When I think of all the trouble we have taken to try and keep the kittens indoors, closing the outer hall door before opening the inner one as narrowly as possible and sidling through the gap, wiggling foot outstretched to nudge the kitties back, and rushing to pluck Mr Fluffy up if he slid past us into the lobby, I have to conclude that we may have been over-cautious. Have in fact been massively over-concerned about their escaping. We propped both doors open this morning once the Systems Administrator got back from the supermarket, and it was ages before any of them were brave enough to go out. Eventually Mr Fluffy and the energetic kitten pootled around among the flower pots by the front doorstep and scampered as far as the porch, while the cautious kitten sat in the hall, staring out with a sombre gaze.
They did not like it at all when it began to rain, and scuttled back indoors pronto. They got a little braver in the afternoon when the SA went to sit with them in the porch, and Mr Fluffy even made it as far as the turning circle, where he looked at the water but the SA couldn't tell what he thought of it. They enjoyed playing with dry leaves out of the eleagnus hedge, though the cautious kitten took his leaf indoors and played with it in the study, and Mr Fluffy enjoyed biffing the stems of a love-in-the-mist with his front feet, while the energetic kitten chewed an Agapanthus leaf. Waving a pouch of cat food about with the cry of Come kitties brought them rushing in from the garden in seconds.
I'm relieved that they're wary. If they had gone charging off into the garden or down the lane with only the haziest idea of where they'd come from or how to get back there we'd have a problem. As it is, when some neighbours called round in their car, poignantly with a flyer about their cat which went missing last Thursday, the kittens shot straight back to the front door. Having been muttering about trimming the eleagnus hedge for weeks I am now leaving it deliberately shaggy for a few weeks more, since the odd escaping long branch hanging out over the drive should slow down the faster delivery van drivers. Some rush round the turning circle at speeds suggesting they haven't grasped that they are in someone's domestic garden. Never mind just kittens, there could be a child about to run out from behind the hedge.
It did make it a lot easier unloading the groceries, though, not having to worry about whether the kittens stayed inside, and it is very nice being able to prop the doors open and get some more air moving through the house. I guess part of the point of being free to go out is that you don't have to all the time if you don't want to.