After the Legal Question, one for our scientists.

I was reading an SF story where the heroine had to solve a Schroedinger-like event to save someone’sΒ life after a space battle and an even more puzzling quantum event came to mind – a real poser

A cat always lands on its feet, right? And a slice of buttered toast always lands butter side down. So, what happens if you stick a slice of toast on a cat’s back butter side up…

24 thoughts on “After the Legal Question, one for our scientists.”

  1. Ah, but there are a couple of problems there, Christopher. Firstly, the mass of a cat does not affect the land-on-its-feet thingy, and, secondly, if you measure the mass, you can’t measure the position, can you?

  2. Hold on, this should be relativity simple.

    Take one cat and one slice of buttered toast and sling both of them from a high building and see what happens. You may have to repeat this several times, and another theory comes into play here, about cats and high buildings, but one could just sling both from a work surface or something similar, fifty times or so, and record the results.

    Just don’t tell the RSPCA about this experiment, or you will be toast.

  3. Er, it has just occurred to me that it may just make difference if the cat is long haired, so best shave a bit of hair from its back first.

  4. Well, I came to the Chariot for some desperately needed intellectual stimulation, and am very pleased to see it here waiting for me. In order to provide an exact prediction of the landing position I would need to know the following:-
    1) The name of the cat
    2) Whether the butter is salted or not (for specific gravity reasons you understand)
    3) The temperature (if very warm the butter would soak into the toast thereby changing the results)
    4) All manner of other things….

    One word of warning for Ara’s suggestion. The toast lands on it’s buttered side due to gravity, the cat lands on it’s feet due to instinct. This means that the fight of instinct against gravity could come out neutral (depending on the name of the cat), which could mean that it may land on it’s head. Therefore please provide a soft cushion if you try Arminta’s method/

    Thank you for providing me with the opportunity for this highly intellectual thought experiment. πŸ™‚

  5. Gaz:
    1) Lurpak
    2) semi-salted
    3) toasty warm
    4) humidity high, sobriety low, philosophical horizon distant, oblivion close – and that’s just the cat

  6. The quality of the dairy product may well be of importance. One can imagine that should any “own brand” or economy label butter be employed in the experiment, any well bred feline may feel so poorly used that it may rapidly lose the will to live, negating an otherwise perfect scientific procedure

  7. Set the dogs on it and see which they eat first?
    You would need to get down the building PDQ otherwise all the evidential results will be consumed.

  8. Well spotted, Bravo. πŸ™‚

    And I once read an interesting article on cats, and throwing them off high buildings. Apparently they usually land on their feet if you sling them off anything below seven stories. Any higher and it’s a bit touch and go as to their survival.

  9. Janus, with that extra information, now it is an easy problem to solve.
    Under 3 stories it would land clearly on the buttered side, with cat’s feet pointing upwards.
    Over 4 stories cat would land feet first.
    And as Ara points out above 7 stories again the cat would be toast.
    The tricky bit is between 3 and 4 stories. Here the mass of bread and cat would be on the turn from buttered side to legs, and would give the highest likelihood of a ‘head’ landing.
    So to summarise:-
    0-3 stories – safe
    4-6 stories – safe
    3-4 and above 7 stories not to be recommended.

  10. In the interests of science I attempted an experiment involving Fumada, duct tape, hot buttered toast and a first floor veranda. The cat was deeply unimpressed and as soon as I am released from intensive care I am coming after Bravo with the hospital bill.


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