It's Supercat!

If you are a maths teacher with a class that you would like to wind up ever so slightly, you could ask a “How many legs?” type mental maths question that involves a three legged cat. Here goes:

I was watching TV with some friends and my cats.* There were six heads and fifteen legs in the room. How many cats were there?

*I know the cats aren’t keen on TV, but lets face facts, most maths questions are intrinsically daft, so this is no worse than many other problems that you see in textbooks.

Sadly, my cynical students never believe in the existence of three legged cats, there are apparently as improbable as Easter bunnies and tooth faries. Many of them think a three legged cat would need a wheel – so how we humans manage on just two legs is a mystery!

I decided photographic evidence was required, but this was quite difficult to obtain, because my Three Legged Cat had only two speeds: maximum warp (resulting in a photo of a blurry black streak as he ran past) or collapsed asleep (resulting in a photo that didn’t usually display his three-leggedness). Finally I managed a photo – not a great one, but you could tell he was indeed a real live three legged cat.

“Ooh Miss, he’s real and he’s flying!”

“Er, actually he’s lying down.”

“No he’s not Miss, he’s flying. Look!”

I give up. I will never understand children. How can a child refuse to believe a cat has lost a leg, but have no hesitation about believing that he can fly? Bizarre.

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