A cat’s memory can last as long as 16 hours compared to a dog’s memory, which typically lasts no more than 5 minutes, according to research at the University of Michigan. What’s more, researchers at Tufts University found the structure of cat brains to be similar to humans. Cats have the same lobes in the cerebral cortex (the “seat” of intelligence) as humans. Cat owners aren’t surprised. They’ll tell you their cats remind them when it’s mealtime, are able to open doors, and use body language to communicate. And yes, some cats are still perturbed (hours later) for something like being shooed off the sofa.
How does memory affect a pet’s behavior?
Veterinarians and animal behavior specialists agree there is a great deal we don’t yet know or understand about our pets’ abilities to remember. But many owners say their cats have good memories, and insist cats are especially skilled at remembering events related to pain or pleasure.
A visitor, for instance, who routinely gives the pet a treat or kind attention may be associated with something pleasant. On the other hand, a cat’s carrier may be associated with confinement, a trip in the car, or visit to the veterinarian. A cat’s reactions and changes in behaviors in these kind of situations can also reveal underlying problems.
Strange behaviors are just normal for cats, aren’t they?
It’s true, our feline friends have a reputation for being independent, moody and finicky. This generalization leads many cat owners to just accept unwanted behaviors, such as withdrawal, litter box avoidance, aggression or urine marking. They may believe these are just ‘cat quirks,’ or think their cat is being spiteful.
“Many cat owners don’t know unwanted behaviors can be signs of an anxiety disorder, and their pet may be suffering unnecessarily,” said Heidi Lobprise, DVM, Virbac. “If treatment for anxiety is delayed, the constant stress can lead to aggression, as well as an increased risk of skin conditions, weakened immune functions, digestive issues, even heart disease.”
Are anxiety disorders in pets a rare condition?
You may be surprised to learn how many cats (and their owners) are suffering through anxiety-related behavior problems. Nearly 60 percent of pet owners say they have one pet that experiences anxiety; and 40 percent say they have more than one pet with anxiety problems.1
What if my cat has an anxiety disorder?
Always start with appropriate training methods to change unwanted behaviors. Additionally, veterinarians now have new ways to help with anxiety disorders in pets. Therapeutic options include ANXITANE® (L-Theanine) Chewable Tablets, a nutritional supplement proven to reduce anxiety in pets with few side effects.2 Given daily along with appropriate behavior training, ANXITANE Tablets help to keep cats and dogs calm so they can learn new behaviors.