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How long do you think cats remember people for?

(16 Posts)
Hassled Sun 02-Aug-15 09:02:00

I had a bit of an odd (to me) experience yesterday - since OldBoyCat became diabetic, we use a petsitter when we're away who comes in to feed the cats and inject OldBoy. We've only used her one session so far - she came in over 3 days in early April.

So Petsitter came round yesterday to collect the house keys, and OldBoy just went nuts - chirrups, purrs, demands to be stroked, louder purrs, jumping on her lap and putting his face right up to hers. It was like he was greeting a long lost friend, rather than a woman who stuck a needle in him for a few days last April. So he clearly a) remembers her and b) adores her - and I don't know why, but I was really surprised that he had the brain/cognitive abilities for that. Have I been underestimating cats?

cozietoesie Sun 02-Aug-15 09:52:32

A long time - many years, in my experience.

Belleview Sun 02-Aug-15 10:01:24

I don't find cats forget. Why would they? They are hard wired toward smell and sound and don't exactly have a lot on their minds.

Hassled Sun 02-Aug-15 10:06:23

grin at "don't exactly have a lot on their minds".
I suppose I just hadn't really thought about it, despite having had cats all my life. I just thought they were too thick to retain information like that - it wasn't just that OldBoy recognised the petsitter, it was that he recognised her and immediately remembered that he liked her. That's just more brain-power than I'd ever credited him with.

cozietoesie Sun 02-Aug-15 10:14:42

Maybe she's the sort of person who cats like anyway? There are some people who can walk into a situation afresh and any cats around fawn all over them.

BankWadger Sun 02-Aug-15 10:24:54

My family cat when I was a teen was "my" cat (she loved me best). After I left home she was still mine even though she didn't see me for months at a time. She made damn sure I knew she was pissed at me when I turned back up, but after an hour or so she would always forgive me grin
This went on for years, even once I moved away and she didn't see me for a couple of years.

She wasn't a friendly with just anyone cat (she disliked most men and HATED my husband) so it wasn't a case of a warm lap to sit on. I was number one face to violently head butt always.

Cats are smart and your cat will totally know your pet sitter is good (food and cuddles providing) people.

BankWadger Sun 02-Aug-15 10:26:39

I really miss having a for legged someone to headbutt me know sad (I only end up with a fat lip when my DC do that)

YouMakeMyDreams Sun 02-Aug-15 10:28:48

My ex had cats when we met and his exgf nicked them one day. She brought them back 18 months later and I thought I should keep them in for a bit. They were having none of it. They were out that afternoon and one that used to visit our neighbour was straight out onto her windowsill asking to be let in. He definitely remembered he got fed there before.

I feel the same amazement about my now dog (know this is litter tray but relevant) she is not allowed on the couch she knows this she doesn't go up but if one of the dc has left a jumper or t-shirt on the couch she will sit on that and look defiantly at you as if to say I'm no ON the couch. There is nowhere she is allowed as long as it's covered I have no idea where she has got this from but he has given it some thought clearly.

Hassled Sun 02-Aug-15 12:06:09

I like the sound of the dog who isn't really sitting on the couch grin

Petsitter is lovely and clearly one of those people who really, really love cats so that probably helped - but my cat's reaction to her was so immediate and over the top I was really taken aback. This is a cat who still regards getting through the catflap as though it were some sort of fiendishly complicated puzzle from The Crystal Maze.

cozietoesie Sun 02-Aug-15 12:34:17

...This is a cat who still regards getting through the catflap as though it were some sort of fiendishly complicated puzzle from The Crystal Maze...

Oh Yes ? I'm sure he'd be pleased that you fell for that one. grin

SilverBirchWithout Sun 02-Aug-15 12:46:42

We have had a flat screen monitor for our PC, for at least 6/7 years. Now and again Max (who is 13) looks at the top of it to see whether he can get on. He used to love sitting on top of our old monitor and can obviously remember the experience.

YouMakeMyDreams Sun 02-Aug-15 19:48:39

She is a dalmatian so not tiny but she will make herself fit on a t-shirt belonging to a 5 year old with not one inch of her posterior on the couch itself. She also gets down from said couch like an arthritic sloth when caught but can leap like a gazelle over the top of my head if I'm sitting on the doorstep and she hears dp's car pull up.

I love the crystal maze cat flap grin I can just picture it.

susurration Sun 02-Aug-15 20:35:23

Quite a long time I think. I think I read somewhere that cats possibly remember the smell of their mother/father/siblings for up to two years after being separated from them.

Suscat hadn't seen me for over a year before we adopted her (previously lived with another family member and ended up at CP for a while). She seemed to recognise me straight away when I walked into her pen and picked her up. She was very purry and sniffing my face enthusiastically. She also seemed to remember her previous owner, when she saw her recently (though wasn't fussed about cuddling her much)

Hassled Sun 02-Aug-15 20:57:10

I haven't been giving these cats nearly enough credit. I'm actually really pleased to realise that they have such strong memories of people (or perching on top of TVs grin). Cat flaps may be a challenge, but he remembers who he likes which is way more important.

Fluffycloudland77 Sun 02-Aug-15 21:23:50

At least you know she's kind to him.

YouMakeMyDreams Sun 02-Aug-15 21:43:13

We had a magnetic cat flap and still kept finding this enormous cat in our kitchen no collar munching away on our cat food. Until I found one of my cats letting it in. He would stand beside cat flat close enough for the click of the lock let the cat in then come in himself.
Our other cat lost her collar weekly and used to run at the cat flap and seem baffled she was still sitting in the middle of the garden with a sore face.

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