London, July 28 (ANI): A study on domestic cats conducted by researchers at Queen"s University Belfast in Northern Ireland suggests that, more often than not, females tend to be righties, while males are lefties.
Psychologists Deborah Wells and Sarah Millsopp, however, point out that these preferences only manifest when cats perform particularly dexterous feats.
They say that this can help understand why people can open a door with either arm, yet they struggle to write legibly with our non-dominant hand.
"The more complex and challenging [the task], the more likely we"re going to see true handedness," New Scientist magazine quoted Wells as saying.
For their study, the psychologists tasked 42 domestic cats to ferret out a bit of tuna in a jar too small for their heads.
They revealed that all but one of the 21 females favoured the right paw across dozens of trials.
The researchers also observed that 20 out of 21 males preferentially used the left, while proved ambidextrous.
However, regardless of their sex, all of the cats wielded their right and left paws about equally on less demanding tasks like pawing at a toy mouse suspended in the air or dragged on ground from a string, the researchers added.
Wells says that hormone levels may help explain sex differences in paw choice, for studies conducted in the past have linked prenatal testosterone exposure to left-handedness.
The researcher further points out that studies on two other domestic animals, dogs and horses, have also revealed similar sex biases.
A research article on the study has been published in the journal Animal Behaviour. (ANI)