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Bozeman cat makes tracks back home

A map detailing the trek that Pippin may have traveled to get back home.
Kathleen and Andrew Karlsen
A map detailing the trek that Pippin may have traveled to get back home.

A Bozeman family thought it was hearing the ghostly meows of a missing cat paying a Halloween-like appearance at the family's home.

But as Yellowstone Public Radio’s Orlinda Worthington reports, it was the return of a cat that may have used one of its 9 lives to survive.

Pippin is a typical looking gray Tabby. The Karlsen family adopted him as a kitten eleven years ago for their daughter Rose. Now grown - she recently took Pippin to live in her Bozeman apartment. But city life was not for Pippin.

Kathleen Karlsen: “Sure enough, he found a way through the netting and jumped off like 12 feet down from the balcony and just disappeared.”

The family didn’t know it, but Pippin was homeward bound. Two days later…

“About 5: 30 in the morning, I heard a loud meow at the top of the stairs. I looked up and there was Pippin. Healthy as could be meowing for his breakfast. I called my daughter and I said, Did you bring Pippin back? And she said, No. Why? I said, Well, he's here, so it was just the family was just joyous the entire day,” Karlsen said.

Only Pippin knows his exact path but the Karlsens’ figure he traveled at least seven

We posed that question to veterinarian Lauryn McDowell. She said cats are gifted with powerful senses of sight, smell and hearing.

“So I think all of those things help in terms of spatial navigation in creating a cognitive map through memory. Not any concrete scientific evidence behind that,” Dr. McDowell said.

So, it appears the magical travels of Pippen will remain a mystery. No one knows which of his nine lives the cat is living right now but one thing is for sure.

“He’s gonna live here permanently now.”

Orlinda Worthington hosts “Morning Edition” weekdays on YPR. She brings 20 years of experience as Montana television news anchor, producer, and reporter.