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Just like cats, dogs also sometimes return to their former home

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We know that domestic cats have a home range. They become attached to it. When they are relocated to a new home, because their owner wants to move, sometimes they take it upon themselves to return to their former home. The nearer the better as far as they are concerned. There have been stories of cats travelling many miles, however. We aren’t sure how they navigate but it is probably due to a mixture of skills such as visual markers, olfactory skills and, over long distances, being sensitive to the Earth’s magnetic field. I believe that cats can orientate themselves in terms of north, south, east and west. Dogs are good navigators too…



Chloe. Photo by Drew Feeback

There is a cool story in the newspapers today about a Labrador dog whose name is Chloe who travelled about 50 miles no less from herr present home to her previous home. People are scratching their heads as to how she managed it because it would have meant traversing many potential hazardous barriers such as major roads and water courses.

Chloe disappeared in Kansas earlier this month. She was reported missing from the town of Olathe in July 12. It took several days to arrive at the porch of her old home in Lawson, Missouri. The new owner of the home, Colton Michael, had moved there about two years earlier. When Chloe arrived she was anxious because she met a stranger. Colton gained Chloe’s trust and on having her micro-chip scanned discovered her new owner, Drew Feeback. Meanwhile, Chloe’s owner had posted a missing dog appeal on Facebook about seven days earlier.

Colton immediately recognised Chloe’s owner’s name as the former owner of the house in which he lived. I presume that Colton contacted Drew who, unsurprisingly, was speechless.

It’s the most bizarre story. Really, she is everything to us and to my mother.

Someone took the bother to work out the exact distance that Chloe travelled. It was 57 miles from door-to-door. Proof, if it is needed, that the domestic dog is as good as the domestic cat for navigation skills.

Dogs don’t have home ranges i.e. territorial possession that they call their home like cats, but clearly they have a strong attachment to their home. I wonder if this should be factored in when relocating? We do not hear stories about the need to keep dogs inside or on a leash when relocating home as we do for cats. Perhaps this is an unusual case and that Chloe was particularly attached to her previous home.