How to Know if a Kitten will Remember You

The answer to if a kitten will remember you:

A kitten will remember you because kittens recognize their owners by scent. If you handled your kitten often, it can recognize you.  

They use associative and selective memory to remember you, and associate you with food and shelter, because these are important aspects for their survival.

You have formed a close bond with your kitten, and so it can be wearisome to think that your pet will forget you if you leave the house for some time.

This article will tell you if a kitten will remember you, and what helps them recognize their owners.

Keep reading, to know how to gain your kitten’s trust back if it forgets you.

One month old kittens haven’t developed their full brain potential, but this does not mean they can’t have memories. Your kitten has more brainpower than you think.

Cats, in general, have an impressive capacity when it comes to memory retention. We all have heard stories of kittens who find their way back home after getting lost.

Such incidences prove that your furry friend is capable of forming memories. Even though there is not so much information regarding a kitten’s memory, we can find useful points by looking at the research so far.


Short Term and Long Term Memory

Your kitten’s short-term memory, also known as associative memory, spans about 16 hours, which is the equivalent of a 2 or 3-year-old human baby.

This is significant because a National Geographic study shows that most animals have an average of 25 seconds short-term memory.

They use their short-term memory every day to interact with their owners, other pets, and be aware of their surroundings.

Scientists have not yet established the exact timeframe of a kitten’s long-term memory because older kittens can remember past owners after not seeing them for a long time.

However, they have determined that cats have a selective memory. They will only remember something that is beneficial to them.  


Age and Past Interactions Affect its Memory

A lot of factors can affect your kitten’s ability to remember, and one of them is how close you are to your kitten. If you have lived with your furry friend for a considerable time, and handled them a lot, it will remember you when you come back from a long trip.

Another factor is age. Younger cats tend to have higher memory retention than old ones. That means a kitten can quickly recognize its owner faster, than a senior cat would.

If your kitten is a newborn, it is hard to tell what exactly they remember, but if you have been kind to them, it remembers your scent, and associates it with a good person.

If your newborn kitten forgets you, the connection can be reestablished by lots of gentle physical contact, food, and play that does not overwhelm its strength.

Spending enough time with your kitten can be enough to bring back the memories, or build new ones.

Older kittens already weaned have fully developed eyesight, and can recognize people. So, it is possible for your kitten to see you from a distance too far away to smell you, but still comes running to you.

It is thus safe to say, recognition from your little one is not something to worry about when you are going to be away for a while.

Even though some cat owners say their kittens don’t recognize them when they come back, it is a rare thing to happen.

Good memory is what makes a kitten rush to the door to welcome back a family member after a semester away at college.

Cats have associative memories. This means they remember by responding to external events and stimuli. Your kitten may not exactly remember the way you pet it, but it associates you with the sweet tuna and warm shelter you provide them with.  

Therefore, providing your kitten with these essential things makes you an unforgettable owner. Our furry friends remember only what is beneficial for them to survive.


Kittens Use Scent to Remember

Kittens rely on scent to recognize their owner. If your furry friend kneads on you, or rubs its cheeks against your legs, it’s their unique way of depositing its scent on you.

Kittens have scent glands located on their paw pads, lips, cheeks, forehead, and tails. These glands secrete pheromones that provide a lot of useful information to your kitten.

Among other numerous uses of scent communication, your kitty uses scent to identify its owner.

If you have spent a lot of time away from home, and are anxious if your pet will remember you, there is no need to worry so much about your change of appearance.

It is not precisely your face that your kitten remembers, but your scent.

Don’t be upset if your kitty shows a cold attitude towards you when you return. Remember that felines are attention seekers.

They may be upset that you left them for such a long time, and act like they haven’t noticed your return. If your pet is acting cold, give it some time, and it will eventually come to you.  

For some kittens though, they may act sweet upon their owner’s return, meowing loudly and curling their tail against the owner’s feet.


A Look Inside your Kitten’s Brain

The brain of your feline accounts for 0.9% of its body mass. In humans, the brain makes up to 2% of the body mass, and in dogs 1.2%.

Even though your furry friend’s brain is smaller than that of other species, your kitty is still intelligent, and we share some interesting similarities with our feline companions.

Your kitten’s brain is separated into different areas, and each of these parts performs a specialized task. All these areas are connected, and share the information which enables your cat to know more about its environment.

The cerebral cortex is the brain part responsible for your kitten’s memory. Your kitten’s ability to remember things shapes its ability to learn.  It also shapes its hunting and survival skills.

A lot of factors can affect your kitten’s memory. Diet has a direct bearing on your cat’s ability to remember and learn. That’s why its vital to give your cat the right kind of food to help shape its memory. We are going to see about that later.

Some kittens are just smart and can remember faster than others. But, even if your kitten is poor at remembering things, you can train it to perform certain tricks.

It then learns to associate you with these various tasks, and so it will be easier for them to remember you even if you have been away for a long time.


Kittens who Imprint on their Owners Miss Them

If you have been away for long, and your furry friend had imprinted on you, it will miss you. Remember, that your kitten views you as a mother figure, now that it is not living with its biological mother.

Feline imprinting is when your kitten bonds with you as the primary caregiver. Your kitten chooses you as its favorite person because of the positive experiences you expose it to. This could be feeding it its favorite treat, playing with it often, or massaging them.

When this happens, your kitten can remember you when you come back after weeks or months.


Kitten Remember Abuse

If your adopted kitten reacts negatively to certain scents or sights, it is not just being stubborn. Your feline companion may be dealing with the aftermath of abuse.

Physical abuse can leave emotional scars on our pets. Your kitten may run when seeing any man with a beard, or lash out at women who wear a certain perfume.

Your kitten associates these sights and smells with a past negative experience, which are  cemented on its memory.  

A traumatic past experience can make your kitty avoid something or someone. It remembers that thing or person caused it fear, and does not want to experience that again.  

Changing these behaviors in your kitten may be a long process. Talk to your vet if you suspect your kitten is a victim of abuse.


Your Role in your Kitten’s Brain Stimulation

Regardless of your kitten’s breed, the first 2 to 7 weeks are essential for building the foundation of their memories.

While still with their mother they memorize everything, from the warmth of the mom’s belly to the fighting techniques of their siblings.

Your kitten’s curios and playful nature helps them to create a wide base of memories early in life. They remember these experiences throughout their lifetime.  

Here are ways to boost your kitty’s memory:


1. Dietary supplements  

Ensure you give your kitten high-quality kitten food rich in Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids, Selenium, Vitamin C, and E. These ingredients prevent brain cell damage, and improve your kitten’s memory.

Check your pet food label to see if fish oil or fishmeal is one of the ingredients. It is appropriate to check with your vet before giving your kitten any type of supplement.

They will tell you the correct dosage depending on its age.


2. Natural stimulation

If you are not so comfortable giving your kitten dietary supplements, you can opt for natural ways to boost your kitten’s memory.

Train your kitten to learn to obey simple commands such as “greet.” Wherever you say the command, your pet should be able to reach out to you with its paw.

Making your kitten learn something new is a good way to boost their cognitive performance.

It’s also good to encourage your kitten to be active. A lazy cat prefers sleeping, and will not make any effort to use its brain.

Use sense-stimulating toys to entertain your kittens, such as food puzzles and hunting games. Social interaction is another nice way to boost your kitten’s memory.

You can also encourage it to make new feline friends for further mental stimulation. When your kitten plays with its new friends, it is likely to remember these experiences.

The same way when you play often with your kitten, this improves its chance of remembering you when you come back from a long trip.


Writer: Flora Ojow

flora ojow

Read about me