Il n’y a pas que le travail dans la vie

We are having some major work done in our bathroom this weekend, with the whole floor being replaced.

For most households with pets, this would require calming, anti-anxiety measures in the form of Feliway and suchlike. In our case it is the workmen, and not the pets, who will be requiring the calming, anti-anxiety measures, because Louis Catorze can’t seem to take no for an answer when it comes to men and won’t leave them alone. So we have tea ready for them in case Sa Maj is bad, and neat vodka and a cattle prod in case he is really bad. 

So, at best, we can expect some mildly irritated but tea-soothed men who manage to get their work done in spite of the screaming. At worst, with all the Roi distractions and the anaesthetising glugs of vodka, a three-day job could end up taking three months to complete. 

Here is the little sod carrying out his pre-work inspection and testing the acoustics of the bathroom. (It turns out that feline screaming magnifies/echoes massively in here, so I think we’re going to need more vodka.) 

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La brosse infernale

We are usually only obsessively meticulous about brushing Louis Catorze during the warmer months, when he moults and scratches a lot. But, because his skin and fur are generally much healthier when he is brushed regularly, we decided to step up his grooming régime a few weeks ago, at around the same time that we started the hot water steam thing.

The good news is that handfuls of fur come off his body when he is brushed, which surely HAS to make a positive difference to his skin health, yes? The bad news is that he still loathes being brushed, which means I have to grit my teeth and adopt the Stranglehold of Death before I can get the brush anywhere near him. Needless to say, these now-daily sessions of torture leave me drained, pained and bleeding from the eardrums, and I wish we didn’t have to do them.

My mum told a long time ago that, when you brush your cat, you should leave the brushed-out clumps of hair in the garden because birds use them to line their nests. This didn’t seem very likely – after all, my mum also tells me that you can get cancer from plastic water bottles that have been left overnight in the car – but a couple of reliable fellow cat freaks have confirmed that it is, indeed, a thing. So, much to Cat Daddy’s disgust, I have been doing my civic duty by emptying the contents of Catorze’s brush outside, and the very thin silver lining to the dire grooming sessions was that at least the birds would benefit from it all.

Below is a picture of a clump of Catorze’s brushed-out hair from at least two weeks ago. Oui, Mesdames et Messieurs: IT IS STILL IN THE GARDEN. I really thought that there would be a few takers for some warm kitty fur, given that we remain in the depths of winter. But it seems not.

Cat Daddy: “Ha! The birds of TW8 would rather freeze than go near his shitty fur. Not even the rats want it.”

Oh dear. It’s a good thing Sa Maj is utterly unaware of his fur not meeting the exacting standards of the local wildlife. And, even if he were aware, I don’t suppose he would be remotely bothered.

De l’eau pour tous

After a suggestion from one of my lovely blog followers, I have been putting a bowl of hot water in each of the rooms most frequented by Sa Maj in the hope that the extra moisture in the air might help his eyes. 

When we first adopted him we were told that he only drank from glasses, and that under no circumstances would he drink from a bowl. “I’m sure he’ll use a bowl eventually, when he gets thirsty enough,” I replied cheerfully. He didn’t. So we had no option but to provide him with his own special glass. (Well, it was either that or have him randomly drink from any receptacle that he came across, which is asking for trouble.)

Naturellement, after a lifetime of refusing to drink from a bowl, the sudden presence of bowls from which we DON’T want him to drink has made him decide that he might be interested after all. And the only thing that stops him from doing it – apart from me taking my phone from my pocket to catch him in the act – is using hot water straight from the kettle which, despite being the best for adding moisture to the air, comes with its own, obvious problems. (Don’t worry: we are fully aware that Sa Maj is stupid enough to scald himself, so we ensure that we are around to keep him under Suicide Watch. Once the water has cooled and he is no longer under surveillance, no doubt he has a good old slurp and renders this experiment a complete waste of time.)

Cat Daddy has also kicked and/or threatened to kick more bowls of water than I can count. So, between the two of them, the men of the household are doing their best to make sure that this whole thing fails dismally. 

Me: “We could always buy him a plug-in air humidifier?”

Cat Daddy: “[Hysterical laughter followed by unrepeatable comments peppered with rude words.]”

Fortunately Catorze continues to remain in good spirits and is utterly unbothered by his condition. In the meantime, we shall keep topping up the boiling water in the hope that it does him good. 

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Toute maladie peut être soignée mais la sottise est incurable

Louis Catorze’s above-eye fur is thinning, and the skin around his eyes is starting to look a little thick and leathery. Given that these signs often indicate a resurgence of all his old problems, this makes me very anxious indeed. I am also somewhat baffled as he has been well for such a long time, and I cannot imagine what could have triggered this. 

We have had the central heating cranked up unusually high lately, and, historically, his issues have been worse in cold weather. But, other than that, there have been no changes whatsoever in anything we have done. He is eating exactly the same food, and everything in his environment is as it has always been.

He is perfectly fine in every other way – eating, drinking, screaming and sprinting around the house with bulging psycho eyes whilst chasing imaginary prey (or at least I hope it’s imaginary) – so I guess he can’t be THAT unwell. But, to be on the safe side, I am turning the heating down when I can, even if this means the rest of us are cold. 

