We all know cats allowed outdoors can have ranges up to 2 acres in size. But sometimes our feline friends find themselves much farther afield. These five kitties made journeys so epic, so legendary, that they deserve a place in the Wandering Mew Hall of Fame.
#5: Eclipse. This unlucky black-and-white dude ended up hitching a ride 200 miles down Interstate 71 — under the hood of traveling businessman Wayne Polk’s car. When Polk pulled into a pit stop to stretch his legs, he smelled something odd and went to investigate, at which point he found the burned and terrified feline. A state trooper stopped to help, and Eclipse was rescued with the help of the local SPCA. He’s recovering from his ordeal, and once he’s healed up, he’ll be placed for adoption.
#4: Kingston. Sharla Sharkey’s cat went missing two years ago when he slipped out the door of her Florida Keys residence. Although Kingston had a microchip and was wearing a collar with her phone number, Sharkey’s search yielded no results. She resigned herself to the fact that she’d never see her beloved kitty again.
But in March of this year, Mike Duncan noticed a cat roaming around his apartment complex in Bradenton, Fla., 400 miles away. Duncan brought the cat to the Humane Society of Manatee County, where they scanned him for a microchip and Sharkey and Kingston were reunited. How Kingston got to Bradenton is still a mystery, but Sharkey suspects he might have hitched a ride in the car of a friend who lives there.
#3: Jessie. This amazing tabby literally walked from one end of the country to the other to get back home. When Andre and Sheree Gale moved from Ungarra, Australia, to the northern town of Berry Springs, they took Jessie with them and left their other two cats behind, in the care of a neighbor, because they didn’t think those cats would cope well with the move. But Jessie quickly became homesick and made the 1,800-mile trek, through savannas, tropical jungles, and at least a thousand miles of desert, back to her old home. The trip took the intrepid explorer two months, but now she’s back in Ungarra, playing with her kitty siblings and enjoying life safely in the care of Troy and Jenn Humbry, the new owners of the Gales home.
#2: Cali. The 5-and-a-half-year-old tortie was enjoying a stroll around her Albany, N.Y., neighborhood when she found herself locked inside a truck at the local Target distribution center. A few days and a few thousand miles later, employees unloading the truck at a store in Spokane Valley, Wash., saw a four-legged blur fleeing from the trailer. They tried to catch her, but she hid in a deep, dark corner of the warehouse. Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Services (SCRAPS) set up a humane trap baited with wet food, and the next morning, the cat was inside. SCRAPS found out that the truck had begun its journey in Albany and asked the Albany Democrat-Herald for assistance in locating the unfortunate feline’s owner. Amanda Smith recognized her cat and called the shelter, and a Target driver returning to Albany brought the cat back home.
And the #1 most epic feline traveler is Muffin! The Phillips family of Cedar Ridge, Calif., had fostered Muffin, who was pregnant at the time, for their local animal shelter. In a classic case of “failed foster,” the family fell in love with Muffin and decided to keep her. This summer, Scott Phillips landed an amazing job in northern Sumatra, and the family packed all their belongings into a shipping container and headed for their new home in Indonesia. While all this was going on, Muffin disappeared, and the family assumed she’d been eaten by a coyote — but when customs authorities in Indonesia searched the shipping crate 48 days later, they found a starving and bedraggled Muffin amid the family’s belongings. She was rushed to a pet hospital in Jakarta, where she recovered from her ordeal. Muffin and her family are now comfortably settled in their new home.