Cat thinks there's no place like home

Posted: Sunday, July 06, 2003

KEY WEST, Iowa (AP) Rusty the cat just can't seem to forget where he came from. In the past two years, he's navigated more than 3 miles of hills and busy streets to visit the old neighborhood 33 times.

When the Beidlers moved to Key West from Dubuque, they kept Rusty inside to help him adjust to his new digs. They thought the long-haired feline would love their ranch house in this northeast Iowa town. One day, Rusty broke a front window and headed out on his first adventure.

Jodi Beidler was certain Rusty returned to his old home. She went back to the house every day, but there wasn't any sign of him.

Two weeks later, Beidler got a phone call from a former neighbor who said Rusty was sound asleep in his favorite spot on the deck.

Rusty endures a flea bath when he returns and usually hangs around for a few weeks. Then he starts sniffing the air as if getting his bearings.

''When we see that, we know he is ready to leave again,'' Beidler said.

Rusty's longest trip lasted more than six months. Beidler said she wants to know what draws him to the old house.

''I would like to strap a 'kitty-cam' to him and see where he goes and if anyone takes care of him along the way,'' she said.

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