Because it's summer in Missouri, I take my walk as soon as it's light enough to see. The temperatures rise too high for comfort after the early morning hours. Yesterday morning when Gabe and I started out, I looked back behind us and saw the cat, Blue, running to catch up with us.
Before Mama Kitty got old, she walked with me and Cliff every single day on our whole walk. As she aged, she began dropping part of the walk and finally just quit. She does still accompany me to the mailbox sometimes, but that's about the extent of it. The first time Blue-cat followed us to the pasture, I thought maybe he'd take the whole walk like his predecessor did, but that was not to be: Every time we get to the wooded part of our walk, he disappears into the thicket. The first time he did this, it wasn't five minutes before he was yowling pitifully as though he was lost; as I walked, I started calling him. He finally showed up, then got lost again. Once Gabe and I set our faces toward home, I began calling the cat again. He showed up again and went back with us.
Since that time, I try to sneak off without him, because he will do the same thing every. single. time. Somehow, he knew we were walking yesterday and followed. Now, I have always said he's a smart cat, but apparently he isn't smart enough to walk perhaps 1/4 of a mile from the woods back to the house on his own. Yesterday, when he disappeared in the vicinity of the tiny pond (more of a mosquito-breeding puddle, really) I decided to leave him to his own devices. When Gabe and I got back to the house, I woke Cliff up and told him we probably wouldn't see Blue until evening feeding time.
Well, evening feeding time came and went (4:30 PM). So at 5:30, Gabe and I set out on a mission to find the cat. Honestly, I was a little worried, although he's been gone that long before. Pets are like children: You know they'll probably be OK, but you worry about them anyhow. When we got to the area by the pond where we'd last seen him, I began calling, then started walking where I would have gone next if I were going on our complete walk. It wasn't three minutes until I looked behind me and saw Blue, coming at a run. I turned toward home, calling him repeatedly so he'd follow. Temperatures were in the upper 80's, and Blue slowed to a walk and started panting. I stopped and picked him up, and he let me carry him for quite a while, purring and rubbing his head on my chin. Eventually he wriggled, wanting down, and he walked the rest of the way with us, still with his mouth open, panting.
This morning I was very careful to watch behind me and Gabe, but Blue wasn't there. If he had been, I'd have probably just skipped walking today.
Here's a one-minute video I took to let you hear the sights and sounds that surround me when I take my early-morning walk with Gabe.