Here & Now's Robin Young speaks with Richard Pacelle, professor of political science at the University of Tennessee, to find some answers.
How did Holly the cat manage to make her way back to her hometown, about 200 miles away from where she got separated from her family?
The tortoiseshell cat had been kept indoors, for the most part, by her owners Jacob and Bonnie Richter.
The mystery prompted New York Times reporter Pam Belluck to track down some animal behavior scientists to try to find some answers.
Belluck determined that it’s rare, but not impossible, for a cat to make such a journey.
“There are innate skills that animals have that might not be knocked out of them by being indoors,” Belluck told Here & Now’s Robin Young. “Smells that a cat can perceive can actually travel very far, so that it’s not completely out of the realm of possibility that the cat could detect a familiar smell even 200 miles south.”