La police de la censure

How do you know when it’s time to unplug? What do you do to make it happen?

Unplug what? My internet router? Well, this incident brought me pretty close:

Naughty naughty, very naughty.

On Saturday I received a yellow card from the Facebook Gestapo for a comment that contravened The Rules by “inciting violence”. They were referring to my statement that Louis Catorze needed, and I quote: “a kick up the arse”.

Cat Daddy: “Oh dear. You’re worse than Kurt Zouma.”

You know when unjustly-accused suspects tell the police, “While you’re wasting time on me, the real perpetrator is still out there”? Yes, that. Exactly that. I once reported some random Instagram user for writing “Send him back to Africa” on a black (English) footballer’s page, only to be told that the comment did NOT break the rules. In fact, that day, I reported countless comments expressing similar sentiments, and was repeatedly told exactly the same thing. Yet here they are, coming after ME for stating – on a closed forum, with no impressionable kiddos present – that my cat needed a kick up the arse.

Might I add, too, that Catorze absolutely DOES need a kick up the arse. Everyone knows this. Even people on the other side of the world who have never met him, know this.

So now it seems I’m not allowed to state facts about this coercively-controlling furry psychopath who rules our house, leaches our money and hastens our march to the grave. And it wouldn’t surprise me to discover that he had something to do with all this.

“Don’t blame moi.”

Esse est percipi

If a tree falls in a forest and nobody is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

Similarly, if Orijen is placed in a cat’s bowl and he is not around to witness the serving, does the food even exist? Having given this question the lengthy consideration that it deserves, Louis Catorze says NON.

I know that he was hungry, because he was creepy-staring long before I took this photo. I dutifully went to the kitchen and refilled his bowl. But, because the silly sod didn’t follow me and watch as I did it, he doesn’t know his bowl is full. And I’m not getting up again just to lead him – or, worse, CARRY HIM – to his feeding station just to say, “Voilà!”

So it seems as if we are stuck here for a while until someone blinks first. Which one of us will it be?

Please make it stop.

La poussière cosmique

Do you have any collections?

Louis Catorze’s fur collects everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, whether animal, vegetable or mineral. Part of the appeal of black cats is that their fur supposedly doesn’t show up the dirt in the same way that white cats’ fur does, but Catorze’s coat attracts crud just as a magnet attracts iron. Here is just one example of the delights that can be found within:


At the moment the crud du jour is, regretfully, dandruff, and, the more I brush, the more he churns out. It improved when he switched to the most expensive cat food on the planet (well, you’d hope so, wouldn’t you, since, gram for gram, Orijen is more expensive than cocaine and gold combined?), but now it’s back. And we don’t know why, although we strongly suspect it’s because his outdoor gadding about takes him away from the clean, crud-free environment of Le Château and into all manner of grossness that I daren’t even think about.

In the past the vet has suggested fish oil supplements, but the silly sod won’t eat them; we tried two types and it was a hard NON to both. We also tried blobbing it onto his fur so that he would groom it off, but he just left it to air-dry on his body, stinking out the entire Château in the process.

The next weapon in my arsenal is coconut oil, supposedly good for this kind of thing but without the smell of rotting fish guts. And, luckily, we have it in plentiful supply, since it’s my favourite cooking oil. The only thing is that we are supposed to rub it onto “the affected area” – so, erm, the WHOLE area? His entire rump?


I had intended to start with a fingertip of oil applied to the base of his tail, which seems to be the epicentre of it all. But now, naturellement, Catorze is nowhere to be found, despite having been right here a minute or two ago. So I guess I’m left with sitting here with one oily finger raised aloft until he appears, or alternatively I will have to conduct an intensive search of Le Château for him and hope that I don’t daub oil everywhere in doing so. Neither option is particularly attractive to me.

EDIT: I found the little bastard eventually, by which time the coconut oil had all sunk into my skin and/or just melted away. He had somehow broken into the spare room that I had just prepared for an overnight guest – and which I had shut to keep him out – and stomped/rolled both his dandruff and his dirty paws all over the once-clean sheets and pillows. Merde, merde and thrice merde.

Peins-les en noir

On Saturday, Cat Daddy and I went to a fancy dress party. We dressed as goths, mainly because we, erm, already had most of the clothes.

