It has been a long time coming – it was finally time to let the kittens go outside. I haven’t been out back in the yard much myself since Calpurnia died, as grief and bad weather and kitten wrangling took turns giving me a reason to avoid. Back in the fall I had to pile the furniture out back away from the house due to repainting, and they are still there now.
The kittens have been interested in the back yard but have been content to look through the window at it. They haven’t made dashes to go out when I’ve let the other boys in or out through the doors.
I set up a chair outside and opened the doors and waited. Julie jumped up onto my lap to watch with me. After some minutes Rhea poked her head around the door and inched to the entryway. This is her first hesitant step down to the pavement.
Rhea was braver at going out onto the patio and explored the pile of furniture and wind-blown leaves and whatnot for a time by herself. She got behind the table base and was doing something that looked like eating. I’m not sure if she was getting bugs or chomping on a pine needle or leaf stem.
So Rhea was the bold explorer at first, but when Davout came out he was the first to move off the patio to the rest of the yard. I went after him and left Rhea behind. She was stymied for some time by these floppy leaves blocking the path.
She looks a little forlorn there.
Then she got distracted by the flowers on this perennial plant and stood on her back legs for a long time smelling and playing with them.
Davout spent most of his time sniffing at bugs or plants low to the ground. This cut down on the glamour shots this time.
The kittens were both very cautious and often paused with a foot in the air while they looked at or listened to something unexpected.
This was also one of the few times I have used this new camera outdoors in full light. I was wondering if it would have difficulty with the situation. It isn’t an easy area, with blocks of shadow and sun but it did very well.
Soon Gus came out to join the party. There’s also some cutting back of vines and such needed. Last fall when they replaced the back gate they made it shorter which allows it to pass over the ground better, but left a larger gap below when it is closed. I need to make that smaller so that kittens can’t wiggle under it before I leave them out alone for long.
Gus had come out to the patio early on, but got distracted himself following the path Rhea had taken there and was delayed. While there, he was very polite to the kittens.
Julie also was very nice with the kittens, although after a bit he went back to sentry duty on top of the back wall.
There was a little traffic jams at times but everyone was patient with each other.
I need to keep an eye on those flowers as I am not sure how safe they are for cats. Neither kitten seemed to be as bitey with plants as Calpurnia used to be. These plants will die back fairly soon in the spring until next year.
One part of kitten training with the back yard is that I want to make sure the kittens get used to running home if startled rather than some other direction, or hiding. Rhea was the most interested in staying out, but at the end I herded her and the others (who came back out when she delayed going in) back into the door.
A fine time was had by all.