I am a mother hen when it comes to my boys. Though Louie, predecessor to Andy and Dougy, got to go outside unescorted, neither Dougy nor Andy has. When a door is open to bring in the mail or receive a package, I am alert, ready to swoop up the first cat to look like he senses a whole world is open to him!

Today, this morning, it is so lovely outside, I decided to do the unthinkable. I propped the back door open, and let Andy and Dougy make their own decision: To adventure trek or not to adventure trek?

Andy loves looking out the windows. I crack them open a bit so he can catch scents and sounds of what he sees. He is very enthusiastic about this! Dougy is a sometimes window cat, but his favorite place is the back door, where he can watch the birds from the comfort of the little red chair. Andy enjoys this perch, too, but Dougy oftentimes bumps him out of the viewing spot.

Based on their window and door preferences, I fully expected both to be enthusiastic adventurers if allowed.

Andy stood barely out the back door, which is to say, his nose and whiskers achieved some small freedom to roam the visual, auditory, touch, and scent world at his feet. I note, tasting this world, other than grass, is verboten in this household!

Dougy charged into this newish experience on four feet. He’s my adventure cat! Sniffing every and anything he saw, he even stepped in a wettish spot on the patio where water dripped from the hose to move forward and onward. Nothing missed his intense interest to the point I lost sight of Andy but couldn’t verify where he was for fear of losing Dougy. Was he still in the door? Past behavior told me Andy was. I hoped…!

Dougy, for all signs, was heading south to an empty lot which has a large patch of sand that either is a remnant of the wind-blown Sandhills of North Central Nebraska that are close by where we live, or some Sandhills sand someone brought into town to break up the clay soil that is more typical of Northwest Nebraska soil. We are right on the edge of both soil types. Louie loved this patch of sandy soil! He buried quite a lot of treasure there in his time, and I’m certain Dougy would, too, if he found this cat-perfect patch!

There he was, my little blood hound, sucking up all the wonderful scent trails left by every wild and domesticated critter that roam these parts. He was in cat heaven!

Tail high in the air, nose poking up and down into foliage of a vine, a grill, the patio rocker that needs repairs and a human butt to cradle (or a cat!), Dougy moved through his new world like a Bonneville Flats racer! “More and more,” his little Persian self seemed to say, “give me more!”

Twenty feet south of the back door, a big hand reached down into Dougy’s cat heaven and pulled him back to reality. “I think you better go back inside, buster,” I told him. Reluctantly, he finally did walk back into the house when I set him down, but I had to herd him, even poke him once with my finger.

Andy still stood in the doorway, curious but not confident enough to take on the adventure. Good boy!

Freedom comes with risks. I’m not ready to let the boys go all the way and enjoy unrestricted access to the outside world. Andy agrees with me. Dougy looks like he will make a jail break any minute now.