Is Your Cat Left-Handed?

More on PawNation: animal-behavior, cats, handedness, left, left-handed, paws, psychology, right, right-handed, testosterone
Left handed cat picture

"Hey, Fluff, grab one for me!" Photo: StephenMitchell/Flickr

Is your cat a righty or a lefty? The question's not as kooky as it sounds. A new study reveals that domestic cats are right- or left-handed, just like us.

Psychologists at Queen's University Belfast in Northern Ireland gave cats small jars with bits of tuna tucked inside. They found that female cats tend to be righties, while the boy cats fell to the left. The gender divide was clear: Among 21 lady kitties, 20 nabbed the fish with their right paws. On the flip side, 20 of 21 males proved left-handed. One nimble-fingered male turned out to be ambidextrous, reports New Scientist magazine.

Hormone levels might be responsible for the difference between the sexes, the researchers say. Other studies have linked testosterone to left-handedness in people; men are more likely to be left-handed than women, notes the Daily Mail. Similar gender differences have also shown up in dogs and horses.

Want to find out whether your cat is a lefty? You'll need to devise a tricky-fingered test to get to the truth. Cats' preferences for the left or right don't show up in less complicated tasks, like batting at a dangling toy. The true nature of cat handedness is only revealed during more complex manipulations -- like fishing tuna or treats from a jar too small for the kitty's head.

If setting up a feline experiment isn't your thing, it's probably a safe bet that your cat falls into the left or right camp depending on its gender. Just something to keep in mind if you're teaching your kitty to high five.

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