back to article Cats understand the laws of physics, researchers claim

Using a plastic container, some magnets, three iron balls, two video cameras and 30 cats, researchers from Kyoto University have concluded that felines understand the laws of physics. The research paper titled There's no ball without noise: cats' prediction of an object from noise was published in Animal Cognition. Twenty-two …

What this really shows

is that cats don't have an understanding of electromagnetism. Idiots.

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Anonymous Coward

Are you sure?

Cats are a superior species (at least to trick cyclists) and were quite obviously testing the researchers behaviour, not demonstrating the "ability to understand the laws of gravity".

((Where's the Cat Icon when you need it?))

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Understand

No, are aware of cause and effect at an instinctive level? Yes.

Cats appear to have stereoscopic hearing, watching a cat hunt, they will zero in on an interesting sound from several metres away. If the producer of the sound is prey under thick grass the cat will jump into the air and come down with its paws directly over it's target, then extract the tidbit. Sounds and movement attract cats attention , they are hunters, it's what they do.

As for quantum tunneling and inter/ multidimensional travel, well they are our alien overlords after all!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Understand

Remember: Dogs have owners; Cats have slaves.

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Re: Understand

I prefer "Cats have staff."

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Facepalm

hmmmm

"This study may be viewed as evidence for cats having a rudimentary understanding of gravity."

It *may* be viewed that way but only by idiots.

Each time I read about a "scientist" devising an experiment involving cats, its clear to me that the scientist involved has never actually spent any time with a cat

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Just like Amoebas understand electromagnetic radiation

Well they will change direction when lights are shined at them, so presumably they must understand the principles involved.

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From a science fiction author:

“Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.”

- Robert A. Heinlein

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Happy

E=mc^2

Of course they do

http://www.britannica.com/science/E-mc2-equation

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Thirty cats participated in the experiment and none were harmed

But several researchers received hospital treatment for wounds inflicted by the cats for absolutely no fucking reason.

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TRT
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Re: Thirty cats participated in the experiment and none were harmed

I HAZ UNDERSTANDING OF IRON BALLZ. I PREFER TO DIG MY CLAWS INTO MEAT ONES.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Thirty cats participated in the experiment and none were harmed

"wounds inflicted by the cats for absolutely no fucking reason"

The cats had a reason. Entertainment value probably.

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LDS
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Cats usually defy gravity

I understood that when my young cat jumped from the first floor window in the garden below, thinking it was probably a funny thing to try - quite shocking my cat loving sister.

And there are many other situation when cats believe gravity doesn't apply to them. Just, when a human show them something, they are polite, and look at it to please the human that also feeds them.

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Black Helicopters

I for one

hope the follow up experiment qualifies for a Darwin award.

Idiot scientist gets ripped to shreds by moggy-swarm following stoopid experiment of dubious utility.

Cats are like helicopters except they dice finer.

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vir
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Coat

They're doing it wrong...

They should check to see if the cats roll their eyes when shown a box with a radioactive source and a vial of poison.

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Headmaster

A cute accent

I'd never heard of a cat café, so when I read "Twenty-two cats from Japanese cat cafes" [sic], I thought I'd post a short WTF. I didn't want to appear ignorant, so I copied "cat cafes" from the article and did a quick search of the 45 comments already in place. Nothing found, so I went ahead.

When I came to read through the posts, I found there was quite a bit about "cat cafés", with the accent, so I had to withdraw my post. Serves me right for under-estimating the literacy of Reg commentards.

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Those Jappanese

And their weird game shows.

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Cat's just love to f*ck with peoples' minds.

3,000 years ago they were worshiped as gods - they have not forgotten this.

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Missing variant

They should have added a case where the electromagnet was turned off with a delay after the box was inverted.

Even so it proves little, very few humans that can ride a bike understand the physics, I doubt many are even aware that they use countersteer.

Alternate experiment.

A treat/toy is is dropped in sight of the cat. If the cat gets the timing wrong the treat/toy drops through a hole into a catch box.

A treat/toy is is dropped in sight of the cat, it then disappears behind an opaque barrier before re-appearing in front of the cat. If the cat gets the timing wrong the treat/toy drops through a hole into a catch box.

A treat/toy is is dropped in sight of the cat, it then disappears behind an opaque barrier behind which is a device to delay re-appearence in front of the cat. If the cat gets the timing wrong the treat/toy drops through a hole into a catch box.

A treat/toy is is dropped in sight of the cat, it then disappears behind an opaque barrier behind which is a device to catch the original treat/toy but release another that will appear in front of the cat at the right time, but the wrong speed. If the cat gets the timing wrong the treat/toy drops through a hole into a catch box.

If cats understand physics the last two will really mess with their heads.

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TRT
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Re: Missing variant

Disappearing treats

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Required?

Forget their experiments on gravity - how did they train the cat to readily do what they wanted.

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Anonymous Coward

It was only a matter of time until a scienctist finds out a way how to get paid for watching cat videos

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WTF?

Incomplete testing!!!

They need to see if an increase in mass increases the understanding of gravity.

