Cats have 10-minute short term memory
August 22, 2007
New research suggest cats have short-term memory of about 10 minutes, according to CBC News.
The study, published Monday in the journal Current Biology, was based on a simple experiment to measure memory.
University of Alberta physiologists David A. McVea and Keir G. Pearson placed an obstacle in the path of a feline. After the cat cleared the obstacle with its forelegs its progress was blocked by the researchers using food and objects as distractions. The researchers then recorded the amount of time the cat remembered stepping over the obstacle.
“We found that the answer is a very long time. In fact, if you pause a cat after the front legs, but not the hind legs, have stepped over an object, it will remember the exact size and position of the object [without looking at it] for up to 10 minutes,” McVea told CBC News.
The researchers said the results are surprising “since short-term memories about objects usually fade away in under a minute,” according to CBC News.
McVea and Pearson plan to use similar experiments to measure memory in humans and animals.