Do you know how long your cat can remember you?
In this article, You will learn:
1) How long do cats remember you?
2) How long is a cat’s memory?
3) Do Cats Remember Their Owners After Years?
& many questions that you might have been asking in your mind.
Let’s get started
Recently, news about a cat reuniting with its owner after 11 years of separation became popular among netizens.
This story became viral in social media sites and the video from Daily Mail alone, which tells about the story gained more than 8 thousand reactions.
You can see the story here ( Opens in a new tab )
The magical and emotional reunion between the cat and her owner showed just how Missy, the lost cat seemed to be familiar with the house and the household members.
Thus, it raised the question of whether the cat truly remembers or was she just walking to get familiarized.
Cats are intelligent beings. They possess outstanding long-term memories. They can remember animal companions they had, people who fed them, as well as those who annoy them.
Their excellent memory allows them to recognize a family member returning from a long absence. Likewise, the same factor that lets them hold grudges against things and persons like there is no tomorrow.
Cats’ memory is also responsible for them in grieving for their other animal friends whom they lost, family members who left and other losses in life.
Studies claim that the cat’s long term memory lasts as much as 200 times longer than that of the dog’s. However, cats are too particular about what they remember. Pretty much, they only keep in mind those that benefit them.
Dogs are far better at remembering people than cats. They can recall family members who have been away for so long.
Scientists believe that cats can recognize and differentiate human faces, however, dogs’ superior ability goes more than just faces but by recognizing their association with people and things.
Felines are sensitive. They remember the abuse and bad experiences and holds grudges against anything that reminds them of it.
If your cat is struggling with behavioral issues, especially if they are rescue cats, it could be because they are dealing with the aftermath of abuse and not because they are stubborn.
You may notice cats reacting negatively towards particular scents, sights, or other stimulation.
They may run at the sight of a dog. They may avoid the vacuum cleaner. They are not doing that just because they don’t like them. But, because maybe sometime in the past, they associate a bad experience with them.
You may consult with a cat behaviorist to find out about helping your cat recover from such a bad experience.
Do you wonder if cats can remember others of their kind? Yes, they do. Although, cat experts are not sure for how long.
Their socialization that started when they were litter mates allowed them to exchange scents so that they can recognize each other in case they get separated.
Cats use the same trick throughout their duration of existence. The most probable theory, however, is that the cat’s memory of another cat may be dependent on the length and the impact of their relationship with each other.
The story about Missy and her owner, as inspiring as it was will still have us ask the same question. If cats have such an excellent homing instinct, how come many of them still get lost?
As with dogs and most animals, cats acquire a certain kind of homing instinct, however, too often they get trapped or injured that causes them to be unable to come home .
In some scenarios, the cat’s homing instinct become re-centered and miscalculated after a move. This is why when they try to find their way back, they end up being hopelessly lost.
Although some cats can pull feats to reach home no matter how far they have gone, a lot of them just can’t make it very long.
There are also scenarios when a newly rehomed cat misses their previous owners that they try to get and find their way back to them.
Thus, the importance of keeping an eye on your new cat especially on their first three to four weeks with you to make sure he is settled and won’t miss their former home.
As with humans, the cat’s memory also declines when they age. They lose brain cells as they age.
This is why it is important to provide them foods that are rich in antioxidants and packed with omega-3 fatty acids. Such nutrients are vital in slowing down your cat’s brain deterioration.
Still, feline cognitive dysfunction happens to about 50% of cats aged 11-15 years and 80% of those aged 16-20.
Feline cognitive dysfunction affects the cat’s brain differently from how dementia does to human and dogs’ brains, although the results are almost the same.
If you notice your cat showing signs of losing her memory, observe and investigate about FCD and consult with a vet who specializes with cats.
Their lives at their golden age can still be happier with a few medications and modifications.
Kitten’s short-term memory runs an average of 16 hours. Therefore, if you meet a kitten for the first time and have only but one interaction, they will still remember you 16 hours later.
The cognitive ability of felines includes long-term memory that goes way back to their younger years. These memories are stored in the brain and by their will can be easily retrieved.
So, how long will a cat remember you? It entirely depends on how well their experience is with you.
You wouldn’t want to fill these memories with bad ones, otherwise, they will hold a grudge against you.
Cats have a short-term memory of 16 hours when it comes to unessential memories. If you think the number is too small, it is better than most of the animals. You will be surprised to know that the average memory span of animals is just 27 seconds.
When it comes to people, cats can remember their favorite humans for their entire lifetimes. Hence, it is quite fascinating. The person’s importance in the cat’s life determines how well the cat will remember the person. It can go both ways. The cat can remember the person who feeds it as much as the person who hurts them.
There are cases when a cat laments when its owners have moved away or passed away. So, we can agree that cats can remember a person for a long time.
Cats are known to be solitary animals because of how they behave when they are around. They tend to sleep most of the time, do their own thing, and stay on their own for a long time. However, it is not true that they do not miss you when you are gone.
Cats do remember people when they go away, and it can become quite a big problem for cats who need a large dose of affection daily. You can easily identify these behavioral traits if you see them following you around the house, call you whenever you look at them, cuddle with you.
It is, however, true that cats can easily stay on their own for a few hours, and they won’t mind much if it is not long hours. However, if you are gone for long hours, the cat can show quite a few behavioral problems. It has often resulted in obesity in cats too.
So, you have to make sure they have access to food, water, and interactive toys to keep them busy. It will make sure that the cat is doing good when you are gone.
When it comes to remembering you, of course, they do. It can never forget the people who take care of them.
Cats have a selective memory. Few memories do not stick by them for more than 16 hours. At the same time, there are few things that they can remember for a long time.
However, the need to remember something depends on their needs. For example, they might remember the person who feeds them or who hurt them, but they will probably forget who came to your home for a brief time.
If you were the primary caretaker of the cat for a long time, they would likely remember you even if you are not around for a year. It is the same reason why your family cat might recognize you even after staying at college for a semester or a year.
Cats do not forget you for a long time after you are gone somewhere. If you have cared for the cat at some point in time, and the cat considers you to be family, it will remember you after a short two weeks break.
Five years is a long time for a cat; it is almost equivalent to 25 years of human life. As a result, there is a chance that the cat might not remember you after five years. However, they can recognize your smell if you have taken care of the cat at some point in time.
Cats can have long-term memory in general. 2 months is not long enough for a cat to completely forget about you. Although the cats have a selective memory, they tend to remember the people who show love to them. So, it would be quite obvious that the cat would remember you if you were taking care of the cat two months prior.
Cats have been proven to grieve the deaths of humans or other animals that cared for them. In an article written by TJ Banks , she describes cats who experience the death of a loved one in a lonely state.
During their time of grief, they may lose their appetite, miss their litter box, or worse, lash out at their humans.
Therefore, try understanding why your cat suddenly changes their behavior. They might be undergoing grievances.
When you treat them harshly just because they lashed at you, they might end up getting traumatized even more.
Hi There, AJ Oren here. I am the founder of this amazing pet blog & a passionate writer who loves helping pet owners to learn more about their pets through my articles. I am also the content manager of this blog. I have experience in pet training and behavior, sheltering, and currently working for a veterinary clinic.