Isaac Newton and the Cat Flap Fail

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Isaac Newton… Scientist Extraordinaire.  Figured out the laws of physics and composed the law of universal gravitation.  Designed an Orbital Cannona thought experiment about a super weapon that, given enough gunpowder, could knock the Earth off its orbit. Newton, who composed the Three Laws of Motion.

Newton, the Father of Calculus… defeated by… you guessed it… A CAT.

Nothing throws off your deep thought process quite like this:

Surely, the man who vastly improved the telescope could solve this simple problem!

If you think this, you surely have never met a Determined Feline.

Like Nerds Immemorial, Newton was a single guy. No marriages, no girlfriends. But he did have cats; cats who care nothing about scientific inquiry, unless it is a careful gauging of how much food is left in the feeder before Panic and Rioting should ensue (answer: Let X  = Anything below 1/2 of the dispenser). Cats who want in. Cats who want out. Cats who want to stand in the middle of the threshold,  making up their minds.

Legend has it that one day, Newton had had enough of scratch-scratch-scratch-MEOW-Scratch-SCratch-SCRatch-SCRATCH and called a carpenter to his home. Newton asked for two holes to be cut in his front door, a large one for his mama cat and a little hole for  her kittens.  Newton, whose Westminster Abbey tombstone declares that “there has existed such and so great an ornament of the human race,” nonetheless could not figure out that the second hole for the little ones was superfluous. The kittens, of course,  just followed their mother through the larger hole.

Is the story true? According to a contemporary of Newton’s, it is “indisputably true…that there are in the door to this day two plugged holes of proper dimensions for the respective egresses of cat and kitten.”


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