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C2004-44

Dear Christopher Cat

Whiskers, our nine-year-old cat, used to live with a nice woman who developed an allergy to cats, so she had to give him up. Does he still remember her?

Christopher Responds

Most of us cats have pretty good memories.

That’s why we remember the house rules you taught us when we joined the family, like not jumping on the kitchen counter. If we didn’t remember these lessons, you’d have to re-teach us every few weeks.

I must admit that dogs, though inferior to cats in most respects, do have good memories. When two dogs our family fostered several years ago visited us recently, they bounded through our door ecstatically.

Surprisingly, the first good research study on long-term memory in mammals other than primates was published only two years ago. The sea lion passed a ten-year memory test with flying colors.

Unfortunately, some cats and dogs, like some humans, lose their memories during their golden years. That’s when it becomes clear how good their memories had been.

Fortunately, medications can improve memory and quality of life for senior pets with memory loss.

I’m sure that while Whiskers remembers his previous home with warmth, he cherishes the new life you have given him.

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