Do Cats Remember Abuse?

Cats are natural predators of puppies.

If a previously abused cat ever comes your household, it will likely be aggressive. It may try frightening its young family members, thinking it may become vulnerable if left alone.

It may become aggressive when it experiences separation from its owner. You should be prepared to cope with any behavior issues that may arise when your formerly abused cat becomes part of your family.

So, do cats remember abuse?

Cats have an excellent memory, and are capable of remembering events from long ago.

Although they don’t remember exact events, they can recall general memories such as locations or sounds they had experienced in the past. Cats may remember abuse because they associate these unpleasant experiences with their abusers or places where they experienced the abuse.

Cats may also remember the abuse because they experience a “learned helplessness” effect after being abused – they stop believing that their actions matter and that they are capable of achieving goals because they have been repeatedly punished for trying.

Therefore, abused cats may forget the exact events that had led to them being abused, but they may remember the general associations they developed with their abuser or the location of the abuse.

Do Cats Remember Abuse?

Cats remember their mistreatment by their abusers by associating the abuse with specific situations or places.

Depending on the sort of abuse they endured, cats may have difficulty trusting humans again and may show fear or anxiety around humans they do not know.

It may cause serious psychological and physical problems that need to be addressed.

The consequences of this trauma can be long lasting, and cats may need the help of a good veterinarian and animal behaviorist to get over it.

Because cats have an individualistic personality, the trauma of abuse can affect them differently.

They will remember everything that happened and how it happened, and they still remember their abusers as well.

Why Do Cats Remember Abuse?

Triggers Survival Instinct

In instances like this, the animal often has trouble communicating and showing its pain.

Cats will want to defend and protect their territory and avoid any environments that resemble or remind them of the trauma they suffered.

Cats will not want to sleep in the same bed as they slept when they were abused, and they may avoid their abuser altogether.

This may involve a separation period of several weeks or months.

It is critical to have a veterinarian evaluate the cat to talk about ways to reduce stress, such as anti-anxiety medication and behavior training.

It’s the only cat who hasn’t changed the way it acts when it gets scared or angry.

Many cats may take weeks or even months to work through trauma, but going through counseling can help the animal manage fear and anxiety as well as provide a sense of comfort.

Don’t attempt to speed the recovery process by forcing your cat to interact with its abuser or its previous home environment.

Association With Pain or Discomfort

Cats can not readily forgive cruelty, especially when they were harmed in a violent way, so this is why cats remember abuse.

They will always link the painful experience to the person or situation that made them feel pain.

Depending on the age of the animal, your veterinarian may recommend behavior training to help the cat overcome its fear or anxiety.

This is why one of the more common behaviors of a cat showing trauma is hiding, and it usually does this by hiding itself away, usually at a corner.

They will remember that their abuser was the cause of their trauma and pain, and the same will do with the original home environment which caused their trauma and pain.

Cats will recall the trauma and associate the pain with the thing or person which has caused their pain.

This is why, even if other cats bully him and he is abused again, he will still remember the trauma and fear.

It will take some time to process through the trauma and deal with it properly, but as long as it is not exposed to the situation it will remember.

You can get through to your feline friend by making sure that the rescue has space in a sanctuary where it can feel safe.

Patience is essential when you are dealing with animal abuse cases.

Do Cats Remember If You Accidentally Hurt Them?

Yes, if you accidently damage a cats skin, they can remember and associate pain with the incident, too.

However, if you give them proper care like cleaning and bandaging their wounds as soon as they happen, they will soon forget and associate cuts with a normal occurrence.

Cats can remember items which they have associated with a particular pain and the traumatic experiences which have caused their pain.

They will, however, remember the people which they have loved and liked and these people can be the only persons that can give them love and attention after the hard times have been over.

And even if they never see the thing or creature that has caused their injury again, they will still remember by being affected by the sense of smell.

How Long Do Cats Remember Abuse?

Cats have exceptional long-term memory and can recall events years after they happened or more.

These memories help cats recall who they have loved and disliked.

Do Cats Forgive Abusive Behavior?

If your cat loves you, it will certainly forgive you for any abuse which may be meted out to you. Because it has been through so much hardship in the past that it may associate you with affection and care.

Because you’re treading on a cat’s ear, it’s natural for it to be agitated and scratch you in return.

Cats, on the other hand, have excellent sense of hearing and are able to hear sounds at much greater distances than humans.

A friendly cat will forgive another cat for slighting its space.

Get your cat into a constant routine and this will make it easier for your cat to understand what you expect of it. So, any good behavior will be reinforced by the owner’s attention.

Recognize the signs that your cat wants attention and it will feel relaxed about being around you and trust you more.

The cat will never forget its ordeal, and however, it’s associated this experience with its owner and will cease to seek revenge.

It’s critical to allow the cat take its time to recover from the surgery and avoid stress, which will only make the situation worse.

The cat would be uneasy about being around humans and may stop eating. Meanwhie, it’s extremely nervous and scared at this time.

If you treat your cat nicely and communicate with it regularly, it will love you and appreciate your efforts.

Signs Of Cat Abuse

Signs Of Cat Abuse

Refusing to Consume

Some cats may enjoy being brushed and groom themselves, and others need to be brushed by their owners.

This is linked to anxiousness or fear that the cat may unwillingly suffer from in the future.

For the same reason, many cats do not enjoy being picked up or held tightly by their owners as this restricts their movement.

If you have another cat in your home, you’ll need to take extra care to ensure that both cats get along well together.

This is critical in cases when a cat has to deal with a Feline Immunodeficiency Virus infection and will take medications to control it.

You must ensure that both cats are free from Feline Immunodeficiency Virus infection.

Severe Aggression Towards Humans

If it is always hostile and acts aggressively towards people on a regular basis, it may be a cat or kitten that was abandoned or neglected by its owner.

Many cats will respond with extreme aggression to a medical problem that they are suffering from.

Depending on how near you approach to the cat, it may escape and move towards you or stay where it currently is.

Cats become stressed or aggressive when they perceive a threat and may try to defend themselves or attack if physically threatened or attacked.

Frequently Hiding

A cat that is continuously hiding from its owners or cowering away from them is a cat that is suffering from some form of abuse or neglect.

Cats will avoid anything that makes them uncomfortable and make themselves scarce when they become stressed or frightened.

This might involve another pet, a strange cat or dog or even the presence of a person that is not familiar to them such as a visitor.

If it is a kitten that is hiding, try to increase its confidence by interacting with it and reassuring it that it will always be protected and cared for by its owner.

The cat will not want to expose itself to any danger or risk being touched or handled by another individual that it may perceive as a threat to its life.

It is critical to a cat’s survival that it immediately makes itself scarce when it feels threatened or frightened of any potential danger which can include the presence of other pets.

This includes keeping it in areas out of any danger by not allowing dogs or other cats within close proximity or by fencing a yard so the cat can keep out of the area occupied.

This will help the cat feel safe and relieved of any fear which may result in this behaviour being displayed.

Also Read: Why Does My Cat Hit Me When I Walk By?


Cats remember the mistreatment and neglect even if they hid it, and this is one of the ways they can tell that their owners were abusive to them.

This involves avoiding a certain pet, person or even a quiet place where it hides and they feel it does not want to be disturbed or touched.

This causes the cat to become increasingly stressed and this stress can lead to it displaying aggressive or defensive behaviours which may even include biting and clawing.

While dealing with a rescued cat, the appropriate and humane way to handle such situations is by reassuring the cat that it is safe, allowing it to rest away from the place it associates with its former owner.

It is not a lost cause, as cats can learn to trust and show affection to those who let them feel comfortable.