Cat finds way home. How?

It for sure happens and no one knows how. The navigating ability of birds and butterflies has been studied, but it doesn’t look like anyone has done that for dogs and cats yet.

I wonder how many there are that go looking for home and never find it.

If you let your dogs run loose, and they visit this person’s property, maybe the cat followed the dogs back. Isn’t it likely the cat would recognize the dogs?

RE: The indoor/outdoor question. I have a dedicated indoor cat who has no desire to be an outdoor cat. She likes to look out the window, but there are strange people out there, and she doesn’t want any of them near her.

We have another one, whom we adopted as an adult (@ 4 years old). We don’t know her indoor/outdoor history, but she loves to dart out the door, then just sits there, right outside the door. It’s easy to pick her up and bring her in. We bought her a harness and leash on a whim, and she loves it. We just take her on very short walks around the building like once a week, but all the kids in the building love to come and pet her, and she loves the attention. She’s kind of an odd cat like that.

:eek: No, we let the dogs run loose but they aren’t permitted to leave the mowed area (2 acres). When they have gone swimming at the pond it has been when we have hiked or horse backed over. If they ever roamed that far they’d be in so much trouble!!

So, we have set up a dog crate with a blanket and cushion on the porch where the cat likes to hang. She has used it! And she allowed petting just now which gave us the chance to apply Advantage.

(interesting aside: between blood testing, vaccines, deworming, flea control, spay, food, supplies, etc this feral cat has cost a small fortune.) :smiley:

A zillion years ago I lived by railroad tracks and had a cat. On leash and harness the cat would walk for hours in a straight line between the tracks. Anywhere else and she was impossible to leash walk, zigging and zagging.

James Thurber noted the miraculous stories of dogs returning home over tremendous distances, along with the plethora of lost dog notices in the papers (suggesting that these canines couldn’t find their way home from the next block).*

*could be that some of the lost dogs didn’t want to go home.

Cats are magic!

This one I think just tracked house cats, but even so - it was pretty interesting:

There seemed to be some logic - if you think like a cat I suppose - and don’t have internet access

Some went I think 500 ft - which if you aren’t supposed to be roaming - and this was a tight little community - I think the other posters are right.

Your property is fairly large - and I’m guessing your neighbors are as well. Her previous areas were probably much larger than house cat study and closer to what Ludovic posted. So two miles isn’t that big of a stretch if you add a little luck and scent possibilities in there as well. I mean there isn’t any reason to belive that humans are better at navigating than cats (is there?). Minus GPS that is.

If you, your dogs and horses, hike over there pretty frequently, then I’m assuming there’s a path, and it has your scent, your horse’s scent, and your dog’s scent. Helen Keller could probably find her way back over just two miles.

Wow - I’m surprised of the research done on cats - not exactly related, but researches basically fitted a bunch of cats with cameras and then classified what they did all day:

Apparently ~39% of their time was spent on “investigation” which was the researchers nice way of saying “staring at birds” (and didn’t include actual attacking/eating birds).

While cats have a sense of smell superior to humans, it isn’t in the same league as dogs. Which is what you would expect. Cats are very much visual predators. They wander around until they see something, and then start tracking it. In contrast, dogs routinely track prey using scent over distances of dozens of kilometres. That’s something cats just never do.

Oh hell yeah.

The typical home range of hunter gatherer is about 6,000 km^2, but most would have visited areas several hundred kilometres away during their lifetimes. A typical wild cat might have a home range of 20km^2 and at an extreme might end up 20km away.

Huge difference. A typical human will learn to navigate a route of several hundred kilometres after just a single pass to within 75% accuracy. We will be perfect after just one or two passes. You have probably done this yourself without even realising it. There’s no way a cat could ever attempt that. Travelling humans memorise landmarks, rises and falls in the land and forth without even thinking about it. Cats just aren’t equipped with that sort of navigational skill set.

