Cats versus dogs in the 'drinking' category (w/ video)

May 26, 2011 by Deborah Braconnier report
Image credit: Biology Letters, doi:10.1098/rsbl.2011.0336

(PhysOrg.com) -- The competition between cat and dog owners has one or the other always looking for an advantage and cat owners thought they had one last year when Pedro Reis and Roman Stocker from MIT discovered that cats used their tongues in a very unique way to dry water into their mouths. While cats drank in this manner, Reis was sure that dogs, which are known for scooping and making a mess, had to drink in a different way.

However, A. W. Crompton and Catherine Musinsky from Harvard University decided they needed to step up on the side of the dogs and discover just how they drink water. In a new study published in Biology Letters, Crompton and Musinsky show that drink in the same fashion as , leaving to a draw in the competition. Cats however may win the point for being less messy when they drink.

Similar to the study done by Reis and Stocker on cats, Crompton and Musinsky used high-speed video and x-ray video to show just what happens when a dog drinks water. While most people assume that the dog, which curves its tongue to form a spoon of sorts, scoops water into its mouth, this is actually inaccurate. While the dog does scoop its tongue, the water that is trapped in the ‘scoop’ is actually lost when the dog draws its tongue into its mouth.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

Similar to a cat, the dog’s tongue actually draws a column of water up to the mouth when the tongue is lifted. Before the column is disrupted, the dog closes its mouth. Once the water is in the mouth, the presses against the roof of the mouth and traps the water until another column is drawn in with the next lap. It takes an average three laps before water is pushed back into the throat for the dog to drink.

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More information: How dogs lap: ingestion and intraoral transport in Canis familiaris, Biology Letters, Published online before print May 25, 2011, doi:10.1098/rsbl.2011.0336

Abstract
It has recently been suggested that the mechanism for lifting liquid from a bowl into the oral cavity during lapping is fundamentally different in cats and dogs: cats use adhesion of liquid to the tongue tip while dogs ‘scoop’ with their backwardly curled tongue. High-speed light videos and X-ray videos show that on the contrary, both cats and dogs use the mechanism of adhesion. Liquid is transported through the oral cavity to the oesophagus, against gravity, on the surface of the tongue as it is drawn upwards, then a tight contact between the tongue surface and palatal rugae traps liquid and prevents its falling out as the tongue is protruded. At least three cycles are needed for intraoral transport of liquid in the dog.

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User comments : 7

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Expiorer
5 / 5 (1) May 26, 2011
My cat usually is dipping paw in the water and then licking the paw.
Nikola
not rated yet May 26, 2011
My cat usually is dipping paw in the water and then licking the paw.
I had a silly cat that liked to do that. He had six toes on his paws.
Newbeak
4 / 5 (1) May 26, 2011
On a related note,several years ago,I used to give a stray tomcat a meal of canned cat food when he showed up.It was impressive how he would use his paw to collect bits of food left in the corner of the dish,and lick it off.He also seemed to understand that door knobs opened doors,as he would climb on an armchair near a door,and try to turn the knob with his paw.
panorama
not rated yet May 26, 2011
Can they do a study on why my dog prefers to take a mouthful of food, drop it on the ground about 30 feet from the bowl, then eat it?
Newbeak
not rated yet May 26, 2011
Can they do a study on why my dog prefers to take a mouthful of food, drop it on the ground about 30 feet from the bowl, then eat it?

He might be insecure,and takes his food to what he believes is a safe place to eat it.Sounds like a job for the "Dog Whisperer"..
panorama
not rated yet May 26, 2011
Can they do a study on why my dog prefers to take a mouthful of food, drop it on the ground about 30 feet from the bowl, then eat it?

He might be insecure,and takes his food to what he believes is a safe place to eat it.Sounds like a job for the "Dog Whisperer"..

I've been thinking about it since I posted that message and I think i may have figured it out. The place where she takes to food to drop it then eat it is very slightly elevated. Her food bowl is in her dog house. Maybe it's the whole wanting to keep an eye on things while eating.
Newbeak
not rated yet May 26, 2011
I'll take you word for it,I am more of a cat person..

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