Do you have to go away for a long time or part ways with the family home and leave your cat behind?
If so, it’s natural to miss your cat and wonder if they’re going to miss you – or if they will even remember you at all over time.
In this article, I’m going to explain how well cats remember people, and whether or not your cat will remember you after 1 year:
How Long Is It Before a Cat Forgets Its Owner?
There are two types of memories to take into account when talking about how well cats remember us, and other things in their lives.
Both of which have been studied extensively, yet there is still loads of debate around just how good a cat’s short and long-term memory is.
Scientists are pretty sure that cats have fairly good long-term memory.
Studies have also shown that cats have great short-term memories, suggesting they will remember meeting someone around 16 hours later.
So, as long as you’ve been a consistent part of your cat’s life for a reasonable amount of time, it’s very likely that your cat will remember you even after you’ve been gone for a while.
As for how long a cat remembers their owner, or indeed how long until they forget their owner, there is no clear answer.
There are a lot of variables that will affect how long a cat remembers someone, and as you can imagine, it’s been very hard to test this in controlled situations!
Related – Do cats imprint on one person and remember them? (Explained)
Will My Cat Remember Me After Two Weeks?
It’s very likely that your cat will remember you after two weeks, although they may not recognize you straight away and you shouldn’t expect your cat to run up and give you a hug.
Cats just don’t do that.
Cats can take up to a month to fully adjust and get used to changes in their routine.
So, if you’re gone for two weeks or less, it won’t be long until your cat is back to their usual self and ready to welcome you home.
How long it takes for them to forgive you for abandoning them (yes, I think most cats feel like this), is going to depend on your cat’s personality.
Some cats take it harder than others.
I’ve been away for 2-week holidays a number of times. My cats were always a little cold to me when I first got back, but there is no doubt they know who I am.
Within hours they were back doing the same things they did before I left. Circling my feet, sitting on my lap – and if anything they end up being more affectionate than normally.
Will My Cat Forget Me if I Leave for a Month?
It’s still very likely that your cat will remember you if you leave for a month.
Of course, the longer you’re gone, the more likely it is that your cat will forget some of the finer details about you – like what your voice sounds like or what your routine is.
But they will still remember who you are, your unique smell, and will be happy to see you when you come home.
Cats have great long-term memories, it’s very likely that your cat will remember you even after you’ve been gone for a month or so.
Will My Cat Remember Me After 1 Year?
It’s still very likely that your cat will remember you after a year.
However, it’s worth noting that the bond between a human and their cat is not as strong as the bond between a human and their dog.
So while your cat may remember you, they may not be as excited to see you or be as attached to you when you return.
Don’t fret though, after spending a little quality time with your cat I’m sure you’ll be able to win them over again.
Keep in mind that we don’t really know how cats feel and what they think when we leave them for a long time.
We do know that cats get sad when we leave, and they absolutely do miss us. So, it messes with their emotions and affects every cat differently.
In fact, I’ve read some studies that say cats might be able to remember people who meant a lot to them for as much as 10 years.
So, however long you’re going away for, 2 years, 5 years, 10 years….I don’t think we can rule out a cat we spent a lot of time with completely forgetting us!
What Do Cats Think When Their Owners Leave Them?
It’s hard to say exactly what cats think when their owners leave them, but we can make some educated guesses.
First of all, it’s important to remember that cats are very independent animals.
They’re not (all) like dogs who form strong bonds with their owners and depend on them daily – which causes dogs to get anxious and depressed when their owners leave.
Cats are more likely to miss their routine and the comforts of home when their owners are gone.
But ultimately, I think each cat reacts differently to their owner leaving them.
Some cats are great at hiding it if they do miss their owners, let’s put it that way. While others will get very upset, pace around, stop taking care of themselves, and so on.
I know wherever I went away for at least two weeks my cats would look a little scruffy when I returned, they were not eating as much, and my pet sitters said they were moody.
It’s nice to know that I’m missed, of course, and it validates what I believe, that some cats really do miss their owners – and recognize them when they return!
To sum it all up, cats have great memories and are able to remember us, how they feel around us, and ultimately most cats miss us when we’re gone.
Each cat reacts differently to their owner leaving them, but don’t worry, it’s still likely that your cat will remember you – even if you’re gone for a year!
Do you have a story about leaving your cat for a long period of time and returning to find that they remembered you (or not)?
I’d love to hear about it, as I’m sure the rest of the community would. Please feel free to share your story in the comments.
Image credits – Photo by Leighann Blackwood on Unsplash