Is Your Pet Right- Or Left-Pawed?

You probably know which of your closest friends and family are left-handed. But do you know whether your pets are right or left pawed? It turns out that there is such a thing as "handedness" in cats and dogs, but it shows up in very different ratios.

An Even Split

You know the lefties in your life because they're rare: around 90 percent of humans are right-handed. But a 1991 study found that only 50 percent of cats are right pawed—the remaining are either lefties (40 percent) or ambidextrous (10 percent). Dogs, on the other hand (paw?), are more evenly split: 50 percent are righties and 50 percent are lefties, with a tiny number on team ambidextrous.

Which One Is Your Pet?

Determining your pet's dominant paw takes a bit of diligence. It's not just a matter of tossing them a treat and seeing which paw they use. Dr. Stefanie Schwartz, a member of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, recommends conducting repeated tests over time to reveal your pooch's or kitty's preference. Those tests could include "shaking hands" and seeing which paw goes up or putting peanut butter on your pet's nose and watching which paw they use to remove it.

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Written by Curiosity Staff April 23, 2017

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