Oliver Finds His Way Home – September 12, 2011

Monday, September 12, 2011

Stephany Joy

Special to the Eye

ARCATA-McKINLEYVILLE – Are cats able to navigate by the stars? You have to wonder when you meet a cat like Oliver.

Oliver is a large golden brown, tiger striped, friendly cat with an incredible homing instinct.

In late May, Oliver’s family moved to Arcata. In July, their McKinleyville home sold. Oliver’s family went on vacation in late July. Being a neighbor, I had the pleasure of feeding Oliver and his brother Yogi.


Day one: I noticed that a substantial amount of food was gone from the “self feeder.” The cats have generous proportions, but this was too much. I filled the feeder halfway.

Day two: all the food was gone. I suspected a raccoon.

On day three, Oliver did not show up for food and attention.

On day six, I got a call from the new owner of the McKinleyville house. Oliver had returned!

I was stunned. If he took U.S. Highway, 101 he would have had to cross the narrow bridge or swim across the river. Google maps says that’s a 6.8 mile trek.

He may have opted for North Bank road, adding another mile to the journey. Regardless, he did it!

I relocated Oliver back to his new Arcata home and slathered his paws in butter (at 11 at night in the dark, mind you).

My daughter Stella and I went daily to feed and love up both cats. We caught the food thieves – a pair of very large ravens.

We moved the food and water to a more protected spot. Fingers crossed that Oliver would stay. He did for a bit, but about a week later he returned to McKinleyville – again!

He has been relocated back to Arcata for a second time. His family is home. He looks no worse for wear.

Wish I had a “cat cam” to document Oliver’s journey.