Up to 95 percent of people are right-handed, while 20 percent of cats are right-handed.
- 38% of cats favour their left forepaw and
- 42% of cats are ambidextrous – they don’t favour either paw.
In short, most cats are left-pawed while most humans are right-handed. Why? We don’t know.
As no one knows why cats are generally left-pawed and humans are right-handed, It is fun trying to figure out why.
Before I have a go at that, apparently, male dogs tend to be left-pawed while female dogs favour their right paws. OK, dogs are evenly split between left and right while cats tend to favour their left.
Because both cats and humans have two forearms it probably makes sense for nature to decide that one arm is used more than the other so that it becomes more coordinated through practice than if both arms were used equally. It could be argued that If one arm is more adept then in general the creature is more likely to survive.
That might explain favouring one side over the other, but why should cats be left-pawed and humans right-handed?
It is generally agreed that humans evolved in Africa. African is described as “the cradle of humankind”.
If the most dangerous animals to early African humans were the lion and leopard, both of which were generally left-pawed, might it be the case that humans were better able to fend off an attack by a left-pawed large wild cats using their right right. In doing so, it would be the strongest side meeting the strongest side. Over time humans evolved to be right-handed because it aided raw survival at a physical level.
If that huge guess is correct it still leaves the question, why are cats generally left-pawed? The probable answer is that for the top predator in Africa, the lion, either paw would have been equally effective. Nature simply chose one side at random. The difference in favouring one side was not huge as a high percentage of cats are ambidextrous.
So, nature chose at random that cats should be left-pawed or ambidextrous and humans evolved to deal with that by favoring the right side.
The source for the percentages comes from the book “Play it Again, Tom” by Augustus Brown and the theories come from me while writing this. They are wild theories. Do you have a better one?
Incidentally, the Japanese Beckoning Cat is left-pawed.