Have you ever wondered about the cat brain and its memory capabilities? Have you scolded him one day for getting into some sort of mischief but then find him right back at it the next day? Can your cat remember anything at all?
Sure, cats can leave us frustrated at times when trying to train them – as they notoriously have a mind of their own, but they do excel in one regard: their long-term memory capabilities.
The Cat Brain Is Very Similar To Ours
Despite the cat brain being smaller than that of humans, it is quite similar to yours. Just like a human brain, his consists of the frontal, temporal, occipital and parietal lobes. It is also comprised of copious white and gray matter. Even the same five senses transmit pertinent information to his brain.
How Cats Remember
So, how does a cat remember things? According to pets.thenest.com, this ability stems from something scientific called neural combination theory. The cat brain has many neurons and each one stores a part of a memory. When the right combination of neurons is activated, that is when your cat’s memory will kick in.
Cat’s Short and Long-Term Memory Capabilities
Regarding short-term memory capabilities, cats outperform dogs. Cats can recall things for about 16 hours compared to just five minutes for a dog. (And, no, a cat is not writing this trying to brag!) A cat’s long-term memory is even more powerful. Although he might save just a few people or places into that category, he can remember them for years. Cats can actually remember certain people or places nearly all of his life!!!
In reality, a cat’s memory and decision making abilities are similar to those of a preschool-aged child. Cats learn by observation and can even learn how to open a door simply by watching you do it. From his mom he will learn how to groom himself and he can also solve puzzles, as noted when he pounces from one object to another to reach his destination at the top of the fridge!
Cognitive Dysfunction In Cats
However, as a cat ages, his brain function will also decline. In fact, feline cognitive dysfunction is akin to Alzheimer’s in humans. The brain will actually deteriorate, resulting in reduced cognitive functioning. This will be evidenced in his inability to navigate his surroundings successfully, as he may become disoriented.
He may also have accidents outside of the litter box, as he might forget its location or even what it’s for. Consider adding additional litter boxes in various spots around the house.
Anti-social behavior may emerge and he may just prefer to spend appreciable amounts of time alone. Just as with humans, his memory won’t be as sharp as it was when he was just a young kitty.
Do Cats Remember Positive and Negative Experienes?
Overall, cats remember positive experiences just as well as negative ones. If he encounters a vicious dog, he will conclude that all dogs are that way and will most likely keep his distance from the canine kind.
However, positive experiences are just as impactful. If your cat enjoys a favorable experience, especially if food or play is a part of the equation, he will remember that experience for life. Most knowledge that is once attained by a cat will remain in his memory bank for life.
What have you observed with your own cat? Does he seem to recall events from the past or is his recollection of things a bit fuzzy or even non-existent? Does he, like many of us humans do, walk into a certain room and then appear to forget why he went in there?