Do Cats Miss Their Old Owners?

Cats are often perceived as aloof creatures who don’t care much about their surroundings or the people in them. However, those who have owned a cat know that this couldn’t be further from the truth. The bond between a cat and its owner can be incredibly strong, and when that bond is broken due to rehoming, it’s natural to wonder if the cat misses its old owner.

As an expert on feline behavior, I’m here to tell you that cats do experience emotions and can form deep attachments to their owners. So, do cats miss their old owners? The answer isn’t a simple yes or no – it depends on various factors such as the cat’s personality, attachment style, and how they cope with change.

In this blog post, we’ll delve into the fascinating world of feline emotions and explore what happens when a cat is rehomed. We’ll discuss the signs that suggest a cat is missing its previous owner and offer tips for making the transition easier for your furry friend.

Whether you’re a seasoned cat owner or simply curious about these enigmatic creatures, this post will provide you with valuable insights into how cats cope with change and why their emotional lives are more complex than many people realize. So sit back, relax, and let’s dive into the fascinating topic of whether cats miss their old owners.

What Factors Influence Whether or Not a Cat Misses Its Old Owner?

Firstly, the strength of the bond that the cat had with its old owner plays a significant role. If the cat had a strong bond with its previous owner, then there is a higher chance that the cat will miss them. Conversely, if the bond was distant or strained, then the cat may not miss their old owner as much.

Secondly, the amount of time that has passed since the cat was separated from its old owner can also influence whether or not they miss them. If it has only been a short period, such as a few days or weeks, the cat may still be adjusting to their new environment and may not have had time to form a bond with their new owner yet. In this case, the cat may still miss their old owner.

The age and temperament of the cat can also play a role in whether or not they miss their old owner. Older cats may have a harder time adjusting to new owners and environments and may be more likely to miss their old owner. Similarly, cats with more sensitive temperaments may also struggle with change and may miss their old owner more than others.

Lastly, the way in which the cat was separated from its old owner can also influence whether or not they miss them. If the separation was sudden and traumatic, such as due to an unexpected move or death of the previous owner, then the cat may experience grief and may miss their old owner more intensely. However, if the separation was planned and gradual, such as due to an adoption process, then the cat may have had time to adjust and form a bond with their new owner before leaving their old one.

It’s important to note that some cats may exhibit signs of missing their old owner through increased vocalization, loss of appetite, lethargy, and changes in behavior. However, these symptoms can also be indicative of other issues such as illness or stress, so it’s important to rule out any potential health concerns before concluding that the cat is missing their old owner.

How Long Can Cats Remember Their Previous Owners?

As it turns out, cats are known for their exceptional long-term memory and can remember their previous owners for up to several years. However, the length of time varies from cat to cat, and there are several factors to consider.

Research has shown that cats have a remarkable ability to retain memories of people they are attached to, even after being apart for an extended period. In fact, a study found that cats could recognize their owners even after two years of separation. This indicates that cats form strong emotional bonds with their owners and can remember them for extended periods.

The length of time that a cat can remember its previous owner depends on several factors, such as the duration of time they spent together, the quality of the relationship, and the cat’s temperament. Additionally, cats have a special type of memory called associative memory, which means that they associate certain people or things with particular experiences or emotions. Therefore, positive experiences with an owner will result in positive associations, causing the cat to remember them more fondly.

While some cats may only remember their previous owners for a few months, others may remember them for several years. It is vital for cat owners to maintain positive relationships with their pets and provide them with love and attention to ensure they remain attached and remembered for as long as possible.

The Nature of the Relationship Between a Cat and Its Old Owner

So what does this attachment look like? Well, it’s not always easy to spot. Cats may not express their emotions in the same way humans do, but they do show signs of distress when separated from their owners. This can come in the form of vocalizing, pacing, and searching for their owner.

But it’s not all doom and gloom – cats also display behaviors that suggest they’re seeking comfort and reassurance from their owners. Have you ever noticed your cat rubbing against your legs or purring when being petted? These are signs that your cat is seeking physical and emotional contact with you.

Of course, every cat is different. Some may be more independent and less likely to show signs of missing their old owner, while others may be more social and clingy. But one thing is certain – our feline friends are capable of forming strong emotional bonds with us.

So what does this mean for us as cat owners? It’s important to provide comfort and reassurance to our pets during times of separation. Whether you’re going on vacation or moving to a new home, make sure to spend some extra quality time with your furry friend and provide plenty of toys and treats to keep them occupied.

Signs That a Cat Is Missing Its Old Owner

When these bonds are broken due to circumstances like a move, death, or other changes, cats can experience a range of emotions. Some may adjust quickly to their new situation, but others may show signs of missing their old owner.

One of the most obvious signs that a cat is missing its old owner is increased vocalization. They may meow more frequently or loudly when they feel anxious or stressed, which is often a sign of missing their previous owner. This may be accompanied by other signs such as clinginess and seeking your attention and physical contact more than usual.

