Les caresses de chat donnent des puces

C584A943-212A-47E7-9B98-81566F8D670CMy plan to make Louis Catorze a zero-waste kitty has reached an obstacle: spot-on flea treatment. Not only is the market fairly limited in terms of products – with some well known to be utterly useless – but not a single one is plastic-free. So it won’t be quite as simple as swapping brands, as we did with the little sod’s food. 

Louis Catorze uses Broadline, which has the added benefit of also treating worms and therefore absolving us of the Greco-Roman death-wrestle when we try to get a worming pill into him. Each little vial comes individually wrapped in a plastic tray with a peel-off film cover. Whilst I can see why vets and pet shops would want such packaging for sterility, I wrote to the manufacturer to ask if there may be another option for at-home users.

The response – which, unbelievably, came from a lovely customer services lady named Cat – was that the packaging was needed to keep the product stable and to comply with some fancy-sounding European safety law. 

(When I told others about Cat, very worryingly a couple of friends told me that the name must just be a coincidence, as if I genuinely thought the company might only recruit people with animal names or, worse, that I thought they had an actual cat managing their customer service enquiries.)

I wrote back to Broadline Cat and asked if they were doing anything to find an alternative to plastic. I understood about the product stability – after all, we wouldn’t want rancid chemicals to cause Catorze to mutate and turn into the scary Monsieur Hyde version of himself – but, given the ticking time bomb that is single-use plastic, I hoped that there might be another way. (Cat Daddy remarked that Catorze already IS the scary, mutant Monsieur Hyde version, and that a cocktail of putrid chemicals couldn’t possibly make things worse in that respect.)

Broadline Cat replied as follows: 

“Please rest assured that Boehringer Ingelheim continuously look to make improvements where possible to improve our environmental impact. Whilst there is nothing more we can share currently on this particular area, we will ensure to raise this with global manufacturing and supply chain colleagues working on our environmental programmes.”

I don’t know what the solution is for packaging spot-on flea treatment. But I hope Broadline Cat will be true to her word and that they will continue to look for one. 

Je gueule, donc je suis

I often write about Louis Catorze’s screaming but, in actual fact, depending on the situation and on his mood, he is a Man of Many Meows, not just one standard scream. Here they are, in order of volume (quietest first): 

  1. Le Miaulement à la Bouche Fermée. This is usually deployed in the middle of the night and is murmured through a closed mouth, which we take to mean, “I don’t want to wake you up, but I’m just checking in to bid you a bonne nuit.” Unfortunately, despite its softness, it DOES wake us up, hence why Cat Daddy finds this meow the most annoying of them all. 
  2. Le Cri Aigu. As the name would suggest, this sounds just like a dog’s toy, and it is the most un-catty sound that one can possibly imagine. It is usually uttered when Le Roi is grabbed or squeezed when not expecting it. And, yes, sometimes we DO do this to him just to make him squeak because we find it so funny.
  3. Le Cri de Guerre Wah! Wah! Wah!. What it lacks in volume – for it is only moderately loud – it makes up in evil intent. This sequence of short, staccato meows tends to be heard when Le Roi breaks into a sudden sprint, such as when he spots the door open at The Front or when he is in the perfect position for an exquisite photograph and then sees me reach for my phone. 
  4. Le Miaulement Habituel, aka what we hear 60% of the time. This sounds like a spoilt, whiny child who has just been told that there is no more ice cream. Visitors are often concerned that our boy is upset or in pain, and we are forced to shamefacedly admit, “Erm, no. That’s just his normal voice.”
  5. Le Cri des Cris, the most awful of the lot and, sadly, the second most frequently heard after Le Miaulement Habituel. This indignant holler can mean an assortment of things including, “Let me in/out!” and “Where the heck have you BEEN?” Those who have heard this sound – which, by now, includes most of our street – are unlikely to forget it, and, if you haven’t, today is going to be the day. 

Now that my new domain of louiscatorze.com allows me to post videos, you will have the pleasure of hearing all of these meows at some stage (although I expect that, now that I have announced my keenness to capture them on video, Sa Maj will refuse to produce most of them ever again). We were, however, (un)fortunate enough to be greeted by a 5 pointer – Le Cri des Cris – one day after coming home from work, and I do have evidence of that. Turn the volume DOWN. 

You’re welcome. 

La boîte à merveilles

Middle-class cat problems: when your cat has too many toys. And, since every single one of them was given as a gift by a visiting pilgrim (oui, Mesdames et Messieurs: we have never needed to buy Louis Catorze a single toy in his life), I guess that makes it an upper-middle-class cat problem. 

