Yes – yes, they do. A kitty can remember others, though pet experts are unsure how long it can last before they forget. Early in their lives, kittens who are part of the same litter usually exchange scents so that they can recognize one another should any separation happen. Typically, cats make use of this trick throughout their entire lifetimes. It can be said that a cat’s memory of a fellow cat is dependent on how long they have had a relationship and how frequently they have engaged.
In this kitty article, we shall explore the ins and outs of cat memory and memorability. We will look at how cats recall their littermates, how their remembering and memory work, and if they miss their owners in the event of a long-lasting separation. Before we go through the fine points, take a look at the following table. It answers the basic questions and has been organized for your convenience:
|Cats And Remembering|
|Do cats remember each other?||Yes and no|
|Do they remember people?||Yes and no|
|Do they miss us?||Yes, but they don’t show it in the ‘missy’ kind of way|
|Do they remember past abuse?||Yes|
|Do they remember where they used to live?||They get lost more times than they get back home.|
|Do they experience any kind of memory loss?||Yes, but when they get older.|
The categorical data in the table should stir in you a particular interest in the subject. Let’s get inside the cat’s brain and see what memories it has. Kitty, go lucky!
Cats And Remembering Their Littermates
For humans, it is only an extreme mental illness or chronic Alzheimer’s that would make you forget how your sister’s or brother’s face looks. However, cat brains and memories are not as powerful as to remember kitty siblings. Once two kittens have been separated, they won’t be able to recognize each other. Some reports say that trying to bring two separate cats back to each other (formerly kittens) can cause a territorial fight.
For kittens, the sense of smell is an essential thing. Suppose you want to know if your cat scent-marks things, observe how it behaves around you, your friends, and its fellows. He will be rubbing against all those groups of people. When he covers things, other animals, and people in his scent, it helps him form a list of the safe and familiar things to relate with. You will see cats rubbing against each other, twining and entangling their tails to mix their scents. It means that the next time one of the cats sees the other, they will act in a friendly way since they will recognize its smell.
When cats are kittens, they love to stay with their mother until they get to about three months of age. This extended stay as a family creates a sort of communal smell for all the members of the nest. As long as the kits smell like the nest, their mom will ensure they are cared for. Even if the kittens grow into adult cats, they will not be separated. The siblings continue grooming and snuggling each other every day of their lives as long as they are not separated.
Once a kitten is taken out of its nest, it will inadvertently pick up scents from its newly-taken-up environments. So, it means that siblings who were at one time inseparable will become automatic strangers. This happens because cats use their senses of smell to recognize those with who they identify. Even a mere trip to the vet can be long enough for a sibling to see him as a stranger. At the return, the sibling who had been left may start hissing at his brother or sister. This will only stop once the scent relationship has been re-established.
Cats 101: Remembering And Memory
1. Do Cats Even Remember People?
Reliable sources have it that a cat possesses a brilliant long-term memory. They can actually recall the people who use to feed them, irritate them, and those who gave them warmth and compassion. The thing that allows cats to leap into the arms of a long-gone family member coming home after months is memory.
This also means that cats bear grudges as if there is no tomorrow. Also and because of memory, cats grieve for long-gone companions, family members who relocated, or any other of life’s losses.
While studies report that the long-term memory of a cat has the potential of lasting 200 times more than that of a dog, cats are picky and highly selective about the things they remember. Actually, cats will only try and recall the things, events, or people that benefit them.
Comparatively speaking, dogs do better than cats in matters of remembering people. A dog can recall a family member who just came back after serving a couple of years in the military. Scientists know with certainty that cats recognize and effectively differentiate one human face from another. So, the dog’s ability to remember and recall people has less to do with the canine’s brainpower and more to do with the stronger and longer association with people.
2. Do Cats Even Miss People?
Studies done by the University of Michigan confirm and affirm that cats have both short-term and long-term memories. Also, the studies support the view that cats can remember people for an extended period. But, the heartier question is, do cats really miss their care providers and owners if those people are gone? It would be a nice thing if our feline and furry friends missed us, but we cannot be sure if they do since there is no scientific way of determining it. Researchers working at the University of Lincoln concluded that cats, unlike dogs, do not get attached to their caregivers or owners. This implies that for cats, there is no such thing as missing humans.
Nonetheless, IFL Science scientists state that cats miss their owners, but their behavior and temperaments are different. Unlike dogs who show affection for having missed their owners, the cat will exhibit passive-aggressive behavior. They will run away and refuse any kind of petting.
You should know that both the human brain and that of the cat bear lots of resemblances. So, just like you may become upset and sad that a friend moved away, cats feel miserable and get annoyed. As noted elsewhere, cats will hold grudges against us if we choose to leave them alone. So, it is in order that we hold the belief that cats miss us when we go long enough. In our absence, the cats do not get as much care and affection as they would if we hadn’t left. When you see your cat acting passive-aggressively because it misses you, get hold of it gently and give your feline friend a nice belly rub.
Sometimes, cats that miss their owners will overtly show their stress by doing their ‘relief’ business outside their litter boxes. When any cat develops stress, they start developing inflammations in the skins of their bladders. This irritation is induced by stress hormones that are active in her blood.
3. Do Cats Even Remember Abuse At All?
If your cat is engaging in a struggle with particular behavioral issues, it may not be because of spitefulness and stubbornness. Instead, it could be that the cat is dealing with the aftermath of painful and abusive times. A cat that is going through this kind of problem will react negatively to particular sights, scents, and many other simulations. For example, the cat may run away from the presence of bearded men or hiss at women who are wearing a particular scent. In these kinds of cases, your cat may be associating the smell or sight with a memory that had adverse effects on it. If you believe that your feline friend has been the subject of abuse, talk to an expert, such as a feline behaviorist, and get the help you need.
