A sentiment likely shared by most former cat owners is “will my cat remember me if it sees me”. Of course, this answer is dependent on the kind of bond you shared with your cat. Strong experiences are very vital to how long someone remembers something. The same goes for cats. In this write-up, you will know the answer to the question “Do Cats forget their owners?”
Memories in Cats: How do cats remember things?
Most animals, cats inclusive, can remember locations and environments. This is called spatial memory. It is very essential in the survival of any species. Without the ability to discern which place is good or bad, then one is doomed.
It should not be strange that cats have spatial memory. That way they know where to go for food or water. They also know which place is a danger to them. They know areas where predators visit often. As I said, spatial memory is important to survival. We can call it learning from experience.
Cats know where their owners frequent. If it needs something, it can just walk up to you. They know where the food bowls are placed and where their litter box is. It generally makes work easier for both (the cat owner and the cat) parties.
Short-term and Long-term memories
The brain helps organisms keep records of important events in their lives. This applies to both humans and cats. The brain can pin some events to some particular behaviors. For example, a cat knows what to do if it wants treats from you. Or perhaps how best to get your attention.
Cats do have short- and long-term memories. Short-term memories otherwise known as active memories or primary memories are important in the day-to-day activities of organisms. Short-term memories can range from seconds to some days.
In a cat, short-term memories help it react to things around it. It helps when it comes to playing games or eating any other activity you can think of. Short-term memory is responsible for cats being able to focus on things. The valid question then will be “do cats have long-term memories”
As I mentioned earlier, cats do have long-term memories. Long-term memories are usually triggered by strong events or experiences. Even in humans, we tend not to forget extraordinary events that took place in our lives. The same thing applies to cats.
Cats possess long-term memories of events linked to trauma or a very pleasant time. Like humans, they know to avoid a repeat of bad experiences. Cat owners who lost their cats and found them back can testify to long-term memories. The cats do recognize their kind owners even after some years. Long-term memories in cats can be registered through vision or smell.
Cats’ memory and brain function
Amazing news. Scientists have found that a cat has better memory retention than a dog. The amazing news here is that it is almost 200 times better than a dog’s memory. Cat lovers reading this are probably smiling now. The cat’s brain function has been compared to that of a human child between 2 and 3 years old.
As I mentioned earlier. Cats have a superior short-term memory compared to dogs. Where a dog can memorize something for about 5 minutes, cats can memorize for as long as 16 hours.
I know you are probably wondering what of those amazing trained dogs that seem to do things on their own. Dogs’ memories can be improved by repeating the lesson.
Tests conducted on the memory span of cats concluded that their short-term memory can be up to 16 hours. There is a catch though. They only excel in these tests when they benefit from them. Sneaky little things. They are adorable though. The inability of cats to express themselves as enthusiastically as dogs made everyone assume the opposite is correct.
Do cats forget their owners?
Cats do remember their old owners. As I mentioned before. Long-term memories are attached to major events. Cats can remember both the good or the bad old owners. If your interaction with your cat was strong and good then your cat can remember you. A cat’s memory can last from months to a lot of years. All this spending on how strong the interaction was for the cat.
This does not in any way mean that a cat can not start or maintain a new relationship. Remember it all depends on how strong the bond is with the cat. Every species wants to survive, and if a cat sees that its chance of survival is good with a new owner, it develops good relationships with them.
How Long Do Cats Remember Their Previous Owners?
It is hard to say. But I have emphasized the strength of the bond between the owner and a cat. Traumatic events tend to shape how we see everything. The same goes for animals too. If the previous owner caused the cat trauma, then we can assume the cat might always remember the previous owner. Or someone in that semblance.
Good memories also stick with them. Especially one that has been repeated over a long time. While it is hard to say an exact time it will take a cat to forget a previous owner, you can rest assured that a good bond with the cat can achieve the same impact.
Do Cats Miss Their Previous Owners?
Cats are naturally moody creatures. It is also difficult to say if they are missing their previous owner. While cat owners have detected some signs of longings in cats, it is difficult to say they miss someone. A cat can meow about someone not around and still not play with the person when around. They are mysterious creatures like that.
It is normal for animals to know when important people are missing. What I mean by important here is important people to them. Generally, cats notice when you are not around. I mean who wouldn’t if you were the source of their survival. Missing someone though can be tricky with these felines.
Will My Cat Forget Me After 2 Weeks?
That’s a No. If you just got your cat and then you went AWOL for two weeks, then they might forget you. But when cats depend on you for their livelihood, that is eating, playing and all other important things that make them happy, then they will not forget you. Seeing you after two weeks will make them very happy.
Cats have this way of marking people they like with their scent. Like rubbing their body off on you. While they do this they also master your unique scent. This scent helps them determine who is who. Cat owners with a unique smell and a strong bond with their cats are not easily forgettable.
Like humans, special events come with special memories. The cats do remember those times you did unusual things for them. They will not forget those moments and in extension, they will not forget you any time soon.
Your cat will probably not do a backflip when it sees you after two weeks. But you can rest assured it noticed you were not there. Cats are naturally content and quick to adapt. That’s why sometimes it might even seem like your cat is avoiding you. That’s just it doing something cat-like.
What else can cats remember?
Your cat is very much aware you are not around in the evenings. Or you play with it at mid-day. Or you take it outside in the mornings. Anything that has to do with routine or habits is remembered by animals. A change in this routine might not go down well with your cat. This means the cat remembers “hey, it’s time for a stroll in the garden”. It remembers people as well. That’s why it tends to play with some of your visitors more than others.
For years, cat owners have testified of how cats they once taught lost found their way back to them. There have not been any concrete research findings to indicate cats having a homing instinct. Or can it be because they can memorize things?
Because of their acute senses, cats have been able to survive through years of evolution. Cats’ ability in directions is amazing. But it hasn’t been traced yet to any or a combination of their sense. How do they know the way? We can’t answer that too but they do know the way. An easy answer though is that they memorize the directions.
Do Cats Miss Their Owners When They’re Rehomed
As mentioned earlier. It is uncertain whether cats do miss their old owners. But they do know when their home is changed. It boils down to how strong the bond was between the cat and the old owner. They might miss the routines but that does not translate to them missing their former owners. All in all, a cat will probably miss an owner that was caring for it. That is if they do miss people.