Des chats par millions

When we first moved to Le Château, Louis Catorze struck up a friendship with a stray Ginger Impinger – now called Dosti – who would visit most days. Since then we’ve had very occasional sightings of Blue the Smoke Bengal and beefy tabby Tigger, and, of course, the more recent visits from Donnie, but, apart from that, feline passers-by over the years have been rare.

Cat Daddy says that this is because nobody wants to be Catorze’s friend but, knowing the trouble that others have with neighbouring cats and local strays, I’m happy for him to remain relatively friendless.

Meanwhile, at my sister’s place in SE20, Catorze’s cat-cousin King Ghidorah is never short of playmates. Some encounters aren’t quite as welcome as others – for instance, my sister once found bloodied cat paw prints (owner unknown) on the kitchen floor – but King Ghidorah mostly enjoys the company. He is a sociable cat but there are a few with whom he just doesn’t get along, and he doesn’t always mind his own business which has resulted in some hefty vet bills.

Some of the lady visitors have indicated that they would like to get to know King Ghidorah a little better. This one was his favourite:

Cutie.

Obviously King Ghidorah doesn’t have the wherewithal to become, erm, fully acquainted but, given that there is at least one unneutered feral male of whom we are aware, it was only a matter of time until someone obliged. It then became apparent that there could soon be an enormous feral colony living behind the house so, with the help of a local rescue, my sister is now on a mission to trap as many of the cats as possible.

Initial attempts didn’t quite go according to plan:

Erm …

However, eventually she succeeded with King Ghidorah’s girlfriend. Here she is, ready to be shipped off to the rescue for spaying, chipping, treatment of her dodgy eye and a new life in a lovely new home:

Gotcha.

She and King Ghidorah said their goodbyes at length, making sweet little noises at each other:

Bon voyage!

So that’s one down and probably about 738 to go, but my sister is determined. And the rejected food from Catorze’s numerous failed Grand Changement Plans will be put to good use there, making them the best-fed ferals in SE20, if not in the whole world.

Le Grand Changement de Nourriture (Plan C Partie 2)

After several days of stuffing his greedy little face with Orijen Six Fish, Louis Catorze’s appetite faded as soon as I placed an order for a further supply. (Lizzi, if you’re reading this, I know you told me so.)

The order took a couple of attempts to go through, as if the Apple Gods were trying to warn me. But, luckily, the unhungriness was only a temporary blip and he is now back to being an eating, screaming machine, as he was when he had the appetite-enhancing pill.

Cat Daddy’s Helpful Comment of the Day: “F***ing ridiculous. Expensive food and beauty oil [referring to the Omega 3 vol-au-vents]. It’s like living in a fancy spa with Raymond Blanc cooking for him.”

Cat Daddy and I, on the other hand, are existing on stale bread and stagnant rainwater in order to keep Sa Maj supplied with his various dietary and wellbeing paraphernalia. But then it’s never been about us, so tant pis.

We have half a pack of Lily’s Kitchen Marvellously Mature left, and Catorze appears to have forgotten that it ever existed, which is exactly what we want; continuing to give it to him would be rather like continuing to give him heroin despite successfully getting him onto methadone. We have found a new home for it, though: later this month, along with the 1.5kg of Thrive and the 862kg of Canagan, the Marvellously Mature will be making its way to some hungry kitties in SE20 (more about them next time).

Here is the little sod, waving goodbye to his old food and hoping that the recipients enjoy it:

“Au revoir, Lily.”

Journal d’une Chatière (Partie 5)

Merde, merde and thrice merde: I gave the Sureflap a good clean the weekend before Louis Catorze’s birthday and even programmed it to re-memorise him, but it’s still been failing to let him in when needed. When I sat by the door and observed the latch as Catorze tried to pass through, I noticed that it wasn’t moving.

Me: “So there definitely is a problem with the Sureflap. And all this time you thought it was just him being a shite.”

Cat Daddy, without looking up from his phone: “He is a shite, though.”

Good point, well made.

Anyway, we have a new Sureflap, but Raf the builder glued in the existing one so firmly that we can’t get it out. So we’ve messaged him and asked him to provide a quote for fitting the new one, and we hope he is able to respond before Donnie figures out that he can follow his cher ami through.

Incidentally, Cat Daddy has now started calling him Donnie, too. Sometimes he forgets and calls him Danny, but that also works. (Younger followers: ask your mums.)

Danny, Donnie, whatever. Ça marche. (Taken from Pinterest.)

So now we have to wait to hear from Raf the builder, and we fear that it might take some time. Will Donnie beat him to it?

Cheeky sod.

