One year ago today, our kitten disappeared, and didn't come back for two agonizing weeks.
He's been unusually jumpy about outside lately. Maybe he's just been picking it up from us. Obviously, he's a cat, and doesn't know from calendars. But if he associates the similar weather, shortness of daylight, etc. with being cold and hungry and alone, it would explain a lot.
Today, he and I went for a nice long walk. He didn't venture far into the woods, not more than twenty feet or so. At one point, he did seem interested in following the track between the neighbors' properties farther back than I was comfortable with, but I managed to dissuade him, and redirect his attention with an extended neck scritch. Mostly there was a lot of tree climbing, and pouncing on things rustling in the grass, and much returning to the human for pets and even picking up and purrrrrrrrs. At one point he did decide to investigate the other neighbor's front flower bed; not sure why the big open expanse of their lawn seemed fine to him when normally he sticks to cover, but when I caught up he turned and headed back toward home fairly agreeably.
All in all we were out about three hours, and he seemed very satisfied indeed, both with his walk and with coming home at the end of it. And I can't think of a better way to spend a morning.