How much do cats and dogs remember?

August 21st, 2017

We all know our pets are something special and can even remember their name, a number of tricks and where there food and water bowl are located. But just how good are our pet’s memories? Petplan will take a look at how much our cats and dogs remember on a day to day basis…

Dog memories

Research has shown that a pet’s memory directly relates to how useful these memories are to whether or not they remember them. This is mostly seen with homeless dogs and cats that have to scavenge in order to survive.

When food and survival is involved, especially with dogs, they tend to have excellent working memories. This means that their short term memory is quite exceptional. They tend to use this in situations where they can see someone throwing food away in to the trash; they will then come back later to look for that food in order to survive.

A dog’s long term memory is also quite good; however this can only really be measured in the way that they remember tricks and their name. A recent study in 2016 showed that overall, dogs can remember a simple imitation task if they are asked to repeat the action within an hour after learning it – although their performance declined the longer they waited.

Cat Memories

Very similar to the way dogs remember things, cats remember best when it comes to food and survival. This means they have a very good short term working memory that can encode details regarding ‘what’ and ‘where’ for short periods of time.

Along with short term memory, cats seem to have an increased spatial memory that allows them to know which areas they have already hunted for food and where to find prey. In saying this though, a feline’s memory begins to fade as they get older and are not very strong when food is not linked to the situation.

For most pets, it seems that their memory is directly linked to the context. Both cats and dogs have a great working memory when it comes to food or they need to rely on it to survive. Their memory can also be linked to the human bond they share with their owner. This means that if their owner goes away for a long time, the stronger the connection they had, the more likely they are to remember them when they reunite again.

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