La chasse aux baies

Poor old Louis Catorze. Here he is, dutifully fixed to his post at the virginia creeper and utterly unaware that the tantalising sounds within are, in fact … falling berries.

Oui, mes amis: there are no birds, no mice and no bugs, nor has he discovered an opening to The Underworld. It’s just berries. Cat Daddy made this discovery during an alfresco session of Boys’ Club, and it perfectly explains not only why Catorze assigned himself to a spot too high for mice and too low for birds, but also why he hasn’t caught anything yet (not that we are complaining about this).

Anyway, he has spent most of the week still in the same place. No doubt he will be there today, tomorrow, the day after that, and the day after that. It would be tragic if it weren’t so utterly hilarious.

Le pouvoir du vampire

This week I asked some of my students whether they liked dogs or cats. They said cats. This is the correct answer.

The conversation then led to our own cats, past and present, including, of course, Louis Catorze, and at the end of the lesson I showed them a photo of him. They were utterly spellbound and speechless at the sight of his magnificent vampire fangs.

“Miss, he’s REALLY beautiful!” they exclaimed. “Can we see more pictures? Can we just look at cat pictures next lesson instead of doing work?” They will never know how much I wanted to say yes to this. French pluperfect tense grammar rules or cat photos? It’s a no-brainier, oui?

Anyway, the students now appear to be under the impression that people would pay a fortune for a black vampire cat, and they are devising a Dragons’ Den-worthy scheme to get rich by breeding Le Roi and having his hypothetical Reine birth lots of fanged babies. Cat Daddy spat his tea all over his newspaper when I told him this, and said, “Bad, bad idea. One: he has freakish physical and mental abnormalities that are best not passed on. Two: females aren’t his thing. Three: he has no balls and can’t reproduce anyway.”

Good points, well made. But, as the little sod’s big day approaches, I’m with my students on this one. I think that we have been blessed with a very special gift indeed, because who DOESN’T want a vampire cat at Hallowe’en? And it is my civic duty to share this gift with the world.

Cat Daddy again: “No. It’s really not.”

Je chasse, donc je suis

Whilst most normal cats are opting for indoors as the temperatures drop, Louis Catorze has been doing the opposite. This will, of course, be of no surprise to anyone.

He has been spending more time outdoors than he ever did in the height of summer, even/especially when it’s raining. In fact, we have barely seen the little sod lately, except for the regular 3am drenched screamathons. Even Boys’ Club meetings appear to have been adjourned indefinitely. And this is because he has found a new hunting spot. Oui, Mesdames et Messieurs: there is something in the virginia creeper.

The other day I just about managed to catch him mid-rummage (see photo). I am mystified as to what it could be as I can’t imagine birds would live so low down, nor do I think mice would live so high up. But whatever it is has been occupying every waking minute, and no doubt the mystery will be solved when we are woken in the middle of the night with a twitching, oozing corpse dumped onto our bed.

What more surprises could be winging their way to us during this cursèd month when psycho black cats are at their most powerful? (Not a rhetorical question: I genuinely want answers so that I can prepare myself.)

De nouveaux horizons

Cat Daddy and I are a little sad because we have had to give up Kim*, our lovely, reliable car who never gave us any trouble. (Although we do, of course, realise that we lead a very fortunate life if that’s our greatest upset.)

*Not named after Kim Kardashian, I might add, but after, erm, Kim Jong-Un. It was funny at the time.

Our new car is the same make and similar in colour and shape to Kim, so there should be none of that initial new car confusion when attempting to locate it in car parks. But will Louis Catorze recognise it? For all his lack of brain cells, the little sod had grown to know the sound of Kim and was always at the door to greet us when we got home.

Cat Daddy is convinced that cats instinctively pick up on the HUMAN presence at the door, not the car outside, and appears to have completely forgotten about this incident:

But I think it’s both. And I now wonder how long it will be before Catorze learns to associate a new car sound with us? I will keep you informed on how promptly he shows up at the door when we get home after being out.

The day we dropped off Kim and collected her successor, I said to Cat Daddy, “This must be what it’s like when you foster a cat and then it finds a new home, don’t you think?”

Cat Daddy, without looking up from his laptop: “No. I don’t think it’s remotely like that.”

Me: “Do you think Scott [the car dealership sales guy] would think it weird if we asked him to make sure Kim went to a good home? And maybe the new owner could send us photos?”

[Silence, tumbleweed, crickets]

Que Dieu ait son âme

I am taking a break from Le Château this weekend, leaving Boys’ Club to itself – Cat Daddy has assured me that he will “try to remember” to feed and water Louis Catorze – and I have escaped to the south coast for my annual Halloweekend celebration with my sister and her family.

