A Cat’s 200-Mile Trek Home Leaves Scientists GuessingBy PAM BELLUCK
Nobody knows how it happened: an indoor house cat who got lost on a family excursion家庭旅行 managing, after two months and about 200 miles, to return to her hometown.
Even scientists are baffled by困惑 how Holly, a 4-year-old tortoiseshell玳瑁花色(就是橘黑色毛色) who in early November became separated from Jacob and Bonnie Richter at an R.V. rally(Recreational Vehicle就是中文的露營車)美國有很多露營區可供家庭停放露營車 in
Daytona Beach, Fla., appeared on New Year’s Eve — staggering搖搖欲墜的, weak and emaciated衰弱的 — in a backyard about a mile from the Richters’ house in . West Palm Beach
“Are you sure it’s the same cat?” wondered John Bradshaw, director of the University of Bristol’s Anthrozoology Institute. In other cases, he has suspected, “the cats are just strays, and the people have got kind of a mental justification腦袋中的想像(通常與現實不符) for expecting it to be the same cat.”
But Holly not only had distinctive black-and-brown harlequin patterns身上的毛色有著獨特的小丑圖案 on her fur, but also an implanted microchip身體內有植入晶片 to identify her.
“I really believe these stories, but they’re just hard to explain,” said Marc Bekoff, a behavioral ecologist 行為生態學者at the University of Colorado. “Maybe being street-smart熟悉城市且機警懂得生存之道的, maybe reading animal cues從動物身上獲得提示, maybe being able to read cars, maybe being a good hunter. I have no data for this.”
There is, in fact, little scientific dogma on cat navigation科學信條對於貓咪如何認路這件事情之道的不多. Migratory animals遷徙動物 like birds, turtles and insects have been studied more closely, and use magnetic fields磁場, olfactory cues氣味的提示, or orientation by the sun太陽的方位.
Scientists say it is more common, although still rare, to hear of dogs returning home, perhaps suggesting, Dr. Bradshaw said, that they have inherited wolves’ ability to navigate using magnetic clues. But it’s also possible that dogs get taken on more family trips, and that lost dogs are more easily noticed or helped by people along the way.
Cats navigate well around familiar landscapes熟悉的地形環境, memorizing locations by sight and smell, and easily figuring out shortcuts, Dr. Bradshaw said.
Strange, faraway遙遠的 locations would seem problematic, although he and Patrick Bateson, a behavioral biologist at Cambridge University, say that cats can sense smells across long distances. “Let’s say they associate the smell of pine with wind coming from the north, so they move in a southerly direction,” Dr. Bateson said.
下面這一段很有趣，之前國家地理頻道與美國喬治亞大學有進行過一個計畫，叫做the Kitty Cams Project。這邊的Cams指的是攝影機。研究人員讓貓咪脖子上掛著攝影機，記錄每隻貓咪每天的行為。包括牠們到底去了哪裡？又做了什麼。因而有了一些有趣的發現。我記得這項研究有揭露家貓的殘暴，因為牠們平均一周殺生四次，對象從鳥到老鼠什麼都有，家貓殺生不是為了填飽肚子，多半只是好玩(天生的狩獵性格所致) 另外，貓咪也不忠誠，有些貓會劈腿主人，就是同時認兩個主人，這邊吃吃，那邊討好。(看到這邊，很慶幸我家的貓很怕生，應該不會劈腿我...)
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貓咪的行為非常複雜.
For example, the Kitty Cams study found that four of the cats were two-timing their owners有四隻受測的貓咪會劈腿(就是同時認兩個主人), 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.
case, one glimpse through the factual fog comes on the little cat’s feet. While Dr. Bradshaw speculated Holly might have gotten a lift可能搭陌生人的便車, perhaps sneaking under the hood of a truck偷偷摸摸溜進卡車蓋裡面 heading down I-95, her paws suggest she was not driven all the way, nor did Holly go lightly. Florida
“Her pads肉趾 on her feet were bleeding,” Ms. Richter said. “Her claws are worn weird爪子的磨損狀況非常詭異. The front ones are really sharp前爪還非常尖利, the back ones worn down to nothing後爪卻幾乎磨平了.”
Scientists say that is consistent with a long walk, since back feet provide propulsion推進, while front claws engage in activities like tearing. The Richters also said Holly had gone from 13.5 to 7 pounds.
Holly hardly seemed an adventurous wanderer, though her background might have given her a genetic advantage基因的優勢. Her mother was a feral cat roaming the Richters’ mobile home park露營車營區, and Holly was born inside somebody’s air-conditioner, Ms. Richter said. When, at about six weeks old, Holly padded into their carport 有頂無牆的車棚and jumped into the lap of Mr. Richter’s mother, there were “scars on her belly from when the air conditioner was turned on,” Ms. Richter said.
The Richters — Bonnie, 63, a retired nurse, and Jacob, 70, a retired airline mechanics’ supervisor and accomplished bowler 保齡球高手— began traveling with Holly only last year, and she easily tolerated a hotel, a cabin or the R.V這隻貓很好搞定，無論是順什麼旅館，小木屋或是睡在露營車子裡面都好.
But during the Good Sam R.V. Rally in Daytona, when they were camping near the speedway with 3,000 other motor homes, Holly bolted衝出…外 when Ms. Richter’s mother opened the door one night. Fireworks the next day may have further spooked her進一步嚇到牠, and, after searching for days, alerting animal agencies告知動物相關單位 and posting fliers發散傳單, the Richters returned home catless.
Then, on New Year’s Eve, Barb Mazzola, a 52-year-old university executive assistant, noticed a cat “barely standing幾乎站不起來” in her backyard in West Palm Beach, struggling even to meow連要叫出聲音都沒力氣. Over six days, Ms. Mazzola and her children cared for the cat, putting out food, including special milk for cats, and eventually the cat came inside.
They named her Cosette after the orphan in Les Misérables, and took her to a veterinarian獸醫, Dr. Sara Beg at Paws2Help. Dr. Beg said the cat was underweight體重過輕 and dehydrated脫水,” but was “bright and alert聰 明且機警” and had no parasites寄生蟲, heartworm心絲蟲 or viruses病毒. “She was hesitant and scared around people she didn’t know, so I don’t think she went up to people and got a lift我不覺得牠有向人求助，然後搭便車回家,” Dr. Beg said. “I think she made the journey on her own.”
At Paws2Help, Ms. Mazzola said, “I almost didn’t want to ask, because I wanted to keep her, but I said, ‘Just check and make sure she doesn’t have a microchip.’” When told the cat did, “I just cried.”
The Richters cried, too upon seeing Holly, who instantly relaxed when placed on Mr. Richter’s shoulder. Re-entry is proceeding well, but the mystery persists. Holly 重回主人懷抱後適應良好，但牠到底是怎麼辦到的？至今仍舊是一個謎。
“We haven’t the slightest idea how they do this,” Mr. Galaxy said. “Anybody who says they do is lying, and, if you find it, please God, tell me what it is.”