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Will My Pet Remember Me Forever?

By Julia Williams

Anyone who’s forged a deep bond with a pet has likely asked themselves that question or a similar one. We want to believe that the bond we share is so unbreakable, so life changing not just for us, but for our pets, too. We want to think that if we were ever separated, no amount of passing time could dim our pet’s memory of us. We want it to be true for them, as it certainly is for us.

We never forget our pets; no matter how many months or years go by, the love we shared is always fresh in our minds. We smile remembering all the things they did that made us laugh. Our hearts swell thinking of the endearing way they curled up to sleep in their favorite spot, or gave us that quick little lick on the tip of our nose. We could never forget the happiness they brought with them when they came into our home.

The saying “pets leave paw prints on our hearts” is oh so true, and those paw prints are forever. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if it could be the same for our pets? That the gentle hands that gave them loving pats every day could imprint on their heart till the end of time, and the voice that soothed was remembered forever?

We know our pets have the mental capacity to remember us for short periods of time. There’s plenty of evidence of that – one only has to search YouTube to find hundreds of examples. Perhaps you saw the heartwarming video that went viral, of the pup running out to greet her “Daddy,” a soldier who had just returned home from Afghanistan. That dog’s excitement and joy is palpable; clearly, this pup did not forget the one they loved.

You may have experienced your own happy reunion with a pet. I had a cat that practically mauled me when I returned home from a 3-week vacation. She was so excited to see me that she drooled copiously, rubbed her little body on my pant leg, meowed loudly and constantly, and followed me throughout my home. There was no doubt she not only remembered me, but was overjoyed that I was home. And though some people joke that cats only like their humans for the noms, I never doubted that I was much, much more than just the “dispenser of the FELIDAE cat food” to her.

So we all believe that pets surely won’t forget us after just a month or two. But how long could their memory of us last? A year? Two? Three at most? And if they did forget our face, would they still remember the feeling of our love? No one knows for sure, and we never will.

I want to believe that my “heart cat” Belle could never, ever forget the special time we share each morning after breakfast… the petting, kissing, brushing, drooling (Belle, not me!), and loving on each other as if our very survival depended on it. But I just don’t know.

Does it matter? Not really. What matters most to me is that while I am here, my sweet cats feel safe and loved. What matters is that every day, I take the time to give them the attention and adoration they deserve. If I could not do that, I wouldn’t have them, for to do any less would be so unfair.

I show them affection every single day so they will know, in the moment, that they are cherished. How great it would be if the feeling of that moment could last forever in their hearts. But if it’s not to be, I’m content just knowing that every day we are together, my cats feel loved.

Photo by Torbakhopper

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