Amazing journey: Cat travels 200 miles to return home


A couple who lost their pet cat in November was shocked when the feline made it home after more than a month on her own. Scientists have questioned for years how cats and other animals are able to find their way home with no map, no set of directions, and no GPS.

Could it be that cats contain an internal GPS that helps guide them home to their owners?

In November, Jacob and Bonnie Richter were vacationing in Daytona Beach, Florida, when their four-year-old cat named Holly ran away. Nearly two months later, on New Years Eve, a family discovered the cat near the Richters’ hometown of West Palm Beach–more than 200 miles from where Holly had fled her owners.

No one knows how Holly made it back to her hometown, but somehow she did. After traveling nearly 200 miles over two months, Holly was weak and thin when she was rescued. In the end, though, she was fine. So how did she and all of the other cats were make it home do it?

Perhaps a more important question is why Holly returned home after all of that time. Some cats have been known to run away and never make it home. Some do not even try. Scientists have wondered if there is some kind of genetic inclination involved in the decision to try to make it home or stay in the wild and start surviving.

According to the Richters Holly was not a very adventurous cat so what made her all of a sudden try to trek 200 miles to her home in West Palm Beach? It seems as though Holly’s sudden adventurous spirit could have been genetic. After all, her mother was stray who wondered around the mobile home park the Richters live in. In addition, Holly was born in someone’s air conditioner.

Holly’s journey also raises the question of where she learned how to take care of herself out in the wild. Holly was an indoor cat her entire life, but managed to find food and stay safe from predators for almost two months. Despite being weak and thin when she was found, Holly had obviously had some success in the wild or she would not have survived.

After being found, Holly was taken in by the family who had found her. A veterinarian checked her for a microchip that would revealed who she was and who her owners were. Soon after, she was reunited with the Ritchers. They have reported that Holly seems to be happy to be back in her home and has not made any more attempts to flee the house.

Lucky cat!


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Emily S Carter

My two beautiful little girl kitties came from ARF -- a rescue service in Wimberley. Maddie Bell, in the header photo, likes to help me make the bed.

Shelter cats are the best!


Making a difference to pet owners looking for their lost cat [or dog] – this is a place to post information about your animal and to provide contact information -- see the Lost Cat page.

Its also home to cat and dog stories -- see The Literary Cat page.


All text and images © copyright 2011 Emily S. Carter. All rights reserved.
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