A lot of people think of cats as these intelligent masterminds who are constantly plotting against humans.
And honestly, you could probably find a lot of evidence to support that. But here's the thing...recent studies show that cats don't really have great memories unless it involves one thing.
Yep, unless cats are remembering where they can access food, chances are they aren't storing the information in their brain.
According to Mikel Delgado, a certified cat behavior consultant, cats have a great memory when it comes to remembering details of their evolution, like hunting.
In one experiment, 50 cats were studied to see if they could remember which bowls contained food. Almost all 50 were able to identify which dish contained food, even after being taken out of the room for 15 minutes.
"These results suggest that cats have short-term working memories that can encode details regarding "where" and "what" for short periods of time, at least when food is involved." (source)
Another study suggested cats have good spatial memory in terms of remembering which dishes they had already eaten from. Older cats scored lower on this test, suggesting cats' memories decline with age.
Delgado says these trends come from an evolutionary response to needing food. If a cat goes hunting and finds food in a certain area, they can remember the spot and return again at a later time.
So don't worry about your cat plotting to take over the world. But at least this explains why cats seem to know when you're eating.