As part of our costumes we painted our nails black, something to which Cat Daddy only agreed on the basis that I had the wherewithal to remove the nail varnish. And, naturellement, as his nails were drying, Louis Catorze chose that very moment to pounce on his papa, screaming and headbutting for attention.


Cat Daddy: “Oh God, Louis! Why now?”

Me: “He wants stroking. Stroke him!”

Him: “I can’t. My nails are wet.”

Me: “Use your elbows.”

Him: “…”

Catorze: “Mwahhhhh!”

Catorze eventually calmed down and settled on his favourite lap, and Cat Daddy was left with his hands flapping aloft. Not that that would have guaranteed safety because cat hairs are evil, insidious things, sneaking into the least likely places even when the cat isn’t in the vicinity; when my sister came to stay, she painted her nails that evening and managed to paint a single Catorzian hair onto her thumbnail. By the time she noticed, it was too late because it had dried on.

I would love to say that the nail varnish woes ended there. But after the party I discovered, much to Cat Daddy’s chagrin, that I’d made a mistake and, in fact, I did not have the wherewithal to remove it. Cat Daddy and I walked to the shops together to buy said paraphernalia, him with his fists tightly clenched so that nobody would see his nails, only to have his embarrassment further compounded during a pit-stop at the cheese deli: his contactless card wouldn’t work. So he had to handle the card device and punch in his PIN, with his jet-black manicure in full view of the cheese shop staff and other customers.

Catorze is moderately disappointed that his papa chose not to stay fully goth. And, no doubt, he will show his full displeasure the next time there’s something that we really, really don’t want him to do. We can’t wait.

Le Jour de Dracula

Today is Dracula Day, which celebrates the anniversary of the publication of Bram Stoker’s iconic novel. I loved it when I read it years ago, and it remains my favourite book of all time.

Louis Catorze was perfectly placed for an Official Dracula Day Portrait – sitting beneath our Count Dracula decoration – when Cat Daddy tried to encourage him to scream, in an effort to capture the famous fangs. What better way to mark such an auspicious occasion? But the little sod wasn’t playing ball. Even with his mouth open, his jowls concealed the fangs.

(We have noticed that his jowls are less pert than they were when he was younger. In fact, one has sagged lower than the other, sometimes giving the optical illusion of just one fang.)


What are the chances of a black vampire cat, sitting next to a Dracula decoration, opening his mouth and NOT showing his fangs? Only Catorze could be so nonsensical.

Happy Dracula Day to you all. We will be cracking open the Prince of Darkness gin to celebrate.

No fangs.
Still no fangs.

Ne plaisante pas avec mon tutu

After tiring of waking up every morning looking as if my face had been put through a trouser press (younger followers: ask your parents), I recently bought a couple of sets of those satin pillowcases. If you haven’t seen them, they’re a bit 1980s and not the most attractive of objects, but they are supposed to make you, erm, wake up NOT looking as if your face has been put through a trouser press.

Cat Daddy wasn’t convinced, so I showed him a list of the benefits.

Him: “It says here that satin pillowcases reduce the friction between the hair fibre and the pillowcase.”

Me: “I know.”

Him: “And it’s hypoallergenic, breathable, and less absorbent.”

Me: “I know.”

Him: “OH MY GOD.”

Me: “What?”

Him: “You didn’t buy them for yourself at all, did you? You bought them for HIM.”

He’s wrong on this one; the thought of Louis Catorze sharing a pillow with me really isn’t pleasant. But, to be fair, buying special pillowcases for their cat is the kind of thing that most cat freaks probably would do. In fact, I didn’t buy the 100% silk ones because they were ruinously expensive and had complicated care instructions, but I bet some of you would. YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE.

At the same time as buying the pillowcases, I also bought (from a different place, obviously) a cheap, scratchy tutu skirt to wear to a fancy dress party later this month. Which of the two do you think is Catorze’s new favourite sleeping spot? Go on, I bet you’ll never guess …

Le Roi loves to feel pretty. We don’t judge him.
Guess it’s his tutu now.

La grasse matinée annulée

What does freedom mean to you?

Anything but this:

Cat Daddy and I were lying in bed one morning, catching up on Match of the Day. Suddenly, he put down his cup of tea and said, “Nooooo!”

