The kittens my wife and I adopted back in May have been settling in nicely. Zelda has adopted me and Rambow has become very attached to Holly, and they even both get on with Cookie, our older cat we’ve had for several years who doesn’t really get on with anyone, especially other cats. Or other people.
Things all started easily. They were too small to jump up to the most of the surfaces in our flat, like my desk or the kitchen counter, and it was this little fact we used for kitten control in the early weeks. Anything we didn’t want them messing with was put on the desk or a windowsill, and thus it was safe. We also used this to allow Cookie out and to open windows without fear of them escaping.
At some point, however, they got big enough to reach most of the relevant surfaces, as kittens are wont to do. Which means that around the same time that a mini heatwave hit the UK, we were left unable to open any of the windows in our flat for fear of a kitten escaping. It wasn’t an unfounded fear either; Zelda managed to get out on one occasion, and both she and Rambow are definitely aware of the outside world.
So yesterday, with them fully vaccinated, we decided to let them out – under a close guard, naturally – to give them a bit of a runout, and to get some fresh air in our flat (something much needed due to the explodey nature of our washing machine).
I think I forgot to mention that I had my camera with me. Do I still need to mention that these days? Anyway, I made sure I was outside ready with my camera before Holly opened the windows.
After a bit of a timid start, they were soon outside exploring, Zelda more so than Rambow as she is a lot more confident (some would say foolhardy) than her brother.
I kept the camera low to the ground as for the most part I really wanted to capture things at their level.
It wasn’t long before Zelda was in the bushes chasing bees.
Zelda was quick to run off into the bits of the grounds we didn’t want her in, like the car parks. She never looked very pleased to be stopped from exploring where she wanted to and shepherded back to our designated play area.
Rambow, meanwhile, was pretty context with exploring the big open green bit.
And inevitably, Zelda ended up where she shouldn’t have. But at least she did come back.
By this point Cookie had come along to see what was occurring. Which made it very difficult for the kittens to make it back in through the window (the step ladder is there both for the kittens’ benefit and Holly’s).
So, back to the bushes they went.
This next image didn’t quite come out as intended – I was hoping for Zelda, hiding in the bushes, to be a bit more visible.
Photographing black and white animals, especially in direct sunlight, is a bit tricky, because the camera tends to overexpose if you point the camera at a black bit and underexpose if you point it at a white bit (this could probably be fixed by adjusting the metering mode on my camera; I’m using evaluative metering which clearly doesn’t fix the problem). The big bits of light and shade where I was shooting made things a bit difficult too, which is why I got big overexposed foregrounds like in the image below.
At some point whilst chasing a bee, Zelda got stung on the paw. She’s fine, although her paw is a little bit swollen, and she spent a lot of the rest of her time outside licking her paw.
Still, it doesn’t stop her fun.
The best part of my day was having Zelda do what Cookie rarely seems to do when outside, which is play ball for a decent photograph.
She seems to have forgotten about her hurt paw in that one.
She also sat down in the leaves in a more photogenic way than Cookie usually does. Cookie will probably be all too keen to impress next time.
This is not to badmouth Cookie. She is plenty photogenic inside. But outside she’s all business and doesn’t have time for my photographic shenanigans.
I’m sure when Zelda and Rambow get used to Outside they’ll also not have time for me. But for now, I can use their exploration time as opportunity to get decent photos.
We had some balls we attempted to get them to play with, but it was a bit much for them in the strange new world they found themselves in.
Also, Zelda’s paw still hurt. When she remembered.
After forty-five minutes of running around in the hot sun, it was time to come in. Which meant Holly was on kitten-wrangling duties. Rambow first…
… and then Zelda who came in as part of a reenactment of a part of The Lion King.
They’re all in and the windows shut again, which means we’re back to using fans to try to keep us cool. When will this cursed summer ever end?
Wait, I don’t mean that. It’s taken long enough to turn up.
Squirrel in the Garden