Right-handed or Left-handed? What is your pet?


Thats-my-spoon The research scientists call it "lateralisation"… being right-handed or left-handed, that is. Just for the record, I'm left-handed. All the best folks are, like Alexander the Great and Winston Churchill and Carol Burnett and Whoopi Goldberg, to name just a few. A lot of great people are right-handed too, I guess.

Anyway, turns out that our pets (even goldfish, if you can believe that) tend to be right-or-left- handed. The article I was reading here, says, "In cats, scientists have concluded that females tend to favour their right paw when trying to extract a treat from a jar, with toms favorur their left. The same gender divide applies in dogs."

Fish, they say, are "right" or "left" eyed, as opposed to "finned." (is finned a word?)

The reason this is so fascinating is because, as a species, we hoomans have thought that handedness was a function of our brain – thinking and language, I guess, being left-brained.  A more detailed article on the subject says, "We now know it pays to specialise, whether for the footballer, the whale or the worm. It enables mammals and animals to act quicker and more instinctively, to know exactly what they're going to do. Try to kick a ball with two feet and you'll fall over."

How can you figure out if your cat or dog is left-handed? Dangle a string in front of your cat and noteBella_on_the_bed which paw he or she uses to bat at it. Then, put a treat in a jar and see which paw she uses to get the treat out. Note the advice above on toms and queens.

Shepard-puppyFor your dog, try something similar using a toy – which paw does he use to bat at the toy? And which paw does he use to get something out of one of those neat balls that you hide tiny treats in?

For horses, the article says, "Horse tend to assess surrounding and potential threats from the left side, regardless of training."

Sadly, that plays to the assumption that "right" is always good, and "left" is not. <sigh>

I'm left handed – as I said earlier – and proud of it! I think Carmie was left-earred! The Wabby is definitely ambidextrous…

How about you? How about your cat, dog, chicken, fish, horse, duck, guinea pig, or ferret?

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