One spring day in a small town in Illinois, a black cat named Zephyr disappeared. “I was heartbroken, as was the rest of my family. He was truly my friend at that time,” recalls Cassandra Fink. Zephyr’s owners spend hours combining their one-and-a-half-acre yard and apple orchard looking for their beloved pet and fearing the worst. “We realized he must have run away.”
Then one night the cat’s owners heard a soft meow outside and found Zephyr standing at the door looking well-muscled but extremely skinny. “The semi-trucks for the trucking company next door travelled back and forth to the city of Kankakee. We realized then that he had hopped aboard a flatbed semi and ended up there,” explains Fink. It had taken the cat two weeks to trek the 30 miles home!
Zephyr is like countless cats worldwide who find their way home—even when home is hundreds of miles away. Many cat owners have tales of incredible journeys, and most have no idea how their cats do it. A number of these cases come to the public’s attention when they are reported in newspapers, but many more go unreported and unstudied. Those that are studied teach us a lot about our feline (and canine) companions, but leave us with as many questions as answers.