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How do cats find their way home? — 2 Comments

  1. Since so many cats never return home once they leave, I’m thinking that as with any other skill or talent, cats, like people, have varying degrees of ability.

    It’s been said that we are all “psychic” to one degree or another, and I think a similar thing might be said about cats being able to navigate their way back home.

    I’ve never lost a cat, so I can’t speak from direct experience. I’m very careful not to let me cat out, for multiple reasons.

    She did actually escape one extremely stormy night, only a few days after I’d moved in. I’d put up the fencing around the porch, which was about 6′ high, but inadvertently had put her cat condo next to it.

    The wind and rain woke me up about 2am, and I called to her. She usually responds, but there was no meow. I investigated the fencing, and could see tufts of fur on the top, and knew immediately that she’d jumped over.

    I called on my housemates to help me try to locate her.
    So, we tromped around with flashlights in the pouring rain, and very muddy grass. After an hour, I called off the search, and figured I wouldn’t see her again.

    It was a new environment, and the weather would interfere with any sense of smell that could lead her back. I resigned myself to her loss, and went back to bed, after putting her liter box outside, just in case, she still might be nearby.

    About 4am, I was awakened by a “meow-meow”. I jumped up, and she was at the door, soaking wet. I was so relived!

    I hoped that this experience would cure her from wanting to go beyond the porch, but it didn’t work that way. She still longs to be free, and always waits for a chance to run out the door, when her plaintive cries don’t get the result she wants.

    If she ever does manage to escape, she might return, but I don’t want to take that chance. There are several other cats that roam, and she could tangle with any of them that feel the need to defend their territory from a new intruder.

    I’ve also just learned of a pack of wild dogs in the area, and animal screams. A friend witnessed her own cat be pulled apart by 2 pit bulls a few years ago. She was traumatized for a long time. After that incident, more people kept their cats indoors. We never know the dangers that lurk, until sometimes it’s too late. I choose to be on the side of safety.

    • cats, like people, have varying degrees of ability

      Yes, they are not good at reading maps! 😉 But all cats are good at orientating themselves, I believe. They know where they are in relation to their home (the house). This must rely on spacial memory.

      I am sure are right. Or perhaps they don’t want to go ‘home’. There are some psychic theories but I favour science. Although, perhaps as yet unknown science is what we call ‘psychic’.

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