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What is really amazing is the cat's power to travel long distances, through unknown territory, and still reach his or her destination! There are numerous stories about cats who have journeyed great distances to find their owners or return to their original homes -- these amazing but true stories further support the fact of a cat's psychic ability.

One such recent example comes to us from a small rural town in Iowa called --of all things -- Key West. There lives a cat named Rusty who just can't seem to forget the old neighborhood. In the past two years, he's navigated more than 3 miles of hills and busy streets and highways in all kinds of weather including snow and rain to visit his old neighborhood...33 times so far!

When his human family moved to Key West from Dubuque, they kept Rusty inside to help him better adjust to his new home and neighborhood. They thought their beloved long-haired feline would love their new ranch house in a more rural part of Iowa. But it was not to be.

One day Rusty actually broke a front window with his body -- he busted out! -- and headed out on the first of many adventures and returns. Rusty has to endure a flea bath when he returns, after which he eats a lot and hangs around for a few weeks.  Then he starts sniffing the air and it's back to the open road for another trip and another return home.

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Another story comes to us from an army guy in Kokomo, Indiana who took his large yellow tomcat with him when he was transferred to a base in Augusta, Georgia.....a long ways from Kokomo!   The cat, however, decided that life in Indiana was better and made the 700 mile trip back to his old home in only three weeks. The cat could not have simply remembered the route back to Indiana because he had made the original trip to Georgia in an express train!

What is even more amazing is that cats can find their way "home" to places they've never even seen before! For example, there is the New York veterinarian who found a new home for his cat rather than subject it to the long trip to California, where he was moving. Months later a cat that looked just like his former companion -- right down to the distinctive bump on its tail that left no room for doubt -- showed up at his new West Coast house!

Then there's Smoky, a Persian cat who got lost at a roadside stop in Oklahome while his family was moving to Tennessee. Smoky showed up at the new home in Tennessee ---although he had never seen it before--- exactly one year later!

Have you ever heard that cats can predict earthquakes? (Everyone in California/USA should own a cat!)  It's not a myth.  For centuries, the Chinese look to cats for early warnings of earthquakes. Scientists monitoring earth tremors in California say that cats sense them long before the most delicate of instruments can. An old wives' tale may actually have some basis in scientific fact. It says that a cat passing his paw over his ear signals an oncoming storm. The reason may be that the cat is trying to massage away the annoying sensation of electrical waves that pass through the air when a storm is building. Before a storm actually strikes, there's an enormous buildup of electricity and the air becomes highly charged with particles that are thought to influence brain chemistry. Naturalist Ivan Sanderson thinks the cat's astonishing ability to flee from an area before a quake strikes is really a result of his supersenory perception - a highly sensitive way of hearing that lets him pick up noises inside the earth.

Belief in the notion that cats possess extra-ordinary powers has existed for many, many centuries. It goes back as far as the ancient Egyptians whose word for cat was "mau" which literally means "to see."   Ancient Egyptians treated their feline companions with great affection and respect, making it a capital offense to kill one.   When cats died, they were laid to rest with great ceremony.   Archaeologists have unearthed thousands of cat mummies -- accompanied by mummified mice! -- presumably to keep the cats snacking happily on their way to a glorious afterlife.

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Not to be outdone by the Chinese and the Egyptians, the Italians have something to contribute to "Strange But True," however we are unable to verify the truthfulness of this particular story.   However, it's a charming tale, and we share it with you for that reason.  You may have noticed that most all tabbies, also referred to as the 'common cat," or a 'tomcat,' have a distinctive "M" marking on their forehead; this is a commonly seen genetic feature passed on from generation to generation and part of the tabbies' fur pattern. An Italian legend tells the story of a young cat being in the stable in Bethlehem during the Christ Child's birth. As the Child lay crying in the manger, none of the animals present could soothe Him to sleep. When the tabby jumped into the manger, snuggled close, and began to purr, the Infant Child responded as if to a lullaby and soon drifted off to sleep. Mary gave the tabby a gentle pet on the forehead. Where her fingers had touched, the little tabby was marked with an "M" as a symbol of the Madonna's eternal gratitude.

As far back as 1950 at Duke Univeristy in Durhan, N.C. in the USA, there have been scientific experiments verifying the cat's psychic ability. The results of these many studies (none of which harmed any cats!) suggested strongly that cats can predict the future, especially if danger threatens them or their favorite humans....and that they can also foretell their humans' unexpected return to home.

The English certainly love their cats, and have contributed much scientific evidence that attests to the genetic reasons for the cat's highly intuitive nature...some would call it almost a supernatural intuition.  The most recent tests revolved around a cat's paw preference of all things.  Paw preference tests were conducted on 60 cats at Oxford University's physiology lab. Researchers found that the majority of the cats consistently used their left paw. This led Dr. J. Cole of the University's lab to conclude that most cats are right brain dominant. That's because the right side of the brain hemisphere controls movement on the left side of the body and vice versa. Right brain dominance also definitively means that the cat is highly intuitive. However, other tests have also shown that SOME but not all cats are ambidextrous (uses both paws equally). Whether this ambidexterity "waters down" a cat's intuitiveness is not known.

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Ancient romans adored their cats too. The cat was the only animal permitted inside the Roman sacred temples. Archeologists have even found the remains of a cat buried alongside its owner in the excavations at Pompeii.   Some historians believe importing cats to England was the Romans' greatest contribution toward civilizing the British.

Cats have guarded temples in Thailand and other parts of Asia for centuries. When the new King of Siam (which later became Thailand) was crowned in 1926, the processional included a white cat which was said to carry the previous King's soul.   This belief was consistent with the popular Thai legend that says highly spiritual people reincarnate as cats as their last stage on the way to heaven.   What a great legend!

With their haughty demeanor, cats may think that no one has authority over them but, in fact, cats are not above the law. Certain U.S. states have regulations on the books prohibiting cats from drinking beer, entering a fight between two dogs, and even pursuing ducks down a city thoroughfare!

Our favorite story...about the cat's power to travel or remember long distances... is about Sugar.  Sugar was a cream-colored, part-Persian who was living with a family in Anderson, California. When her family had to move to Oklahoma they felt that Sugar was just too afraid of cars to go through such an ordeal and so they very reluctantly left Sugar behind with a neighbor.

Fourteen months later, in Oklahoma, a cream-colored semi-Persian cat leaped on the shoulder of the woman from Anderson, California while she was working outside her new home. Although the woman thought the cat looked like Sugar, she had her doubts.

Would a stray cat jump happily onto the shoulder of a stranger? Not likely. But it also seemed unlikely that a cat could cross half a continent of desert and mountain ranges!

All doubts were ended, however, when she petted Sugar and felt the unique bone deformity that defined Sugar's left hip. And then she knew for sure it was Sugar when she called the old neighbor in California. Not only did the neighbor remember Sugar's unique bone formation, but she told the Anderson family that Sugar had stayed with her for only two weeks before disappearing!   Sugar travelled more than 1,500 miles through land even a mountain lion would find harsh...to a place she had never been....to get back to the family she loved and missed.

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