Clever Cats How do they Find their way Home

16 Dec 2018

December 16, 2018

There have been many stories of cats finding their way home when they have been missing for days or even months, it is well known that with dogs they have incredible noses and are known to track things over distances.

I read an article where a cat in Florida was lost in Daytona Beach in 2013, yet the cat travelled 200 miles from its home in Palm Beach when it was separated from its Humans at a rally, the owners assumed the cat was either taken or lost. However, to their amaze two months later the Cat Holly was discovered just a mile from her home, weak and emaciated she had found her way back.

In Australia it was reported an owner of a cat Jessie has moved across the continent, and she did not like it. So, on her way and travelled nearly 2,000 miles back to her old home the new owners found Jessie and contacted her family after further confirmation that Jessie was the cat the new owners kept her since she wanted to be at the home she always knew.

Scientists suspect that cats may have a homing ability, like pigeons, that helps them to find their way back home. Evidence suggests that cats might be able to sense the magnetic fields of the Earth, to help orient themselves properly as they set off to find their way home.

There have only been a few studies done on the subject, which suggest that cats have an incredible ability to orient themselves in the right direction almost immediately after being lost, which suggests a more innate sense of direction beyond other senses.

There are some studies that show that the ears of most mammals contain iron, that may cue them into the magnetic direction in the ground.

Cats have great memories once cats orient themselves in the right direction, they still must be able find their way, cats are keen observers, and they take in a lot of information about their surroundings. They have strong memories containing masses of information that they observe, which can help guide cats back when they get lost.

Evidence also suggests that cats may have the ability to visualise and create a mental map. Studies have been done on rats in mazes showing that they build a mental map of the maze in their heads.

Animals can also use landmarks to orient themselves, much the way we humans do when we are walking or driving around.

Cats have amazing sensory ability with 19 million scent receptive nerve endings in their noses, which is almost four times that of humans.  So, they can follow their noses as a part of their journey, they also hear sounds that are a full two octaves higher In pitch than we are able to hear, so they may be able to orient themselves base on unique ambient sounds that we cannot even perceive.

Cats eyes are extremely important, they have a two-hundred-degree peripheral view, compared to our one hundred and eighty degrees, cats eyes are made to see at night, so they take in more information at night or in low light.

They have strong senses as well, along with their other impressive instincts, which helps cats with strong abilities to find their way back home.