Experiments in cat flipping


Dead Cats R Us
Testing Laboratories
Pussy Division
Concord NSW 666

Dr Frank N. Stein-Malcolm PhD, MA, VD,
The Moggie Institute (& knocking shop),
Balmain NSW 90210.

RE: Our earlier communications included herein for your convenience:

FM> BTW, when properly taped, cats don't turn over when you kick them in the air.You only need to immobilise the tail to do that, as that's how pussies turn over in the air.

Your expertise on varied subjects never ceases to amaze me! Now if you can tell me how to immobilise a pussy's tail (short of cutting it off and nailing to a fence), I'll rush out and perform the experiment on the first pussy I can lure within range.

FM> Attach the pussy to a Van de Graaf generator. Turn it on. The pussy's fur will stand out perpendicular to the skin. Spray some quick-setting glue on the tail, being careful to cover sufficient of the body where the tail is attached. Turn off the machine and remove the pussy. (Please do this in the right order.) Throw the pussy in the air. Be sure to record all details in you laboratory note-book.

My dear Doctor Frank,

you will be pleased to hear that the tests are now complete, and a summary is included for your analysis.

We found it impossible to attach the cat the the Van de Graaf generator as you suggested. As you will understand, metal restraints are not effective near the high-voltage apparatus, and a laboratory assistant was unfortunately electrocuted, but this did confirm your perpendicular-hair theory. Another assistant was severely slashed by the test cat, and is recovering in Concord General Hospital.

We solved the problem by using a cardboard box with the cat and the Van de Graaf generator inside, standing in a shallow dish of PVA glue. There was no need to spray the glue. The cat spread the glue quite effectively once the apparatus reached 250,000 volts.

Here are the results of 194 pussy-tosses. You will observe that I have included additional information to allow a complete analysis of landings: heads, tails, feet, back. The head/tail data was necessary because my laboratory assistant insisted on using the treated cat's tail as a handle during tossing, which caused a general north/south rotation of the cat in flight. This may explain the results biased in that direction. The untreated cat was convenienty grasped at the back of the neck and just thrown with a random twisting motion caused by the cats propensity to lash out in all directions.

The same cat was used for both test runs, and errors caused by the tiring cat should be the same in both cases. The test proved to be destructive.

          |  cat    |  cat
  Heads        8       26
  Tails        2       31
  Back         4       18
  Feet        86       19

  Total      100       94

The test had to be terminated at 94, when the tail broke off, but you can see that your hypothesis is clearly confirmed. 86% of cats land on their feet when thrown in the air, but only 20% land on their feet after the cat's tail has been stiffened by PVA glue.

The high number of tails may be explained environmentally. The cat was tossed outdoors in a sand pit (to minimise damage to the test cat) and the north/south rotation of the cat left it with a tendency for the tail to stick in the sand on landing. We surmise that this is what caused the premature tail failure. It broke quite near the root, and our next test cat is being painted with epoxy to cure this problem. We are also investigating a random cat-tossing machine based on the one used in skeet shooting.


I congratulate you on this result. I can tell you that we were all cheering here at the Dead Cats R Us Pussy Division! Our morale needed a boost, what with the funeral and Shirley in hospital and all. She is not a pretty sight, but at least she understands that her ruined face is not in vain, when we are on the leading edge of basic cat reseach. I an sure that Shirley would appreciate an encouraging note from you, if you can find the time (try not to mention claws).

PS: The results on how far we can drag a cat behind a car are coming along quite nicely. Your Pascale program on varying road surfaces has been a great help, but the controversy over traffic calming devices continues.

Have you given any further thought to our cat drop-kick experiments? Putting the cat in a condom has reduced air resistance by 32%, but the real problem is lack of bounce. We cannot get more than a 23% energy transfer at the kick. Do you think that inflating the cat might work?

Bob Lawrence PhD, BEng(cats), BSc(tech)
Dead Cats R Us
Testing Laboratories
Pussy Division
(full report enclosed)

This is, of course, only funny if you never plan on doing it.