4. Do Cats Even Recall The Place They Live Or Lived?
You have assumably heard the story of the Persian cat, Howie, or haven’t you? Well, Howie traveled across the Australian Outback – a journey of 1000 miles (literally) – to get back home. Leave that incredible story aside. The question which comes up is this: if cats have such tremendous and impressive homing instincts, why do so many of those felines get lots?
Like many other animals, cats have some homing instinct that gets re-centered when they make a move. So, lost cats attempt to get back home, but they hopelessly get lost. Although some felines try to pull feats that are out of the ordinary by reaching home from distant places, most of them do not make it long.
5. Do Older, Senior, Or Adult Cats Experience Any Memory Loss?
When cats start aging, they become more vulnerable to developing FCD or Feline Cognitive Dysfunction. These conditions work for cats the same way dementia, and Alzheimer’s do in humans. More than half the number of cats aged between 11 and 15 years will experience symptoms of FCD. Also, most (80%) of cats aged between 16 and 20 years will suffer from brain cell deterioration. Consequently, this will cause both short-term and long-term memory loss. When they get to these points of pure vulnerability, the cats will lack the ability to remember people, familiar locations, and other animals. Unfortunately, there is not a lot you can do to save the cat since the changes are irreversible.
On a brighter note, several studies have shown that if you feed your cat with food rich in antioxidants together with omega-3 fatty acids, the rate of brain cell deterioration will start slowing down. Since a cat’s behavior is connected to its short-term (or associate) memory, you will pick out many tell-tale signs if your feline friend starts experiencing FCD. You might notice your cat looking disoriented or confused at times, lacking the interest of interacting with people or being petted, and looking lost in locations that are supposed to be familiar to them. Also, they will have a low appetite and eat less if they are going through FCD. That is aside from demonstrating increased irritability.
If you recognize that your cat seems to be losing its memory, take it upon yourself to do exhaustive research on FCD. Also, contact a feline behaviorist. They will surely give you a couple of tips on extending your cat’s life and making a few modifications to improve the quality of the cat’s golden years.
Cats 101: Cognition And Memory
As we have already mentioned elsewhere in this article, cats are intelligent animals. They understand and see the world in a very different way than we do. The same thing goes for how they experience the world. This extends to the methods they use to recognize and experience everything around them, even other cats. We don’t have much that we understand about how cats relate to their world. The bottom line is this: we have no idea if cats see the world as a feline place or see and recognize other animals, including cats.
If Any, What The Clues To Understanding The Behavior Of Cats?
The best, most efficient, and effective way of understanding if cats can tell the difference between their caregiver and their sibling is by engaging in behavioral observation. However, and unlike dogs, felines make it very challenging for us to conclude their kitty cat actions. Whether a cat is interacting with its caregiver or its sibling, its behavior does not change much. Essentially, cats treat their human companions the same way as they would treat their mothers. For cats, humans are just big fellow cats who are part of their lives. If that is the idea we will walk with, does it mean that cats cannot differentiate between a fellow cat and a human? No, of course not. However, it is difficult to say – just from observing their behavior – whether the feline is deliberately choosing to maintain its behavior or is not sure of the apparent differences between cats and humans.
How Does A Cat’s Sense Or A Plethora Of Senses Come In?
When you walk into an area with another human, a cat, and a dog, our human eyes report to our brains that we are looking at three distinct species. However, that does not happen to cats – they do not use their eyes. Instead of employing their eyesight, cats choose to use their excellent sense of smell to identify the present entities. Since the environment influences and compromises smell to a great degree, it is always hard for cats to make particular distinctions.
At birth, a mother cat will be able to identify her kittens because they will be having a unique sense of smell. It will register in her mind that she needs to offer her litter care and protection. After the kittens have been successfully weaned and take away – maybe because other humans fostered them – their mother may not be able to recognize them. Once the environment of a kitten changes significantly, what they smell obviously changes. This makes it very difficult for their mother to identify it.
While the cat’s sense of smell is super-specialized, little has been done in terms of research to understand how it works.
Scientists have a belief that cats can take up what is called phenotype matching. If they learn to recognize a particular smell (for example, a family smell) from a young age, they might be able to sense a member of the same family that they have never seen before. Unfortunately, the scientists themselves have not wrapped their heads around the subject of phenotype matching.
A Cat May Recognize The Voice Of Its Mother
In Developmental Psychobiology, a study is published suggesting that cats have an innate ability to recognize, perceive, and pick out their mothers’ voices. This implies that while cats can lose the scents of the different people they relate with, they might not lose the voice memory quite as quickly.
The study experts capture recordings of a cat’s mother over a loudspeaker device. On top of that, it also captured the voice of other cats. The scientists note that each cat seems more keen and engaged when they heard the sound of their mother’s voice. They approached the loudspeaker during the said times.
Still, that was one of the several studies recorded where the argument of a cat recognizing something was put forth. The behavior was very subtle and spoke of how tough and challenging it can be to find out whatever happens in the head of a kitty. It was described (by the scientists) that cats seemed to be more intentional with listening to their mothers’ voices. Also, they got to the speaker quickly and lurked by it for a considerable amount of time.
At this point, we leave it all to further research and stay with our fingers crossed that researchers will clear up the puzzle. What you should take home is that felines are so headstrong, particular, and very mysterious. The reason we love cats a lot is because of their independent and stubborn side. If they can recognize the snuggles we give them, we should calm down with all the questions. Aren’t the snuggles and soft meows all we need? I thought so too.