Me: “What’s wrong?”

Him: “Didn’t you hear it?”

Me: “What?”

Him: “The pitter-patter.”

Louis Catorze then jumped onto the bed and started screaming.

Me: “He’ll settle down soon enough.”

He didn’t. He walked up his papa’s body, bug-eyed and psychotic, headbutting Cat Daddy’s hands.

Me: “Just ignore him. He’ll soon settle down.”

Him: “That’s easy for you to say; you’re not the one getting the headbutts. Or the face. Oh God, the face.”

Me: “I’m telling you, he’ll get bored eventually.”

He didn’t.

Cat Daddy then decided that he couldn’t bear it any longer. “I can’t believe this. I’m being bullied out of my own bed!” he huffed, as he flung back the duvet, climbed out of bed and left the room.

Catorze didn’t quite achieve his aim of casting ME out of the bed so that he could have his papa all to himself, but he was still very happy to have warm space made available to him. So he settled in Cat Daddy’s spot, purring, rolling and thoroughly pleased with his efforts.

I’ve said this before and I shall say it again: we are pathetic for letting these felines treat us like dirt. And we’re doubly pathetic for knowing that it’s happening, yet doing nothing to stop it.


Où est mon chat?

What gives you direction in life?

Louis Catorze does. However, at the moment that direction seems to be “downwards”.

I hardly ever see him these days. No more does he settle across my stomach and cuddle me until I fall asleep, no more is he the first person I see when I wake up, and no more does he snooze on my lap every morning whilst I drink green tea and read a book. And I have a combination of CST and general cat bastardliness to blame for this.

Remember this? Nope, neither do I.

When I come home from work, Catorze is outside. I approach him to say hello and he’s perfectly cordial and polite, but he remains outside. When he does come in and acknowledge my existence, it’s only to creepy-stare for food before he goes out again. We don’t know what he’s up to although it must be very important because, one evening, we saw him taking off across the shed rooftops towards Twiggy the greyhound’s place, at lightning speed.

However, Catorze does manage to find the time for Boys’ Club. Oh yes. Cat Daddy was triumphantly smug when he told me that, as soon as I go to bed, the little sod slopes indoors and enjoys some alone time with his papa. So it seems that he’s not wholly rejecting his boring domestic life. He’s rejecting his boring domestic life with ME.

Cat Daddy: “Have you two fallen out? What have you said to him?”

Yes, it’s bold of him to assume Catorze would give a shite about anything I said.

I suppose I ought to be grateful that, at the creaky old age of thirteen, our boy is being adventurous and enjoying himself. But I can’t help longing for the autumn, when the cooler weather will send him back to my lap.

Too busy for me … but still has time to prevent Cat Daddy from reading a paper.
Bastard cat.

Le monde des chats

The thing about Catorzian misdemeanours, other than the fact that they exist, is that there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to document all the stupid things that Louis Catorze does. Sometimes I am forced to post incidents that happened ages ago, under the non-committal, vague banner of “the other day” because, at the time that said incidents actually took place, Le Blog was already full of OTHER Catorzian misdemeanours.

The only solution would have been to post multiple times a day and, really, nobody wants or deserves that.

I recently briefly toyed with the idea of a Throwback Thursday-type feature, then realised that this would make the problem worse. The WordPress Daily Prompt feature has complicated the situation even further, by digging into the recesses of my mind for Catorzian misdemeanours that my brain had carefully chosen to lock away from my consciousness, as an act of self-preservation.

Luckily, Katzenworld has come to my aid and the lovely Marc has allowed me to start writing there. If you like cats and enjoy reading actual useful information about them, as opposed to the nonsense that I churn out, most likely you will know about Katzenworld anyway. But, if not, it’s well worth a look. They also have a shop, which is where I bought Catorze’s très fancy tilted bowl.

I know that it’s not a very responsible or positive life lesson: “If you produce rubbish faster than you can dispose of it, just pass the excess onto someone else”. But then – to keep the same waste disposal analogy – this rapidly-filling Catorzian bin bag was a ticking time bomb. Goodness knows what would have happened had it overfilled and burst.

