Wollie, a 3 -year-old black cat, made national news when he walked six miles to find his way home from an animal shelter in Bedford, N.H. Barbara Oliphant had taken in the stray but gave him up when her husband became ill. When her husband improved, Oliphant’s daughter adopted Wollie as a surprise for her, but the cat escaped his carrier in the shelter parking lot. He appeared at Oliphant’s door three days later. The inevitable question: How did he do that? Behaviorist Katherine A. Houpt, VMD, at Cornell offers the likely explanation: “He was a stray and familiar with the area.”
A study using radio transmitters to track 43 feral and pet cats found they roam far and wide (Journal of Wildlife Management, July 2011). One feral male had a range of 1,351 urban and rural acres. Pet cats averaged 4.9 acres. However he returned, Wollie promptly ate three cans of cat food and slept nearly 24 hours.