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Published April 20, 2009, 12:00 AM

Cat makes journey back to family

Stacia and Joel Schatz’s cat Junior made an unexpected journey that was over seven miles long to return home after another family adopted him. Stacia Schatz said the cat had to travel across Interstate 94 and across railroad tracks to make it back to her farm near Taylor Friday morning.

By: Ashley Martin, The Dickinson Press

Stacia and Joel Schatz’s cat Junior made an unexpected journey that was over seven miles long to return home after another family adopted him. Stacia Schatz said the cat had to travel across Interstate 94 and across railroad tracks to make it back to her farm near Taylor Friday morning.

The adventure began when the Schatz family decided to give away 10 of their cats a few weeks ago. Stacia Schatz said having that many cats, along with the five strays that wander in, got to be a bit much.

Duane Urlacher, who lives over seven miles north of the Schatz’s farm, took five of their cats, including Junior.

The Schatz family gave the other five cats to other families.

Urlacher said he hadn’t seen Junior for a few days, but assumed he was hiding or wandering around the farm. Urlacher wasn’t too worried and he didn’t tell the Schatz family about Junior’s disappearance.

“I started having bad dreams about my cats and I asked for one back,” Stacia Schatz said.

She said Urlacher brought one of her other cats back last week.

“About two days later, I went out to the barn and there was my other cat, Junior,” Stacia Schatz said. “I was so happy to see him.”

She called Urlacher to see if he took Junior back to her farm, but he hadn’t.

“To me it’s kind of amazing that he found his way back home,” Urlacher said. “When we left Stacia’s place, we put them in a box and hauled them in our van back home. It wasn’t able to see the surroundings as we drove that distance.”

Urlacher said it was three to four days from the last time he saw Junior to when he showed up back home. Since he went through so much to come back to them, Stacia Schatz said there’s no way she’s giving him up again.

“When you get a pet, you should have them for life,” Stacia Schatz said. “They do have feelings and they remember.”

She has owned Junior since he was about 10 weeks old. He is now seven years old.

“I think he just missed us,” Stacia said. “I had no idea that a cat could find his way back like that.”

Kim Brummond, the veterinarian at West Dakota Veterinary Clinic, said it’s not unusual for a cat to travel as far as Junior did. However, she said it is peculiar that he went back to the Schatz farm.

“Most cats wouldn’t go to the lengths to get back to their home. They’d probably just set up shop where they were,” Brummond said.

She said Junior must be pretty attached to his home, adding she had a similar experience with a cat that kept coming back.

“A lot of them seem to have a good sense of home,” Brummond said, adding it is fortunate Junior came back unharmed.

Urlacher said he has no hard feelings about Junior going through all the trouble to get back to the Schatz’s farm.

“We’ve still got three (cats) and that’s plenty,” Urlacher said, adding the rest of the cats seem content with their new home.

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