IS YOUR CAT A SOUTHPAW?

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DID YOU KNOW?

HERE ARE SOME FASCINATING FACTS ABOUT OUR FELINE FRIENDS!

Female Cats Are Right-Pawed, Males Are Lefties

by Jennifer Viegas, Discovery News

Jennifer Viegas, Discovery NewsFemale domestic cats tend to preferentially use their right front paw while male cats more often rely upon their left front paw, according to a new study that suggests the sex of a cat determines how its brain will be wired.

The findings also add to a growing body of evidence that male animals tend to be left-handed, or in this case left-pawed, more often than females. While 90 percent of all humans are right-handed, of the remaining southpaws, more tend to be men.

The differences are even clearer among cats.

“Our results suggest that there are two distinct populations of paw preference in the cat that cluster very strongly around the animals' sex,” Deborah Wells, who led the study, told Discovery News.

Wells, a senior lecturer at Queen's University Belfast School of Psychology, and co-author Sarah Millsopp examined the paw use of 42 domestic cats. Each cat repeatedly completed three play-like tasks while at home with their owners.

For the first task, the researchers placed a bit of tuna at the bottom of an otherwise empty, narrow-mouthed jar. They then observed how the cats attempted to extract the food treat.

Task two involved a fabric mouse on a string that was suspended above each cat's head. The paw that was first used to reach for the toy was recorded.

Finally, the scientists took the same toy for task two and slowly dragged it on the ground in front of the cats. Again, the first paw used by the cats to try to grab the toy was recorded. In total, the researchers documented 100 paw responses per feline per task.

While the cats did not favor a certain paw for tasks two and three, the paw preferences were very obvious for the tuna-in-a-jar puzzle. The study findings have been accepted for publication in the journal Animal Behavior.

   CLICK ON THE FOLLOWING LINK TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS AMAZING NEW STUDY FROM THE DISCOVERY CHANNEL—

http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2009/07/23/cats-handedness.html

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