People are Strange

I've seen many odd things on my daily perambulations: couples fornicating al fresco; tadpoles dying in a mud soup; snow-dachshunds pressed playfully into fresh snowfall; the Horse Doctor taking actual exercise... But I think today must rank up there with the weirdest.

It started off normal enough; the dachshund and me striding up the forestry track towards Rhos Abram. Well, me striding, the dachshund at more a sort of interrupted ambling pace - there's a lot to be sniffed and widdled on. It's been bleedin' parky these past few days, with the wind from the east bringing the smell of Russian winter. So I had my head down as I went, hands thrust deep into the pockets of my wind-cheater fleece, Jack Wolfskin baseball cap pulled down low.

Which is why I didn't see the couple walking their beasts towards me until the leader of the pack, a rather rotund Jack Russell, started barking at me.

At this point the dachshund was many miles behind, coming along at his own slow pace and hidden from view by a bend in the track. The Jack Russell, seeing that I wasn't immediately sent packing by his fierce demeanour, backed off a bit, looking nervously round for help from his Border Collie companion. I bent down and offered a hand to be sniffed, noticing out of the corner of my eye that the two dogs had two owners, well wrapped against the cold, and another couple of terrier-sized beasts following up behind.

Once the Jack Russell had accepted I wasn't going to either run away or kick the shit out of him, he was quite friendly; his Collie comrade equally so. Thus I was occupied fending off wet noses and long tongues until the owners caught up. We exchanged the usual vague pleasantries, and then I noticed that their other two animals weren't the small terriers I had previously taken them to be.

They were cats.

Now, at this point of the stroll, the nearest place a car might have reasonably parked was half a mile away; the nearest house more like a mile. I didn't recognise the people (or their animals for that matter - something I'm usually much better at doing), but they could have been visiting friends, or might even have taken one of the holiday cottages in the village for Christmas. Either way, they had walked at least a mile, and were in all likelihood going to walk at least another before getting to wherever it was they were going.

And their cats had come with them. Without leads or any kind of inducement.

I suppose this shouldn't seem so odd. Buddug always comes up the road with me last thing at night when I take the dogs out before bed. Time was she used to follow us when we were going for strolls, too, but usually she would give up after a couple of hundred yards. These two cats were in it for the long haul, mixing with the dog posse, and not taking shit from nobody. One of them came up to me and deigned to be stroked, but the other was as aloof as only their kind can be.

Then the dachshund finally caught up.

Now, the dachshund gets very excited when he meets other people on his strolls. Other people are far more interesting than me, and if I'm not careful, he'll carry on strolling with them instead. Sometimes I have to run after him and fetch him back on his lead. Other dogs he is a bit more wary about, having received unprovoked harsh words in the past. But the cats had him completely stumped.

One of them took one look at him and disappeared into the woods - not running away, just striding purposefully somewhere else. The other walked up to him and gave him a sniff, as if he were just another part of its great outdoor adventure, and then sauntered off with its tail in the air.

I wish I'd had my camera with me.


Stuart MacBride said…
Did you ask them how they managed it? With the cat walking?

I'd like to try that. But Grendel's too skittish. Maybe when we get her a little sister though.
Trace said…
I once had an orange tabby that would follow me to the ends of the earth and back. His name was Cinnamon. He loved going on long walks. I love kitties.
JamesO said…
They said that they couldn't stop the cats from following them, so just let them get on with it. If anything came near that they didn't like - strange bearded men with sausage dogs, Land Rovers with sheep-filled trailers on the back, that sort of thing - then they would just saunter off into the woods and reappear once the unpleasantness had passed.

I'm going to try and persuade Buddug to come strolling with me now;}#
norby said…
Yeah, let us know how that goes.

My sister has two cats. If she could get them out the door, one would stick very, very close to her side and the other would be off like a shot. Until he heard a noise. Then he would hide under something.

Have a good Christmas James.
EJ said…
My auntie had a Siamese as a walking companion...and a raccoon...

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