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A Catís 200-Mile Trek Home Leaves Scientists Guessing
The New York Times ^ | 19 Jan 2013 | Pam Belluck

Posted on 01/21/2013 12:54:16 PM PST by Theoria

Nobody knows how it happened: an indoor housecat who got lost on a family excursion managing, after two months and about 200 miles, to return to her hometown.

Even scientists are baffled by how Holly, a 4-year-old tortoiseshell who in early November became separated from Jacob and Bonnie Richter at an R.V. rally in Daytona Beach, Fla., appeared on New Year’s Eve — staggering, weak and emaciated — in a backyard about a mile from the Richters’ house in West Palm Beach.

“Are you sure it’s the same cat?” wondered John Bradshaw, director of the University of Bristol’s Anthrozoology Institute. In other cases, he has suspected, “the cats are just strays, and the people have got kind of a mental justification for expecting it to be the same cat.”

But Holly not only had distinctive black-and-brown harlequin patterns on her fur, but also an implanted microchip to identify her.

“I really believe these stories, but they’re just hard to explain,” said Marc Bekoff, a behavioral ecologist at the University of Colorado. “Maybe being street-smart, maybe reading animal cues, maybe being able to read cars, maybe being a good hunter. I have no data for this.”

There is, in fact, little scientific dogma on cat navigation. Migratory animals like birds, turtles and insects have been studied more closely, and use magnetic fields, olfactory cues, or orientation by the sun.

Scientists say it is more common, although still rare, to hear of dogs returning home, perhaps suggesting, Dr. Bradshaw said, that they have inherited wolves’ ability to navigate using magnetic clues. But it’s also possible that dogs get taken on more family trips, and that lost dogs are more easily noticed or helped by people along the way.

(Excerpt) Read more at well.blogs.nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Pets/Animals; Science
KEYWORDS: cat; holly; homingcats; kittyping; navigate; navigation
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To: 353FMG

Have a heart. Give Kitty a break! LOL!


21 posted on 01/21/2013 1:35:15 PM PST by YHAOS
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To: Theoria
They can be very resourceful....


22 posted on 01/21/2013 1:36:16 PM PST by mikrofon (Katzenbumpf)
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To: Theoria

An amazing journey. :)=^..^=


23 posted on 01/21/2013 1:36:17 PM PST by Biggirl ("Jesus talked to us as individuals"-Jim Vicevich/Thanks JimV!)
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To: Theoria

Growing up, we had neighbors who had an elderly dog named Teddy. Once on a road trip down south to visit their son, Teddy became lost. Heartbroken, the neighbors came home without Teddy. A month or so later, Teddy showed up at the neighbors’ door. Teddy was arthritic and partially blind, so his return home was considered miraculous.


24 posted on 01/21/2013 1:37:19 PM PST by fatnotlazy
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To: Theoria

I have a cat story too. When I was a kid we had a cat named snowball. We had the cat for an extended period of time and then the cat ran off and we didn’t see the cat again for years. Then, we were driving home from my grandparents (this was years later) and we actually talked about snowball on the way home. And, I kid you not, when we got home that cat was there to greet us. She only stayed for a couple days and then was gone again. But for her to show up out of the blue on the same day we talked about her was amazing.


25 posted on 01/21/2013 1:37:57 PM PST by killermosquito (Buffalo, Detroit (and eventually France) is what you get when liberalism runs its course.)
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To: jpl

I learned LONG ago to never underestimate the intelligence of an “animal.” The four-legged kind seem, at times, to have One-Upsmanship. And they do it subtly, and with grace. And they always forgive us for our ignorance and stupidity.


26 posted on 01/21/2013 1:41:17 PM PST by Monkey Face (Did dinosaurs become extinct because of a reptile dysfunction?)
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To: YHAOS

No, they usually don’t know, guess, and claim that they know.

There is a lot of scientific ‘knowledge’ that really really just dogma.


27 posted on 01/21/2013 1:50:58 PM PST by PAR35
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To: PAR35
"No, they usually don’t know, guess, and claim that they know."

I think you've identified a general human failing.

28 posted on 01/21/2013 2:15:38 PM PST by YHAOS
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To: Theoria
“I really believe these stories, but they’re just hard to explain,” said Marc Bekoff, a behavioral ecologist at the University of Colorado. “Maybe being street-smart, maybe reading animal cues, maybe being able to read cars, maybe being a good hunter. I have no data for this.”

The first thing that comes to my mind is they have some sort of sense for Latitude/ Longitude. -tom

29 posted on 01/21/2013 2:23:27 PM PST by Capt. Tom
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To: Capt. Tom

... or maybe they have a Tom Tom ;)


30 posted on 01/21/2013 2:34:29 PM PST by fulltlt
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To: AdmSmith; AnonymousConservative; Berosus; bigheadfred; Bockscar; ColdOne; Convert from ECUSA; ...

Thanks Theoria.
Holly not only had distinctive black-and-brown harlequin patterns on her fur, but also an implanted microchip to identify her.
Word.


31 posted on 01/21/2013 3:25:21 PM PST by SunkenCiv (Romney would have been worse, if you're a dumb ass.)
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To: carriage_hill

LOL!


32 posted on 01/21/2013 3:26:46 PM PST by SunkenCiv (Romney would have been worse, if you're a dumb ass.)
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To: Ingtar

Cats want you to love them unconditionally.

Dogs love you unconditionally.

Thats the facts Jack.


33 posted on 01/21/2013 4:02:55 PM PST by Wuli
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To: carriage_hill

“Dogs have masters. Cats have staff.”

Your dog is on your team. The cat wants you on its team.


34 posted on 01/21/2013 4:07:15 PM PST by Wuli
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To: carriage_hill

So?
(I happen to love cats-—dogs, too, for that matter.)


35 posted on 01/21/2013 4:13:26 PM PST by krunkygirl (force multiplier in effect...)
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To: PAR35

“There is a lot of scientific ‘knowledge’ that really really just dogma.”

I wanna know what’s catma :)


36 posted on 01/21/2013 4:43:11 PM PST by TrueFact
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To: Ingtar

Dogs have masters. Cats have staff.


37 posted on 01/21/2013 6:11:01 PM PST by pabianice (washington, dc ..)
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To: krunkygirl

I’ve had cats and a few dogs for 57 of my 63yrs, and just lost 3 (Pickle, Mama Kitty & Murphy) who were very near and dear, for 17yrs. My first one, Tiger, lived 24yrs.

“Dogs have masters. Cats have staff.” (It’s supposed to get an *LOL* reaction...)

It’s an old saying by the Feline Fanciers Assn that cats are more finicky and need more care; I’ve found that they become some of my best companions and friends.


38 posted on 01/21/2013 6:41:36 PM PST by carriage_hill (AR-10s/15s are the 21st Century's Muskets. Self-Defense is The First Human Right.)
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To: Wuli

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/chat/2980463/posts?page=38#38


39 posted on 01/21/2013 6:44:55 PM PST by carriage_hill (AR-10s/15s are the 21st Century's Muskets. Self-Defense is The First Human Right.)
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To: YHAOS

Aren’t you full of bs tonight. Scientists collect a body of data and then guess what it means all the time. It’s called theory.


40 posted on 01/21/2013 7:21:04 PM PST by SaraJohnson
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