Could your cat be left or right-handed? Or should we say "left or right pawed"? Well, a new study has shown that it could be possible!
Can cats be left or right-handed?
Scientists have recently discovered that many pets can show a preference for their right or left paw while walking down stairs, reaching for food or stepping over objects. They say that these preferences also differ by sex, much like how for us humans, left-handedness is more common with men than with women.
Male cats tend to prefer their left paws while females are more likely to be righties! Deborah Wells, a psychologist at Queen's University Belfast, says that they think the difference is likely to be linked to sex hormones, although researchers don't know why or how this happens as of yet.
These results can also help researchers gain more insight into how cats deal with stress, as previous research in humans has shown that there are links between left-handedness and conditions such as schizophrenia (not for every leftie of course!).
For three months, Deborah Wells observed 44 pet cats (male and female) in their homes in Northern Ireland. Wells and her colleagues took note of three different behaviors: which paw the cat used first into their litter box, which paw they used to go down the stairs and which side the animals reclined on. They also measured which paw they used to reach through a narrow hole to retrieve food from a feeder.
The results show that three-quarters of the cats had a paw preference. The females used their right paw more than their left, whereas most of the males used their left paw.