600 km on all fours: do cats have a superpower to find their way?

Every year, a few lost cats defy the chronicle by managing to find their owner’s home after months of absence, like Cocci, who traveled 600 km from Normandy to the Meuse. Do they have a superpower? We already know that cats have an ultra-efficient spatial memory, storing a number of visual cues – roads, houses, vegetation – but also olfactory, including pheromones that it leaves itself, to map their environment. In the animal’s brain, a path of neurons is in fact set up according to the various recorded landmarks, and a sort of mental map is superimposed on the geographical and topographical map. Associated with this, the cat has a memory of movement, which allows it to reproduce actions previously performed – “here, I jump on this wall” or “I turn left at this angle” – and thus easily find its way back.

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