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Can Cats Be Left- or Right-Handed?

Research indicates that it is possible for cats to be left- or right-handed. Deborah Wells, a senior lecturer at Queen's University Belfast School of Psychology in Northern Ireland, joined forces with Sarah Millsopp to conduct an experiment to determine what type of relationship — if any — there was between gender and left- or right-handed behavior in cats. What they found was that female cats tended to make use of the right front paw more often than the left, and male cats were more likely to favor use of the left front paw.

More facts about animals and left-handedness:

  • Other studies involving animals indicate that a connection between testosterone levels and left-handedness exists in species other than humans, including non-human primates. Similar results are observed with apes and monkeys, although those results are sometimes described as weak preferences.

  • Male dogs are more likely to use the left front paw than the right front paw for more complicated tasks. The preference also extends to tail wagging, with male dogs wagging their tails to the right when relaxed and happy, compared with wagging them to the left when agitated. When the dog has been neutered, however, the incidence of preferring the left front paw for certain tasks seems to decrease.

  • The sulphur-crested cockatoo, a species of parrot, is known to be left-handed. By contrast, king parrots usually are right-handed. Most parrot species are considered to be ambidextrous.

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