Cat Travels 200 Miles to Return to Owners and Baffle Scientists

Holly the cat's 200 mile journey to reunite with her owners has baffled scientists.

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When Holly the house cat turned up a mile from the West Palm Beach, Fla., home of her owners Jacob and Bonnie Richter, they were more than a little surprised to see her. After all, they had lost the cat two months ago and over 200 miles away at an RV rally in Daytona Beach. And yet here was Holly — suffering from sore paws and weight loss but definitively the same cat, according to the microchip implanted under her skin. While the Richters are thrilled to have their cat back, Holly’s journey has scientists completely baffled. “I really believe these stories, but they’re just hard to explain,” Marc Bekoff, a behavioral ecologist at the University of Colorado, told the New York Times. “Maybe being street-smart, maybe reading animal cues, maybe being able to read cars, maybe being a good hunter. I have no data for this.”

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According to the Times, there is relatively little information available on the navigational skills of cats as the issue has not been avidly studied. While migratory animals like birds can take geographic clues from things lie magnetic fields, olfactory cues, or orientation of the sun, when it comes to cats, no one quite knows; there is little data available on the subject. “We haven’t the slightest idea how they do this,” Jackson Galaxy, a cat behaviorist who hosts the show “My Cat From Hell” on the Animal Planet cable channel told the Times.  “Anybody who says they do is lying, and, if you find it, please God, tell me what it is.”

How Holly managed her incredible trek has so far remained a mystery. “It was quite a journey for this little girl,” owner Jacob Richter told a local television channel. “We just can’t believe she came home.”

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6 comments
Goldindemhills
Goldindemhills

This isn't as crazy as I thought it would be if it didn't happen to us. We had a cat and we moved around 20 miles away to another home. A few months staying there, we had lost out cat. We moved back into the other house and about a six months ago my sister posted a few pictures of the cat on facebook. 

Me: Aww, I miss him. 
Sister: Those pictures are new. 
Me: .. What

Yeah, the cat had found its way back, but took quite a long time. 

Delle1982
Delle1982

If thcat e was micro-chipped why not go find it? Isn't that the point of micro-chipping?

WilliamBarnes
WilliamBarnes

THIS is simply NOT AN ACCEPTABLE ANSWER, Time Magazine Journalists. Now that you brought it up, dig it up and present the whole story to us, NOT JUST THE TRAILER! How Do They Do It?

SusanneGarnett
SusanneGarnett

I know of two young kittens aged about 6 months who came home 200 miles across England after having been given away to friends in the south. They would have had to cross two free ways, several rivers and bypassed the major city of Birmingham.  It took them about four weeks.

JoeRamsey
JoeRamsey

@Delle1982 Micro-chipping is not a GPS locator.  If someone finds the cat and takes it to a vet/shelter, the technicians there can scan the animal for chips, and then retrieve the contact information.  You can't just log onto a site and track your lost pet via microchip.  Granted,  GPS devices are available for animals, but they require batteries and are usually collar-mounted.