Le Grand Changement de Nourriture (Plan C Partie 1)

When Louis Catorze decided that he didn’t want to eat Canagan anymore, despite the fact that he’d eaten it perfectly happily for TWO WHOLE WEEKS BEFOREHAND, Cat Daddy and I decided it was time to deploy the Orijen. This was not a decision that we took lightly, given that it would send us spiralling into debt*, but we didn’t know what else to do.

*Here is a comparison, using a dry food pack of around 1.5-1.8kg as a guide:

⁃ Supermarket or commercial brands: approx. £2-3 per kg

⁃ Mid-range but still perfectly decent brands: approx. £7-10 per kg

⁃ Posh brands: approx. £12 per kg

⁃ Orijen Six Fish: £16.66 per kg, +£2 for the Regional Red (red meat) variant, +£4 for the Tundra (game) variant

I could get better value from the massive 5.4kg pack but we don’t have room to store it, and I refuse to buy a bag of cat food that weighs more than my cat. Plus, if anything were to GUARANTEE our mutual friend ceasing to like it, it would be the purchase of a huge pack costing this much:

Good grief.

Anyway … very tentatively, we gave Catorze a dessertspoonful of Orijen without his old food, and we barely drew breath as he approached it.

SAINT JÉSUS: HE ATE IT.

Then he ate another portion. Then he ate two more normal-sized portions. And when Cat Daddy came home from the pub later, Catorze did such a screamy, starey number on him that he drunk-served him a fifth – and most likely enormous – portion.

Cat Daddy’s Helpful Comment of the Day, sent by drunken text that night: “I told you he knew there was better food around. He’s just polished off a whole bowl like some craved [sic] animal who’s never eaten before.”

Be warned, Chat Noir owners: their power is growing. We thought it only happened in October, but it’s started early. Until now, never would I have believed in mind control so intense that it could compel me to buy the most expensive cat food in existence, to pray for said Chat Noir to love it AND to feel pure joy when he did. Catorze is Charles Manson in feline form.

Mind you, by that point I was so worn down by this whole sorry saga that I would have been grateful if he’d eaten asbestos and drain unblocker. And they would have been cheaper.

Smug little sod.

Aucune limite à son pouvoir

I have bought myself an electric bike, nicknamed the Millennial Falcon, and it’s the best thing ever.

Since most of my possible routes into work are now blocked off with those massive plant troughs in the middle of the road, I needed an alternative to the car. My commute is now fifteen minutes each way, as opposed to anything from twenty minutes to an hour by car.

I am quite a wobbly, nervous cyclist, so Cat Daddy has arranged for his friend Gerard – a qualified cycling coach – to give me some lessons. Gerard is very nice but I don’t really want lessons because I hate people looking at me when I cycle. I always make sure I get to school long before the kids, and leave after them, for this very reason. But Cat Daddy has gone ahead and booked the lessons anyway, so I don’t have a choice.

Cat Daddy’s Helpful Comment of the Day: “It’ll be fine*. Gerard does this for a living, and he will have seen plenty of people who are as bad as you.”

Me: “…”

Him: “Well, ok, maybe not QUITE as bad as you.”

Me: “…”

Him: “Anyway, he likes a challenge.”

*Non-Brits: when a British person says “It’ll be fine”, you should be very concerned indeed. If they say “I’m sure it’ll be fine”, expect the apocalypse.

When I used to drive home from work, Louis Catorze would always be aware of my arrival long before Cat Daddy heard me, and I imagined this to be because he knew the sound of the car. After switching to the bike, I didn’t think this would happen anymore, since nobody really talks about cats knowing the sound of bikes, nor am I even sure if my bike has a sound as such. But perhaps I had underestimated the little sod and his creepy kitty sixth sense because, when I arrive home, he never fails to greet me at the door. (Unless Boys’ Club is in full swing, in which case he doesn’t bother.)

Here he is, pictured mid-shake and, therefore, not looking too brilliant. But at least the Millennial Falcon looks good.

He is as handsome as he is clever.

Où qu’on se trouve, on reste à jamais français à l’âme

Thank you to everyone who kindly sent birthday wishes to Louis Catorze. He had a marvellous day. I even broke my 3-month dryness to partake in a Louis XIV cocktail*, but I am now back to teetotal ways to see if I can manage another month.

*I’m not joking. The recipe is here if you’d like to try: https://ttliquor.co.uk/how-to/make-a-louis-xiv-cocktail-recipe/
An actual photograph of Le Roi on his special day. (Thank you, Cathie and Scott, for his card!)

In other, shocking news, the little sod has eaten a piece of the Reflets de France tuna rillettes that I dropped onto the floor, after spending several minutes going CRAZY wondering where the appetising smell was coming from. And, when I gave him another tiny scraping to see if the first time had been an accident/a fluke/a figment of my imagination, he ate that, too.

Oui, Mesdames et Messieurs: the cat who doesn’t like food has consumed food. I wish it could have been his own food, rather than MY food, but tant pis. And I have offered Sa Maj actual tuna in the past, which has been promptly rejected, yet it seems he’s happy to eat it in Frenchified form, proving that you can take the Sun King out of France, but you can’t take France out of the Sun King.

Cat Daddy’s Helpful Comment of the Day: “You shouldn’t have done that. Now he won’t eat ANY OTHER FOOD, EVER AGAIN.” Erm, I think that ship has very much left the port, but your comment has been noted.

Anyway, since tuna rillettes have been rarer than golden goose eggs since Brexit stuffed things up, i am down to my last few jars and I have no idea when I will be able to reorder. So I don’t especially want to share at the moment, especially not with this ungrateful, entitled little sod, not even on his birthday weekend.

Here is Sa Maj, hoping I might change my mind:

Get your own food.

Louis, be good; une chanson pour fêter les 11 ans du Roi Soleil

Deep down in sunny Brentford to the north of Kew
Not far from the M4 and the B452
There stands a fine Château made of brick and wood
Where lives a small black cat who’s up to no good
He always does the opposite of what we say
We tell him “No” but then he does it anyway

No, no!
No, Louis, no, no!
No, Louis, no, no!
No, Louis, no, no!
No, Louis, no, no!
Louis, be good!

This kitty’s super-creepy; he’s got vampire teeth
The canines are much bigger than the ones beneath
He goes to other gardens and he raises hell
Annoying all the foxes and the squirrels as well
He is a total psycho and a massive pain
That’s why you’ll hear us yelling this again and again

No, no!
No, Louis, no, no!
No, Louis, no, no!
No, Louis, no, no!
No, Louis, no, no!
Louis, be good!

Cat Daddy tells him “Someday I will kick your arse
Unless you start behaving with a bit more class”
Yet many people visit him from miles around
They get here just by following the screaming sound
Maybe someday, instead of being a shite
He’ll say "I will be good tonight"


No, no!
No, Louis, no, no!
No, Louis, no, no!
No, Louis, no, no!
No, Louis, no, no!
Louis, be good!
Happy 11th birthday, little sod.

À mi-chemin vers l’Halloween

Louis Catorze will be 11 years old on Friday. An 11th birthday doesn’t have quite the same satisfying roundness as a 10th birthday, but nevertheless it’s a big deal.

If 30th April were truly the day that he was born, Catorze would be a Taurus. I don’t believe in star signs, but I still enjoy reading about them and giggling at the disparity between what I am and what I’m supposed to be. I am a Libra, and we are said to be obsessed with physical appearance (nope), adept in social situations (hell, nope) and lovers of high art and intellectualism (I don’t think anyone has ever accused Le Blog of being either of those).

That said, Cat Daddy is a Cancer, which makes him moody and high-maintenance. Ahem.

Anyway, I have a book called “The Enchanted Cat” (https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-enchanted-cat/ellen-dugan/9780738707693) which a friend sent to me years ago. Now, please hear me out. This is what it says about the Taurus cat:

⁃ Laid-back and peaceful: nope and nope

⁃ Shy with strangers: HELL, nope

⁃ Upset by change: depends what it is, e.g. us going on holiday and leaving him with a chat-sitteur for two weeks = not a big deal and actually great fun, whereas a new food bowl = Armageddon

⁃ Loyal and generous: nope and nope

⁃ A hearty appetite: nope

⁃ Has one favoured sleeping spot: nope

However, the Gemini cat is, apparently, as follows:

⁃ Very social: check

⁃ Demands attention and loves being spoken to: check and check

⁃ Kittenish behaviour throughout their life: check

⁃ Very vocal, with quite the repertoire of sounds: HELL, check

⁃ Loves to keep its humans on their toes: no further questions, Your Honour

Assuming this to be correct, and I realise that it’s a bit of a reach, it seems far more likely that Catorze is a Gemini (21st May to 21st June).

That said, 30th April – Beltane Eve – marks the halfway point to Hallowe’en and this date is still historically associated with magic, witches and otherworldly creepiness (see link: https://halloweendailynews.com/2017/04/walpurgis-night-halfway-to-halloween/ ). A 31st October birthday would, perhaps, be more fitting for a black cat with vampire teeth, but the second creepiest date on the calendar happens to be the date given on his paperwork, so it will do nicely.

The dark gatekeeper to the Zone Libre says “Non” to whatever it is that you’re asking.

La mort du Plan B

Le Grand Changement’s twists and turns are more dramatic than an episode of Line of Duty, and I cannot believe I am having to write this.

After a thoroughly successful Grand Changement (or so I stupidly thought), Louis Catorze has decided that he no longer wants to eat Canagan. And, naturellement, he made this decision AFTER we subscribed to six-weekly deliveries of Canagan at £35 a pop, the first of which is already here.

We initially put this down to temporary Summer Unhungries, but then he did the same thing again the following day. And, at the end of that second day, when I finally gave into the screaming and served a portion of his old food, he ate it.

This is worse than having the opposition score a 94th-minute winner in football. This is more like having them score long after the full-time whistle and the referee deciding to allow it.

Whilst it probably sounds comical that he’s so contrary, the reality of a cat who chooses starvation over new food is hugely stressful. We are utterly dismayed and mystified by this/him. We did not deviate from the instructions in the slightest – apart from using just one bowl when we saw how much the little sod was perturbed by two bowls, and apart from that one time early into the programme when Cat Daddy drunk-fed him Canagan on its own, WHICH HE ATE. So we can’t understand why this hasn’t worked.

Cat Daddy’s Helpful Comment of the Day: “Maybe he knows you’ve got more expensive food [the Plan C Orijen] for him, and he’s holding out for that?”

Me: “Sorry … what?”

Cat Daddy: “Maybe he’s just sensing it from you. Maybe you’re giving off vibes.”

Me: “Giving off … BETTER FOOD VIBES?”

Cat Daddy: “Yes. I mean, wouldn’t you do the same thing? Wouldn’t you stop eating boring old cod roe if you knew someone was hoarding caviar?”

[Silence, tumbleweed, crickets.]

We have no option but to unleash the money-vaporising, poverty-trapping weapon of mass destruction that is Orijen. And we are giving serious consideration to serving it alone, without the Lily’s Kitchen; it seems to be that, if Catorze can still see and smell his old food in the bowl, he will eat whatever is with it … but when the old food is taken away, however snail-slow the transition, he’s no longer interested. So we may bin the gradual changeover and find a food that he likes enough to eat on its own.

This defies all advice out there, due to the risk of puking and stomach upsets. But, let’s face it: dutifully following advice to the letter has achieved nothing so far.

No, you go ahead and relax. Don’t mind us, wasting time and money and losing sleep because of you.

Un ami, c’est un autre moi

Louis Catorze has a friend!

The very confident, never-seen-before gentleman pictured below (at least we THINK it’s a gentleman; I’ve never seen a female cat with such long limbs) wandered through Le Jardin the other day. Cat Daddy took 873 photos and videos when he was supposed to be watching the football, proving that he is as big a cat freak as me.

Check out that collar silverware.

Cat Daddy was disappointed that Catorze didn’t fight off the interloper; he seems to want his boy to be the hard-as-steel neighbourhood kingpin rather than the cordial host. But, since this cat – whom I have decided to name Donnie* – appeared to come in peace, he was welcome. Sa Maj didn’t mind him hanging around, and clearly the feeling was mutual as Donnie was back the next night (bizarrely, with Blue the Smoke Bengal in tow) and the night after that.

*Because he’s the new kid on the block. Younger followers: ask your mums.

On the third night, when he came calling at the Sureflap, Catorze chirped back, then went out, and the pair of them wandered off into the Zone Libre together.

Lots of pleasant trilling from both parties.
That’s a happy tail from Catorze, right?

Whilst cat friends in the garden are rather nice, having them coming into the house is another matter entirely. And, regretfully, when the Sureflap started malfunctioning and/or Catorze started to forget how to come in (we don’t know which one it was), we took out the batteries and we still haven’t fixed it. I KNOW, I KNOW. We forgot about it for a long time, then on the odd occasion we would remember again but, since we hadn’t had any trespassers, we weren’t in any hurry to do anything about it. So we probably need to get onto this pretty sharpish.

For the reason given above, we’re not sure if it’s a good idea to encourage Donnie. We don’t wish to hurt the feelings of Catorze’s only friend and it’s not in our nature to be indifferent towards cats, but we we know what selfish users they are; if we are so much as moderately civil towards them, they take advantage. Our street already has quite enough feline impinging taking place – Catorze goes into That Neighbour’s House, Blue the Smoke Bengal goes into the Dog Family’s house, Catus Interruptus goes into Cocoa the babysit cat’s house – and we don’t want any more.

Anyway, this weekend seems as good a time as any to secure the perimeters of Le Château, monitor the comings and goings and rescue the Sun King should he get stuck. After the stress of Le Grand Changement I was looking forward to a bit of a break from cat nonsense, but I guess it’s an almighty “Non” to that.