Changes in appetite or sleeping patterns can also be a sign that your cat is missing its old owner. Your cat may lose interest in food or become pickier with what it eats, which can be a sign of stress or depression. Similarly, your cat may have trouble sleeping or seem restless at night, which can also indicate anxiety or discomfort.

In some cases, cats may exhibit destructive behavior when they are missing their old owner. This can include scratching furniture or carpets, urinating outside the litter box, or chewing on objects around the house. These behaviors can be frustrating for new owners, but it’s important to remember that they are often a result of the cat’s emotional distress and not intentional misbehavior.

Finally, some cats may simply seem sad or depressed when they are missing their old owner. They may become less active or playful than usual and seem disinterested in the world around them. It’s essential to keep an eye out for these subtle cues and understand your pet’s emotional needs during this challenging time.

To help your cat adjust to its new situation, you must provide the necessary support and care. One way to do this is by creating a safe and comfortable environment for your pet. You should also provide plenty of attention, playtime, and physical contact to reassure your cat that they are loved and not alone.

Other Potential Causes of Changes in Behavior

First and foremost, medical issues can have a significant impact on a cat’s behavior. Cats are experts at masking pain and discomfort, so it can be challenging to tell when something is wrong. If your cat is acting differently than usual, it’s worth scheduling a visit to the vet to rule out any underlying medical issues. Pain, discomfort, and cognitive decline are all potential culprits for changes in behavior.

Another potential cause for behavioral changes in cats is changes in their environment. Moving to a new home or introducing a new pet or family member can be incredibly stressful for your cat, leading them to act out or become more withdrawn. Even something as simple as rearranging furniture can throw off your cat’s sense of security and cause them to act differently.

Lastly, changes in routine can also cause behavioral changes in cats. These creatures love routine and predictability, so if their daily habits are disrupted, it can lead to anxiety and stress. This could include changes to their feeding schedule, litter box routine, or playtime.

It’s essential for cat owners to take a holistic approach when trying to identify the underlying cause of changes in behavior. While missing their old owner may be one potential factor, there are several other potential causes to consider. Consulting with a veterinarian or animal behaviorist can help you develop an appropriate plan of action to help your feline friend feel safe and secure once again.

How to Help Your Cat Adjust to New Circumstances

There are ways to help your feline friend adjust and feel more comfortable in their new environment.

Create a familiar space

One of the best ways to help your cat adjust is by providing them with a familiar space. This can include setting up their litter box, food and water bowls, and bed in a quiet area of the house away from any disturbances. Additionally, providing familiar objects such as their favorite toys or blankets can also help them feel more at home.

Gradual introduction

If you’re introducing your cat to a new home, start by confining them to one room for the first few days and gradually allow them access to other areas of the house as they become more comfortable. This will help prevent them from feeling overwhelmed and allow them to slowly explore and acclimate to their new surroundings.

Maintain a consistent routine

Cats thrive on routine, so try to maintain their feeding times, playtime, and cuddle time as much as possible. This will help them feel more secure and in control of their environment. Consistency can also help alleviate any stress or anxiety your cat may be feeling during this transition period.

Extra attention and love

If your cat has experienced a loss or change in their environment, it’s important to give them extra attention and love. They may be feeling lonely and need extra cuddles and playtime to feel more secure. It can also be helpful to provide multiple hiding spots for your cat to retreat to if they feel overwhelmed.

Patience is key

It’s important to remember that every cat adjusts at their own pace, so patience is key. Your cat may exhibit unusual behaviors or seem unhappy for a while, but with love and consistency, they will eventually settle into their new circumstances.

In addition to these tips, consider using pheromone products such as Feliway diffusers or sprays. These products mimic the natural pheromones that cats use to mark their territory and can help create a sense of familiarity and comfort in their new environment.


In conclusion, cats are not just independent creatures who can take or leave their owners. They are capable of forming deep emotional attachments to the humans they share their lives with. When those bonds are broken, whether due to rehoming, moving, or other circumstances, it’s natural for cats to experience a range of emotions.

The question of whether cats miss their old owners is not a straightforward one. The answer depends on many factors, including the strength of the bond between cat and owner, how long it has been since separation, the age and temperament of the cat, and how they were separated.

Cats have impressive long-term memories and can remember their previous owners for several years. Signs that a cat may be missing its old owner include increased vocalization, loss of appetite, lethargy, destructive behavior or changes in behavior. However, these symptoms can also indicate other issues such as illness or stress.

To help your feline friend adjust to new circumstances like a move or rehoming, it’s essential to create a comfortable environment that includes familiar objects. Gradual introduction to new surroundings while maintaining a consistent routine and giving extra attention and love can also ease the transition. Remember that every cat adjusts at its own pace and patience is key.

As an expert on feline behavior, I hope this blog post has provided valuable insights into the complex emotional lives of our furry friends. Understanding our cats’ needs during times of separation is crucial for maintaining positive relationships with them.