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Cats trade efficiency for stealth

A short item in New Scientist reports that cats use convert only 20-38 percent of the energy they put into walking into forward motion, especially when in a stalking mode. Dogs, in comparison, are about 70 percent efficient. The work was done by Kristin Bishop, now a postdoctoral researcher at UC Davis, while studying for her Ph.D. at Brown University. Unfortunately, I can’t find a link to an original paper, and half the New Scientist story is hidden behind their subscription wall.

Bishop has shifted fields a bit in moving to UC Davis: instead of studying cat-crawls and flight in sugar gliders, she is working on the biomechanics of fish feeding with Peter Wainwright’s lab in the Section of Evolution and Ecology.

One Response to Cats trade efficiency for stealth

  1. Clearly the ‘ineficiency’ of their stalking gate may be an evolutionary adaptation that offers 2 important advantages. First, it allows cats to approach their prey to a closer range while minimizing detection, but equally important, it may allow a conservation of energy that permits muscles to build up the energy store required for that explosive burst of speed seen in the attack charge or surprise pounce.

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