Cat Journeys 200 Miles to Get Home, Baffling Scientists

First Posted: Jan 21, 2013 01:20 PM EST

It sounds like something out of a children's movie. Holly the cat was vacationing with her owners in Daytona Beach when she got lost. Although her owners searched for her, they couldn't find the four-year-old tortoiseshell. Eventually, they gave up and drove home to West Palm Beach- 200 miles away. That didn't deter Holly, though. Almost two months later, the cat showed up in their neighborhood- staggering, weak, and emaciated, but still alive.

The cat's journey has baffled scientists. How did Holly, a common housecat, navigate her way back home? There have been studies conducted on the migratory nature of birds, turtles, and insects, but no research on the ability of cats to travel long distances. Although there has been documentation of dogs travelling long distances to find their ways back home, these instances are still relatively rare. In addition, scientists have chalked up a dog's sense of navigation to its inheritance of a wolf's ability to navigate.

Currently, the closest study concerning cat navigation is being conducted by the Kitty Cams project. This endeavor has outfitted 55 cats with small cameras to research exactly what they're doing when let outside by their owners. The project collected 37 hours of footage per cat and found that the cats engaged in activities such as hunting and risky behavior such as crossing roads and drinking unknown substances.

Holly isn't the first cat to make a sizeable trek, according to Howie, a Persian cat, travelled 1,000 miles across the Australian outback in order to find his owners. It took him 12 months, but he succeeded.

However Holly did it, the important thing is that she's now back home with her family.


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