Cats are very mysterious creatures, and their seemingly indifferent behavior leads people to wonder, “Do cats forget their owners?” Although cats have been domesticated for thousands of years, they have retained many of the instincts of their ancestors. They have learned to be more sociable with other cats and to live with people happily, but they are very independent, and their natural instincts drive their behavior. Their memories are designed to help them survive, and studies have shown that cats remember only those things that are beneficial to them. Continue reading to learn more about how a cat’s memory works.
Do Cats Remember People?
Anyone who has a cat has seen that they can act very disinterested at times. It makes people wonder, “Do cats forget you?” The long-term memory is what determines how well cats remember people after a separation, and studies show that cats possess this skill. However, they are more likely to have stronger memories if the person was very positive or very negative in their lives. Cats are far less likely to remember someone who was neutral and didn’t play a large role in their lives.
Cats have an excellent memory for people who are important to them. These people might be important because they help promote survival for the cat, or they might be important in the negative sense of the word by treating the cat badly. If you have a pet cat and have fed and cared for it for many years, the cat will remember you. If you are separated from this cat for a period of time, it will recognize you when it sees you again and be happy to see you.
On the other hand, if a cat experiences a negative experience, such as abuse, it will also remember it. Not only will it remember, but if another person reminds them of this person, it will show that it is afraid of them. Rescue cats often have an aversion to a particular type of person, such as men with hats, tall people, children, or other categories. This likely points to a very negative experience in the past.
Feline behaviorists say that cats are selective about what they remember, which is why they remember people who impact their survival. If there is a person who is a part of their lives, but they don’t interact in any meaningful way, they are less likely to remember them.
Do Cats Remember Other Pets?
People who have more than one cat have noticed that cats are peculiar in how they form relationships with other animals. Often, their initial reaction to a new pet in the home appears to be negative. If you bring home a new cat, your cat may hiss at it and stay out of sight for a few days. You will notice over time that it warms up to the new cat, and eventually, they will become friends.
The strange thing about cats is that if you separate them for a period of time, they often have to be reintroduced down the road. For example, if one person moves out of the house and takes one of the cats, when they return, the cats may hiss at each other and hide again. They appear to have forgotten that they lived together and knew each other.
Feline behaviorists say that whether or not cats remember other pets is based on the length and nature of their previous relationship. Sometimes cats learn to live with other pets, but they aren’t close or connected to them. They simply share the same space. This type of relationship is less likely to have any long-term impact, and the cat will probably not remember this pet.
However, if you have two cats that are close, play together, groom each other, and share a bond, they are more likely to remember each other when they meet again.
How Is a Cat’s Short-Term Memory?
The short-term memory is necessary for survival, and it allows cats to be problem-solvers. A cat’s problems are based on survival instincts, such as where to find food, shelter, and water. Cats are very good at remembering where their food and water bowl is, how to use the litter box, and sounds that are associated with feeding.
Cats have an excellent short-term memory for food, water, and the layout of their home. If you have ever seen a cat accurately jump from one location to another, you can see their skills. However, in studies where cats were asked to find a hidden object that was not related to food, the more time that went by, the less likely the cat was to remember it. These objects had no bearing on the cat’s survival abilities, and it further proved that cats remember those things that are beneficial to them.
Do Cats Remember Where They Lived in the Past?
Another memory question that people ask about cats is whether they remember their old homes. Everyone has heard a story about a cat that moved and found its way back to its previous home. In addition to having excellent long-term memories, cats have a very good sense of direction. Wild cats live in specific areas, and they control their own territories. They usually mark the territory with their scent.
When a cat lives in a home for a period of time, they also leave their scent there. Once the cat considers it their territory, they will know where they are. If you move them somewhere else and they get out, they are known for finding their way back. This is especially true if the old home is nearby.
People have also noticed that if the cat moves out of a home with one of the family members, it is easy for the cat to find its same favorite spots when it returns. For example, if the cat spends a lot of its time in a favorite window or on a particular piece of furniture, when it returns to the home, it will continue with these same habits.
People often recommend that you keep your cat indoors for up to two weeks when you move. If you let the cat outside, it might leave to try to return to the home it has left behind. After a few weeks, your cat will settle into its new routine and become accustomed to its new space. At that point, it is less likely to try to leave as long as it has everything it needs, including food and shelter.
Do Cats Miss Their Old Owners?
People do want to know whether their cats miss them. Humans feel a longing and a sadness when they miss someone they love, and it is natural to wonder if cats feel the same way. Cats seem to notice when someone is missing, but it is difficult to determine whether they miss someone. If they are attached and have a bond with a person, they will usually take some time to adjust to the fact that the person is gone, but then they don’t show further signs of missing the person.
However, when the person returns, they show that they do recognize them. Cats are able to form more than one bond, so they can bond with a new owner. They may miss their former owners for a period of time, but they can adjust to a new home and form bonds with a new family.
How Long Does It Take a Cat to Adjust to a New Owner?
Cats can bond with new owners when they are rehomed or rescued. The length of time for the adjustment depends on the cat and what experiences it has had. A cat that was mistreated or abused will take longer than one that is happy and well cared for. If the cat was abused, it will be more suspicious of the new family. It may spend a lot of time hiding under furniture and coming out only to eat.
You can help the process by being very patient. You need to show the cat that it is safe and that you will provide everything it needs for survival. During this adjustment period, it is critical to keep the cat indoors, as letting it outside before it is comfortable in the home could make it hard to get it back inside the house.
A happy cat might take a few weeks to adjust to a new owner, whereas a cat who has had bad experiences could take a month or two. The key is to replace the negative experiences with positive ones to show the cat that it is safe. If you have pets in the new home, it could take even longer, so be sure to provide the cat a space that it can call its own.
May the Cat be With You 🙂
People often wonder if cats forget them after they are away for a while. The answer is that cats remember people who are important to them, whether for good reasons or for bad. If you have had a strong bond with your cat, it will remember you when it sees you again. Likewise, if someone has abused or mistreated a cat, it will hold a grudge.