Barbara Oliphant snuggles with Wollie, who walked six miles over three days to get home.
Officials at a New Hampshire animal shelter say they can’t figure out how a black cat walked six miles in three days to find his way back home, but the cat’s owner has one word for it.
“It’s a miracle. I really believe that it’s a miracle,” Barbara Oliphant said.
Oliphant, 80, was recently reunited with her wayward kitty, Wollie, after initially giving him away to the Animal Rescue League in Bedford, N.H.
When Oliphant first met Wollie, he was wandering around her house last summer as a stray.
“I felt sorry for it because it was thin, it wasn’t being fed,” she said. So she took him in.
Soon, however, Barbara’s 80-year-old husband, George, was hospitalized with a stroke, and Oliphant said she could no longer give the cat enough attention. So she turned him over to the shelter, which is located miles from her home.
When George began getting better, the Oliphants' daughter secretly adopted Wollie back, but before she could pick the cat up, he escaped in the shelter's parking lot.
Three and a half days later, Barbara spotted the cat crossing a road leading up to her house.
“I said, ‘That’s Wollie.’ I just knew it was him,” she said. “He was so exhausted so tired, so hungry.”
Dr. Emily Weiss, vice president of shelter research and development for the ASPCA, said incidents as extreme as Wollie’s are quite rare, but not surprising.
“Generally speaking, cats have amazing smell and hearing, so when they’re lost they look for clues to pick up a slight scent or sound and go to what’s familiar for them.”
“This cat obviously knew where his home was and wanted to get back there as soon as he possibly could,” Laura Montenegro, spokesperson for the Animal Rescue League of New Hampshire, told WMUR 9.
The Oliphants said they now plan to keep Wollie for good.
“What makes this story so remarkable is that this cat was motivated to come home based on the bond that it shares with his owners," said Weiss. "And that’s pretty amazing.”