Can Cats Recognize Photographs?
My husband passed away, and our cat Patches paws at photographs of him. Is this because she remembers him and misses him? When he was living, Patches followed him like a puppy. She would sit on his desk when he was at his computer. She doesn't paw at any other pictures in the house.
You describe an extremely interesting feline behavior, V. I am a psychologist and not an animal behaviorist, so I consulted with several experts here at the ASPCA. Most people agree that cats can recognize images, even ones that don't move as they do on TV. So it is not impossible that your late husband's cat is drawn to these pictures.
It is also possible that, due to the significant nature of your loss, Patches has noticed little actions of yours that occur when she is near these pictures. This would “condition” or encourage her to pay even more attention to the pictures.
I don't know how you feel about the cat's behavior. I can imagine that at times it would remind you of your husband's absence, and at other times it would feel as you were sharing some very special memories with another creature who cared for your husband.
As long as Patches appears healthy in other ways and you are not distressed by her behavior, I hope you can enjoy the memories of their relationship. If the behavior bothers you, you may wish to move the pictures, at least temporarily. That might disrupt the pattern.
Thank you again for your question.