey on hoofed animals such as deer, moose, elk and caribou.
Video: Cats Drink Differently Than Dogs
The prior research found that felines drink via a two-part process consisting of an elegant plunge and pull, in which a cat gently places its tongue on the water's surface and then rapidly withdraws it, creating a column of water underneath the cat's retracting tongue. Watch this video, for example, showing in slow motion how a cat drinks milk: