Copyright 1992, Sarah Hartwell

While some cats get lost in their own back yard, others accomplish remarkable feats of navigation to return home or to be reunited with owners in new homes. Some negotiate motorways or rivers in their travels and others cover the miles so swiftly they must be cheating! Just how our feline friends manage to track down homes or owners is still a mystery to us mere humans.

The Purr Trek distance record stands at a staggering 2500 miles from New York to California; the cat belonged to a vet who presumably had to treat blistered paws when it turned up at his new home, In second place are MINOSCH, SUGAR and SAM. MINOSCH walked 1500 miles then swam to her family's island home after going missing while on holiday - all in the short space of 61 days. That's about 24 miles a day. Persian cat, SUGAR, covered the same distance in 14 months. SAM's stroll was more leisurely and he took 4 years to travel 1500 miles.

BORIS negotiated the M4 unscathed (something many car-drivers fail to do) to be reunited with his owner. TIGER's 8 month march home included crossing the Mississippi River. Closer to home, GINGER crossed the Menai Strait to return home.

Marching at the steady rate of 46 miles per day, RUSTY trekked 780 miles in only 17 days while MAISIE took the same length of time to cover only 2 miles to her new home. Presumably she spent much of her time asking directions. MACAVERTY walked 500 miles from Glasgow to Truro, but died of exhaustion after reaching his old home. His single-mindedness was sadly his undoing.

It's not just the youngsters who walk long distances suffering nothing worse than sore paws. Oldster CHAMP managed 400 miles and 17 year old CHI-CHI walked 300 miles (crossing the Mississippi) to spend Christmas in her old home. Little MURKA of Moscow traipsed 400 miles to rejoin her owner - while pregnant!

CRAWFORD - rehomed by Chelmsford Cat Protection League (CPL) - embarrassingly turned up in his old garden 10 miles away, taking a fortnight to do so. So far he is the only Chelmsford CPL cat known to have performed this feat.

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