A friend of mine told me a story about a cat finding his way back home from far away.
His brother brought the cat home on a motorcycle. He found that abandoned cat very thin and hungry, with an earring on his ear! He was abandoned for sure - I don't think he did the earring to himself to attract the females... So, he brought him home, and gave him food and shelter. A week later, their mother didn't want the cat anymore and asked them to take him far away. (don't worry, this story has a happy ending).
They try to protest but it didn't help. So, the cat was on the motorcycle again, going far away. My friends brother, drop down the cat 15 miles from home, in a another town, and U turned.
On the next day, when they went out of the house entrance, they saw the cat sitting on the motorcycle, looking at them...
This time, their mother kept the cat for the rest of his life...
There is a story about a cat who pass 950 miles (1500 km), from Boston to Chicago!
Modern researches shows that the key to the domestication ability of cats is an inborn ability of navigation according to the sky. The same ability that birds has. The researchers think that when the cat live in his original home his brain "writes" automatically the angle of the sun in certain hours, and when he is in a different place at the same hour, the sun is not in the right place... So he try to walk in some direction, and if the angle is getting more "correct" the cat continues in that direction. If not, he change his path, until it gets better.
When he gets closer to his home, the cat starts to see and smell the familiar sights and easily find his way home.