Characters saunter down the beach, across the lawn, along the promenade, over to the couch/sofa, into the kitchen/bathroom, and particularly back to the office. And that’s all quite understandable.
Cats also saunter frequently through the pages, and that’s fair enough too – I have a couple and I’m quite used to that sight.
But other animals that seem to be more likely to stalk or otherwise move with more menacing intent are sometimes also said to saunter through a scene. Perhaps it’s just as well for the character sharing the page.
Nurses and doctors on duty, I read, saunter down corridors, and waiters saunter over to take orders when surely the alleviation of a patient’s pain, or a customer’s hunger, suggests they should move more quickly and purposefully. Detectives saunter on their way to make an arrest – presumably a ploy so the arrestee doesn’t catch on and saunter off faster.
It seems too, that though the verb alone is sufficient to portray a stroll or walking with a leisurely gait, some people can’t simply saunter. Characters in books I’ve read recently saunter away, both casually and causally; they saunter easily, erotically, gracefully, idly, lazily, listlessly, and slowly.
But perhaps I’m being too picky – at least they don’t usually saunter rapidly or at speed.