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The Physics of Cats

Updated on November 24, 2012

I'm not going to pretend to be an expert in this area. Rather I am a naturalist/observer who wonders why certain feline phenomenon have not been the subjects of serious study. Yes, we all know about static electricity. I'm talking about deeper mysteries. Alas, I am far less versed in physics than I am in cats and so my guesses as to the forces causing what I observe are admittedly stabs in the dark. I welcome more knowledgeable explanations of what I have witnessed.

The Relationship Between Cats and Voids
I consider this by far the most fascinating and perplexing of the phenomenon I've witnessed. Anyone who knows cats knows how they seem to create vacuums that suck them inexorably through doors. We all know how they helplessly race through the door only to turn around and mew painfully to pass through it once again. I have two cats of very different physique, one slim and one plump. I've noticed that the size of the cat makes a difference. My slimmer cat feels no pull from a partially opened door. She only feels the attraction of cracks created by closed door. She can be charging through the house and suddenly will be sucked up against the slightest vertical sliver. She cannot lay in the vicinity of a door without her paw getting pulled under it. It usually requires a strong leap to pull her away. On the other hand, my fat cat will be sucked pell mell through a wide open door that my thin cat is impervious to.

Another observation in support of my suspicion that cats create voids that they then must fill is an old hayloft observation. This was the loft of a friend who had many cats and the bales where full of tunnels at every corner wherever bales met. Now, it's hard to believe a cat would go to the trouble of burrowing these tunnels. One might suspect rats, but rats and cats don't usually co-exist. The number of cats pretty much ruled out the rat theory. I believe the mere presence of cats, maybe some effect of their gaze, actually created these tunnels, which of course, they were then sucked into and were rarely seen except when impelled by hunger.

The Relationship Between Cats and Edges
This relationship appears to be direct and simple with few variations: the leaner the cat, the more likely it is to be magnetized to narrow ledges. The narrower the cat the narrower the ledges. The attraction is there but the strength of the magnetic pull doesn't always appear to be reliable. The cat is pulled to the peak of a lean-to, a slender branch or edge of the foot board of a bed, but there is no guarantee that it will be able to maintain contact. I don't think this should be misconstrued as a preference of the cat since they sometimes have unpleasant experiences as a result and yet are compelled to repeat them due to some force, I believe, acting on them.

Please feel free to share your own observations and any theories you have about the physics of cats. Who knows. Maybe the development of this field will lead to the cure for cancer or cleaner forms of transportation.

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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I enjoyed this Hub and learned a few new things about cats. When my youngest son moved out last year he left his male cat behind; in any case let's just say it's been an interesting living arrangement for myself and the cat - He outsmarts me daily and I couldn't imagine a day without him.

    • jhamann profile image

      Jamie Lee Hamann 

      6 years ago from Reno NV

      Excellent hub, we have three cats in our house now, at one time five. I love them all, and question all their little quirks everyday. (quirks not quarks) Jamie

    • Jen Pearson profile imageAUTHOR

      Jen Pearson 

      6 years ago from Alabama

      Thanks for the comments everyone. Yes, Lissa, just what does your cat see in corners? I'm sure there's more to corners than we humans have ever imagined.

    • profile image

      Lissa Ruggles 

      6 years ago

      Awesome observations! Cats certainly do make awesome house mates...LOL...I LOVE it when mine just stares at corners as if he sees something I do not...who knows...maybe he does!?

    • Cat R profile image

      Cat R 

      6 years ago from North Carolina, U.S.

      Cats are amazing creatures!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hahaha! Funny! We also have one lean (although fluffy) cat and one heavy one. They seem to go whereever they wish...and if it is not open or easily blinds and doors...they have their staff (us) to cater to their every wants and desires.


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