Cat science project ideas

Updated July 11, 2018

Working out a good science project idea to use which involves your pet cat is a good idea if you are interested in animals. There are several different science project ideas you can choose from involving cats, but the number of cats and the amount of time you have may limit your choices. Learning about a few options for science project ideas involving cats is a good way to decide whether you wish to use your cat in your project.

Paw Print Identification

The general idea behind this project is to determine whether or not cats have identifiable, individualised paw prints in the same way as humans have fingerprints. You need numerous cats for this experiment (the more the better) and some method of taking paw prints. Use a magnetic fingerprint powder or something simpler such as ink and paper to take the cats' paw prints. Leave the room and then get somebody to make a paw-print on something using one of the cats (you can leave something that will retain a print, like a mirror) between the chosen cat and the food. Once the print has been made, try to correctly identify the cat based on the print. If you can, it presents good evidence for cats having individual paw prints. Analysis of the prints can add more weight to this claim.


This project tries to determine whether or not cats display a paw preference between their right and left paws. This can be done in many ways. One of these ideas is a "Tube Test," whereby some food is put in a small tube (too thin for the cat's head) and you observe the cat to see which paw it uses to get the food out. Another test is a "Smudge Test," where you put a bit of wet cat food (or any other oily, edible substance) on the cat's nose and see which paw is used to wipe it off. You can also do a test to see which hand a cat uses to bat a toy dangled in front of him. Use as many cats as possible, and repeat the experiments several times. Measure both the first paw used and the paw which generates a successful result. If there is a trend with each individual cat, it suggests that cats have a paw preference.

Food Preferences

You could also do an experiment to determine which type of foods cats prefer. Test to see whether they like lean or fatty meats, sweet or sour tastes, warm or cold food. Simply fill two bowls of varying types of food, and see which one a cat eats more of over the course of a day. As with all science experiments, the sample size is important, and the more cats you can test, the better.


There are many different experiments that can be done on cats to determine how quickly they can learn new tricks, and which sort of stimuli they respond better to. Use the theory of operant conditioning, which is basically a method of teaching which incorporates positive reinforcement to teach pets to repeat behaviours. To get a cat to give you a high five, you can hold your hand up until your cat touches your hand with their paw, and then reward it with a treat to reinforce the behaviour.

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About the Author

Lee Johnson has written for various publications and websites since 2005, covering science, music and a wide range of topics. He studies physics at the Open University, with a particular interest in quantum physics and cosmology. He's based in the UK and drinks too much tea.