Cats have psi trailing (psychic trailing)?

It is said that cats have “psi trailing”. Psi trailing refers to the ability of a cat to find its way home over many miles without any apparent assistance. The domestic cat can also find a new home that their owner has moved to, which may be many miles away, even though the cat had no idea where the new home was. In other words, when a cat is psi trailing, he is using his extrasensory perception (ESP) to locate his owner and his home.

Psychic cat!
Psychic cat! Image: DALLE-E.


The word “Psi” refers to parapsychology and apparently can be divided into two categories (a) extrasensory perception and (b) psychokinesis. Psychokinesis refers to using the mind to move matter at a distance, which is not relevant in this instance. Therefore, when we refer to Psi in relation to Psi trailing this must be referring to a cat’s extrasensory perception to find a trial which takes him home.

Extrasensory perception is a way for an animal or human to receive information that has not been gained through normal senses. The mind senses something which directs the person or animal. This is my understanding of this skill.

Debunking psi trailing and cats’ ESP abilities

The great Dr. Desmond Morris, a zoologist and author and also a painter by the way, debunks the idea that cats have psi trailing. The suggestion, as mentioned, is that domestic cats have psi trailing because they can find their way home from very long distances without even knowing the new home. It is so extraordinary that people put it down to extrasensory perception which includes psi trailing.

He remarkably suggests that when people say that their domestic cat turned up two years later after they moved two thousand miles to a new home is because another cat, a stray cat wandered into their home and they mistook that cat for theirs! That’s the first time I have heard that suggestion. It is a reasonable one because there have been some remarkable cases of cat owners believing that their cat has been killed on the road and then burying the cat thinking that it was theirs only to find that their cat walks in the back door the next day.

ESP is a contradiction in terms

Dr. Desmond Morris also states that ESP is a contradiction in terms because everything that is tangible and real can be sensed through one of the cat’s senses. ESP stands for extrasensory perception. The phrase “extrasensory” means that it is outside of the senses and if that is the case it cannot be perceived. And if it can’t be perceived it isn’t there.

He suggests that when experts try to explain aspects of cat behaviour which are very difficult to explain, they might resort, lazily, to basing that behaviour on ESP. He says that there is always a zoological, practical and scientific reason. It is just a matter of finding it which is harder work than assigning it to ESP.

Psi trailing cat
Psi trailing cat. Photo of cat by Caroline and photo of earth’s magnetic field: Wikimedia Commons.


Extrasensory perception is a rather mysterious skill. But, then again, so is the ability of a cat to track down a new home that his owner had moved to even know he had no idea where that home was or what it looked like. Those are the facts of a recent story posted by Elisa. Because the domestic cat has what appears to be a rather mysterious and unusual skill (and one that impresses us), it is perhaps not beyond the bounds of one’s imagination to believe that a cat uses extrasensory perception to find his way home.

There is still a lot to learn about animals, in general, and the cat specifically. Every day we learn more and what we learn is that animals are more intelligent than we had imagined. I wrote a recent article about goats, believe it or not, because they were found to be smarter than people had thought and they are smart as primates at problem solving the set task.

Dog intelligence varies and some dogs learn many words

ESP abilities do not help a cat find their new home

In conclusion, therefore, Psi Trailing refers to a cat using extrasensory perception to locate things, most typically his home, at a distance. I had heard, also, that the domestic cat and perhaps all cats including wild cats were able to use the Earth’s magnetic field to help locate places at a distance and recognise the onset of earthquakes. If the domestic cat is able to detect or feel the Earth’s magnetic field the cat would be able to locate the direction of North and South and as a consequence also be able to recognise were East and West were.

In being able to understand those directions and being able to memorise the journey he had taken away from his home a cat may be able to return home successfully. It would not, however, explain how a cat can find an entirely new location that he had never seen before which is where the explanation of extrasensory perception comes in.

Perhaps, a cat’s ability to locate objects at a distance is based on several separate skills. In fact, those probably far more likely saw a cat with uses normal senses together with those referred to above.

Do you believe that cat has Psi Trailing? And have I described this skill properly? I have only just this minute heard about it.

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How do cats find their way home?


Cats use a sensitivity to the earth’s magnetic field to navigate home over long distances. This has not been proved beyond doubt but science is gradually realising that this is what is going on. There are many stories of cats finding their way home. They have a great homing instinct but we should describe this as good good navigations skills coupled with a determination to be within their home range.

Firstly, I’ll quickly describe the earth’s magnetic field, which is similar to a bar magnet only it is tilted through 11 degrees from the axis of the earth.

It is believed that electric currents in the molten magnetic core of the earth creates its magnetic field.

Earth's magnetic field
Earth’s magnetic field: Source

How does a cat use the earth’s magnetic field to navigate?

You probably know that the compasses that we buy pick up the earth’s magnetic field and tell us where north, south, east and west are. From this information we can more easily navigate home. It helps to navigate in a car if you know where north is. Even without a compass, you can tell where north is by observing the roads, major landmarks and the sun. You should know if major roads run north-south or east-west and where major landmarks are in relation to your position. The sun tracks across the south. From all this information you can get a bearing on which direction you are travelling in. state: ‘Animals navigate with magnetic cells’. They say that animals have specialized cells which pick up the earth’s magnetic field. It is believed that humans also have ‘magnetic cells’.

Scientists discovered these cells in the noses of trout which respond to magnetism. We know that fish (and birds) have superb navigation skills over long range.

The scientists have discovered magnetite inside these cells. This is an material rich in iron and sensitive to magnetic fields. How the system works remains a mystery but a signal must be sent to the brain via nerves from these cells which is processed to orientate the animal.

I will, therefore, speculate with some confidence that domestic cats have magnetic cells to help them navigate home. There will be other methods going on as well, I suspect, somewhat as I have described for humans. And we know that cats have good spacial skills because some cats patrol their territory and return to their home (our house/apartment) when they are outdoor cats.

Various theories have been proposed about cats’ navigation skills, one of which touched on the paranormal (Psi trailing), but sensing the earth’s magnetic field is by far the best.

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