Either cats are absolute geniuses, or they’re actually really really dumb.
I prefer to think they’re a lot smarter than we give them credit for. Though I just can’t wrap my finger around why they do things again, even after being scolded the first time.
Pong likes to claw the computer chair. Every single time he does, we yell at him not to. And not but 10 minutes later does he do it again. I’m not sure if he does it just to make us angry, or if he legitimately forgets that we’ve already yelled at him about it 10 minutes ago.
But when he plays with his toys, he can play with them anywhere from 2 to 20 minutes without getting bored. Pong loves bubbles. If you blow bubbles, he’ll play with them for hours. And even when you stop, he’ll meow for you to keep going.
I even recorded a video of him sitting on the bed meowing at the bubbles floating towards the ceiling. But it seems like it’d be too much of a hassle to upload the video here on wordpress.
While no one has a definite answer about the attention span of a cat, it seems like it varies from cat to cat and situation to situation.
Typically, a cat will lose interest in something, if he or she decides that it doesn’t benefit them. One author from lovemeow.com, couldn’t have worded it any better, saying “You may not be able to train cats the way you train dogs or they may not perform your trick on command, but mind you, cats understand what you want them to do, they just decide not to do it if the activity does not benefit them.“
The article goes on to state that a cats attention/memory span can range up to 16 hours. While a dogs only ranges about 5 minutes. A cats memory is compared to a 2-3 year old kids. While their short term memory is severely lacking, they can perform various activities on their own, they repeat behaviors whether they’re wrong or right, forgetting what the outcome of such behavior is.
This is why cats can remember their owners, (ha! more like their caretakers), forever. Even after being separated from their owner for long period of time, they can recognize their owner from the past when reunited with them (as stated in the article).
It also states that ” However, the emotional lingering also causes them distress when they are no longer with someone that they have been spending a long time with. Their behavior may change due to stress and anxiety of losing the close companion.” While this is a sweet thought, it’s also sad to think we are able to inflict emotional distress on our animals.
But cats create, what the author of the article states as, an emotional map. When a behavior is solidified in their memory, such as being abused, they remember it for a long period of time. This is why abused cats take months to trust humans again after being rescued.
Remember when training your cat that it could take a while to condition the behavior into their long term memory. However, cats learn behaviors faster by mimicking someone or something. So get on your hands and knees and that cat the trick :p
Facts provided to you by: http://lovemeow.com/2009/10/cats-memory/