Test and See if Your Cat is Left or Right Pawed

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Be it a small kid or a full-grown adult, no one can resist the charm of our cuddly fur-buddies! And when you finally include a pet in your family, it becomes the center of your focus, quite literally, and more so if it’s a cat. 

Cats make you wonder about the craziest things at times. You know every little thing about your cute little fur-balls, the way they purr when they want to be cuddled, the way they growl when they are hungry; you know all about their unique way of telling you what they want, and you cannot stop being proud about them. 

However, many of us may still not know some of the basics!  Do you know if your cat is a Right-Pawed or Left-Pawed? 

No, that’s not an ‘odd’ question. Your cat actually has a dominant paw. Just like us. 


We know you are. 

Here are some interesting facts to know related to your cat being right or left-pawed:

Lefties or Righties?

Like human beings show hand preference, that is, all of us show some inclination towards using either our left or right hand, our pets do so too. Data shows almost 90% of people are right-handed, which means they dominantly use their right hand to do everyday tasks, such as write, brush their teeth, and do other basic tasks. While a mere 10% show a preference for their left-hand.

Check the Cat wheel here.

What would be the case when it comes to our beloved cats?

The study of animal behavior for hand or paw dominance only began in the 1970s—when animal researchers began studying whether animals could be right-handed or left-handed too. 

They studied all kinds of animals, right from worms to whales! To some, it might seem pointless to invest in this kind of research but finding your pet’s paw-preference could be a real breakthrough in your relationship with your pet.

Kitty-Kitty goes Right!

An interesting study here that shows how seriously do the researchers take the animal preference seriously.

The study shows that interestingly, unlike humans, cats generally show a gender-wise preference.

The 44 cats that were studied by Louise McDowell, Deborah Wells, and Peter Hepper of the Animal Behavior Centre in the Psychology Department at Queen’s University in Belfast, there was the definite preference of using one paw over the other. (source)

Here are some fun findings that you will enjoy reading!

  1. The first paw used to step into the litter box
  2. The first paw to take the steps down a flight of stairs
  3. The side that cats choose to lie down on
  4. The paw that’s used to grab food from a narrow hole in the plastic feeder in 50 attempts

The thing to note here is that all the cats do not have a solid preference for only one paw. The female cats prefer to use their right paw more frequently as opposed to male cats who prefer their left paw.

So now, you probably want to know about your cat too, right? 

Testing your Kitties!

Well, finding out if your cat is a righty or lefty is very simple only if you have a bit of patience. 

And as the saying is, ‘Patience is the virtue of a cat-lover!’

First things first, you can simply try following the same observations that Hepper and the team followed in the study:

  1. Keep a notebook handy always to note the left-paw and right-paw observations and record it.
  2. Watch your cat by simply giving them company while they eat or doze off and by observing their habits; which paw do they use to step into the litter box or the paw that they put down first while climbing down the stairs.
  3. Keep your observations consistent and for a longer time to get more accurate results.

Along with that, there is one important thing that every cat owner must take care of while observing their pet. Your cat can be easily disturbed by your constant staring or hovering around when it is going about its usual routine. Most cats are usually at ease around their owners, but it is good to be careful as cats tend to tense very easily by any change in routine or intervention.

Time for some fun and test?

We understand that Hepper’s test might not be too easy to follow and keep track of. You can easily forget to keep a record of things. If that’s the case, what you can also do, is try and create your own, more creative test!

  • Things you will need

Since this is going to be a fun activity, keep some treats for your cat. Also, a glass or a cup will be required that has a narrow opening, enough for your cat to be able to reach out by hand and not be able to get the whole head in it.

You should also make sure that your cat is hungry by the time you take this test, or your cat just might ignore this altogether. 

Let’s begin!

  1. The first thing to do is to keep the treats at the bottom of the glass. Then, make sure that your cat sees you putting the treats there. You can probably lure the cat all the way from the start and show where you’ve put the treats.
  2. The next step is to sit back and watch your kitty and have fun while you are at it. Some cats take longer to figure out what’s going on. They’ll entertain you for a good while by their antics to get the treats. Eventually, they’ll use their paw and try to reach inside the glass to grab the treat, and voila! 

That is most definitely their dominant paw!

A tip to make this act a success is to ensure your cat is genuinely hungry. According to some studies, cats might use their less dominant paw to just play around and only use the dominant one when they want to get important things done. So, this is all a matter of trial and error. But certainly, this exercise will help you learn about your cat better than ever before. 

Converting these tests into fun will give you more time with your cat and build a better connection. 

This information can also come in handy when you have to go away for the weekend and have to get a cat-sitter. 

So, go on and prepare the tests, we hope it makes you as happy as it makes us in sharing these tips and tricks with you!