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September 3, 2012

Is your cat a southpaw?


You've probably never given it much thought — I know I've never even considered whether Gray Cat (above) might be a lefty until now.

Comes Sue Manning with a story that appeared in yesterday's Worcester Telegram & Gazette to set me straight.

Excerpts from her article follow.

Could your dog or cat be a southpaw?

Vets and owners agree that pets… have right and left preferences.

A 1991 study at Ataturk University in Turkey showed 50% of cats were right-pawed, 40% were left-pawed, and 10% were ambidextrous.

About 90% of humans are right-handed and 10% are left-handed.

Here are a few simple tests you can do to determine your cat's preference.

Doing them 100 times (over several days) should give you an answer.

1. Put something sticky on the cat's nose. Which paw does the animal use to remove it?

2. Place a treat or a piece of cheese under a sofa, just beyond a cat’s reach. Which paw does it use to try and get it out?

3. Dangle a toy over a cat’s head. Which paw does it lift to bat it?

4. Put a treat under a bowl. Which paw does the cat use to move it?

There are a few things that might alter test results:

• If a cat has arthritis or an injury in a shoulder or leg, it could use the other to compensate.

• When a cat really wants something, tests show it uses its dominant paw, but when it's just fooling around, it may use either or both.

• It's possible that handedness in cats will change over time as the animal’s motivation changes.

September 3, 2012 at 12:01 PM | Permalink


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That's an interesting tidbit, Fred.

Posted by: Kay | Sep 4, 2012 9:08:14 AM

those greeks sure did get around

Posted by: sherlock | Sep 3, 2012 11:34:57 PM

Well? Results? I'm betting GC is sinister-pawed like her old man. (You're a lefty, right? I wonder if anyone's ever been nicknamed "Righty"...)

Also, I say it's time for some action photos. We've seen her relaxed, out cold, inscrutable, pensive, coy, adorable - now how about some shots (or even video - yes, video!) of daring commando-runs, lizard ambushes, gravity-defying leaps, kind of thing?

Posted by: Flautist | Sep 3, 2012 11:21:27 PM

Hmm... I first heard of polar bear left-handed/pawed-ness about 12 years ago. It seems that the internet has caught up and debunked that misconception:

" Research of injury patterns in polar bear forelimbs found injuries to the right forelimb to be more frequent than those to the left, suggesting, perhaps, right-handedness." (from Wikipedia).

Posted by: Fred | Sep 3, 2012 11:11:02 PM

I believe most polar bears are left-handed.

On the subject of bear trivia, the Arctic and Antarctic are derived from the Greek for bears and no bears.

Posted by: Fred | Sep 3, 2012 10:50:21 PM

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