Do Cats Remember Their Owners After Being Separated?

Pet owners may wonder if their cats would remember them if they separated them. Many cats are considered to be loved by members of the family. However, sometimes cats are separated from their owners.

My baby cat ran away when I was younger. We wondered if he misses us as much as we miss him. We remember our cats when we separated, but do they remember us?

Do cats remember their owners after being separated? Yes. Studies have shown that cats have an excellent memory, especially long-term memory. It allows cats to remember people long after they have been separated.

Do cats remember their owners after being separated? Based on my personal experience with pets, the answer is yes – four years after we left, my family cat found us – even though we moved down the street. So what do cats remember?

Cats and long-term memories

First, the good news is that most cats have a long memory, especially for what matters to them. Research shows that cats remember events that have either very positive or very harmful effects. Points such as related to:

  • Food
  • Survival
  • Emotional events

According to PetMD, cats are especially memorable.

Thanks to their long memories, cats are also known for being resentful. For example, a cat with a bad experience with a tall man may hiss at all tall men for the rest of its feline life.

Strong emotional experiences coupled with impressive long-term memories keep them from feeling hurt.

So, if your cat is one of those felines who are fortunate enough to avoid brain problems as they age, she will continue to remember you even if they are separated from you for a significant amount of time.

Does the age of the cat matter, whether it will remember or not?

There are many similarities between the human brain and the cat’s brain. As with humans, cats’ memory deteriorates with age. And like human babies, kittens don’t have fully developed brains.


Will my old cat remember me?

As they lose brain cells, cats also lose their ability to retain memories. So, if your cat is very old when you are apart, it may not remember you for a long time.

Some older cats will find it difficult to remember things as they age. According to ModKat, studies have shown that many older cats develop brain dysfunction and memory loss as they age. It happens with:

  • About half of older cats aged 11-15
  • 80% of cats aged 16-20 years

When cats lose brain function due to age, the symptoms are similar to those of dementia. It means that the cat will have difficulty remembering the past.

Will my kitten remember me?

Likewise, in very young cats, the brain is still developing. Thus, young cats and kittens may develop long-term memories differently from adult cats.

If you have a kitten and you find yourself separate from him, they may not remember you. Once the kittens’ brains are fully developed, their ability to retain long-term memories will also be.

What about periods? Will the cat forget its owner in a week? Month? Year?

If you have had a pet for a long time, your cat will likely remember you not only after a week or a month but even after several years of separation.

It is good news for pet owners who travel frequently and leave their pets for days or weeks.

If you go out of town for a week, the cat will still remember you. If you find yourself being called for even longer – perhaps a month – your cat will still remember who you are.

Because cats have a long memory and can handle extreme moments, especially well – great and terrible times, if you create a supportive environment for your pet, they will associate you with these kinds of feelings over time.

However, if you have had a cat for a very short time, or if you have just met an animal, chances are they won’t remember you for long.

Studies of cats’ short-term memory, like this one by Science Direct, show that they only remember things for up to a maximum of 16 hours after experiencing them.

In other words, if the event wasn’t exciting enough to stick in their long-term memories, the cat will forget in less than a day.

Ways to bond with a cat

So how can you increase the likelihood that your cat will remember you, even if you split up? The answer lies in how you are having a good time together.

Cats are natural predators, and their hunting instincts have remained intact. It is why so many of their favorite toys seem to mimic furry or feathered animals. Some of these toys include:

  • Stick with feathers attached
  • Soft toy in the form of a mouse
  • Ball of yarn

These toys are potential “prey” for the cat.

If you want your cat to remember you, take the time to play with it using a hunting simulation toy. Cats remember what they like, and the fun game will remain in their memory for a long time.

Any pet owner can attest that another way to bond with your cat is to feed it. I often wonder if my cats love me or if they want to eat!

Cats will be attached to the person who feeds them every day, and this is an easy way to ensure they never forget you.

Cat owners can go further by combining food and play. For example, using a toy such as a laser pointer will help your pet bond with you when pretending to hunt.

After the game, you can reward your cat with a fish-flavored treat.

Hand-feeding them will help them associate you with the good feeling of playing and eating. You may find that this makes them curl up in your lap to take a nap.

Do Cats Remember Their Owners? Preventing memory loss

To keep your cat from forgetting you as it ages, you can take care of your brain. The way to take care of your pet’s mental health is through their diet.

ModKat claims that a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids helps maintain a healthy feline brain. Look for dry and wet cat food that contains omega-3 fatty acids. If you are unsure, you can ask your veterinarian for a list of foods that will support your cat’s mental health.

Eating healthy food will provide your cat with another benefit: a healthy weight. Cats that maintain a healthy weight throughout their lives are less likely to develop later with health.

Playing with your cat every day, especially games that involve exercise, will also help your cat stay fit. In addition to feeding your pet, a healthy diet and keeping it in good shape, talking to your veterinarian can provide more ways to prolong your cat’s life and help her avoid brain dysfunction.

Veterinarians are always up to date with the latest pet research and can advise you on how to keep your cat’s memory intact.


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