are cats right or left handed

About three-quarters of cats demonstrate a paw preference, while just under 70% of dogs exhibit this trait. Unlike humans, there does not seem to be a preference for right handedness. Cats and dogs are equally right or left pawed. However, female cats seem to be more commonly right handed than male cats.

Many animals exhibit some form of lateral bias in their day-to-day activities, including dogs, horses, apes, and whales. As Wells pointed out, there are intriguing hints as to what handedness—or, in some cases, pawedness!—means in terms of the general dynamic functioning of the brain and body, even though we don’t yet know everything.

However, could you identify whether your cats are left- or right-pawed based on which paw they initially use to climb stairs or cross elevated surfaces?

In the case of cats, or at least of the 44 cats in the study — which was conducted by Louise J. McDowell, Deborah L. Wells and Peter G. Hepper of the Animal Behaviour Centre in the psychology department at Queens University in Belfast — theres individual preference for using one paw over the other. Unlike in humans, though, theres no overall population preference akin to our species strong right-handed preference.

Barbara J. King is an anthropology professor emerita at the College of William and Mary. She often writes about the cognition, emotion and welfare of animals and about biological anthropology, human evolution and gender issues. Barbaras new book is Personalities on the Plate: The Lives and Minds of Animals We Eat. You can keep up with what she is thinking on Twitter: @bjkingape

The cats also took part in a test known as a “forced” test, which differs from a spontaneous test in that it required them to reach inside a three-tiered experimental apparatus for food. This task was also completed at home with a feeding tower that has holes for food access.

Preferences — Strong, Weak, and Non-Existent

Even the strength of a cat’s paw preference is meaningful. A preference for one limb over the other can vary in strength in many species, including humans. (While some claim that their left arm, for example, is essentially just along for the ride, others claim that they can accomplish a great deal with their non-dominant hand.) Greater paw preference in cats is associated with higher levels of self-assurance, affection, obedience, and friendliness. Cats that exhibit paw preference, either for their left or right paw, typically exhibit greater dexterity in physical tasks, superior problem-solving abilities, and quicker reaction times. Â.

Although we refer to people who use both hands equally as “ambidextrous,” the technical term for cats (and other animals) without paw preference is “ambilateral.” Similar to people, ambidextrous individuals are more prone to PTSD and experience elevated levels of anxiety. Similarly, ambilateral cats are more likely to be stressed out. Compared to cats that have left or right paws, ambilateral cats are more likely to be aggressive. Â.

Cats Show More Variety in Paw Preference Than People

Like humans, cats have a left side of the brain that controls the right side of the body and a right side of the brain that controls the left side of the body. Thus, cats are also included in the joke that “only left-handed people are in their right minds.” (It is peculiar to humans for lefties to experience issues with spiral notebooks, smearing what they have just written, and scissors. ).

People tend to favor their right hand about 90% of the time, but cats are more fickle. Cats’ paw preferences almost evenly divide them into three groups: about one third are left-pawed, another third are right-pawed, and the remaining third are cats who have no preference. Male cats tend to be left-pawed, while female cats are more likely to be right-pawed. Cats with two front paws are more likely to be aggressive and fearful. Compared to cats with no preference for paws and cats with left paws, right-pawed cats are more playful. Related article.

Surprise: It doesn’t always mean they’re happy.


How do you tell if a cat is left or right-handed?

When attempting to catch the moving toy, cats do not usually show preference for one particular paw, but the more complicated task of retrieving food from the container shows a clear asymmetry in the use of the front paws.

What percentage of cats are left-handed?

According to a recent study, 50% of cats are right pawed, 40% favor their left paw and 10% of them are ambidextrous i.e. favoring neither! Dogs, on the other hand, tend to be more evenly split with around 50% being left-pawed and 50% being right-pawed, with a statistically insignificant number being ambidextrous.

What is the dominant hand in cats?

Paw preference in cats shows close to an even split — roughly a third of cats are left-pawed, a third are right-pawed, and cats with no preference make up the final third. Female cats are more likely to be right-pawed, and males are more likely to be left-pawed.

Are all cats ambidextrous?

A review of most of the paw preference research to date suggests that about 80% of cats strongly prefer to use either their right or left paw, with about the same number of cats lefties as righties. The remaining 20% of cats are more ambidextrous.