Cats and long-term memories

Cats and their capacity for remembering is not exactly considered to be a “base kitty trait”, one that is overshadowed by the cat’s other known attributes.

From being able to see in the dark, their incredible agility and their superior balance, the cat’s capacity to remember and recall is heralded to be something else, but is not exactly a trait that’s associated with furry felines.
That distinction has been awarded to another mammal, the elephant.

However, cats and long-term memories do have a relationship, but it is one that is based on what a cat does, not exactly on what a cat sees.

The 1985 Stephen King classic Cat’s Eye, starring a very young Drew Barrymore, delved into the area of a cat’s memory retention abilities, telling the story of a stray cat who would get into short story plots rooted on the suspense and horror genre. With three short stories told from the point of view of a cat, the movie was quite unique, something which can only expected from a master storyteller like Stephen King.

But if the story’s premise were to be matched with the studies and experiments of Kier Pearson and David McVea of the Department of Physiology, University of Alberta, Canada, it would have plot holes.

As the results of the researchers’ study would reveal, cats are more inclined to remember things through movement and not through the things that they see, making the movie’s overall context out of place or misinterpreted.

In the study, a two-part series of tests were imposed on cats, with the two touching up on a cat’s ability to “remember” walkpaths. Essentially testing a cat’s capacity to remember by sight and capacity to remember through movement, the overall results note that a cat is more inclined to store information based on the things they do, with their visual-related memories not as sharp.

Noted to keep short term memories based on movement for longer durations, the study has proven to become valuable to cat owners everywhere, opening a window in better understanding how cats can remember things.

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