Turns out cats are good physicists.
What happens is that the cat darts its tongue, curving the upper side downward so that the tip lightly touches the surface of the water. The tongue is then pulled upward at high speed, drawing a column of water behind it. Just at the moment that gravity finally overcomes the rush of the water and starts to pull the column down — snap! The cat’s jaws have closed over the jet of water and swallowed it. NYT
At four times a second.