What paw does YOUR cat prefer?

Female cats are more likely to be right-handed than males, research has indicated.

A study of 44 cats found there was a gender difference when it came to the animals using their right paw over their left one, according to Daily Mail.

The study 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.

Dr Deborah Wells, the lead author of the study, said limb preference could be a useful indicator of a cat's vulnerability to stress, and left-limbed animals tend to show stronger fear responses and aggressive outbursts than right-limbed animals. 

 In all cases, male cats showed a significant preference for using their left paw, while females were more inclined to use their right paw. 

But, when it came to sleeping, the cats did not appear to have a side preference.

Dr Deborah Wells said limb preference could be a useful indicator of a cat's vulnerability to stress. 

'From a pet owner's perspective, it might be 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,' she said. 

Limb use is controlled by the contralateral hemisphere. 

'Left-limbed animals, for example, are more likely to be right-hemisphere dominant, while right-limbed animals are more prone left-hemisphere use. 

'The left hemisphere is largely responsible for the processing of positive emotions, while the right hemisphere is more responsible for the processing of negative, emotions.

'Finding out what limb an animal uses, can tell us quite a lot about which hemisphere it relies on, and its vulnerability to stress. 

'For example, left-limbed animals, which rely more heavily on their right hemisphere for processing information, tend to show stronger fear responses, aggressive outbursts, and cope more poorly with stressful situations than animals that are right-limbed and rely more heavily on their left hemisphere for processing. 

Which paw does your pet prefer?

Our researchers have discovered that female cats are more likely to use their right paw than males.

'We have just discovered that left-limbed dogs, for example, are more pessimistic in their outlook than right-limbed dogs.' 

The cats – 24 male and 20 female – were studied in their own homes so the 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.

A forced test was also carried out where the cats had to reach for food inside a three-tier feeding tower.

The reason behind the preference has not yet been established.

The team said further research needs to be conducted, but they believe it may be linked to hormones.