Cat Daddy, shivering in two jumpers and a blanket: “[Unrepeatable mutterings.]”

Please keep your fingers crossed for him – Catorze, I mean, not Cat Daddy – and let’s all hope that it’s nothing rather than something. 

Où le chat et le loup jouent

Some time ago I posted about Little Sods’ Law, a black cat charter which dictates, amongst other things, the following: 

  1. If you see a black cat misbehaving in public, the chances are that it’s your cat.
  2. The likelihood of it being your cat is directly proportional to the embarrassingness of the misbehaviour. 

I am shocked to report that, on Saturday, the Law was disproven and, for once, it was not Louis Catorze causing the mayhem. But my phone still buzzed all weekend with messages asking me to check and be sure:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/47104907

When I became a member of the Chat Noir club, whose founding member was Le Roi’s big brother Luther, I was concerned that I would not be able to tell my cat apart from others. (With hindsight, I can’t think of a situation that would require such a skill. Perhaps if twenty black cats suddenly appeared in my house at once, it would be handy to know mine so that I could then kick out the impingers. Or I guess I could just keep all twenty.) But we know our own cats, don’t we, black cat owners? And the Everton cat’s hellraising shenanigans have demonstrated, if anything, just how different and distinct black cats are from one another.

This cat has a much fatter, rounder face than Catorze and no chin of which to speak (imagine a large grapefruit compared to a small lemon). And he has a thick, solid physique more reminiscent of Cocoa the babysit cat than of Catorze. That said, both causing trouble and large crowds of men are highly irresistible to Sa Maj, and we know only too well of his teleportation skills, so pitter-pattering to a stadium and invading the pitch are just the sort of things he would do. 

I do hope that this beautiful chap finds his way back to wherever he is supposed to be. If he turned up at Le Château I would be sorely tempted to keep him, and, despite everything I have said about the uniqueness of each individual black cat, I would ensure that he and Catorze were never seen together, in an effort to convince Cat Daddy that we still had just one cat. 

Cat Daddy, whilst watching the Everton v Wolves game: “Bloody ridiculous. First an Anfield cat, and now this. Why do Liverpudlians take their cats with them to football matches? Not even YOU do that.”

True. But only because I didn’t think of it. 

Le Roi est confortable: vive Le Roi!

I have swivelled Louis Catorze’s winter igloo around by 45 degrees. And, with the weather turning life-threateningly icy this week – London had a massive 5mm of snow on Thursday – he has been spending a fair amount of time in it.

Cat Daddy: “Are you serious? You’re writing an entire blog post about the fact that you’ve tilted a cat bed a little to the left?”

Well, ok, I don’t suppose any Hollywood big shots will be queuing up for the film rights to this one, but the comfort of Le Roi Soleil is at stake here. And that is not a matter to be taken lightly. 

Previously Sa Maj had to hop straight up and into the bed in one movement, as the entrance to the bed was right at the edge of the wooden plinth. But, with the new angle, he has plenty of plinth-space to hop up and can step more easily and dignifiedly into the bed. And he is also able to extend his front paws out onto the plinth and have a good old stretch mid-exit, as opposed to jumping out/down and THEN stretching. Naturellement I have been unable to capture his stretch on camera because he either comes out of his igloo too quickly, or doesn’t come out at all when I want him to.

Cat Daddy again, without looking up from his laptop: “Don’t forget to take a photo of the igloo at the new angle!” [He says the words “new angle” in his Alan-Rickman-as-the-Sheriff-of-Nottingham voice.] 

Quite right. Here it is:

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Il y a une souris dans ma cuisine; qu’est-ce que je vais faire?

1e5e7a40-1d74-4d44-aa3f-eaeb4c01e4e6The curious incident of the herbs in the kitchen has been solved. 

After a thorough search, Cat Daddy discovered that a bag of green lentils had been chewed right through – which we had failed to spot before as the hole was minuscule, perhaps the diameter of a pencil – and the discerning mouse had taken care to discard the unpalatable outer casings. And, whilst green lentils look nothing like dried herbs, their shredded outer casings happen to look EXACTLY like them. 

The mouse had also gnawed through two packets of Cat Daddy’s as-yet-unopened, mega-posh teff flour (nope, me neither; I had to Google it), which were promptly thrown away along with the lentils. We have now moved all the packet food up to the top shelves and the tins and jars to the bottom, and we are desperately hoping that the squeaky little sod can’t climb/jump.  

Technically, because Louis Catorze jumped off my lap and went to investigate before we knew there was a mouse, he did, indeed, solve the mystery before us. He is not, however, completely off the hook. “Well, who do you think brought the mouse in here?” asked Cat Daddy. “It’s all his fault.” 

C’est vrai. As we have said before, the definition of good mousing is not bringing mice to a place where there were none before and then turning them loose to run riot. 

Anyway, we have no idea where the mouse is, and I guess we have no option but to keep an eye on our food packets for unusual spillages, and, of course, to monitor Sa Maj for suspicious sniffing and prowling. And, as the little sod has the revolting habit of bringing dead and partially-dead prey up to our bedroom, no doubt it will be abundantly clear when Project Mini-Mouse concludes.

Don’t worry, I shall share this with you at the earliest opportunity.

You’re welcome.