Do Cats Remember Their Siblings Or Owners After Being Seperated (2023)

Do cats remember their siblings or mothers after being separated early in life? What about their owners? Do they recognize their owners after being seperated? The short answer is that they do. Read on to learn more…

Table Of Contents

  1. Do Cats Remember Their Siblings Or Mother?
  2. How Long Will Cats Remember Their Siblings Or Mother For?
  3. When Should Kittens Be Separated From Their Mother?
  4. Do Cats Remember Their Owners?
  5. Do Cats Have Names For Other Cats Or Their Owners?
  6. Will Cats Recognize Their Owners, Siblings, Or Mothers Later?
  7. Do Cats Have Dreams?
  8. Will Cats Miss Their Siblings Or Mothers?
  9. Do Cats Experience Separation Anxiety?
  10. Do Cats Experience Sadness Or Depression?
  11. Do Cats Experience Conditions Like Dementia?
  12. When Should I See A Vet?

Cat owners spend a lot of time looking at the things their cats do on a daily basis. Sometimes, cats might appear to dream – and some days they might appear to be more lost in thought than they would normally be.

It leads cat owners to have a lot of questions about what might be going on in the minds of their pets.

The question at the top is one of the most common questions that cat owners might have when they see their cats dream, or when they introduce a new kitten to their household.

Cats who have been taken away from their mother or siblings too early might show signs of stress throughout their life. That is why it is not recommended to rehome cats too early in their lives.

Wondering about how cats remember their early memories and fur family later on?

Most cat owners do!

Here’s what pet owners should know about the relationship between cats, their feline relatives, and how they remember them.

Do Cats Remember Their Siblings Or Mother?

Yes, and yes.

That’s the short answer.

Cats will remember their siblings and mother throughout their lives. Memories from their early life will stick around, and many cats will remain attracted to (or even afraid of) some things they encountered in the first few weeks of their lives – like smells, fabrics, or sounds.

A cat’s siblings and mother are ingrained in their long-term memory.

Do Cats Remember Their Siblings Or Owners After Being Seperated (1)

Owners might even notice that cats can recognize each other (and their owners) even if they have spent time apart for several years.

How Long Will Cats Remember Their Siblings Or Mother For?

There is theoretically no limit to how long a cat’s long-term memory will last.

Cats can (and will) remember their family for years. Even if cats have been rehomed, they might still have memories of their families and owners when they move on.

It’s common for cats to experience stress or trauma when they have been moved to other homes. This is why it’s recommended for cat owners to never separate a mother and her kittens too early on.

Usually, older cats will adapt to new environments over time.

When Should Kittens Be Separated From Their Mother?

Kittens should never be separated from their mothers or families while they are still in the early nursing stages. Usually, mother cats will reject the attention of their kittens after a few weeks (about six to eight) – and this is the natural point at which they become easier to separate without serious traumatic effects.

If kittens are separated from their mother too early, it can lead to trauma and self-soothing behavior displayed by the cats for the remainder of their lives.

When cats are separated from their families too early, they might have a lifelong need for comfort and prefer to stay closer to their human owners regardless of what type of breed they might be.

Do Cats Remember Their Siblings Or Owners After Being Seperated (2)

Do Cats Remember Their Owners?

Cats remember many things, including their owners, in just the same way that they might remember their mothers or siblings.

A cat can remember its owner years after they have last seen one another.

There are many inspirational stories of owners being recognized by their cats after a long separation. It doesn’t matter whether months, weeks, or years might have passed – a cat’s memory of their families or owners doesn’t fade away.

Do Cats Have Names For Other Cats Or Their Owners?

Research done on the topic shows that cats develop individual names for their kittens (and often for their owners). Listen carefully when your cats are vocalizing and you are likely to notice small variations in their tone depending on whom they might be referring to.

While experts aren’t sure how to decode everything cats say just yet, we know enough to say that cats definitely have names for others!

Will Cats Recognize Their Owners, Siblings, Or Mothers Later?


Even after a long-term separation that might last for years, cats recognize those they have bonded with when they were smaller.

This recognition will last for life.

Cats might experience flashbacks to earlier memories, too.

Do Cats Have Dreams?

Do Cats Remember Their Siblings Or Owners After Being Seperated (3)

For cats, sleep occurs in several different stages just like it does for humans. Cats dream just like most other mammals during their sleep cycle (even though the majority of cats sleep during the day instead of at night).

What do cats dream about?

Sometimes they might dream about the hunt (as is obvious when they bite or run in their sleep), although we have enough reason to believe that cats might also dream about their earlier memories of family and owners, too.

