Do Cats Remember?

I’ve been cat sitting Otis for about a month now. Although we’ve known each other for 5 years, I am still cautious each and every day because the 5 years have not had us interacting regularly like we have been for the last month. Today my daughter wondered whether he remembers her which prompted a google search from me because I really couldn’t answer.

According to the first 5 or so google answers, cats have a better memory than dogs so I don’t think my daughter has anything to worry about. Not only that, I learned (probably should have been common sense, just like raising kids) that negative events and behaviors are not something they forget. So for Otis, the horrible things that happen to him when he is put inside his carrier (vet visits, shots, airplane rides) are ever present whenever he sees that we are getting ready to put him in there. I wonder what would happen if we purchased a brand new carrier and began to take him on outings that resulted in pleasantry whether that would minimize the horrendous reactions he has to the current carrier.

I have been observing his behavior closely. Yesterday I was vacuuming and noticed that unlike my own home, my daughter’s house has no evidence of geckos. There are no droppings anywhere which is mind boggling considering the tropical location we live in is just what they like. My own home has plenty of droppings every day which I struggle to keep on top of. As if he read my mind, I saw Otis jump from a chair so quickly I thought he had spotted a bird outside the window. Instead I saw his focus narrow on a spot on the floor. He stealthily inched his way forward and POW, his soft furry paw landed on a tiny gecko. I honestly had no idea what to do. Geckos are not in extinction and to interrupt his hunting might have made me a victim of his nails so I stayed where I was.

Otis was not successful in his first attempt, the gecko kept moving…but eventually, the gecko stopped moving. I was unsure what would happen next. Would he eat his prey or simply leave it behind for the ants to come get it? I left the room, to answer a phone call. When I returned, Otis was chewing. I worried about the effect of gecko eating on him but decided that he must be doing it regularly judging by the lack of gecko droppings in the house. He later drank some water and today his litter box looks like normal. Since I am not a vegetarian, I cannot judge Otis. At least he did not bring me the trophy like the cat of a friend of mine does with mice, not always dead ones!

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