How Dogs and Cats Drink

We humans do our hands-free drinking via suction, using the shape of our lips and mouths to create low pressure that draws liquids in. Dogs and cats, on the other hand, have no cheeks and, therefore, no suction. Instead, both cats (top) and dogs (bottom) drink using adhesion, or the tendency of a liquid to stick to a surface. Both species flatten part of their tongue against the water surface, then pull it up rapidly. This draws a column of water up after their tongue, which they then snap their jaws closed around. Although they use the same method, cats are daintier drinkers than dogs, which sometimes leads to the misconception that the animals drink differently. (Image credits: NYTimes, source; research credit: S. Jung et al.)

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