We watched a programme on Channel 5, The Secret Life of Kittens. They were all very cute, though I thought that pictures of cute kittens was what the internet was for. Or as the Guardian reviewer said, expect some insight into the formative experiences that shape a cat's personality, although anybody who has one won't need telling that they are passive-aggressive connivers from birth.
By the end of it we felt quite guilty that all the kittens on the telly had bespoke toys, if not full blown kitten recreation rooms, except for the litter born in a barn. Climbing frames, hammocks, sisal covered scratching posts, tubes in an assortment of sizes for crawling down. One pair ended up with a cat bed shaped like a miniature teepee. Ours were allowed to partially destroy a cheap fair trade footstool, but apart from that they've had to make do with cardboard boxes and scrambling around in the paper recycling basket. When they looked as though they were ready to start sharpening their claws we gave them a log.
The energetic kitten knocked over one of the kitchen chairs today. I've been afraid he was going to do that since he started mountaineering up the backs of them. It's practically a feline rite of passage, toppling kitchen chairs, and they have to learn that not everything is stable or safe to climb on. On the other hand, they are still so small I'm scared that if a chair fell on one it could break his back, or crack his skull. Fortunately this time the energetic kitten jumped free and the other two were safely out of the way up on the kitchen table. We ended up swapping the kitchen chairs for two old ones that normally live in the hall and in our bedroom covered in a heap of the Systems Administrator's clothes. The back legs of the old chairs splay out further so they are more resistant to toppling, and the struts of the back run straight up and down with no tempting horizontal bar part way up to encourage climbing, while the seats are deep enough that if we remember to push them right in against the table they will catch on the table before they tip right over.
Yesterday we folded up the rug on the sitting room floor and put it away in the spare bedroom until they are older, because the ripping of tiny claws on moderately old, moderately expensive tribal textile was getting too much to bear. The small carpet that normally covers the hall table went upstairs weeks ago because they hung on the edges of it and ripped at the fringe. It was replaced with a towel to try and ensure that about the only French polished piece of furniture we possess didn't end up with scratch marks along the front edge where they'd jumped up. They were amusing themselves yesterday evening by pulling the towel off and tobogganing around the hall floor on it. There is nothing to be done about Mr Fluffy's desire to climb the curtains, but at lunchtime I rescued two short coats that were hanging from the hook by my desk, after finding the energetic kitten dangling from one of them. My long winter greatcoat disappeared to the safety of our room the day the kittens arrived.
The cool kitten has discovered the joys of scratching paper hankies out of the box. Turn the box upside down, problem solved. For now. Meanwhile Mr Fluffy, the smallest and normally the least athletic, is the first to have learnt to jump clean on to the kitchen table without going via a chair. They still think Our Ginger is absolutely wonderful. He is being very patient with his tiny fanboys, but extracting his pound of flesh. This morning I felt obliged to let him in to the bedroom at twenty past five when he began to wail outside the door.