Yahoo News Item on Cat Memories

http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/20070820/sc_livescience/felinememoriesfoundtobefleeting

1.) My cats have damned fine memories. Especially about when they’re to be fed, and how to get where you don’t want them

2.) Whoever put this together should be shot for that picture of the cat in the cowboy hat.

My Siamese girl can remember a grudge for days. Sometimes weeks. She’s the smartest cat I’ve ever known, and she can figure things out. The other two cats who allow us humans to live in their home are pretty damn dumb. The male can remember things for longer than 10 minutes. The dumb female is all “I’m gonna pounce on…ooooooh, SHINY”, and I doubt that she can remember anything for longer than 10 seconds.

The article uses the word “tabbies” as a synonym for “housecats”. Tabby is a coat pattern, and not all cats are tabbies.

Obligatory link to a Two Lumps webcomic.

I had a pretty smart calico, but she never got the message that she was supposed to shun me for a while after I had been away for months at college. I mean, she’d try for a few hours, but by no later than 6 AM the next morning she’d be trying to dig under my door again until I got up and let her in.

I miss that cat.

My cat Whitey once saw a gecko on the ceiling of our laundry room. Until the day he died, years later, he’d give the ceiling of that room a thorough check whenever he went in there.

However, my mother has a cat that is terrified of strange people. After a few days, she’ll warm up and be quite friendly, but if you go away for more than a couple of hours and come back, she’ll freak, because she’s forgotten you.

We have a gray cat named Hobbes, and we had him for about six years before we adopted (my cat BFF) a chubby, b&w kitty named Bella. She taught Hobbes to knock over the garbage can, and he taught her to open the door with a paw. It’s adorable, they look like little humans doing it. And I also read that they learn from imitating so maybe it’s why.

We suspected we had mice in our attic at one time, and I got the stepladder out, opened the ceiling hatch and looked around with the flashlight to see if I could see any. Our Tabby* climbed the ladder, jumped up into the attic, and came back with a mouse (she was a good mouser, and regularly left gruesome little field mouse heads on the back steps). After that, any time I got the stepladder or extension ladder out, she would follow me around expectantly until I set it up and then shoot up to the top looking for more yummy mouse snacks.

She would also use the extension ladder to climb up to the roof of our two-story house if I had it set up, rather than her normal route via the tree at one corner. Not to come down, though - although she had no problem with descending the ladder normally (backing slowly down), her preferred method of getting off the roof, regardless of how she got up, was to hang over the eaves by the back balcony and cry until someone came to get her.

  • Hey, our 5-year-old daughter named her (well, her mother helped). I also confess that my family had a cat named The Cat (TC for short) when I was growing up. I’m surrounded by cat-name-challenged people. MY first on-my-own cat was named Princess Alexandra of Denmark, so don’t blame it on me.

Wow, that sounds like a really dumb experiment. I wonder how big of a grant they got for that?

Meet Furball Number Three, so named because she’s a ball of fur and we had two cats already when she moved in. The other two aren’t much better as their names are Neko (cat) and Shimi (spot).

What they really needed to test was a person on all fours being interrupted like that. I know I’ve walked by curbs and other small objects, been distracted by somebody for a few moments, then turned and stumbled over the object that I knew was there but had forgotten about. I don’t think the experiment as described has much value.

I’ve often commented that a cat who heard a treat bag or a can opener once in utero will forever remember the sound and meow incessantly when they hear something resembling it, and yet they can’t seem to remember what they had for dinner (cat food, btw).

My troublemaker is good at remembering he’s not supposed to get up on the counters…or at least, that he’s not supposed to get caught.

Cat memories are a helluva lot more complicated than indicated in this article. I kicked a cat out of my bedroom once, while he was mid-stalk a fly or bug or something, and I think he spent the entire night staring at my bedroom door - he flew in in the morning, looking for his bug.

My husband’s cat is crazy for hairball meds that come in a tube - we recently learned that she associates me holding ANY tube with hairball meds (from the running up, yowling for a dose). There is obviously some form of memory involved in that.

Cats have selective memories.

They can remember that they once saw a lizard in the east corner of the bedroom years ago and constantly check to see if it’s there however they can’t remember other things like moving their head away from the food dish so I don’t dump the food on their heads which happens at least twice a day, every day.

Lynn - My siamese Papi held a grudge for a year after I took her to the vet to have her spay stitches out. She was so unctrollable for them, as a six-month kitten, that it took two vets and the teck to hold her. She tore around the exam room pooping everywhere. Fortunately, the vet was more upset with his techs than he was with Papi, just saying, “that poor cat is terrified.” But for the next year she gave me the cold shoulder, rarely coming to sit on my lap. I haven’t taken her back, even for her shots, because it was so traumatic. She’s an indoor kitty and I’m hoping for the best. I probably should get a tranqualizer for her and take her in.

Also, my sister’s cat has held a grudge for at least 6 years. I brought a kitten in her house for a couple hours and she was really mad. Ever since then, although I used to be one of her favorite people, she’ll hiss at me. Even when she hadn’t seen me for two years because my sister moved away, she still remembered to be mad.

StG

Don’t tell my Russian Blue girl Gracie that cats don’t have memories. She likes to play a game with the laser pointer–I shine it on the door and move it around, and she likes to jump up and chase it. She is addicted to this game. We call it “Red Bug.” Every time I walk by that door, Gracie perks up, her tail starts to quiver, and she yells at me and follows me around until I either get too far away from the door or else give in and play with her (which I almost always do, because she’s cute as heck when she does it and I can’t resist). If her memory only lasts a short time, why does she do this every single time I walk past the door?

Does the name Pavlov ring a bell?

You rang? What? Why did I come to this thread?

Well, maybe they enjoy having food dumped on their heads!

Perhaps I’m missing something, but this:

…doesn’t seem to demonstrate what they think it does. If the cats were stopped from going over the hurdle initially, then the hurdle was removed and the cat continued as if the hurdle were never there…maybe it’s just because they noticed there was nothing there, and that it has nothing at all to do with memory?