If you've ever noticed that your kitty uses one paw more often than the other, you're not alone. A recent study showed that paw preference in cats can indeed be a real thing.
The study, published in the journal <a target="blank" href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0003347217303640">Animal Behaviour_, found that many of the felines had a bias for one paw over the other when it came to a series of natural behaviors: reaching for food, stepping down onto something, and stepping over something. In other words, our precious pets act not unlike we do with our own dominant hand or foot.
Interestingly enough, the study also found a gender link with the cats' paw preferences: Female cats were much more likely to prefer their right paw, while male cats tended to favor their left paw instead. According to researchers, this info might give us some clues about the brain structures of our fur babies.
"The findings point more and more strongly to underlying differences in the neural architecture of male and female animals," says researcher Deborah Wells, PhD.
On top of that, researchers also said this could possibly help us figure out how our kitties might respond to stressful situations before they even happen.
"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," Dr. Wells said in an interview with <a target="blank" href="https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/jan/22/paw-choice-cats-show-right-and-left-hand-preferences">The Guardian._
Fascinating! Wells added that the researchers are not yet sure what causes this paw preference in cats, but it could indicate differences between the brain structure and function of male and female cats.
We don't blame you if you're looking at your cat very closely right now!
h/t Science Alert