Skip to Content

Do Cats Remember Being Abandoned?

Do Cats Remember Being Abandoned?

Sharing is caring!

The abandonment of cats is sadly a common issue today. It breaks my heart to witness how so many individuals willingly leave their feline companions on the street, without making any effort to secure them a new home. 

These abandoned fluffs are forced to fend for themselves until someone adopts them or submits them to a local shelter. 

Fortunately, for every heartless person willing to abandon their cats, there are numerous kind-hearted individuals who are more than willing to provide these animals with a warm and loving home.

However, an interesting question arises: Do these felines remember being abandoned? Do they ever get over it? Let’s explore this together!

The Power Of Feline Memory

cat looking up

Before we embark on a journey of determining whether cats remember being abandoned or not, we first have to say a word or two about their amazing memory.

Much like us, our feline friends have both short and long-term memories.

Short-term memory deals with remembering the most immediate events. For cats, that refers to daily problem-solving, like obtaining food. 

For example, your indoor fluff knows the exact spot where you constantly serve her meals, while her outdoor counterpart remembers the last place she was the luckiest while hunting prey.

This type of memory, often called working memory, can retain information acquired up to 16 hours before encountering a new “problem.”

cat sitting by food bowl

When it comes to their long-term memory, it might come as a surprise that cats can remember specific events for up to 10 years. 

This type of memory is highly associative, as cats link people and situations to either positive or negative experiences.

For instance, if you have a close friend who once stepped on your cat’s tail, your kitty will definitely remember her – but she won’t be her biggest fan. 

angry cat leaning on table

Feline long-term memory usually stems from their past, oftentimes dating back as far as kittenhood. The stronger their emotional response to a certain event was, the stronger their memory would be. 

Do Cats Remember Being Abandoned?

It’s hard to provide a definite answer to this question due to the individualistic nature of every feline. 

Newborn kittens left alone long before being able to form bonds with their owners, may not recall being abandoned as they grow up.

However, cats who have established strong bonds with their owners are likely to remember being abandoned. 

cat outdoors

For most adult cats, abandonment is a traumatic experience. It usually leaves them confused, lonely, anxious, and depressed. It can also manifest physically and lead to malnutrition and severe weight loss

Does An Abandoned Cat Ever Get Over Her Ex-Owner?

For cats, abandonment can be devastating – just like heartbreak! It’s often difficult for them to simply “move on” and “find someone new” because they still very much love and miss their previous owners. 

It’s not uncommon for them to spend a year or more, stuck in the same place, waiting for their owner to return

black and white cat outside

However, if an abandoned cat finds a new home where she’s loved and appreciated, then over time her heart will heal. She’ll begin associating her new human with positive experiences and soon have an abundance of new memories.

Sure, adjusting to the new environment and building trust may take time, but it’s an inevitable process.

Does An Abandoned Cat Know When She’s Rescued?

woman holding a cat

If you’re a proud parent of a shelter fluff, then you’ve probably wondered, “Does my kitty know I rescued her?”

The answer is a resounding “Yes!” It’s hard not to realize you were rescued when you exchanged a cold life on the street or in a shelter for a warm and loving home, right?

Many cat parents wonder if their feline companions also feel grateful for being rescued. 

I think this one goes without saying. Every feline is grateful for getting a second chance at love. These fluffs are usually extremely affectionate and very expressive in showing their gratitude. 

cat leaning its head on man's head

If you want to make sure your cat loves you and appreciates your care, there are certain signs to look for, such as:

• Purring


• Headbutting

• Slow blinking

• Gift Giving 

Showing belly area

As mentioned above, with previously abandoned felines time is of great importance. It may take a while before your kitty shows any of these signs. However, with enough patience and love, everything is pawssible. 

READ NEXT: How Long Does A Cat Hold A Grudge? How’s Your Cat’s Memory?

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *