Social Question

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

How long does it take for a cat to forget people/places?

Asked by ANef_is_Enuf (26839points) July 9th, 2011

My aunt was watching my cat for me (long story), and it was only supposed to be for a week or two. It has been almost a month, because I wasn’t able to get ahold of her. I didn’t want to harass her, since I know she was in the process of moving and working a night shifts, but she did finally get back to me.
She said that she can’t catch the cat… that he runs like a feral animal the second she walks into the room. He has always been skittish (we’ve had him for 6 years, since he was a kitten), but that is extreme even for him. I’m assuming that being taken out of his environment was just too much stress.

So… now my cat has been away from home for a month. Catching him is going to be even more traumatic, because he is already freaked out and that will just be another event on top of it. Is he going to remember us? Will he remember the other two cats? Is he going to know that this is “home” or will it be like bringing a brand new cat into the house for the first time?

I am so worried that he isn’t going to adjust, or that he will have forgotten that this is his home. All three cats have always gotten along beautifully, they are a little family, but will that be ruined now?

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13 Answers

Mariah's avatar

Aw, I can’t tell you for sure in your situation as my cats have never been away from home except to go to the vet, but I can tell you that my cat remembered me when I came home from college after two months.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I am really afraid that he is not going to know that he’s home. :\

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@ANef_is_Enuf If you have not moved and there is still some of his “toys”, it will be old home week when he is back in his “old stomping ground”.
He should remember smells and sights.

marinelife's avatar

He is very likely to come into a room where you are sitting. Just sit quietly and talk in your normal voice. he will come out.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

He will smell like your aunt’s home and that might cause a little problem with the other cats.
Both times I took my cat,Bill to the groomer,my other cat,Gremily, was not happy with him when we brought him home.They normally get along well.
They made up the same day,but the intial reaction wasn’t pretty.
I am sure your cat will remember its home.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille I was thinking that, too. I have pet wipes, do you think that will help if I wipe him down good before I bring him home? Or is that unlikely?

Mariah's avatar

I would imagine he’ll smell himself all over your house, which will make him comfortable.
If he had any particular hangout spots, like a blanket he used to curl up on a lot, I’d make sure to reintroduce him to that.

Coloma's avatar

Poor guy, yes, cats are very much creatures of habit and do not like change.
I have had a few over the years that adjusted easier than others during moves, and a few that were traumatized for a long, long time.

I’m sure he/she will remember you, your voice, familiar words. I’d do as @marinelife said, just sit quietly and maybe talk to him as you used to. A can of Tuna on standby wouldn’t hurt either. Good luck!

Seelix's avatar

I’m sure he’ll remember you and his kitty brethren. He’ll remember the sights and smells, like others have said. Also, like @lucillelucillelucille said, his fellow kitties might be unhappy when he initially rejoins the family. I’d suggest you give him lots of love and hugs after you’ve taken him from your aunt’s place but before you’ve reintroduced him to the others – maybe put them in a different part of the house for a few hours right after you bring him home. That’ll give him a chance to pick up familiar smells again – like you, your hubby and the kids, too, if they’re around.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

As others have said, he’ll probably pick up traces of his leftover scent once he gets home and he’ll remember the scents of the other cats. Hopefully, the other cats will recognize his underlying scent and not take offense to the other scents mingled in. He’ll likely also remember the scents of you and your family, so I don’t think it should be too traumatizing. Hope all goes well!

tinyfaery's avatar

You will need to do reintroductions. Here is the chance to retrain your cat to integrate into your household. PM me for advice, if you want.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

@ANef_is_Enuf – I think I’d wipe them all down with the petwipes,so they mell the same.
You can also keep him in a room alone for a bit and the other 2 cats will get used to his scent.

ratboy's avatar

A cat lady told me that cats can remember for about six weeks.

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