If you’re going away on vacation, you’ll usually get someone to come and look after your cat (or dog) or take them to the kennels for a few weeks.
Although this is normal, it can worry some pet parents because they might feel that their pet will feel abandoned or will forget about them while they’re gone.
Don’t worry too much though, cats are incredibly intelligent and have an excellent capacity for memory due to their amazing eyesight, hearing, and sense of smell.
Although cats don’t show emotions like dogs and are pretty self-sufficient, they will remember you whether you go away for 2 weeks or a full year.
When you return, they will associate your smell and voice with the food and cuddles you provided and won’t hold your absence against you.
Will My Cat Forget About Me If I Go On Vacation?
Cats are less emotional than dogs when it comes to people. Because dogs are pack animals, they bond with their humans and will immediately miss them when they leave.
They associate your smell and voice with positivity and comfort and may even become anxious when you leave them alone for too long.
Now, cats are more solitary animals, their ancestors rarely lived in packs, so they might not care as much.
But, cats have excellent long-term memory, and if they lived with you for a significant amount of time, even if you leave for a year or two, when you come back, they will know who you are.
How Long Will My Cat Remember Me For?
How good your cat or dog’s memory is is a widely debated subject, and there are a few different factors that determine this:
The connection you have with your cat will give you an idea of the memory span. Cats are very strong-willed, and if they want to remember you, they often will.
The greater your bond is with your cat, the longer they’ll remember you for. This relationship is created through cuddles and playing.
Surprisingly, just feeding your cat and spending no other time with them won’t actually help them to remember you.
Cats, despite their personalities, do enjoy the closeness, and offering only food won’t help you to develop a long-lasting friendship.
Cats have been known to recognize their owners after years apart, though you’re more likely to be shunned by them for ditching them than receive a warm welcome like you would with a dog.
According to VetsNow, the average lifespan of a purebred cat is around 12.5 years old, whereas crossbreeds tend to live an average of 14 years.
During this time, they’re likely to have excellent memory recall, meaning they will probably remember you when you go away.
However, this is just the average lifespan. Cats could live up to 20 years old. Just like people though, when they’re hitting their more mature years (over the age of 14), their memory will lessen.
As your cat gets older, you may find that you’re not quite getting the reception at the door that you used to.
This is entirely normal but can be upsetting if you’re used to a welcome party at the door each day.
Does My Cat Recognize Me?
The answer is yes. Because of the close bond that’s formed between humans and their pets, your cat will learn to recognize you as a member of their family. They know your smell, your voice, and even your mannerisms.
Like any other cat in its territory, your cat must learn to differentiate you from the other humans around you. This is because they’re quite solitary and territorial and need to know who’s in their house at all times.
Studies show that cats can tell the difference between male and female humans fairly easily due to the differences in hormones so they’ll understand the differences between each person in your home.
They can also sense emotions in people. You’ll know immediately if your house guests aren’t cat people because your cat will actively avoid them.
The nervousness that they feel around cats means that your cat will stay away – they feel exactly the same way.
This sense about people means that they’ll easily be able to identify you from the guests in your house, as you’ll feel most comfortable and relaxed around them.
How Does A Cat Remember A Person?
Cats’ memory triggers are based mainly on smell, hearing, and sight. Cats actually have amazing eyesight, even in the dark, and can recognize you on sight alone if you tend to wear the same types of clothing.
Their keen hearing can also pick up changes in tone so they will be able to recognize a male voice and differentiate from a female or child.
Studies show that the average short-term memory for a cat is around 16 hours. That means that your cat will definitely remember you after your day at work, or even if you stay out overnight.
Their long-term memory varies depending on their age, but cats between the ages of 18 months and 12 years tend to be able to remember a person that they come into regular contact with, even if they haven’t seen them for over a year.
There are plenty of examples of cats being reunited with their owners after long periods of time and displaying behavior showing that they recognize them.
Your cat might not seem too bothered about you sometimes, but they definitely know that you’re their human.
Does My Cat Know How Long I’ve Been Gone?
Because a cat’s sense of smell and hearing is so much better than ours, they use their noses as a timer to determine how long we’ve been away and when they expect us to be back.
If your day tends to work on a steady schedule – you leave the house at 8 am and return around 6 pm, your cat may be sitting on the windowsill waiting for you.
That’s because we give off a distinctive smell that attaches to everything in the house when we’re around.
The scent slowly diminishes the longer we’ve been out of the house. If they expect us to be home for 6, they know exactly what the house will smell like at that time and will be ready and waiting when you walk through the door.
If you’ve been gone longer than that, they will wonder where you’ve gone, clearly indicating that they miss you when you step out of your ordinary schedule.
Will My Cat Miss Me While I’m Away?
Any pet will miss its owner while they’re away, but depending on what type of pet you have, this can be for several different reasons
Cats are more self-sufficient and don’t necessarily need you to be there all the time. But that doesn’t mean they don’t miss you when you’re not there for long periods.
Despite their independent nature, they still feel an attachment to you because they trust you. Living in the same house as a cat shows a kind of mutual respect.
The fact that you’re there makes them feel safe and comfortable with their surroundings.
They can become skittish and upset if they’re in a strange place with people they don’t know. They do miss you; they would just never admit it.
What About Dogs
To your dog, you’re the alpha of their pack, and without you, they might feel a little lost and unsure of themselves.
Anxiety in dogs is a common problem, especially if your dog is left home alone for long periods.
With dogs, it’s not just the company they crave – it’s actually you! They love you unconditionally and need you to be around, giving them reassurance and direction to make them happy.
What About Small Animals
Even smaller pets such as rabbits and guinea pigs can miss you to an extent. First and foremost, your voice is usually the signal for food, so when they can’t hear you, that might sound some alarm bells that the regular menu has disappeared.
Small animals are susceptible to people’s emotions too. If someone isn’t confident in handling them, they know and may become frightened and upset.
You, on the other hand, will be confident around them, meaning that they’re equally confident with you.
While, with small animals, it might not necessarily be you that they miss, they certainly miss the things that you specifically can do for them.