Cats are liquid — if they choose to be


Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar to the right. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.

Science marches on! A new study shows that cats can be liquid, if they choose to be.

Fardin noticed that these furry pets can adapt to the shape of the container they sit in—think of a cat in a vase—similarly to what fluids such as water do. So he used the principles of rheology, the branch of physics that deals with the deformation of matter, to calculate cats’ relaxation time, or the time it takes for them to take up the space of a vase or bathroom sink.

The conclusion? Cats can be either liquid or solid, depending on the circumstances, Fardin reported in the Rheology Bulletin in 2014…. A cat in a small box will behave like a fluid, filling up all the space, but a cat in a bathtub full of water will try to minimize its contact with it and behave very much like a solid.

Anyone who has ever owned a cat will be understand this research. It isn’t that cats can be liquid that is expected, it is that cats will do what they want. If they want to be liquid, no one is going to stop them.

Because of this ground-breaking research, the scientist has won this year’s Ig Nobel Physics Prize.

Share

21 comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *