Female Cats are Usually Right Pawed While Males Are Left!
24 January, 2018
female cats are right pawed

Female domestic cats are much more likely to use their right paw than males, according to a new study published in the journal Animal Behavior. This can be very helpful when you anticipate a paw swat coming at you!

The study was conducted in the cats homes to gauge a cat’s daily tasks

However, in the new study, 44 cats (24 male and 20 female) were studied in their own homes so that information could be gathered as they went about their everyday tasks.

The cat owners collected ‘spontaneous’ data on whether the cats used their left or right paws when they stepped down the stairs or over objects and whether they slept on the left or right side of their body.

The study by Queen’s University in Belfast found the majority of the cats showed a paw preference when reaching for food, walking down stairs or stepping over objects, and that their preference of paw was consistent in most of their tasks.

Male cats showed a significant preference for using their left- while females used their right.

In all cases, male cats showed a significant preference for using their left paw, while females were more inclined to use their right paw.  However, when sleeping the cats did not appear to have a side preference.

The majority of cats showed a paw preference when reaching for food (73%), stepping down (70%) and stepping over (66%) and their preference for right and left was consistent for the majority of the tasks, both spontaneous and forced.

The gender “paw” preference could be explained by hormones

“While there is further research needed to investigate why there is a gender preference, it could be down to hormones,” said study co-author Dr. Deborah Wells, from the School of Psychology at Queen’s University Belfast.   The results could help cat owners to understand how their pet deals with stress.”

The study suggest that knowing motor preference might be a stress-indicator

The study suggests that limb preference might be a useful indicator of vulnerability to stress

“Ambilateral animals with no preference for one side or the other, and those that are more inclined to left-limb dominance, for example, seem more flighty and susceptible to poor welfare than those who lean more heavily towards right limb use.  Left–limbed dogs, for example, are more pessimistic in their outlook than right-limbed dogs,” she said.

From a pet owner’s perspective, it is useful to know if an animal is left or right limb dominant, as it may help them gauge how vulnerable that individual is to stressful situations.  Or when to know when your cat is ready to swat you!

You can read the full study here:


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