While we’re talking about it, cats can also have nightmares. See a vet if you suspect that your cat is having bad dreams – a professional can recommend which adaptations or treatments could lessen the stress on your pet.

Will Cats Miss Their Siblings Or Mothers?

Cats can experience longing or loss just like most other mammals do. A cat might miss its owners, siblings, or mother if their separation has been recent (or if their separation was traumatic at the time).

Stress relief is key for cats who are going through a difficult time.

Pet owners who notice their pets are showing signs of stress should be sure to give plenty of attention and time to the cat in question. From there, it’s also advised that you take your cat to a vet for their recommendation.

Do Cats Experience Separation Anxiety?

Cats might experience separation anxiety if they have been split from their owners (or fur-families) for more than a few hours to weeks at a time. If the separation is permanent, separation anxiety might last for a couple of days to weeks while they settle into another environment.

With enough time and love, cats can usually learn to adapt or deal with separation anxiety better. See a vet if you are not sure how to help your cat deal with their anxiety.

Do Cats Remember Their Siblings Or Owners After Being Seperated (4)

Do Cats Experience Sadness Or Depression?

Should your cat experience signs of severe emotional stress, it might indicate depression. Depression can be a long-term condition that might require a vet’s intervention to help.

Do Cats Experience Conditions Like Dementia?

Dementia is a condition that causes the degeneration of brain cells and often affects memory. If it appears like your cat is having trouble recognizing things or people that they should be used to, it can be a sign of early dementia onset.

See a vet. Cats can experience conditions like dementia at any point in their lives, and an early diagnosis is a key to taking the best care of their health if this is the case.

When Should I See A Vet?

Responsible cat owners should always know the contact number for the closest vet and at least one backup (if the original vet is unavailable or cannot be reached). It’s just a general good idea to stay in touch with your vet.

See a vet at least once every six months, and anywhere you suspect that there might be a health issue (either mental or physical) with your pet.


Do cat siblings remember each other after being separated? ›

Kittens who have been separated during the early weeks of life tend to forget each other. Young kittens often miss their mom and siblings and show signs of separation anxiety after being taken into the new home. However, it doesn't take them too long to adapt to the new home and develop bonds with their new family.

How long does it take for a cat to forget its siblings? ›

It can take anywhere from days to months for a cat to go through these three stages. The ASPCA study had similar findings, stating that all cats who had lost a companion returned to normal within six months.

Do cats remember people after being separated? ›

Researchers in the study found that the owners were recognized by their cats even after a period of being separated. These findings suggest that cats have a good memory of their owners or people that they've already met.

Do separated cats miss each other? ›

When a cat loses a companion, whether animal or human, she most certainly grieves and reacts to the changes in her life. Cats alter their behavior when they mourn much like people do: They may become depressed and listless.

Do cats know when their sibling is missing? ›

Even cats that constantly fight can grieve the loss of a feuding partner. While no-one will ever know if a cat understands death, they certainly know that a fellow housemate is missing and that something has changed in the house.

What happens when two cats get separated? ›

If two bonded cats were to be separated from each other, they would likely end up suffering from depression, leading to other behavior issues. A study has shown that cats who are bonded together are more socially adjusted and live longer, happier lives.

Do sibling cats stay bonded? ›

If you have multiple kittens from the same litter, you might assume they will have a lifelong sibling bond, but this isn't always the case. Cats don't reach social maturity until they are between 18 months and four years old, so even if they get on when they are young, this may drift apart as they grow older.

What happens when you have 2 cats and one dies? ›

When one cat in a bonded pair dies, monitor your other cat closely. He must eat, drink and use his litter box as usual. If your grieving cat stops eating for more than 24 hours, seek help from his veterinarian. Watch his sleeping patterns as well.

How long does it take for a cat to forget her owners? ›

If you only have one interaction with a cat, she's likely to remember you up to 16 hours later. However, a cat's long term memory is quite strong (about 200 times better than that of a dog). This means that a cat can remember someone they are familiar with for years.

Will my cat forget me if I leave for a month? ›

Anyone simply "present" in their life is someone they may remember, but not associate with any emotion. But as long as you and your cat have shared a pet or two, and as long as you fed them a few of their favorite meals, your cat will remember you as well no matter how long you are gone.

How do cats feel when separated? ›

While every cat has a different personality, the general signs of separation anxiety in felines are: Excessive meowing, crying or moaning. Eating too fast or not eating at all. Excessive self-grooming.

Do cats realize you're gone? ›

If you leave the house for a quick errand or two, it's unlikely your cat will even notice that you're not home. A quick pet and a snuggle can remind your cat that despite your absence, you've got kitty on the brain!

