Cat Is ‘Rehomed,’ Escapes and Walks 40 Miles Back To His People

I have a lot of questions and feelings about this story. Oh, the feels!

First of all, why did this UK couple, Neil and Leasa Payne, decide to rehome their three-year-old orange tabby named Garfield? The story doesn’t give a reason, saying only that they decided to “give” the cat to “new owners” on June 20 after their kids moved out.

If the cat was for their kids, why didn’t one of them take the little guy? And if he was a family pet, who just gives away a cat they’ve had for three years?

Garfield understandably didn’t like what was happening and left his would-be new home to travel 40 miles — over seven weeks — from North London to Bedfordshire.

That’s a serious hike over dangerous territory for cats, with lots of traffic and potential hazards from humans and other animals alike. Garfield wouldn’t have made it if he wasn’t resourceful, finding food and water during the long journey.

Neil Payne told the UK’s Daily Star he came home one day and was “gobsmacked” when he found Garfield sitting on the front doorstep.

“It’s unbelievable. He was staring at me, crying,” Payne said. “I didn’t think it was him at first. Leasa came to the door and called his name and he jumped up on her.”

Yeah, dude: Garfield was crying because he couldn’t believe you gave him away!

Garfield and the Paynes.

Payne told the newspaper he’s “going to give [Garfield] a second chance.”

“We can’t get rid of him now — he has proven that this is his forever home,” he said.

Garfield’s return is even more impressive since the Paynes claim he’s been an indoor-only cat. Not only did the brave feline have to make some serious adjustments to survive on the street, he must have some exceptional senses to make his way back over entirely unfamiliar territory.

The ginger furball’s story is yet more proof that cats have strong emotions and genuinely bond with their people, despite the persistent stereotype of feline aloofness and indifference to humans.

There are clearly details missing from this story, and I hope there were mitigating circumstances. If this incredible cat, who risked life and limb to get back to his humans, is stuck for the rest of his life with people who don’t appreciate him, that’s a shame.

I hope Garfield does indeed have a warm and comfortable forever home, and I hope the Paynes give him the love and affection he obviously wants and deserves. Good job, little dude.


16 thoughts on “Cat Is ‘Rehomed,’ Escapes and Walks 40 Miles Back To His People”

  1. That sweet kid deserves so much more than those owners. Feels & all it hurts me to think that he was passed along like yesterday’s news bcuz his humans kids left. Don’t get me wrong, obviously that angel on fours deserves his home but the ones who walk on twos there just suck it if you ask me. Everyday I am just less & less feeling anything good about people. Ok, I need to go look at Buddy & a total Dodo story on YouTube before I can go deal with any one waltzing around here on twos!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Buddy makes everything better. 🙂 No joke, I try to hug him whenever I see an upsetting animal story. He doesn’t particularly like hugs, and sometimes he’s like “Get away from me, human!” but even stroking his fur is enough to help me feel better.

      Thanks to some good research studies, we now know that petting a cat does have real stress-reducing benefits. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Awww… this is heartbreaking! But on the other hand, it’s the kind of thing cats do to ensure world domination: win over one “heartless” person at a time with incredible antics like this. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Very true. People may find this difficult to believe, but I was absolutely not a cat person when I was younger. Two of my closest friends lived in quasi-cat-hoarding homes: One of them had 12 cats, the other had anywhere from 10 to 12 at various points, including one massive bruiser of a cat named Calvin who ruled the neighborhood with an iron paw. (All their other cats were indoor-only, but not Calvin. Never Calvin.)

      Anyway, I am allergic to Fel d1 and would get really sick in their homes. I would have to take Benedryl just to survive in my friend Dave’s house, where the cats had the full run of the pace. Even then I’d get really sick and congested, with bloodshot eyes and itchy skin.

      It wasn’t until my late 20s, IIRC, that I realized I could actually tolerate cats as long as there wasn’t an entire platoon of them. A friend of mine had adopted two cats, including a really friendly tuxedo who won me over with his friendliness. I realized I could be near him and even pet him and wouldn’t have an allergic reaction.

      So I was the heartless cat-avoiding person until that little tuxedo cat converted me.

      A few years after that, I adopted Buddy, who is my first-ever cat and first-ever pet. I still have the allergies, but as long as it’s one or two cats — and not a dozen of them (!) — I can deal.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It really irks me that these people are getting accolades for this when they basically tossed him out like last weeks trash! And that comment the guy made, “We can’t get rid of him now — he has proven that this is his forever home”. No jackass, he was SUPPOSED to be in his forever home when you got him 3 years ago! I feel so bad for poor Garfield being in that house. It just makes my blood boil! I wish Garfield would find him way back to his “new” owners. He deserves SO MUCH better than these 2!!😡😡

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m sure there are people in the UK who are thinking the same thing. If the Paynes adopted Garfrield through a rescue or shelter, that organization can likely take Garfield back. Almost all of them have contracts that forbid things like giving the animals away to others. I’m sure they’ll also get private offers from well-meaning people who think they can give the little dude a better life.

        It’s a tough call, though. If Garfield didn’t love his people, he wouldn’t have gone to such incredible lengths to find them. It certainly seems like he wants to be there. I hope his people really have a change of heart and come to appreciate their amazing cat.

        Liked by 1 person


      Liked by 1 person

  3. Poor Garfield, that’s sad. It reminds me of the story a family friend told me about when he came home from college, he discovered that his parents had MOVED! (they left a note on the door for him, but he felt less than welcome to go home again!)

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Good thing because you bring lots of people happiness with your writing about cats.

    I had three cats with my ex who was allergic. The only thing he cannot do is rub his face in their fur like I can.

    I hope those people know what a treasure they have and treat him so.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I like and totally agree with your next-to-last paragraph.

    BTW: My parents took my cat to an undisclosed location far, far away from their (I won’t call it “my”) house and apparently dumped him off, because it took him several weeks, but he walked all the way back.

    He was so scrawny and emaciated that I didn’t (to my eternal shame) recognize him at first, and I tried to drive him away, as my parents had instructed me to do with any stray cat. He gave me such a reproachful look (“et tu, Brutus”) that I realized who he was, and apologized profusely. I was so happy to see him back!


  6. This cat has much more moxie than his supposed “owners” ever had, or will have. I hope he trains them better this time around! Give that cat some lobster bisque after that harrowing journey!

    Liked by 2 people

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