Cat Daddy decided recently that the cat toys must be secretly moving and/or multiplying in the night because, every time he comes downstairs, he finds them in a different position. It’s possible that supernatural forces are at work … although it’s far more likely that Catorze, like his mamma, is great at using things but not so good at putting them away afterwards. 

I thought, for a minute, that Cat Daddy was going to threaten to get rid of the toys (or Catorze). But, instead, he suggested: A TOY BOX. And, naturellement, because he is Sa Majesté Louis Catorze, Le Roi Soleil, only the best box will do. 

So Cat Daddy spent an afternoon painstakingly restoring Cat Grandpa’s antique tool box to make it into a toy box for Le Roi. We know that Cat Grandpa would have approved of this as he had a very special relationship with Catorze. During his visits he would whistle to Catorze, just like whistling to a dog, and the little sod would go running for a cuddle.

Cat Grandpa would have been 100 today and we hope that, wherever he may be, he has cats and a whole stack of toys.

Le voyage des pèlerins

Hallowe’en is over for another year, which makes me a little sad, although living all year round with a black vampire kitty means that every day is Hallowe’en here at Le Château. And, yes, we succeeded in keeping Louis Catorze under lockdown on the night of the 31st, with the little sod only managing to escape once. 

Best moment of the Hallowe’en season? Catorze’s conspicuous indifference to the severed zombie hand. And, having transferred Le Blog to the new domain louiscatorze.com*, I can now post videos, so see below for some splendid non-giving of a merde from Le Roi: 

*Cat Daddy: “Louiscatorze.com? Why have you done this? You only need to do this if you’re going to sell Louis Catorze merchandise. Are you going to sell Louis Catorze merchandise? Please don’t sell Louis Catorze merchandise.”

This time of year is traditionally for remembering loved ones who have passed on. We have certainly been doing that, but I have also resolved to spend some time looking back at the Sun King’s visitors’ book and remembering the pilgrims who have come to pay homage to him. 

I have been pretty rubbish at printing out the pilgrims’ photos and, until now, they have remained pointlessly trapped in my camera roll. But, thanks to a friend kicking me into action, they are now all in the book alongside the pilgrims’ lovely little notes. Having a picture of Catorze with each visitor really does make the book and, better yet, we have a VERY special visit due later this month. The details shall be revealed nearer the time, but I am excited beyond belief and I know that Catorze is, too. 

Thank you to everyone who has been kind enough to visit Sa Maj and bring him gifts. He really does appreciate it, although he needs to work on showing it. 

Le meilleur ami de l’homme

One of my cat-loving friends has just got a DOG. If you are following Le Blog it’s likely that you are a cat person, so you will understand what an apocalyptically big deal it is for someone to leave our ranks and defect to the Dark Side. That said, given that dogs are loyal and loving and cats are psychopaths who don’t care if we live or die, it’s possible that our side IS the Dark Side and that my friend had to save herself by whatever means possible. 

I knew that she was thinking about getting a dog, because we spent a whole afternoon together Googling “Dogs that smell” and “Dogs that don’t smell” to help her to choose her breed accordingly. (Dog owners: sorry, but your houses can smell doggy. You don’t notice because you have become accustomed to it, and people don’t tell you because they are trying to be polite, but I’m afraid it’s true.) However, I didn’t know she’d actually got the dog until I went round to her place and her partner answered the door holding a trembling, honey-coloured ball of fur half the size of Louis Catorze. 

“Surprise!” my friend trilled. “This is Nala! I didn’t tell you about her because I wasn’t sure you’d want to come round if you knew she was here.”

“Erm, you’re right. I probably wouldn’t,” I replied. 

“I know you’re not a dog person,” she continued, “but she’s about the same size as a small cat, isn’t she? So, erm, maybe you could just PRETEND she’s a cat?” Right. 

Anyway, I spent the afternoon with little Nala and, apart from one pooing incident – fortunately nowhere near my person nor near my possessions – all went well. And, when I returned home, far from being repulsed by me (as he usually is), Catorze sniffed and nuzzled me, rolled all over me and purred like an aeroplane taking off. 

So does this mean that our cat is … part-dog? He certainly has some dog-like qualities (following people around, wagging his tail when happy, being irresistibly drawn to dogs even if they are displaying all the signs of wanting to kill him, etc.). The one area where they differ is their compliance with humiliating Hallowe’en outfits and, luckily, Nala has been able to compensate for Sa Maj’s shortcomings. 

