Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
  • entries
  • comments
  • views

The Physics of...Cat Toys?



Recently I sat at the table eating dinner, when I noticed a flutter in my peripheral vision, drawing my attention. I turned my head to see my cat batting at a cat toy someone had hung from the table...one of those sticks with the string attached and a feather or fluffy thing at the end, ya know? You wave it around like a wand and your cat pounces after it? :cool:

Anyway, someone in my family had set it up so just the string and attached feather hung down over the table, just within my cat's reach. She batted at it playfully.

It was then that I realized...hey! More real-life physics applications! This cat toy was an example of a pendulum! :startle:

When we learned about pendulums, we learned that they have a period of oscillation, or time it takes for them to complete one cycle, to swing forward and back to its original position. We learned that pendulum's periods of oscillation DO NOT depend on the mass of the object at the end of the pendulum (as with springs), but rather only depend on the length of the pendulum and the acceleration due to gravity.

For a perfect pendulum (weightless string, perfect conditions, etc), the equation for the period is T = 2(pi)radical(L/g), or 2 pi times the square root of length of the pendulum over acceleration due to gravity.

Unfortunately, my cat's toy wasn't a perfect pendulum, and the feather at the end inhibited the period time due to the air resistance it created...but oh well, she didn't seem to mind. :thumbsu:

Thanks for reading!

Until next time,

bazinga818 :ass:

1 Comment

Recommended Comments

Add a comment...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Terms of Use

The pages of APlusPhysics.com, Physics in Action podcasts, and other online media at this site are made available as a service to physics students, instructors, and others. Their use is encouraged and is free of charge. Teachers who wish to use materials either in a classroom demonstration format or as part of an interactive activity/lesson are granted permission (and encouraged) to do so. Linking to information on this site is allowed and encouraged, but content from APlusPhysics may not be made available elsewhere on the Internet without the author's written permission.

Copyright Notice

APlusPhysics.com, Silly Beagle Productions and Physics In Action materials are copyright protected and the author restricts their use to online usage through a live internet connection. Any downloading of files to other storage devices (hard drives, web servers, school servers, CDs, etc.) with the exception of Physics In Action podcast episodes is prohibited. The use of images, text and animations in other projects (including non-profit endeavors) is also prohibited. Requests for permission to use such material on other projects may be submitted in writing to info@aplusphysics.com. Licensing of the content of APlusPhysics.com for other uses may be considered in the future.

  • Create New...