For all my concerns about keeping the kittens under control, it appears to be Rupert I should be worrying about.
I have been keeping the three cats downstairs, until they acclimatised to their new home. This has suited the kittens fine, and they appear to have no thought that there might be something more interesting outside their space. Rupert, however, is another matter. Right from the start he has been curious about the world around him, particularly everything that lies behind the closed kitchen door.
Whilst I was upstairs earlier, I was surprised by a crash, and peering down the stairs, was surprised to find Rupert on the wrong side of the kitchen door. Berating myself for not shutting the door properly, I made sure the kittens were still contained, and then decided to let him explore a little. Before I knew it, though, he’d escaped my watchful eye, gone back down the stairs, and vanished into the meter cupboard, which apparently I’d shut, but not locked after reading the water meter yesterday.
Panicking, peering down into the darkness, there was no sign of him whatsoever. A small and distant miaow alerted me that he really was down there, but without a torch I couldn’t see any sign of him. After a very long couple minutes, he finally re-emerged briefly to show me that he was safe, but before I could grab him (to my relief, the drop was not as deep as it first appeared in the dark), he vanished again. Clearly, whilst I was busy panicking that he was lost under the house for ever, he was having a jolly good explore. Finally, he emerged again, covered in dust, but none the worst for his adventure, and let me extract him from the pipework.
I would like to say that this has been the end of this evening’s stress, however, now that he has had a taste for freedom, he is continuing his search. I realise, too, that it was not me that left the door open, but rather Rupert who opened it, as this video demonstrates. Sadly, I stopped filming seconds before he did manage to open the door. Better luck next time, I suppose.
Rather than continue to listen to his anguished howling, and door opening exercise, I have left him to explore the rest of the house. He reappears every ten minutes or so to howl outside the kitchen door (shut, to keep at least the kittens in), and look plaintively at the front door. As I suspected, Rupert is clearly an outdoor cat, and when he’s been in the house a bit longer, this will definitely have to be addressed. For the short term, I hope he manages to adjust to staying indoors, for all our sakes!