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Holly the Cat Treks 200 miles to Return Home

Holly the Cat

There is little scientific knowledge behind cat navigation, but for one 4-year old Florida cat, it doesn't matter. Holly made a 200-mile trek home from Daytona Beach to West Palm Beach, Florida.

Holly's owners, Jacob and Bonnie Richter, say she had an easy temperament and took to traveling well, so they decided to include her on a family R.V. excursion to Daytona Beach, Florida.Florida Cat Returns Home

One day, fireworks spooked her and she bolted. The Richters posted fliers and organized a search for their cat, but she was nowhere to be found. They returned home to West Palm Beach without her, heartbroken, thinking she was gone forever. Two months and 200 miles later, Holly came back home.

Holly had been living with Barb Mazzola and her family in West Palm Beach for a short time after making the long trek from Daytona, where she’d disappeared from.

Mazzola said she found Holly barely standing, weakened, and with wounded paws. The family cared for her and took her to a local vet to be treated. "I almost didn't want to ask, because I wanted to keep her, but I said, ‘Just check and make sure she doesn't have a microchip,’" Mazzola said.

Sure enough, Holly had an implanted chip, allowing the vet to find her owners.

Now, scientists are puzzled over how she made the long journey on her own. The New York Times’ Well Blog writes, "There is, in fact, little scientific dogma on cat navigation. Migratory animals like birds, turtles and insects have been studied more closely, and use magnetic fields, olfactory cues, or orientation by the sun."

"Nobody’s going to do an experiment and take a bunch of cats in different directions and see which ones get home,” animal behaviorist Peter Borchelt told the Times.

They continue by stating, "Scientists say it is more common, although still rare, to hear of dogs returning home, perhaps suggesting, Dr. Bradshaw said, that they have inherited wolves’ ability to navigate using magnetic clues. But it’s also possible that dogs get taken on more family trips, and that lost dogs are more easily noticed or helped by people along the way."

There is one research group trying to investigate cats activities. The Kitty Cams project has 55 cats with cameras on them to examine just what the cats are doing. They collected 37 hours of footage per cat and found:

Results indicate that a minority of roaming cats in Athens (44%) hunt wildlife and that reptiles, mammals and invertebrates constitute the majority of suburban prey. Hunting cats captured an average of 2 items during seven days of roaming. Carolina anoles (small lizards) were the most common prey species followed by Woodland Voles (small mammals). Only one of the vertebrates captured was a non-native species (a House Mouse). Eighty-five percent of wildlife captures were witnessed during the warm season (March-November in the southern US). Cats roaming during warmer seasons were more likely to exhibit hunting behavior and the number of captures per hunting cat is expected to decrease with increasing cat age. Cat age, sex, and time spent outside did not significantly influence hunting behavior.

Regardless of the mystery, the Richters couldn't be more happy to have their family-furr-member back with them.

Cat Travels 190 miles home

Holly the cat makes an incredible 190-mile journey from Daytona Beach all the way home to West Palm Beach.

Cat Travels Nearly 200 Miles Back Home

Cat Travels Nearly 200 Miles Back Home after getting lost on Holiday


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1 Responses »

  1. Wow, lucky little kitty...