Categories: lost cat

Domesticated feral cat went missing shortly after his owner died

Biscuit went missing about three years ago, shortly after his then owner, Keith Bigland’s mother, died. Biscuit was seen “fleeing” his home on a CCTV camera at 4 a.m. on December 1, 2017. Mr Bigland searched high and low for him for months. The cat is his last connection to his mother. He was found a mile away and had been scanned by veterinarian who called Mr Bigland last Wednesday to say that he had been found. Biscuit must have been microchipped and the microchip was still up-to-date.

Biscuit is now 14-years-of-age with health problems, which are going to cost £1,500 to treat. Mr Bigland has set up a crowdfunding internet page to raise the funds. As is usual, Biscuit immediately recognised him and is apparently happy to be back in the home. His wife Su is also delighted as they have no children so the cats are their family.

Biscuit with Mr Bigland. Photo: AP.

Discussion

It is not untypical for domestic cats to go missing but this is a bit different. Biscuit is a domesticated feral cat and he decided to go, to live an independent life on the passing of his human guardian. I find that interesting. It looks as though he decided that as his close human companion had disappeared that he should leave. However, Mr Bigland and his wife were around at the time but clearly Biscuit’s connection to them was not strong enough to keep him at home.

The story probably highlights the deep connection a domestic cat can have with their human friend. The desire to leave the home because of the shock of losing his owner appears to have overridden his desire to stay at the home with Mr Bigland and his wife Su. But why did he think that it was better to go and live outside of the home, a harder life? Was this a rational thought or was it an instinctive behaviour, a desire to survive? You’d think that the prime motivation would be to survive so perhaps he thought that his provider would no longer provide because she had disappeared (died) and as a consequence perhaps he thought he had to go out to find food through hunting.

It is highly likely that he made friends with some neighbours and they perhaps fed him. That would have helped. It’s surprising that he did not at least come back into the house where he once lived, voluntarily. Why did he not choose to go back to his home to find out what’s going on? He appears to have abandoned it. But now that he’s back he is happy. It’s hard to fathom what is going to his mind when you observe his behaviour.

I would expect the feral cat element of his upbringing was a major factor in his decision to return to a feral cat’s life. Perhaps he was always not that far from it. Those initial six weeks of life as a feral cat would have conditioned him and although he became socialised and domesticated the initial influence never left him. He returned to his roots: the feral way. Perhaps he returned to place where was born as a feral cat, which was within a mile distance from where he lived with Mr Bigland’s mother.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

View Comments

  • Since he was feral to begin with, I would venture to say he returned to his feral roots by instinct since his human passed. I've always believed cats bond with their people. Once the bond was broken, he resorted to the only way he knew to survive.

    Once the son retrieved him, I believe the connection to his original owner kicked in. Perhaps by scent? Who knows? He seems content now, which is really all that matters.

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