When I returned from the early morning dog walk, Trick the Cat was not perched on the picnic table and awaiting his morning meal.
Now 8 years old, the muscular tabby is a man of routine. He comes to the house for breakfast, takes a nap in the barn, then hunts the fields and barns for mice, birds and rabbits.
I didn't think much of his absence until a few hours later when I went outside to do the morning chores.
His cat food was untouched and he was not in the barn. I hoped he'd gotten locked in a building--and made a note to look for him.
But I didn't need to do that. As I approached the chicken house, I heard his insistent cry. He marched out when I opened the door.
Instead of "thank you," he said, "what took you so long?"
On his evening patrol, he must have gone hunting in the chicken house.
Because chicken food attracts sparrows and mice, Trick
routinely patrols the chicken yard and house.
When closing the chicken door at dark, I didn't see him so he spent the night with the hens, a few roosters and probably a few unlucky mice.
Did he curl up in a nesting box, snug and secure? Did he stay up talking to the murmuring hens? Did he bat at the roosters' tail feathers?
He is not saying.
But when I took the dogs on their early walk this morning, he was perched at the picnic table, awaiting his morning meal.