Caturday felid double-header: How do cheetahs run so fast? And Toby the kitten survives a spin cycle.

July 11, 2009 • 6:41 am

We all know that cheetahs are fast, but I didn’t know they were this fast: over 60 mph, and some say over 70.  That is three times the speed of Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest man, when he ran his world-record 100 meter dash.  Imagine: by the time Bolt made it from the blocks to the finish line, the cheetah could run that distance, run back to the blocks, and then sprint to the finish line, drawing even with Bolt.  A new piece on the BBC website discusses recent work on cheetahs, with a nice video showing how they’re studying the running animal, making it run after a piece of chicken on a string, much like greyhounds run after a mock rabbit. (It’s not really clear what the researchers are actually trying to find out.)

And, the feel-good news of the week: Toby the kitten survived thirty minutes of the spin cycle in a washing machine.

A six-week-old kitten has been saved after being trapped in a washing machine for a 30-minute cycle.

Toby is thought to have crawled into the washing machine in Stonehaven before it was switched on.

The collapsed kitten was rushed to the local vets, where staff managed to save the cold and almost drowned pet.

Vet David McLaren said: “The kitten’s belly was full of water. But we slowly warmed the kitten up and it came back to the land of the living.” . . .

TobyPoor Toby!  One traumatized kitten (photo from the BBC website)