Monty the cat is a bit of a tub. But he takes his exercise at night, enjoys a spot of hunting and gets plenty of rest during the day. After all, you never know when you might have to make a long journey home.

Monty knows about long journeys home. Two years ago he made his way, seemingly unaided, from his new home in Greymouth to his old pad in Christchurch.

It's a journey that crosses some of the country's wildest terrain, including Arthur's Pass and the Waimakariri River. All up it's 240km by road, or 165km as the crow flies.

News a sheepdog made a solo 386km journey home to a Welsh farm went around the world this week, but Christchurch couple Vicky Ward and Glen McCartney told the New Zealand Herald tonight their cat Monty had proved the humble moggy can also cross great distances in search of home.


Two years ago Monty chose the couple to be his new parents after they met him at the Hornby SPCA. Their new fur-baby came with quite a tale, Ms Ward said.

"They said, 'Monty is quite special to us at the SPCA, because he made a big journey from Greymouth to Christchurch'."

Monty had moved to Greymouth with his old family, but disappeared soon after their arrival. Six weeks later, neighbours at the former owners' old address found Monty - he had made his own way home.

The old owners no longer wanted Monty, so he was given to the SPCA and adopted by Ms Ward and Mr McCartney a month later. A bit thin at the time, the now 4-year-old "house moggy" had well and truly recovered from his long journey, Ms Ward said.

"He's quite chubby, we've definitely fattened him up."

Although Monty now enjoyed a life of leisure, Ms Ward could imagine him making another epic journey if the need arose.

"He's very loyal. He's always waiting for us when we come home, he runs out to greet us. He's a real people-lover."

The West Coast's traditionally wet weather might also have been a factor in Monty ditching the coast for drier climes of Canterbury.

While he was a cat that likes adventure, Monty still had his limits, Mr McCartney said.
"He absolutely hates the water."