Newsday Tuesday – Homing Cats

Back to the fascinating topic of cats finding their way to their former home when their family moves with them or they’ve been inadvertently taken away from their home. How do cats do this?

Dr. Joseph Rhine of Duke University calls it psi traveling or psi trailing. In other words, the cat uses some sort of psychic abilities to find his people. One cat, for example, traveled 2,300 miles in five months to return to its owner. The psi trailing concept could be one explanation for how cats find their owners even when they’ve moved and left the cat behind.

Other experts believe that cats use the angle of the sunlight to guide them—whatever that means. And there are those who claim cats have some sort of magnetization in their brain that acts as a compass.

One of my favorite books/movies is Homeward Bound—The Incredible Journey. This movie and the dialogue between the animals are charming, and I’m sure it has opened up minds to the possibilities in the animal kingdom, from the friendships that can form to the feats they can manage.

I haven’t moved all that many times and when I have it was within the county. I’ve always managed to move all of my critters with me. But once I acquired a shaded silver part Persian cat. She just sauntered into my life. I thought she was happy with me. But one day she disappeared. She returned about a year later behaving as if nothing had changed—she’d just been out for an hour-long stroll. Had she moved in with someone down the street? Was she catnapped and taken miles away, finally finding her way home? The strangest thing about this situation was that we had Tina Marie spayed. Yet, when she returned, she brought two newborn kittens with her. She couldn’t feed them and they died. We never found out where those kittens came from. Did she take them from another mother cat she met along the way? Did something go her spay operation and she birthed them? Was this actually another cat impersonating Tina Marie? That’s a mystery that was never solved.

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