It’s a tradition that we started some years ago and still continue to this day, and this time I am lucky enough to be a guest in their lovely town house overlooking the sea. My sister doesn’t have any cats but she does have a homicidal Hitchcock-esque seagull, easily big enough to carry off Catorze should it feel so inclined, who lives on her roof and who dive-bombs passers-by every now and again. So I haven’t entirely escaped from unhinged animals who want to kill me.

To help us decide what to do this weekend, we have been taking inspiration from Tina Brown’s book “Haunted Experiences in Hastings and Beyond”. The last chapter is entitled “Ghostly Animals” and, would you believe, it turns out that they’re all cats. Every. Last. One.

Oui, Mesdames et Messieurs: it seems that, whilst other animals have got the hang of the whole resting in peace thing, cats haven’t (or don’t want to). Even death is not enough to stop the little sods from driving us round the bend. I am shocked but not the slightest bit surprised.

Do you have any scary cat stories? Have you encountered any ghost cats, or have your living cats ever freaked you out with their kitty ESP, their spirit-spotting capabilities or their general creepiness? If so, I would love to hear all about it.

Chacun tire la couverture à soi

The members of our knitting class are now busily working on new individual assignments, having submitted our group one a few weeks ago. And we have welcomed Wife of That Neighbour as our newest recruit. Well, after making Freddie Mercury’s “I Want To Break Free” jumper she is knitting royalty, so how could she NOT join us?

Puppy Mamma is going to make a jacket for Nala the dog and I have started making a scarf for Cat Daddy in Brentford FC’s colours, but we might tell Cat Daddy and Puppy Daddy that our next assignments will be matching Freddie Mercury-style pink sleeveless jumpers for them, just to see their faces.

Anyway, I am sure you’re desperate to know what our group project was. (Cat Daddy: “NO. BODY. CARES.”) The multi-coloured, spirally squares that we made have all been coordinated and sewn together by our instructor to make a throw, and we have decided to donate it to a local charity shop to be sold or raffled. So, if you live in or around TW7 (which is where the shop is located) and you happen to purchase or win this item, you may wish to pay extra attention to the areas circled as they contain cat and dog spit:

Rendez-vous avec Le Prince Bleu

A few days ago I invited one of my neighbours – Cat Mamma of Blue, the Smoke Bengal – for Crémant and cheese. And, yes, I am fully aware of the middle-classness of every bit of that sentence.

If I’m honest, I did have an ulterior motive: Louis Catorze has no friends – Cat Daddy’s theory is that word has spread about how boring Catorze is, and so no cats want to stop by – and I had hoped that Blue’s Cat Mamma would put in a good word for him. Blue and Catorze would be the perfect match: similar in size despite Catorze being, erm, eight years older, similar in their puppy-like behaviour, similar in their goading of foxes (ok, maybe that’s not such a good shared trait), and they even have a common history of itchy skin problems. It’s a beautiful friendship waiting to happen, non?

It’s highly likely that Sa Maj and Blue have already met, not only because of the proximity of their respective gardens (yes, I actually typed “THEIR gardens” and somehow it seems to fit so I’m just going to leave it) but also because they both slip out into the school at The Back and hang out there. If you were a cat and there were one other cat in the huge expanse that is the playground, you’d greet them, wouldn’t you? Well, ok, I personally wouldn’t; as an introverted human person who can only deal with written interactions, the last thing I would do is approach a stranger from a distance just to say hello. Nevertheless I like to think I have raised my cat to be a little more convivial.

Cat Mamma lives just about close enough to be able to shout loudly from our garden and be heard from hers but, despite calling for Blue at regular intervals during the evening, he didn’t come over (although Catorze did, because the stupid doughnut thought she was calling HIM). So she went over to fetch him. Yes, she actually went home, picked him up and brought him to the front door. Blue was perfectly happy about this, incidentally, and he does know the way home from both The Back and The Front.

Sadly the fledgling friendship failed to take off as we had hoped (or even at all). Sa Maj, who was outside at The Back, obviously made use of his creepy kitty ESP and picked up on the fact that he had a caller at the front door. In his keenness to greet him, he came clattering loudly through the cat flap and the noise made Blue nervous, so Cat Mamma had to carry him back home. My parting words to her may or may not have been, “Please keep trying to persuade him. But don’t make Louis sound desperate …”

Please keep your fingers crossed for this friendship, and let’s hope that these two will embark upon lots of exciting adventures* together.

*Not too far from our houses, and without crossing any roads.