Study shows Female Cats are Right-Pawed, Males are Left-Pawed

While ninety percent of humans are right-handed, a new study shows that domestic cats tend to be right-pawed or left-pawed based on sex of the cat.

Deborah Wells of Queen’s University Belfast School of Psychology told Discovery news “Our results suggest that there are two distinct populations of paw preference in the cat that cluster very strongly around the animals’ sex.”  The study examined the paw use of 42 domestic cats; each repeatedly completed three play-like tasks while at home with their owners.  Researchers recorded 100 paw responses per cat per task.

From the Discovery article: “In humans, the steroid hormone testosterone has been linked to left-handedness. This hormonal link also appears to carry over to animals. For example, studies on dogs that haven’t been spayed or neutered show the same sex-based split, with female dogs favoring their front right paw and males favoring their left. No sex difference, however, was observed during tests involving neutered dogs.”

“It is unclear how such preferences benefit males and females, but Wells said cats “differ in their behavioral patterns, for example in hunting styles and parental care, and it is possible that these place different demands on motor functioning.”

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Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,

Susan Thixton
Pet Food Safety Advocate
Author, Buyer Beware
Co-Author Dinner PAWsible

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July 30, 2009

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