My cat has an unusual memory

My cat Leahroy - Our cat Leahroy, she is...cute eh?
United States
December 3, 2006 10:36pm CST
We have a cat (image below) her name is Leahroy. She had a pet betafish that she watched over and played with though his bowl. She would sleep next to him at night and watch while he was fed and ate. One day William the betafish died. He has been dead for over a month. But our cat still sits and meows for that fish. She watches the bowl intently for him to come out of his stone cave. My question is ...don't cats only have a 72 hour memory? How can she still remember this fish after so long? Even considering routine, shouldn't she have moved on by now? Is my cat strange?
2 people like this
19 responses
• Austria
4 Dec 06
Cats are like that. they can remember very well. My two cats Carlo and Michelles have wonderful memories. They can recognize well my friends. And they select food brands! really! they dont eat brands that they do not like.
2 people like this
• United States
5 Dec 06
My cat won't eat anything but purina kitten chow! I don't know what i'm going to do when she gets older..things to ponder ...
@melanie652 (2525)
• United States
4 Dec 06
No, cats have a much longer memory and are smarter than we give them credit for sometimes. I don't think she's strange. It sounds like she's mourning for her little friend. That's another misconception, some people don't think animals have feelings! Did you take everything out of the bowl and show her that he is gone? I would if you haven't. Have you considered getting another fish? I think that would help her.
2 people like this
@sedel1027 (17850)
• United States
4 Dec 06
I have never heard of cats having a time limit on their memeory. I have heard that about fish (I don't think that is really true though). I think cats have an excellent memory. For example, my fiance has a cat that is 13 years old and lives at his moms house. He may see his cat every 6 months and the cat remembers him.
2 people like this
• United States
5 Dec 06
Wow! 13 years old? I bet he is well loved:) I've heard the same about fish, like goldfish only have a 3 second memory. I don't see how that's possible. But..who knows! Thanks for the response.
@ChewySpree (1832)
• United States
4 Dec 06
Oh, that is such a sweet story, thank you for sharing it. I don't know, I would think cats remember for longer periods than 72 hours, especially if it's something they have been used to for awhile. Otherwise, my cats wouldn't remember me when I come home from a week long trip.
2 people like this
• United States
5 Dec 06
Leahroy - Fish loving Kitty
ha..you are right! We also go on trips and she remembers us, I always thought it was because of our scent all over the house. I have finally (duh) looked it up, it seems cats have short and long term memory. Just like us!
• Singapore
7 May 07
How strange. I thought cats love fish. Might it not be that your cat was intending to feed it real fat for 6 months before eating it? That your cat is now sorrowing for her own loss?
1 person likes this
• United States
8 May 07
It is certainly possible. We got her a new Beta fish, a blue one. She was not happy with this change, she killed her new fishy as soon as our backs were turned. Silly cat.
• United States
5 Dec 06
Animals are intricate creatures. LOL I love your story. I do believe that cats and other animals grieve in ways we don't understand. I also don't believe that anyone can say for certain how long a memory lasts in an animal. Just as in humans, memory is measured on an individual basis. I know my pets have memories from back when they were younger. Our indoor cat, Bella, has a kitten that she meows for everynight after the lights go out. She searches the whole house for this kitten. It is sweet, because it wasn't "her" kitten, but she loved it as though it was.
1 person likes this
• United States
5 Dec 06
Crud...sorry about that, the post wouldn't post so I hit the button again, and it triple posted. I hate it when it does that.
1 person likes this
• United States
5 Dec 06
I looked it up. Here is a small exerpt of what I found. "Cats, like people, have short-term and long-term memory functions. Having short and long term memory is the reason cats can remember where the litter box is when it has just been moved it (short-term memory) but can also remember things learned years before, like what the litter box is for (long-term memory)."I hope it helps. Maybe you should get a new fish?