Please click here for my contemplation of Catorze’s immortality, here for a more sombre reflection of the horror that is vet visits, and here for a general whinge about cats’ food bullshittery and our absurd enabling of it.

If Stephen King had a cat …


What’s a job you would like to do for just one day?

I can’t say I would LIKE to do this. But, in some alternate universe, I’m pretty sure there was once a version of me who did the job of testing things before the king used them, to make sure they weren’t poisoned, booby-trapped and so on. And I say “was” rather than “is” because can’t imagine Other Me would have lasted longer than a day.

The following tale illustrates my point:

On a normal morning, when Louis Catorze settles on the attic bed, he’s in for the day, and he might shuffle his lazy arse down at 2pm at the earliest. Now that CST is under way, it’s more likely that it will be much later.

Yesterday, at midday, I broke a glass right by his feeding station. Naturellement my only concern was damage to les pattes royales, so I set about sweeping up the pieces, kneeling down and surveying the area from every angle for the telltale glint of any escapees. The more I moved, the more pieces I could feel crunching under my knees, but most were too small to see. The one positive was that Catorze wouldn’t be down anytime soon, so I had a good few hours to make sure I had swept up every last splinter.

You know where this is going, don’t you?

When I reached the point of making some progress but by no means being finished, I heard the pitter-patter of doom. Then there he was.

Me: “Oh God, Louis. Why do you have to come now?”

Him, approaching me: “Mwah!”

Me: “Nooo, don’t come to me!”

Him, ignoring me: “Mwah!”

I scrabbled around undignifiedly on the floor, trying to flick shards of glass out of his way as he walked. If you have ever watched curling*, just imagine Catorze as the stone gliding along and me as the sweepers, scrubbing away to smooth his path. (Yes, I was swiping at fragments of glass with my bare hands, with all the vigour of TWO people.)

*Non-Scots: ask your Scottish friends. Alternatively, YouTube “curling with cats” and watch one of the videos. You will not be disappointed.

Fortunately the little sod managed to pick his way through the slivers of glass without slicing his feet. When he reached his empty bowl he mwahhed piteously, so I dutifully served him a portion. He sniffed it and walked away.

I am certain that there is still glass remaining, which I have missed, and that I or Cat Daddy will step on it before the week is out.

The duties of a skivvy to a Sun King are varied and subject to addendums / addenda / addendi (?) at a moment’s notice. So I shouldn’t be surprised that [insert whatever the opposite of “Glorified” may be] Human Land Mine Detector is part of the job description.

Am I the holder of the stick? Or am I just the stick? (Picture from
“You’ve missed a bit, salope.”

Toute chose a une fin, sauf le saucisson qui en a deux

Every now and again, Catorze does something to demonstrate that he can behave himself for a short while. That black mass on the left, on the sofa, is him napping in the living room. And that plate on top of the blue blanket contains sausages which are defrosting in the sun.

Now, with most normal cats, it simply wouldn’t be possible to leave the cat and the sausages in such close proximity. However, this is not the case here at Le Château. Not only can we trust Catorze to leave the sausages alone but, in the event of flies attempting to land on them, we can trust him to catch the flies AND to alert us to their presence with his bird-chatter noise. (Yes, he does the bird-chatter at FLIES. Yes, we know it’s weird.)

No doubt he will be back to his usual self (hunting, screaming, generally being a shite) by the time I finish writing this. So, please, just humour me on this one and allow me these precious few moments of believing that my boy is a good boy.

Guardian of the sausages.

Le masque de l’araignée

One night, at around 3am, I went to the kitchen for a drink of water. I often do this in complete darkness but, for reasons that I cannot fathom, on this occasion I switched on the light. And what a good thing I did, too, because I saw a spider cascading down on its string from the light switch.

Naturellement I had nothing in which to trap the spider, and I didn’t dare leave the room to find a suitable receptacle in case the spider vanished. So I had to tip my herbal sleeping pills out of their jar, then cup the empty jar over him (not an easy task as he was unusually bouncy). Once done, I shuffled the jar millimetre by millimetre downwards, with the last bit done VERY nervously indeed in case the spider came springing out in that brief moment at the bottom between the jar leaving the wall and hitting the floor.

Louis Catorze was nowhere to be seen, presumed out bothering the foxes. What’s the point of living with an adept bug-hunter if the little sod disappears when he’s needed? Merde.