As you can see, she was very obliging and happily dressed up whereas Catorze, despite usually being a lover and not a fighter, would tear my skin to shreds and watch me bleed to death if I attempted to put clothing on him. (Don’t ask me how I know this.) However, he and I did manage to produce a passable official Hallowe’en portrait this year, unlike last year when there was just one moderately decent shot out of about a hundred attempts, produced two months too late for the event.

Happy Hallowe’en from all of us (including Nala), and may your furry overlords of whatever species behave themselves tonight. 

Le lion a suffisamment de dents pour se sentir bien dehors

Have you ever seen one of those 1980s movies where the small-town neighbourhood bad boy is undignifiedly hauled home to his parents by the local sheriff? (I haven’t, but I am sure that it must have happened in some 1980s movie at some time.) 

Well, Louis Catorze’s troublemaking-about-town has reached such a level that neighbours have started knocking at our door to return him to us. Cat Daddy is BEYOND mortified about this although, curiously, he fails to see that it wouldn’t be a problem if we* were more vigilant about keeping The Front under lockdown.

*HE

The first time that this happened, Catorze had slipped out unnoticed at The Front and his screaming could be heard from the living room of one neighbour, disturbing his TV viewing. A couple of weeks ago, he had slipped out unnoticed again and had tried to get into the same neighbour’s house as their dinner guests were leaving. And the most recent incident involved him slipping out unnoticed YET AGAIN (I think I may detect a pattern here) and ambushing Oscar the dog’s mamma and sister, screaming, as they left the house. They politely knocked at the door a few nights ago and said, “Louis is outside at The Front, and we just wanted to check that you knew?” Erm … no. 

I never know what to say when the little sod is returned to us. I can’t even lie and say, “He’s never behaved like this before” because it tends to be the same people who keep bringing him back, and they all know what he’s like. 

I am trying EXTREMELY hard to be careful at The Front, but Cat Daddy is somewhat more, erm, relaxed when he puts out the recycling. With Hallowe’en – which I am spelling authentically for the first time ever – around the corner, and the very real danger of Catorze being mistaken for a novelty vampire cat toy and scooped up into some kid’s treat bag, we need to up our game. (Yes, most cats would probably loudly and violently object to being carried off by a gang of sugar-high youngsters, but this is Sa Maj we’re talking about.)

And I have just checked my calendar and realised that it’s a full moon tonight which, let’s face it, adds another complication into the mix that we really don’t need. Someone needs to intercept The Mothership’s transmissions très rapidement. 

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Thank you to Emily for this amazing photo of the little sod who is, most unusually, moving AWAY from the front door

La paix, la justice, la liberté

Because all cats are selfish users by nature, it’s not uncommon for them to lead a double life with another unsuspecting family. However, despite Louis Catorze’s recent daredevil escapology, I didn’t expect his other life to be this:

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That’s him at the bottom, happily nibbling on a plant whilst the murderers, gang members and drug traffickers of the Porto Velho penitentiary go about their daily prison business around him. And, yes, I am aware that most black cats look very similar to one another. But if you live with one – and especially if it’s a troublemaker – you know your own. The miniature size, the pose, the casual chewing of plant matter with the intention of puking it up later in some inappropriate place … this is all classic, unmistakable Louis Catorze. And we all know of his tendency to gravitate towards men. What’s less clear is how the flip he managed to get all the way to Brazil. (He speaks English, French and the odd swear word in dog and bird language, but no Portuguese.)

Cat Daddy: “Are you kidding? He can escape outside at The Front in broad daylight without being seen. He can break into locked rooms and cupboards and re-lock the door after himself. Of course he could make it out to Brazil and still get back in time to wake us up screaming at dawn.”

This is true. 

The only other question we have is which way Catorze’s prison gang allegiance has swung: has he made himself the kingpin of the Comando Vermelho or the Primeiro Comando da Capital? Given his extraordinary capacity to incite barking wars between Oscar the dog and (now sadly departed) Bert the dog and then smugly sit back and watch the fallout, I’d say that he has probably managed to fuel even more hatred between the two gangs whilst remaining annoyingly impartial* himself. In fact, I’d be prepared to bet Le Château on at least 80% of the riots in Porto Velho being his fault. 

*Not giving a merde about either faction 

One day his pot-stirring will he found out, and I don’t suppose the inmates will be too happy about it. In the meantime, it’s probably just as well that he has Le Château as a bolt-hole and us to take care of him.