As cat fancier, we remember every moment we spend with our feline friends. We also miss and think about our pets when we are away from home for a few days. Especially when we are away for a long duration, most of us may wonder, “will my cat remember me” “will my cat recognize me when I go back” or “how long my cat can remember me.”
To end your curiosity, “YES” cats have a better memory than many other animals and will remember you for months or years. Knowing how a cat’s memory system works is necessary to understand everything better.
How Do Cats Remember?
Like humans, cats also have two types of memory, Short term, and long-term. Short-term memory means remembering the events for a short duration after the first or brief interaction.
The experts believe that a cat’s short-term memory can last up to 16 hours, which is much higher than other animals, that is, 27 seconds only. Therefore they can easily find the place where they hunted last night or can find their food bowl if its location was changed a day before.
As far as long-term memory is concerned, a cat’s long-term memory is considered better than short-term memory. So they can remember persons or events for months or even years.
Irrespective of the type of memory, cats are most likely to remember their owners through associative memory. Associate memory means cats may not recognize you as the owner, but they will associate you with care, love, affection, food, and shelter. So providing these things will surely make you an unforgettable person for your cat.
Do Cats Remember Their Old Owners?
If cats are rehomed or shifted to a new shelter, they remember their old owner with whom they spent a good time and who was taking care of them.
At the same time, cats also remember bad experiences, places (where something bad happened to them), or persons who mistreated them.
As mentioned above, cats have associative memory, so they don’t remember their old owners as a person. Instead, they associate you with the events you had with them (like feeding, grooming, playing games, care, love, affection, etc.). One way or other, the thing that matters is that your cat recalls you when you are not with him.
Do Cats Miss Old Owners?
If the previous owner took good care of the cat, often surprised him with treats, and provided toys, the cat would surely miss him.
Research has proved that cats develop destructive behavior when the person they like is away for a long duration. However, it’s hard to quantify the emotion of sadness and longing in animals that we don’t talk to, particularly felines. In addition, how much and how long cats miss their previous owners depends on how strong their bond was with their previous owners.
Whatever the case, the state continues for a short duration only. Cat’s previous memories may fade once they become familiar with the new environment and owner.
How Long Do Cats Take To Adjust To New Owners?
Since cats remember and miss their old home and owner, it does not mean they can’t bond with the new owner. However, how quickly a cat will become accustomed to new surroundings and people depends on many factors, like the cat’s age and personality, experience with the previous owner, and how the new owner deals with him.
Some cats, as an individual, are more extroverted and social, so they develop a friendship with the new owner more quickly than their shy or introverted counterparts. Similarly, younger cats will accept new homes and people earlier than older cats. In addition, a cat that was treated well by the old owner is more likely to accept the new owner easily than a cat that was mishandled or abused in the past.
Regardless of the above factors, if the new owners know how to handle a newly adopted cat, they are patient, take good care of the new cat, and spend a significant amount of time with him daily, they will surely gain the cat’s confidence within a few days or weeks.
From the above discussion, we can conclude that cats don’t forget their owners. Cats remember the time (for months or years) spent with owners, good or bad.
However, a well-treated cat will miss its owner and can develop behavioral issues when its owners are away for a long. In addition, a well-treated cat will also accept the new owner easily. While a neglected and abused cat may resist accepting the new home and owner. Your affection, love, and proper handling can make him love you.