It's interesting watching the kittens leapfrog each other in their development as they progress towards being adult cats. When we first opened the front door and let them go out into the garden, the serious kitten was the most cautious about the whole outdoors project. For the first couple of days he sat in the hall, staring out through the open door over the gravel and (from a kitten's eye view) endless expanse of plants with a sombre air. Then he decided to come out, and now he is the most independent about exploring.
It is a nuisance that his favourite place to explore is the circuit around the oil tank at the end of the wood. The edge of the wood is bandit territory: we've lost more chickens to foxes there than anywhere else, and I wish to goodness he would go and play in the middle of the back garden where he'd be relatively safe. He will not be told, of course. I bribe him away from the oil tank with a few biscuits, but he eats the biscuits politely and is back up by the tank.
He had a growth spurt about a month ago, and started to look like a small cat while the other two were still definitely kittens. By the time they all went off to the vet for the terrible chop he was the largest by a considerable margin, overtaking the energetic kitten who was significantly heavier than the other two when we got them. The energetic kitten, meanwhile, has suffered a crisis of confidence. Today he was reluctant to go outside, and after the other two had gone off and left him indoors he kept rushing up to first one of us and then the other, looking for affection.
Mr Fluffy explores blithely along the eleagnus hedge. He was climbing it yesterday afternoon but fell out, to judge from the crash while we were drinking tea on the terrace. He leaps at butterflies, and collects leaves which he brings back into the house. The only kitten to have captured any actual prey so far as we know is the serious kitten, who caught a vole last week. He took it into the house, and since I am keen for them to act as rodent controllers as well as pets I didn't like to discourage him by shouting at him to take it out. I hope Mr Fluffy does not become a bird specialist. He seems to lack the concentration to wait by holes in the ground for things to come out, but is very quick on his feet and seemingly obsessed by flying things. He likes watching the bats as they hunt past the windows after nightfall.
Our Ginger had had enough of them by this evening, and stomped off in a hissy fit to the herb bed, but when he turned round and saw that none of his small acolytes had followed him he stomped back and settled on the doorstep, surrounded by adoring kittens. The Systems Administrator has caught him a couple of times leading them around the back garden. He wouldn't admit it, but I think he secretly likes them.