What happens if bonded pair cats are separated? ›

If you were to separate the cats (for example, to take one to the vet or when one passes away), you may notice the cat's behavior change. When separated, they may appear to be in distress. Their bond is so deep that not being with their buddy can be very traumatic and affect them physically and emotionally.

Can cats become unbonded? ›

RE: Feline bonded pairs

Owners are often very sentimental and will anthropomorphize these cats and say they're bonded to make themselves feel better, but then when we see them attacking one another in a foster home or not spending time together at all, we know we can safely unbond them.

Is it traumatic to separate cats? ›

Though not often talked about in cats, separation anxiety can occur just as it does in dogs. This can prove quite traumatic for both the owners and the feline involved.

Did my cat know he was being put to sleep? ›

They will only feel a needle prick, but some felines may be more sensitive to this than others. If your vet injects the euthanasia drug directly from a needle and syringe, again they may react slightly to the needle prick but will not experience any pain when the drug is being injected.

Do cats understand kisses? ›

Conclusion. Most cats don't understand that kisses from humans are a sign of affection. A cat will surely let you know if they enjoy being kissed or not. The best ways to show your cat that you love them are to give them toys, treats, and plenty of one-on-one time.

Is there a Rainbow Bridge for cats? ›

The Rainbow Bridge (as beautifully encapsulated in a poem of the same name - see below) is a mythological place to which cats (and other pets) go upon their death, eventually to be reunited with their carers.

Is it cruel to separate sibling cats? ›

If they're very attached to each other-always stay together, sleep snuggled up against each other, have the same behavior habits, etc. -I'd say they're close pals and shouldn't be separated. It would take a great deal of adjustment for each cat to adjust to life without his best friend.

Do cats get depressed when separated? ›

Cats get very attached to their families. When left alone, they can get lonely, depressed, and even anxious. It's a misconception that cats aren't social beings. They need their daily dose of love and attention to stay happy and healthy.

What happens if a cat is separated too early? ›

Kittens who have been separated from their mothers too soon are often more likely to exhibit inappropriate behaviors, struggle with interacting with other cats and humans, and are at a higher risk for health complications.

Are cats happier with another cat? ›

Cats are family-oriented and usually live with their relatives. Cats will sleep together, share common feeding areas, and groom one another within family groups. For this reason, cats often do well adopted in pairs.

Is it better to have two cats of the same gender? ›

If you have a young cat at home and want a second, consider adopting one kitten of the opposite sex, as same-sex cats are much more prone to fight each other for dominance. Your resident cat will still be young enough to recall having fun with her littermates, and the new kitten will be more than happy to oblige.

Do cats imprint on one person? ›

[Once] properly socialized, cats will often become imprinted on a human, even if they were not together during that early, sensitive period. Often, this will occur with whichever human in the home provides the cat with the most care and attention.

Do cats sense death of another cat? ›

Do cats know when another cat is dying? There is no evidence to suggest whether cats are aware that their feline friend is dying, and all cats are different in their behaviour. In some cases, cats seem to understand that the other cat is experiencing pain.

How do you know if your deceased pet is with you? ›

So if you notice one or more of these signs, keep in mind that your pet might not be as far away as you think.
  • Familiar Sounds. ...
  • Familiar Smells. ...
  • Memories Out of the Blue. ...
  • Songs. ...
  • Physical Feelings. ...
  • Change in Temperature. ...
  • Interacting with Other Pets. ...
  • Behavior of Other Animals.
Jun 8, 2022

Do cats get lonely if you have two? ›

However, domesticated cats have evolved to crave companionship, often forming strong bonds with humans and sometimes even other pets. So, do cats get lonely? Because of the attachments they form, the answer is yes; cats can feel lonely!

What does a cat do when it misses its owner? ›

Affectionate behaviour and extra purring! A good sign that your cat is happy you're back is if they show physical affection such as head butting, purring, rubbing against you and stretching. Shadowing behaviour.

What do cats do when they miss their owners? ›

Extra purring and stretching when you return home - this is a sure sign that they're really happy to see you! Following you around the house - they may also be rubbing against your legs too. Agitation - some cats may seem agitated when you return.

Will my cat miss me for a week? ›

Research has shown that cats don't show signs of separation anxiety when their owner is away. Some cat owners know this: you return from a holiday but your cat acts pretty indifferently! Other cats even behave like they are "offended" and pretend not to see you at all.

Do cats care if you leave for a week? ›

Most adult cats are fine being left home alone for up to 24 hours, under the right conditions (more on that below). If you need to leave for two or three days, a full week, or longer, you should make sure someone is coming over to care for your cat daily.

