This is an extract of Cats' Miscellany by Lesley O'Mara - Callistemon books rrp $24.95
Cats' Incredible Journeys
Like birds, and indeed many animals, cats often show a remarkable capacity to find their way home from many, many miles away. Scientific explanation of this uncanny ability varies; however, it is thought that it involves some combination of their innate biological clock, the angle of the sun, and sensing the earth's magnetic field. Some notable cat travellers include:
Travelled 2,400 kms in 14 months to be reunited with his owners who had moved to their new home in Oklahoma, USA.
In six months, Cookie travelled 885 kms back to her home in Chicago, USA in 1949, after she was shipped to Wilber, Nebraska.
This plucky Persian traversed 1,600 kms of desert, rivers and wilderness in the Australian outback to find his owner when she moved.
This cat pursued his owner all the way from Sandusky, Ohio, USA, to the unknown territory of Orlando in Florida when he was left in the care of the owner's sister.
In 1983, a black female cat called Buttons crawled under the bonnet of a neighbour's car and was not discovered until the driver stopped at a service station in Newcastle, Britain, six hours later. They were 450 kms from their home in Great Yarmouth. Luckily (and remarkably) the cat was unharmed and the driver continued his journey to Aberdeen with Buttons as a passenger. Upon their arrival, an airline that had heard their tale flew Buttons back to her owner free of charge.
Tenacious Tom traversed the United States, travelling approximately 4,000 kms from St Petersburg in Florida to find his owners in their new home in San Gabriel, California. It took him just over two years and his journey is thought to be the longest by a cat on record.
Kuzya, a pet moggy in Russia, embarked on a 2,100 km trek across Siberia to be reunited with his owners. Kuzya ran away from his family while they were all travelling on holiday. After weeks of desperate searching they decided he was dead and returned home - three months later Kuzya turned up on their doorstep in perfect health.
Princess Truman Tai-Tai
This fantastically named cat travelled more than 2.4 million kms during her 16-year employment on the British ship Sagamire.
A black-and-white cat named Tom had to be collected from Heathrow by his owner after he got lost in the hold of a British Airways aeroplane for two months. During this time he travelled about 800,000 kms and visited several continents.
Hamlet escaped from his cage on a flight from Toronto, Canada, and travelled 965,000 kms until his rescue seven months later.
Does curiosity kill the cat? Well, one would hope not, but cats' natural curiosity can certainly get them into a lot of trouble. Whether being locked into suitcases and travelling on planes, or climbing onto precarious shelves and knocking over ornaments, cats certainly know how to get into mischief. Then there is their fascination with moving objects - unguarded fans and cats are a definite no-no.
However, according to tests performed by US veterinarian Donald Adams, the cat possesses a high level of intelligence and can remember problem solving strategies to think its way around situations.The cat has an excellent memory, and this particularly applies to inherited knowledge or something learned long ago but no longer used, such as how to hunt or defend itself.