Do cats forget their owners?

Cat parents that need to temporarily leave the pet to a shelter or to a caretaker would worry that the pet would no longer remember them when they return … that the cat would transfer its affection to the caregiver. This is a valid concern of cat parents as cats are well loved companions. It would certainly be a cat owners’ nightmare if the pet would scamper away when it is time to take it home. Cats have different personalities. Some cats would instantly bond with people while others would manifest the benchmarked independent personality. However, it is very unlikely for a cat to forget their owners. Cats have long memories. A cat may not effusively greet the former owner it has not seen for a long time but its body movements would convey the message that the owner is recognized.

Various researches on feline behavior have proven that cats have impressive short term memories. It was proven that cats have longer memories as compared to dogs. Generally, dogs’ short term memories would last for about 5 minutes while cats’ short term memory span would last for 16 hours. This makes cats excellent learners. However, cat owners that have tried to train the pet believe otherwise. Dogs are easier to train as compared to cats. It must be remembered that cats are solitary animals. The independent personalities make cats less inclined to please the owners unlike dogs. However, cats have truly exceptional long term memories. Cats that have developed strong ties with their owners tend to remember their human companions for a long time even if cat and owner were separated for a long time. Smells, tastes, sounds and similar knowledge a cat has acquired will be remembered for life.

Cats would not only remember the care and affection given by the owner. Cats make wonderful pets because in their own way, cats would show the appreciation they have for the care given by the owners. Bringing home dead prey as gift to the owner is one of the ways by which cats would show their affection to the human friends. Unfortunately, this view is not shared by all people. Not all people are cat lovers. Cats would also remember abusive owners. The abusive treatment received from the owner will be imprinted in the cat’s memory. Even if the cat has strayed or found a new home, the sight of the cruel owner will make the cat cringe in fear. The abusive owner will forever be distrusted by the cat.

Cats’ memory is the same as the memory a 2 or 3 year old child have. It is therefore possible for a cat to forget an owner it has stayed with only for a few days. This situation commonly happens if a new pet was lost. The cat may be found and reunited with the owners. Unfortunately, the cat would not recognize the owners. This situation is more common in kittens, in youngish cats and in stray cats that were rescued. It is commonly believed that cats would choose their owners. In spite of the care given by the owner, a cat may transfer its loyalty and affection to another person. There are many cases where a cat would be friends with the neighbors. The cat would come a visiting until it would finally move to the other house. The cat appears to have forgotten the owner as it would not come when called and would shriek when cuddled. The cat has apparently bonded with the neighbor but it is most unlike that it will forget its former owner.

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