Will my cat hate me if I leave for 2 months? ›

Though they may seem antisocial at times, the fact of the matter is that your cat LOVES you, and really hates it when you're gone. Leaving your kitty alone for an extended period of time will likely cause serious anxiety, which can lead to destructive behavior.

Do cats know we love them? ›

All in all, even the most aloof and brooding cat will be able to pick up on your warmth and devotion. Whether they choose to admit it or not, they can sense when a person loves them (and hates them). So always make sure you're emitting good, kitty-positive vibes, and your cat will be sure to indulge in the lovefest.

How long does it take for a cat to bond with a new owner? ›

Let your cat decide when they're ready to bond. Some cats are ready to get to know you immediately while other kitties may take several weeks to initiate any kind of interaction.

Will my cat remember me after 1 year? ›

A kitten the age of 1-6 months will probably not remember you after 4 years. They are a little like human babies before the brain is fully developed. The memories might get lost or not stored the right way. A cat at the age of two years+ will remember you, the owner, if the cat has bonded to you.

How long should you keep two cats separated? ›

Keep the cats separate at first.

House the new cat in a separate room for at least seven days with food, water, comfortable bedding, a litter box(es), and all of the necessities to keep him happy and healthy. This allows the cats to get used to each other's scent without needing to confront the other.

Can cats miss other cats? ›

Yes, cats do experience grief at the loss of a another household pet, especially if they had a close-knit bond. Cats are individuals, and just like humans, their process for coping with loss will vary. Pay attention and keep an eye-out for behavioral changes.

How long can you leave a pair of cats? ›

Many cats will be fine on their own for up to two days. However, you need to ensure they have access to fresh food and water at all times. For a one-day trip, filling up their food and water before you leave should be sufficient. But for anything longer, you'll probably want an automatic feeder and waterer.

Are abandoned cats more clingy? ›

Orphaned or Abandoned

Cats that have lost their mother right after birth do not have the opportunity to bond, making their very early days difficult to adjust. These cats often have clinginess or separation anxiety with their owners due to lack of early nurturing.

How attached are cats to their owners? ›

Cats do love their humans, even if sometimes they have a funny way of showing it. In fact, they form strong attachments to their owners and display their emotions very similar to humans. Just like people, cats can show their love through understanding and concern for others.

Will my cats remember each other after being separated? ›

Do cats remember other cats? Yes, cats can remember other cats though experts aren't sure for how long. Early in life, littermates exchange scents to recognize each other should they get separated. Cats use this same trick throughout their lifetimes.

Do cats know if they are siblings from different litters? ›

When sibling cats are raised together and not separated, they definitely recognize each other. However, if those cats are separated for a period of time, then they do forget the other.

Do cat siblings drift apart? ›

Cats are a solitary species with no in-built need for fellow feline companions and this also extends to sibling relationships. Even if littermates get on at first, they can often drift apart as they get older, as cats don't reach social maturity until they are between 18 months and four years old.

Do kittens feel sad when separated? ›

The short answer is yes, cats do experience separation anxiety. However, there's more to learn about the way cats process separation and the symptoms they may display if they have separation anxiety, too.

Do cats know who their owner is? ›

If you've ever asked yourself, "Does my cat know me?" you can rest assured: your cat knows you. In fact, she may even know you better than you know yourself. Animal behavior experts and pet owners have both observed that cats learn their human housemates' habits.

Does separating cats help? ›

Some cats simply cannot live together peacefully. Since chronic stress and tension isn't healthy for people or pets, rather than force them to suffer years of stressful coexistence, it may be more humane to keep them permanently separated in the house or find another home for one of them.

How do bonded cats act when separated? ›

Bonded pairs always have a playmate around and keep each other busy. When boredom decreases, so does destructive behavior. People who are gone for long periods of time often adopt bonded pairs. There is less separation anxiety when the owner is away because the cats are not really alone.

Can cats cry? ›

Cats don't cry tears when they're sad or in pain. But Halls says whether your cat is experiencing emotional or physical pain, they'll exhibit behavioral changes that could include vocal crying. The sound of a cat crying is typically longer in duration and lower in frequency than day-to-day cat chatter.

Can kittens stay with their mother forever? ›

In the wild, kittens usually remain with their mothers until they reach sexual maturity or until the mother gets pregnant again.

At what age does mother cat forget her kittens? ›

Tips to Help a New Kitten Settle In

Although a mother cat may only miss her kittens for two or three days, the kittens themselves can be depressed for a few days after the separation.


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