I didn’t want to keep the upended spidery jar in the bedroom all night because the idea gave me the creeps, so I shuffled it along the floor and into the guest room, taking care to avoid the cracks between the floorboards in case it dropped between them. Once there, I knew it would be safe until Cat Daddy disposed of it later.

After fetching my water and going back to bed, any idea of getting to sleep again was well and truly shot. I drifted in and out of a weird, wakeful doze, dreaming of spiders who were running amok beneath the floorboards, then awoke to discover that the scrabbling sound I could hear was real, and that it was Catorze, in a box of Cat Daddy’s cycling gear under the bed.

The little sod had not, as I had imagined, been out in the Zone Libre. He, who is able to spot spiders across a dark room and run to eat them straight off a far wall, had been here the entire time, listening to me rummaging and stressing yet doing nothing to help me.

I then had to get out of bed AGAIN to check that I’d shut the guest room door properly because, now that I knew Catorze was at large, I didn’t trust him not to kick over the spidery jar. Catorze, not caring one hoot that he had failed in his duty, settled across my stomach like a living, furry belt, and went to sleep for the whole of the four minutes before my alarm went off and I had to get up for work.

I don’t know how we live with these hideous little critters. And spiders aren’t much fun, either.

Bastard cat.

Êtes-vous contents de ne pas avoir allumé la lumière?

Write about a time when you didn’t take action but wish you had. What would you do differently?

Cat Daddy and I have started having guitar lessons, and we are utterly useless; after just one lesson our backs hurt, our fingers were bloodied, and we can’t imagine how we will possibly learn any actual songs when it takes us four minutes to play just one chord. But our teacher has a cat – a massive, fluffy ginge called Steve – and he makes it all better.

At the end of our first lesson, after cuddles with Steve, Cat Daddy and I left the teacher’s house. As we passed through the hallway I noticed that there was an odd smell, but I did the typical British thing of saying nothing. (Well, what does one say: “Your hallway stinks”? Most Brits would be so affronted by this that they would be forced to take drastic action, such as leaving you off their Christmas card list or – GASP – not offering you the good tea the next time they hosted you.)

As we left, the teacher sniffed and said, “Oh dear, I think Steve might have peed here.” He switched on the hallway light … and that was when we discovered that it wasn’t cat pee, but cat merde. And all three of us had walked through it.

Picture posed by lookalike Fergus, to protect the identity and dignity of the real culprit, Steve.

Oh. Mon. Dieu.

Cat Daddy and I checked our shoes. The left ones were fine, but the right ones had been well and truly merded. The poor teacher was mortified.

Somehow we managed to wash off the excess merde in a huge puddle in the road. Then Cat Daddy drove us home, one-footed (I have no idea how this is even possible in a manual car), whilst I sat in the passenger seat, shaking and sweating, with my right knee pulled up to my chest to avoid placing the merdique shoe on the floor. Even though I was holding my knee up with my arms, my leg was BURNING by the time we arrived home. I’ve been meaning to ramp up the leg-strengthening exercises for some time now, although in a general wellbeing kind of way; not once did I imagine I would need them to help keep my leg elevated during merde incidents.

After hopping indoors, we placed the offending shoes outside at The Back, ready to be catapulted into space and nuked hosed down the next morning. I also washed my trousers because I couldn’t be sure that the hems hadn’t also trailed through the merde. It didn’t LOOK as if they had, however Louis Catorze then began prowling and sniffing around us in a suspicious manner, making me worry that there might be microscopic merde invisible to our pathetic human eyes and noses. We are powerless against the horrors of invisible, insidious, microscopic merde and I fear that, if I think too hard about it, I might die.

I needed two double vodkas to calm my nerves. And Cat Daddy was so traumatised that it put him off drink for a whole twenty-four hours. The only good thing about this was the fact that, had the teacher not mentioned the smell, we would have unknowingly trodden merdique shoes into the car and into Le Château. At least we escaped that.

What would I do differently? I dunno: mention the smell (and risk being excommunicated)? Turn the light on? Not trust cats, no matter how cute? Have three double vodkas instead of two? They’re all contenders for the list, aren’t they?

“You wanna watch your step, salope.”