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Cat Memory: How Good Is It? — 11 Comments

  1. A very interesting article, Michael. Sadly my experience would fall into the cat abuse and trauma section. I will tell you about it. One of my customers asked me to help with his cat. His previous cat he had to have put to sleep but he had just adopted another and she had been living with him for a number of weeks.
    He had quickly grown to love her and wanted to let her out but was scared of losing her so he asked me to put a harness on her to start with to get her used to outside. I did and the poor little soul was terrified 🙁 she ran all over the place with the lead trailing after her and when I finally caught her to take it off her heart was beating out of her chest 🙁
    This was weeks ago but even now whenever I go round she won’t come out from behind the chair and spits at me if I try to coax her. I feel so sad for her I think she will always associate me with that damned harness!!

    • My experience with putting a cat –even a kitten–in harness, is less than close to achievable a.k.a. “ideal,” unless that little one was raised from the get go on that harness. I once tried this on Panda, when she was four months. Way, way too late. Don’t do. Don’t even try.

  2. Monty certainly remembers that he was hungry as a baby, as reflected in his attitude toward food today.

    But he seems not to remember that coming down behind first out of a tree is the superior method. For every time he does it right, with great results, there are about seven more times he’s trying to go down head first with less than stellar results. I think he is stubborn. He can remember what worked, but he wants his claws to be able to work the other way, like a squirrel’s.

  3. Excellent article Michael. I firmly believe that cats have “LONG TERM” as well as “SHORT TERM” memories. Having owned cats since 1995 i have come to this conclusion from own personal interaction with my cats over the years.

    • Good, Rudolph and thanks. We have both learned a lot about cats from personal observation. It is probably the best way and in some ways better than a scientific study.

  4. same i agree i reckon they can both. They know where that cat singles are kept and cat food. Often when i say to ozzie that ive run out he still looks at the fridge like no you havent. Then he gets really sad ;-( and i better get that cat food

  5. I agree with Ruth AKA and Jo.
    Cats have both long and short term memory.
    They know what cabinets contain what and know what a can opener running means.
    They can, also, travel miles and miles to make their way home if lost.
    They are much better at all this than I am.
    I can’t even tell you where I left my watch this morning. I’ll bet Damon knows.

    • I trust your judgement, Dee. I think we can conclude that cats have a decent memory. The big question is whether the cat can remember events and if so how good is this part of their memory. We can visualize whole events that took place decades ago. Can cats do this? We don’t know.

  6. I believe cats have long term and short term memory too, they are far more intelligent than some people give them credit for and they are far more intelligent than some people are.
    On top of memory they have instinct, far more than we humans have!
    We will never know as much about cats as some people would like to, only a cat can know everything about a cat. I love their air of mystery and long may they keep it.

  7. What a GREAT aricle, Michael.

    Cats have very long memory- in my experience living with them for over 50 years. They remember where treats are stored- they remember so many things.. it’s impossible to list them all.

    Cats who have gone missing for many years and who are miraculously returned to their human companions remember them! It is truly remarkable.

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