@not4me (1711)
• United States
5 Dec 06
My cat remembers a dog bite she had on her back over a year ago. We know because we tried to introduce a dog to the family last week and we couldn't touch her where her old injury was. She would hiss and her hair would stand up. Now that the dog is gone she is fine. I've never heard of the 72-hour rule before but I don't think that's true. Are you going to get another fish for her?
• United States
5 Dec 06
aww..poor kitty. Yes we are going to get her another red Beta. A fish for a cat for christmas! haha
• Romania
4 Dec 06
maybe they were friends :P
• United States
5 Dec 06
Yup, in some odd cross species way eh?
• United States
4 Dec 06
Awww. How sad and sweet. I do think cats remember for much longer than 72 hours though. Is it possible to get her a new friend?
• United States
5 Dec 06
Yes, I'm going to get another red beta, hopefully that will make her feel better.:) Thank you:)
@maevic (821)
• Bahrain
7 May 07
That's so sweet but I'm sorry about the fish. But it's very unsual for a pet to have a pet on their own. hehehe. When we adopted my cat, we thought that she will get bored because she would usually stay inside the house while me and my husband is at work. We decided to adopt another cat (so she would have her own pet, haha). I don't think my cat can do that...having a fisg friend? how? anyways, I cannot trust her with that. Everytime we bring her to my sister's house, she would stay on the top of the washing machine and watch the bird (my niece's pet)...I think she wants to eat the bird not as a pet.
@BeachBaby (815)
• United States
9 Dec 06
So sweet, animals have good memories to amazing or not they do, and mabey this cat was attatched in a way we will never understand but it sounds so adorable....
@BunGirl (2639)
• United States
5 Dec 06
I believe the 72 hour memory thing only applies to isolated incidents. This fish was a constant part of your cat's life for a long time and she will likely mourn him for a suitable period and then eventually move on.
@Jshean20 (14359)
• Canada
5 Dec 06
Your cat is not strange at all, it sounds like that fish was her friend actually (as unusal as it might sound). It's been known that when cats lose their companion (another fellow cat or even a dog) they can go into a state of anxiety and depression, sometimes they even have to be medicated. I would say that it's rare that a cat would miss a fish, but certainly not impossible.
• United States
5 Dec 06
Animals are intricate creatures. LOL I love your story. I do believe that cats and other animals grieve in ways we don't understand. I also don't believe that anyone can say for certain how long a memory lasts in an animal. Just as in humans, memory is measured on an individual basis. I know my pets have memories from back when they were younger. Our indoor cat, Bella, has a kitten that she meows for everynight after the lights go out. She searches the whole house for this kitten. It is sweet, because it wasn't "her" kitten, but she loved it as though it was.
• United States
5 Dec 06
Animals are intricate creatures. LOL I love your story. I do believe that cats and other animals grieve in ways we don't understand. I also don't believe that anyone can say for certain how long a memory lasts in an animal. Just as in humans, memory is measured on an individual basis. I know my pets have memories from back when they were younger. Our indoor cat, Bella, has a kitten that she meows for everynight after the lights go out. She searches the whole house for this kitten. It is sweet, because it wasn't "her" kitten, but she loved it as though it was.
@clownfish (3274)
• United States
5 Dec 06
Hi! Oh, that is very sweet. My cat has never tried to get to any of the fish I've had. He's pretty much not interested. I don't think it's true that cats have a 72 hour memory, I think they can remember things just like we can. Your cat isn't strange, animals can build friendships even though we think they might not, even with animals with think they might not get along with. :-)
• United States
5 Dec 06
we live in a duplex with my grandmother and our sat lives out side he knows with door is our door he also can open doors so no your cat is just a cat but cute story
@deedles88 (297)
• Australia
5 Dec 06
Cats have longer memories then that. We adopted our kitty, Meg, because she was abandoned. We had her for a while, then we went on a trip for my birthday. She was so distressed with us gone. I think your cat just misses the fish, to the cat, the fish was 'routine' and she liked that. Maybe you should get another fish?