I hope you’ll forgive me for posting something completely unrelated to cats, but I can’t help feeling the urge to post a link to Stephen Fry and Alan Davies debating the navigation skills of honey bees.

I usually do not drink when traveling, but on two occasions, I was with companions who encouraged me to consume more than what was good for my common sense. In both cases, I was checked into accommodation that were hidden on back streets that I’m not sure I could have found when sober. But long after midnight, I found my way directly to them alone (in Casablanca and Budapest), without a single wrong turn. (You’d have to know Casablanca to appreciate that.) In the light of the next day, I was totally amazed that I had miraculously found my way back to my homey backpack.

I think I was operating on some level of animal instinct that shone through the huge cracks in my impaired rational human reason. Other posters, who have more experience with inebriation, might be able to shed more light on this.

Ok - fair enough - I was comparing today’s feral cats with today’s humans. I still break out my compass in the woods with trails I’ve done at least a dozen times. There is no way I can do a complicated trail (with many branches) in one or two passes. That is why I stay near the river whenever possible :slight_smile:

I am pretty sure that GPS in itself (and I am not joking) has reduced my ability to navigate - so I think a sedentary lifestyle for most humans would be as well - compared to a cat who has to know where water and food is to not starve. I can tell you right now how to get to the nearest Five Guys - with the accuracy needed to walk in the front door (ok you’d have to follow me). But I’m not sure where the nearest source of natural water is. I don’t need my outside environment like a cat who lives on the land does.

I guess I should have said there isn’t really a reason to think a cat can’t navigate using similar clues like we do. You say there is no way a cat could even attempt that - I’m not sure why it would need to do it in one or two passes. It could learn what it needs to learn - and then go exploring about. If you look at the BBC gps map - it seems obvious those cats know about and are aware of other cats territories - one even seems to just skirt the perimeter of another cats roaming area.

Of course this could be partially smell - I have no idea - I guess I just have more faith in cats :slight_smile:

I have heard or read that the average American mountain lion has about a 200 mile loop they work. Some take up to 2 years to revisit an area.

So, we have set up a dog crate with a blanket and cushion on the porch where the cat likes to hang. She has used it! And she allowed petting just now which gave us the chance to apply Advantage.

Good for you! Just be patient and she’ll come around at her own pace. Contrary to popular belief, cats are social animals and there is no doubt that she wants your attention, she just has to learn to trust you.

My current Siamese was dumped from a kitten mill as a failed breeder when he was about 8 months old and had never known anything but life in a cage with no significant human contact. He hid under the bed for the first month I had him and it was three months before he let me pet him. It took a couple of years for him to even jump up on the bed. Hell, I’ve had him for 12 years now and about a month ago was the first time he didn’t turn away from food offered to him off my plate (cooked chicken). You just never know…

My guess is that your neighbor bought several identical cats some time ago, and every time you take one away, he’s going to release another one onto your property.

No, those stories are bullshit. They’re like UFO sightings: thousands of anecdotes but very flimsy evidence.

Consider this. 500 hundred dogs get accidentally stranded a thousand miles from home. 500 hundred families are very sad about their missing dog. Within the next six months of so, 100 of those families will encounter a stray dog (not the same dog as the one they lost). 50 of them will take the stray to a shelter and 50 will decide to keep it as a replacement for the one they lost. But out of sheer luck, 5 of those 50 dogs will resemble the lost one, and 1 of them will be a dead ringer for the lost dog, so much so that the family will convince themselves that it actually is the same dog, miraculously found its way home. And that 1 family will tell their story to everybody they know, maybe get an article in the local newspaper about it. But you never hear a peep out of the other 999 families.

Plus the fact that some people are naturally liars who crave attention.

Sbunny8, have you ever actually owned a dog? You don’t mistake your dog.

Had a cat, “Stray Cat”, who showed up in the loft of my small barn whenever there was a snowstorm. Where he went between storms, I do not know. The second winter, he came down to one of the stalls and let me pet him. Third winter, no cat.