Florida Cat Goes on Real-Life Homeward Bound Catventure without Any Annoying Dogs


If Homeward Bound already seems largely impossible, consider how impossible it would have seemed if it took place in Florida and Sassy had to find her way home all on her own because Shadow and Chance weren’t in it. Could you have endured such a harrowing adventure, over the course of which Sassy would lose about seven pounds, tear her all her claws out, and nearly get eaten by an evil Burmese python voiced by the inimitable Powers Boothe? Probably your tiny child’s heart would have given out about halfway through, which is exactly why nobody will ever film a cat adventure like Holly’s, a 4-year-old tortoiseshell cat from Florida that got lost during a family outing and had to endure a 2-month, 200-mile journey back home.

Holly’s story is pretty amazing, so amazing, in fact, that of all the cat experts interviewed by the New York Times, not a single one could explain just how little Holly managed. Some pointed to the fact that she came from strong stock — her mom was feral and gave birth to Holly inside of an air conditioner. Others said she smelled her way home. Another dude suggested that Holly snuck into someone’s car, whizzed down I-95, and just told her owners, the Richters, that she walked a really long way so that they’d be super impressed and give her whole milk after every meal.

The Times uses Holly’s great adventure to point out that there is remarkably little scientific data available to explain how cats navigate. Even though it’s still pretty rare to hear of people being reunited with their lost dogs, for instance, dogs return home way more often than cats, either because dogs, sycophantic little creatures that they are, get taken on road trips more often, or because lost dogs are way easier to notice. It’s not that often you see stray dogs running around anymore in America. Stray cats, however, are like cockroaches. Adorable, fuzzy cockroaches whose migratory patterns, according to a one catspert, cannot be studied:

Peter Borchelt, a New York animal behaviorist, wondered if Holly followed the Florida coast by sight or sound, tracking Interstate 95 and deciding to “keep that to the right and keep the ocean to the left.”
But, he said, “nobody’s going to do an experiment and take a bunch of cats in different directions and see which ones get home.”

You’re goddamn right they’re not, Peter. That sounds like a horribly irresponsible experiment. Even when scientists found a way to responsibly track cat movements, however, they realized that cats probably don’t give too much of a shit about returning home to their regular people once they get lost. Holly’s story, therefore, seems more like a bolt-of-lightning anomaly:

New research by the National Geographic and University of Georgia’s Kitty Cams Project, using video footage from 55 pet cats wearing video cameras on their collars, suggests cat behavior is exceedingly complex.
For example, the Kitty Cams study found that four of the cats were two-timing their owners, visiting other homes for food and affection. Not every cat, it seems, shares Holly’s loyalty.
KittyCams also showed most of the cats engaging in risky behavior, including crossing roads and “eating and drinking substances away from home,” risks Holly undoubtedly experienced and seems lucky to have survived.

The lesson to be learned from all this, of course, is keep your cat inside. If you don’t keep your cat locked away in your stuffy apartment until it simply loses the will to live, it will cheat on you with other people who give out more delicious food.

One Cat’s Incredible Journey [NY Times]

Image via Sari ONeal/Shutterstock.

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