I recommend they try the same experiment with members of the genus Panthera! If anyone survives and they find it true then they deserve an Ignoble award. If they don't survive there is always a Darwin Award as a consolation prize.

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Anonymous Coward

It must be really annoying

........to be a scientist, and to come home and find the equation on your whiteboard has been corrected by mr fuzzyboots :)

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Headmaster

cats taught Galileo

All of my cats have done Galileo's experiments with dropping objects of different weights off heights and watching to see the results. Most of the have preferred the fragile and expensive objects the best, for the loud noises they and the large non-furry food dispensers make upon impact.

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Facepalm

So someone paid money for this group to make and study cat videos.

"No honest, this is work!"

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Anonymous Coward

Control Group

Clearly this experiment is meaningless unless they repeat it with a control group made up of quantum gravity physicist. I predict they will ignore the plastic container completely demonstrating cats know more about gravity then they do.

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Joke

Of course it's total bollocks

If cats understood physics, Schrödinger would never have gotten the cat to go into the box in the first place!

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cats know everything

and the day they decide to let humanity know we are all screwed.

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The real story -

Several scientists participated in an experiment conducted by 30 cats.

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Boffin

Perpetual motion

Dropped cat with piece of buttered toast tied to its back.

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I hope to save our scientific community hundreds of millions of dollars by publicizing my insights into Felineeseology (the study of cat languages).

m eow = that was not a very good nap.

me ow= that was an outstanding nap.

MEow= you just disturbed a great nap.

meow= its about time for a nap.

MEOw= relax,dude,... take a nap. (NOTE: if there is a umlaut above the O it indicates the feminine "dudette" rather than the masculine "dude").

Wheeeerrr= Dude...your stepping on my tail. (NOTE: there doesnt seem to be a feminine form here. Apparently only men step on cats tails).

Tssst= Dude... Schrodinger's cat's great grandfather understood quantum physics waaaay before you even had an inkling. (NOTE: no apparent feminine form here either.... maybe its just men who dont get it).

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Holmes

Wake me up when the researchers have proved the cats understand that gravity follows the inverse-square law

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Holmes

Just watch them for a while.

I've been a cat-lover most of my life (for as long as I can recall anyway) and have spent a great amount of time serving and entertaining our moggy-overlords.

I've noticed things like when I'd rattle one of a couple of items, the cat would first glance at me - if the item was the laser pointer she'd then look at the nearest bit of ground or wall to her for the coming red dot, but if it was another item that had the same sound when rattled then she'd go to " normal mode" (ie completely ignore all humans unless providing treat or threat).

If you watch you'll see them judge distances before jumping, judge where moving objects are going to go (except those that don't act normally, like poorly made paper planes (honestly moggy, it was a mistake and not intended to confuse you!). I've even had one who would put her paw on the "hang up" button on the old school landline when I was paying more attention to the call than to her (fixed by turning the phone upside down) - watched her feel around for the button, look at the phone, realise it was out of reach so go back to sleep - I don't know how she learned that pushing that item ended the call but she did it several times each day from when she learned till I started turning the phone over - and she never put her paw near the area of the button when I didn't have the receiver in my hand) . I've watched them work out how to open a cupboard with a certain type of latch, and then use that knowledge to open a different cupboard with a similar-functioning catch..

But I don't agree that this necessarily means that they understand gravity, but more a sort of "cause and effect", which would be quite useful when hunting or stalking.

Certainly a functional understanding of some laws of physics, but maybe little more than "if I touch something hot I get hurt". They can, however, do a certain level of calculating velocity, trajectory, bounce, some levels of hardness and bendiness (see how they jump and land on cushions vs concrete vs small branch), and have effective knowledge of anatomy - like how to kill a smaller animal or just where to land on their owner to cause greatest pain/annoyance.

And they have an interesting level of logic as well. Much greater than politicians even.

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Feline geodisics

I'd be more impressed if it could be shown that cats understand Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, which has superseded the Newtonian theory of gravity. I leave the details of how to demonstrate this experimentally to others.

I realise that cats are better employed demonstrating the collapse of wave functions in quantum mechanics than the principles of curved space, but they are flexible creatures.

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So -- for a given value of understand - do ball-flinging children understand physics.

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The follow-up experiment will be testing whether pieces of buttered toast understand gravity.

It's all leading up to Japan replacing all their maglev train equipment with armies of cats wearing slippers made of toast buttered on one side - the side attached to the cat's paws.

Such a combination could never, ever, touch the ground. It would be the perfect anti-gravity device.

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Revolutionary ?? if they are quantum cats and quantum pieces of buttered toast!

Cats wearing slippers indeed.

Harumph.

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Happy

Re: pieces of buttered toast

There is no need to experiment with buttered toast. If the toast would land on the buttered side, it confirms Murphy's Law. However if the toast would land with the buttered side up, that only confirms that Murphy's Law holds for this kind of experiment. QED.

It is left to the reader to proof that this is a fallacy.

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My cat likes to perfom it's own experiments with gravity

Every time I leave a USB stick, pen, or other small object on my desk.

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Boffin

The only thing proven

That I can see is cats like boxes

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Is that why they keep pushing things off tables? To test their understanding?

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