Australian Cat Goes on Epic Walkabout


Jessie the cat literally walked from one end of the country to the other in order to get back to her home.

When her caretakers, Andre and Sheree Gale, relocated from Ungarra, on the country’s southern Eyre Peninsula, to the northern town of Berry Springs, near the city of Darwin, they took Jessie with them but left their other two cats behind because they didn’t think those cats would cope well with the move. The new owners of the Gales’ home agreed to take care of the cats.

They had no idea that Jessie would have issues with her new home, too.

“[Jessie] was here for a couple of weeks, and we thought she’d settled in,” Sheree said.

Guess not.

She slipped out the door one day in March 2010, and this May she was back at her old home, playing with her kitty siblings.

What makes this story even more incredible is that Jessie didn’t make her initial trip up north in a car: She was flown through several airports.

But somehow, the cat managed to make the 3,000-km (1,800-mile) trip, presumably on foot, back to her old home.

A quick consultation with Google Maps shows that the most direct way from Ungarra to Berry Springs takes at least a day to drive and leads through the center of the country — and probably a thousand miles of desert. And who knows how many side journeys the cat took?

Now the cat safely is in the care of Troy and Jenn Humbry, the new owners of the Gales’ home.

On thing I’ve learned about cats is that there are people-oriented cats and place-oriented cats. While all cats get stressed from moving to a new home, people-oriented cats seem to settle in well as long as their human caretakers are around. Place-oriented cats, on the other hand, are very much attached to their physical homes and never quite get used to their new digs.

It seems pretty clear that Jessie is a place-oriented cat. And I imagine she missed her kitty siblings, too. If I were her, and my life had been turned upside-down with a cross-country move, I, too, probably would have done whatever I could to get back to my home.

It’s amazing that she survived the trek, and it’s wonderful that the Humbry family has welcomed her back home.

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