Have you ever gazed into your kitties eyes and wondered – What do cats remember?
If you spend any amount of time around cats, you already know they’re smart. Cats regularly display the ability to problem solve, understand language, and make decisions. But what about memories?
While there are some people who think some cats don’t know their own name, science shows that’s not true. In fact, some studies show that not only do cats remember their name, they will choose to ignore it if they’re not in the mood. 😹
More seriously, cats have very well developed long and short term memories. Beyond the studies that test the parameters of this ability, the inter-webs are full of heartwarming (or heartbreaking) stories of what cats remember.
The first time we really wondered about this was 16 years ago. Our Oliver Twist had adopted our backyard during the foreclosure crisis in Las Vegas. He was literally the sweetest young man we’d ever met. He had obviously been well loved, so we did all we could to help him find his family again – with no luck – so after a few months, we welcomed him into his new forever home.
Shortly after adjusting to indoor life again, we noticed he was terrified of plastic bags and our aluminum ladder. It broke our hearts to see this normally calm and loving cat react with such bone-chilling fear. Not just at the sight of a plastic bag or our ladder, but the mere sound.
What was he remembering?
While we will never know, we have worked with Twist to help make these things less traumatic. And the reality of this experience with him has helped us be more compassionate about cat behavior in general. Knowing that most cats come from a rescue situation, and that behavioral issues can often be challenging, it helps to understand that our cats may have memories that only our love and patience can help heal.