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Sophia Jones

on 24 November 2014

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Transcript of Cats

Brain Lateralization
The idea that the two halves of the brain do different functions.
Fine Motor Control

The coordination of muscles, bones, and nerves to produce fine, precise movements.
Key Words
Innate Characteristics
A characteristic that an organism is born with and cannot change.
Most important, powerful, or influential.
There are five main parts of a cat’s brain, the frontal, parietal, temporal, and occipital lobes and the cerebellum. The four lobes control different functions of the body and help the organism perform tasks. The frontal lobe controls decision making, problem solving, and consciousness. The parietal lobe receives and processes information collected from the nervous system. The temporal lobe controls emotions, hearing, memory, learning, and language. The occipital lobe receives and processes all information from the eyes. The cerebellum controls and regulates the balance and coordination of movements of the organism.

The brain is divided into four lobes, three cortices, the cerebellum, and the brain stem. The brain has two hemispheres which control opposite sides of the body, the function of these two sides is called brain lateralization. This leads to the learning of fine motor skills. Fine motor skills are precise movements that are learned and perfected over time. These precise movements are controlled by the primary motor cortex and are performed better by the dominant side of the body, such as the dominant hand. The dominant hand is the hand that a person can control best. Everyone is born with their dominant hand predetermined for them. Some people, however, change dominant hands when they are very young. Dominant hands are an example of an innate behavior, something that an organism is born with, meaning that they can’t learn to do it any other way.
Research Description
I believe that cats have dominant paws and they use them to complete tasks because cats have a similar brain structure to humans. This most likely means that a cat’s body is controlled by two sections of the brain, like humans are, and therefore would use one forepaw more because one half of the brain is stronger than the other.
Gather materials
Isolate one cat in an empty room
Place a stationary mouse toy in front of the cat
Observe the cat and record results (which paw the cat used)
Remove the toy and replace with a jar that has a treat inside
Lay the jar on its side so the opening is facing the cat
Repeat step 4 (Observe the cat and record results)
Remove treat and jar and replace with a feather toy
Hold the toy diagonally up from the cat and gently swing it from side to side
Repeat step 4 (Observe the cat and record results)
Create a chart and/or graph to show results
Examine results and calculate percentages for each cat based on which paw they used the most
Cats (4)
Treats, feather toy, stationary mouse toy, and jar
Meet the cats!
Occipital Lobe
The part of the cerebral cortex that processes visual stimuli
Sophia Jones
Do Cats Have Dominant Paws?
Frontal Lobe
Responsible for consciousness, decision making, and memory and contains the primary motor cortex.
Parietal Lobe
Temporal Lobe
Plays an important role in the movements of the body, but doesn't initiate them. Helps with coordination, precision, and accurate timing.
The part of the cerebral cortex that processes sensory information collected from the body and contains the primary sensory cortex.
The part of the cerebral cortex that mainly processes hearing and understands language.
6 years old
4 years old
6 years old
12 years old
LIFE SCIENCE - SPI 0807.5.2 Analyze structural, behavioral, and physiological adaptations to predict which populations are likely to survive in a particular environment.
43% left paw
57% right paw
62% left paw
38% right paw
36% left paw
64% right paw
57% right paw
43% left paw

In Test 1, the stationary mouse toy, three of the four cats had over 50% right paw dominance while the remaining cat had almost 75% left paw dominance. This shows that the one cat uses their left paw for hunting small animals and retrieving slow or unmoving organisms while the other three cats show that they use their right paw for these tasks. In Test 2, the treat in a jar, the same three cats as above used their right paw over 60% of the time while the remaining cat had over 75% left paw dominance again. And finally in Test 3, the feather toy, the three cats that mainly had right paw dominance had about 50% right paw dominance and the other cat had over 50% right paw dominance instead of left paw dominance. This shows that the section of the brain involved in understanding overhead movements is stronger on the opposite side of the brain than the section of the brain involved in understanding movement that is directly in fromt of the organism.

Based on these results, cats with a dominant paw and a higher functioning brain that has divided sections are more likely to survive and compete in an environment.
Do cats have dominant paws? Yes, but it varies based off of their environment because they are affected by the organisms and objects within it. Humans and cats share a simliar brain structure, but cats aren't advanced enough to perform complex tasks. My hypothesis that cats have a dominant paw is correct because one side of a cat's brain has to be stronger than the other even if it isn't shown drastically. If I were to repeat this experiement I would test more cats and go further in depth about how the brain is involved in this project.
All the time we are learning that our pets are just like us, except for their abundance of fur and our abundance of technological knowledge, but what do we know about cats other than their determination to rule the household? We live alongside animals in our everyday lives, so we need to connect with them on a personal level. Most people that have cats say that they are part of their family and isn’t it only right to know as much as you can about your family members? What I wanted to know is whether or not cats have a dominant paw because one of my cats has trouble opening a door when it’s ajar. To perform my experiment, I gathered four cats and tested them individually with different stimuli to find their dominant paw. Three of the cats ended up with 60% right paw dominance while the other ended up with about 60% left paw dominance. I conclude that cats do have dominant paws because they need to have the control over one paw in order to survive in their environment. Also, those that are ambidextrous have a higher chance of surviving because they have equal control on both paws.
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