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Buttered cat theory

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The buttered-cat theory is a tongue-in-cheek paradox based on Murphy's Law. It derives from two propositions:

  1. Due to Murphy's Law, a piece of buttered toast will always land on the buttered side.
  2. Cats always land on their feet (this is a common saying grounded in reality).

Due to these factors, the theory postulates that if a cat with a piece of butter-side-up toast strapped to its back is dropped, it will levitate in midair directly above the ground, spinning forever. Of course, this is completely inaccurate and impossible, but it is an amusing idea. The cat will almost certainly land on its feet as usual if this experiment is performed, as cats have an innate reflex that allows them to react quickly and turn upright when falling,[1] and toast lacks the ability to consciously move itself in midair (at least as far as we know). At most, the buttered toast will have a negligible effect on the ability of the cat to land on its feet.

However, if there is a sufficient mass of butter, then it will assumedly overcome the cat's self-righting ability, and the cat will land on its back, splatting butter everywhere. At what mass of butter the cat is unable to overcome will be different for each cat, and therefore there must be a critical cat-to-butter (C:B) ratio, above which the cat wins, and below which the floor gets messy, with the cat waving its paws madly in the air. Very near to this ratio, the cat will likely exhibit more complex behaviour, possibly landing on its side or showing other phenomena. See Professor Stewart's Hoard of Mathematical Treasures for more on the physics of buttered cats.

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