Wednesday, January 19, 2011

This Blog Does Not Recommend You Get Your Cat Drunk

For today's post, I've decided to conflate two topics that have piqued my interest of late:  Bailey's Irish Cream and cat tongues.  (You know those lists of "trending topics" that appear on Yahoo! and other websites?  Yeah, the stuff I think about rarely appears on those lists.)

Bailey's Irish Cream has been on my mind because I just polished off my annual Christmas bottle, which means it's now on my hips, as well.  And cat tongues actually have been in the news recently, thanks to a new study published in the journal Science.  Seems a group of scientists got tired of genetically modifying squash and searching for a cure for AIDS, so they decided to put their collective intellectual muscle behind the question of how cats drink.  I'm not being snarky; I actually think that's a great thing to study.  I think you could publish a journal called How the Hell Do Cats Do That? and easily fill several years' worth of issues.
Decades' worth, if you changed How to Why.

See, it's SCIENCE.
 In any event, these scientists (who I won't even suggest may have too much time on their hands) came up with some interesting findings on the mechanics of cat lapping, including its vast superiority over the way that dogs basically hurl their tongue at the nearest wet-looking thing and hope it comes back with something, well, wet.  CBS News posted a nice, not-too-sciency summary of the whole thing. 

But I became fascinated with one little detail of the study:  the discovery that cats drink about 0.1 mL of liquid per lap.  That's 0.034 fluid ounces, or about 1/5 of a teaspoon.  At a rate of four laps per second (that was one of the major published findings, I kid you not), that means Widdle Pookums needs about 7.4 seconds (or about 30 laps) to toss back an ounce of milk. 

Seven and a half seconds of constant drinking to take on about 15 calories' worth of milk.  Kitty won't be winning any chug-a-lug contests.  If the cat were drinking Bailey's (see how the conflation begins), at least it would get a satisfying 90 calories for its exertions.  Yes, believe it or not, a single ounce of Bailey's - two lousy tablespoons - has 90 calories.  They call this a "serving."  An ounce?  *snort* I spill that much just pouring it into a glass.  And it doesn't take seven seconds to lap it up, either. 

At this point it was perfectly natural that I start thinking about how many cat-laps it would take to ingest 90 calories' worth of other liquids.  (Do not blame me if your mind does not have a natural bent.)  And that required math, people.  Maybe you enjoy delving into abstruse numerical concepts, like multiplication, but this took a lot of discipline on my part, and moving decimal points and getting wrong answers with alarming frequency.  Math is not really my thing.  But I did it for the enlightenment of you, my loyal readers.  Also because I had nothing better to do.

So without further ado, I present the Highly Autonomous Inertial Response for Balancing and Lapping Liquid - or HAIRBALL - Scale.  This is where science meets kitties, and goes awwwww

(Please, dear readers, do not try this at home, and if you do, do not send me hilarious pictures or videos of your cats imbibing liquids they have no business imbibing.)

Not actual test subject
 Bailey's Irish Cream (baseline)
90 calories = 1 oz.
Cat-laps:  30

Captain Morgan Rum (100 proof)
90 calories = 1.1 oz.
Cat-laps: 33

Vodka (80 proof)
90 calories = 1.4 oz.
Cat-laps: 41

Do not try this at homez
 McDonald's Chcolate Shake
90 calories = 2.5 oz.
Cat-laps:  74

90 calories = 3 oz.
Cat-laps:  89

Red Wine
90 calories = 3.6 oz.
Cat-laps: 107

Do NOT give your cat grapefruit juice

Campbell's Cream of Tomato Soup
90 calories = 5.2 oz.
Cat-laps: 154

A&W Cream Soda
90 calories = 6 oz.
Cat-laps: 178

Grapefruit Juice
90 calories = 7.5 oz.
Cat-laps: 222

Miller Lite
90 calories = 11.25 oz
Cat-laps: 333

Conclusion:  I can drink any pussy under the table when it comes to vodka or rum, but there's no way I'm going to choke down a glass of grapefruit juice in 30 seconds.  Well played, kitty, well played.


  1. I used to live with a fine feline beast, Calvin, who enjoyed Bailey's Irish Cream. Interestingly (to me, anyway) Calvin's fur color matched the color of Bailey's perfectly. Anyway, the point I'm getting to is that Calvin died young and tragically -- of liver problems.

    Please, cat owners, keep your kitties away from the hard stuff. Calvin would thank you.

  2. I also have a Bailey's-colored kitty (Siamese). She does not need alcohol to enjoy the high life!

  3. Give your pup VitaLife duck and sweet potato dog treats, to wag his tail. These unique bites are deliciously packed with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients for all life stage of your dog. They're gluten-free, so they're safe for pups with gluten sensitivities, and they're made with 100% real chicken, will keep your dog happy and satisfied.


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