The Korea Herald


Australian cat walks the 3,000 km home


Published : Nov. 9, 2011 - 18:43

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Sydney (dpa) - A homesick cat walked 3,000 kilometers from far northern Australia to the other end of the continent to be re-united with her sibling, according to news report Tuesday.

That is the barely credible story from Sheree Gale, the owner of transcontinental tabby Jessie, who took 15 months to make the great trek from a farm near Darwin back to a homestead near Adelaide.

"I've heard too many stories like this not to believe Jessie's owners," Sydney veterinarian Peter Higgins said Tuesday.

"Cats and dogs don't have the cognitive ability that we have but if you think about it logically they instinctively know how to get back to where they came from. It's what they do in the wild."

Gale had two cats, Jessie and Jack, when she moved to Darwin in2010. Jack missed the flight because he was off wandering.

Gale was in touch with the family who rented her house and learned that Jack had returned and taken up residence.

"In May 2011 they told us that Jessie had rocked up. They sent us photographs and it was her. It was definitely Jessie," Gale told national broadcaster ABC.

She agrees that it is difficult to believe a 10-year-old cat would make that 3,000-kilometre journey.

"I know it seems totally ridiculous," she said. "But when you think she's an old farm cat who is tough as nails who has never been to a vet in her life and has walked for several kilometers a day."

Gale reckons it is unlikely that a farm cat like Jessie, timid and unused to vehicles, hitched a ride on a truck or on the train.

She also said that timing was important.

"Mother Nature was on her side because it was the year of the big wet season, which was closely followed by the mouse plague and the grasshopper plague and so there was food and water all the way down. Another year and I don't think she would have made it," she said.

Gale said she would not be separating Jessie and Jack again.

"No, when she's gone to all that trouble to get down there she can live out her days and stay with her brother and thankfully the family that are living in the house have been generous enough to feed her and her brother and its worked out very well in the end."


고양이, 헤어진 피붙이 찾아 3천km 여행

호주 농가의 한 고양이가 옛집에 남아 있는 동기를 찾아 대륙 북단에서 남단까지 3천km를 횡단했다고 호주 국영방송 ABC가 8일(현지시간) 전 했다.

대륙 횡단의 주인공은 암고양이 제시.

고양이 주인 셰리 게일 씨에 따르면 지난해 새로 이사한 노던주(州) 다윈의 농장에서 사라졌던 제시는 15개월 후인 지난 5월 옛집인 남호주주(州) 애들레이드의 농가에서 발견됐다.

호주의 한 수의사는 "이와 비슷한 얘기는 하도 많이 들어 믿기 어려웠다"면서 "개와 고양이는 사람 같은 인지 능력은 없지만 귀소본능이 있다"고 말했다.

게일 씨는 지난해 애들레이드를 떠나 다윈으로 이사할 당시 제시의 동기인 수고양이 잭을 비행기에 함께 태우지 못했다. 집에 들어오지 않고 밖으로 떠돌고 있었기 때문이다.

게일 씨는 옛집에 살고 있는 세입자와 연락한 결과 자신이 떠난 뒤 잭이 집으로 돌아왔다는 것을 알게 됐다.

그녀는 "지난 5월에는 세입자들이 제시까지 돌아왔다고 알려왔다"면서 "사진도 보내줬는데 분명히 제시였다"고 설명했다.

게일 씨는 10살짜리 고양이가 3천km를 횡단했다는 것이 믿기 어렵다는 것을 잘 안다면서 "하지만 제시는 수의사에게 한 번도 간 적이 없고 매일 수 km를 걸을 정도로 강인한 농장 고양이"라고 강조했다.

게일 씨는 시기도 중요했다면서 "대자연이 제시의 편이었다"고 말했다.

그녀는 "올해가 쥐떼나 사마귀떼가 나타나는 대장마철이어서 물과 먹을 게 충분했다"면서 "다른 해였다면 제시는 해낼 수 없었을 것"이라고 분석했다.

게일 씨는 다시는 제시와 잭과 떼어놓지 않겠다고 덧붙였다.