Jellied Cat

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Jellied Cat

Postby Thistlehair » January 28th, 2008, 12:51 pm

If a piece of toast always lands jelly side down, but a cat always lands on its feet, how does a cat land, should it be covered in jelly?
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Jellied Cat

Postby WorldBFat » January 28th, 2008, 2:11 pm

Are we assuming the cat's back is covered in jelly as opposed to the entire cat? That seems essential to the paradox.
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Jellied Cat

Postby Thistlehair » January 28th, 2008, 3:45 pm

Yes, assume that the cat's back is completely covered in jelly.
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Jellied Cat

Postby El Capitano » January 28th, 2008, 3:52 pm

Because of how your question is posed, ie: the cat is covered in jelly (even thought it is buttered toast that always lands in a certain way), it is obvious that the cat will land on its feet. Without the presence of toast, jelly (or butter) has no effect on the physics of this situation.
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Jellied Cat

Postby Browntown » January 28th, 2008, 3:55 pm

If the cat had jelly on it's feet, would it land on it's face?
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Jellied Cat

Postby WorldBFat » January 28th, 2008, 4:16 pm

Is the toast actually necessary here? Is the jelly effect not due to the gravitational pull on the more massive jellied side introducing a torque which rotates the jellied side downward? If this is the case, any lightweight object with one side slathered in delicious jelly would tend to experience this effect.

As toast is a lightweight, airy foam structure, it is indeed conducive to this problem. The jelly often weighs nearly as much as the toast itself. Cats, on the other hand, are dense and weighty beasts.

I contend that the cat will land on its feet.
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Postby El Capitano » January 28th, 2008, 4:37 pm

Because the toast is a light, airy structure, its presence along with the more heavy jelly, which is slathered in a thick layer, would serve to shift the center of gravity of the cat. With a nice thick piece of toast, it would potentially be enough to prevent the cat from being able to land on its feet.

Without the presence of toast to move the jelly further away from the cat, the shift in the center of gravity is not enough to prevent the cat from landing on its feet.
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Jellied Cat

Postby WorldBFat » January 28th, 2008, 4:49 pm

I can agree with that in principle. However, I suspect that the volume and density of the cat itself becomes a huge factor once the toast is strapped on. Perhaps a kitten's flight profile would be sufficiently upset by the leverage gained through the interposition of the toast. I doubt the average adult cat's would be.
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Jellied Cat

Postby El Capitano » January 28th, 2008, 4:58 pm

Certainly. Much depends on the thickness of the toast and the amount of jelly slathered on it.

Also, it is necessary to know how far the jellied cat is falling. It is well known that toast is able to land jelly/butter side down when dropped from a kitchen counter. However, cats require enough time to be able to right themselves. I would suspect much more than the standard counter height. At least 15 feet seems about right to me.
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Jellied Cat

Postby WorldBFat » January 28th, 2008, 5:01 pm

I propose a battery of experiments. Failing that, mathematics. I personally won't be doing any calculations of any kind until Wednesday at the earliest.
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