Thursday 2 February 2023

Cats Are 'Left-Handed' or 'Right-Handed'

Right-pawed or...


Just like humans, cats can be right or left-handed. Female cats tend to be right-pawed while their male counterparts are more often left-pawed.

Take a look next time your little "angel" is knocking things off the table. Which paw are they using?

Researchers at the Animal Behaviour Centre at Queen’s University in Belfast analysed data collected by the owners of 44 cats of mixed breeds—20 females and 24 males. The owners were asked to track whether their feline friends used their right or left paw when taking the first step down the stairs and when stepping into a litter box. They were asked to note which side their cats tended to lie on and they placed treats inside a three-tiered container to see which paw the cats used to try and retrieve the snacks.

The data showed around 73 percent of the cats had a favourite paw when reaching for food, 70 percent displayed paw preference when taking the first step down the stairs, and 66 percent favoured one paw over the other when stepping into a litter box. When it came to lying about, only 25 percent exhibited a favourite side.

These results were not entirely surprising; previous research has shown that cats display lateral bias. But as the authors of the new study note, theirs is the first experiment to focus on “spontaneous expressions of animal behavior” as the furry pets went about their day at home.

Does it matter whether your cat is left or right handed? The left-pawed cats rely more heavily on the right hemisphere of their brains and they tend to display stronger fear responses and aggression than right-limbed animals, which are usually left-hemisphere dominant. Ambilateral animals, which do not have a preference for one side or the other, have also been shown to be susceptible to stress.

I'm off now to high-five my moggie and see which paw she uses!

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  1. Interesting. But when I think about side preferences, I know for me there are some things I prefer to do with my left hand even though I'm right-handed. I wonder if it's like that for cats, too.

  2. Most of my cats are righties.

  3. I think Terra identifies as a tomcat because she uses her left paw a lot and is extraordinarily affectionate as males are said to be. lol


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