If you’re a cat owner, you’ve seen your cat’s butt hole. Probably a lot. And unlike dogs, who are mostly confined to the floor or select pieces of furniture, cats sit on everything. So if you’ve ever watched your cat flick its tail out of sitting range to perch on your (formerly) clean kitchen counter and cringed at the, erm… close contact that was taking place, you’re not alone.
In fact, a Tennessee sixth grader thought about this very topic so much that he decided to conduct an experiment to find out if a cat’s butt really does tough every surface in the house.
Kaeden Griffin took part in his school’s local science fair and led with the hypothesis: “If my cat sits on a surface, then their butthole will also touch said surface.”
Kaeden’s two cats — a shorthaired kitty named Taco and a long-haired cat named Maya — ensured that fur length wouldn’t be an issue in the experiment. Both cats had non-toxic lipstick applied to their bum holes and were encouraged to sit on hard and soft surfaces around the house to see if they’d leave a mark.
Kaeden’s mom, Kerry, actually has a PhD in animal behavior with a concentration in feline behavior, so it’s no surprise that both cats have been trained since they were kittens. She described the experiment in a post on Facebook:
“We had a lot of fun with this! As a disclaimer, no cat’s were harmed in the process of this science project. Non-toxic lipstick was applied to their bum-bums, they were then given a series of commands (sit, wait, lie down, and jump up. Side note: Both cats have been trained since kittenhood with a variety of commands, they also know how to high-five, spin around, and speak.), they were compensated with lots of praise, pets, and their favorite treats, and the lipstick was removed with a baby wipe once we collected our data in just under 10 minutes.“
“His results and general findings:
- Long and medium haired cat’s buttholes made NO contact with soft or hard surfaces at all.
- Short haired cats made NO contact on hard surfaces. But we did see evidence of a slight smear on the soft bedding surface”
“Conclusion, if you have a short haired cat and they may be lying on a pile of laundry, an unmade bed, or other soft uneven surface, then their butthole MAY touch those surfaces! So there you have it! Chances are favorable that your cat’s butthole has not and will not touch all the things and surfaces in your home!”
Kaeden’s experiment has since captured the attention of cat owners and media outlets around the world, and thankfully, we can now breathe a sigh of relief knowing that our cats can really sit almost anywhere they want without leaving invisible butt prints all over our furniture. This young boy truly is a visionary!