Are domestic felines composed of amorphous solids or gasses? They exhibit properties of both types of matter, although not simultaneously. This short article discusses the question, beginning with the hypothesis that cats are regular solids, then moving through their amorphous capacities and concluding with cats and the Laws of Gasses.
Those not closely acquainted with domestic felines will assume that cats are regular solids. That is, their mass occupies a fixed volume and that they obey the basic laws about compressibility, thermal expansion and other properties of matter. House cats, having a rigid internal support structure (the same as most mammals), are obviously regular solids.
Those who live with cats soon begin to suspect otherwise, based on routine observation. Cats tend to flow, not unlike glass or gelatine, suggesting that their structure is not as rigid as one might assume. They often adopt the same shape as their container (a box, a round basket or “cat bed”, a large vase or cylindrical umbrella stand) while retaining their basic semi-rigid internal structure. This leads to the suspicion that they are amorphous solids. That is to say, cats have no definite form, but tend to heap into quasi-random shapes, within the limits imposed by their surface covering and internal framework.
It is my conclusion, however, that cats are gasses. Like gasses, they expand when heated, elongating and thinning. They also contract when cooled until they reach a state of apparent near molecular stillness. As mentioned above, cats take on the shape of their container. They also can expand to fill all available space, no matter their initial mass or apparent volume. Thus a 4.5 kg cat can take up 1/2 of a twin bed and 1/2 of a double bed (although not at the same time). Like gasses, cats become more energetic (“warm”) when compressed, exhibiting greater molecular action (“fighting back”) until they reach a point of incompressibility. Or the containment vessel breaks and the cat leaks out.
*Note: no cats were harmed in the process of these observations.