How Long Do Cats Remember Other Cats?

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Image addressing the topic of a cat's memory.

Whether in the wild or in your living room, it’s true that cats remember other cats. But, it’s natural to wonder just how long do cats remember other cats.

The answer isn’t a simple one, but when you discover more about the feline mind, it will help you to understand just how long do cats remember other cats—and even you. Here’s what you need to know.

Scent Greatly Helps Cats To Remember Things

Cats are astounding beings that continue to impress us on a daily basis. And, just as with humans, cats associate memory primarily with their sense of smell. We all know that smells are a massive deal to cats, and this goes for smells in their home, especially when it comes to other cats in their home.

Your cats rely heavily on their twitchy whiskered sniffers to remember things. And even if they’ve spent a significant time apart from a smell that they’ve locked into their core memory, they will remember it the next time they smell it again. This goes especially for people and pets that cats have cohabitated with.

So, if your cat even goes as far as to lick you, it’s because they want to get a taste of what they’re smelling. This helps them to remember you even better.

How Long Do Cats Remember Things in General?

While it’s been suggested that your cat’s short-term memory isn’t too great, it is a well-known scientific discovery that cats have better memories than dogs. When it comes to your cat’s short-term memory, scientists suggest that cats have the ability to remember things for up to ten minutes once they experience them.

But, just as cats are individuals by nature, the amount they can remember will be based solely on that cat’s specific brain and life experiences. But, know that even if you think that your cat is clever, the truth is, they are likely even more intelligent than you can imagine.

Your cat’s short-term memory, which is also referred to as their working memory, is what helps them to quickly problem solve in their daily lives. Cats can remember when things occur at certain times.

So, if you get your cat in the habit of having breakfast at 6 AM on the weekdays, do not expect them to allow you to sleep in and not serve them breakfast on time on the weekends.

A Cat’s Memories Are Strongest From the Times They Were Young

Image of two kittens playing together.

While cats can remember people who they’ve created lasting memories with, it’s been suggested that cats’ memories of other cats are even stronger.

The way in which cats choose their favorite people often boils down to who they bonded with most strongly in the times that they were young. And while cats can remember people who they’ve created lasting memories with, it’s been suggested that cats’ memories of other cats are even stronger.

Cats can form close bonds with other cats in their homes, and they will remember those cats for the remainder of their lives, which you can see if the cats are reintroduced again at some point.

Can Cats Remember Cats They Were Friends With?

As mentioned above, cats can make “friends” with other cats. says that it can take a cat anywhere from eight to twelve months to develop a strong bond with other cats they are introduced to.

And, of course, bonds can be formed much sooner between cats, but it can also take a lot longer and that’s okay, too. However, bonds between cats should never be rushed. You must always be patient, and even the friendliest of cats might need extra time getting used to the fact that there is another cat living in their home now.

But, even the rockiest of beginnings for cats can still result in a beautiful bond once boundaries are set and communication is clear between the two cats. And, the top cat in the home will be quick to display dominance towards the new cat so that they can know where they stand.

Can Cats Remember Cats They’re Enemies With?

Image of two cats engaged in a playful or mock fight.

Just as cats can easily remember other cats which makes them feel warm and happy inside, they can definitely remember cats that they despise, too.

Just as cats can easily remember other cats who make them feel warm and fuzzy inside, they can definitely remember cats that they despise, too. And so much so, one sniff or sight of this cat which they hate can send the hair flying—literally.

This is especially true when it comes to ferals and strays that live life out on the streets. Your housecat has a much smaller territory since they’re confined to their homes, but for street cats, their territory is much larger and something they take very seriously.

Should they encounter another cat that they’ve become enemies with, even though cats are naturally non-confrontational, they will be quick to react when they catch sight or a whiff of this cat that they hate.

If you’re wondering whether or not it’s a good idea to get a second cat, we have some expert advice for you to help you to decide what is best. Read about it here on

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2 thoughts on “How Long Do Cats Remember Other Cats?”

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  1. Lisa

    Our cat went missing for 8 months. We never gave up and finally found him, about 30 Mike’s from home. He knew us and we brought him home, but he hisses at the other cats, who he had a close bond with. Will he ever get his relationship with them again? The one he was closest with, seemed confused when he tried to greet him, and got hissed at.

    1. small mallory photoMallory Crusta

      First off, it’s amazing that you were reunited with your cat after all that time. Great story. It’s an interesting question, and I wonder why he recognizes the humans more than the other cats. However, I think that over time, he will warm up to his old friends again. You may want to reintroduce them gradually, though, to help them establish a friendly relationship. Keeping them in separate rooms, making sure that they have all of their own resources, and not pushing them to interact more than they’d like to, will all help.