L’infirmier devoué

Next week I am due to have surgery on my shoulder, which should hopefully spell the end of a long line of problems. It’s a day procedure, so I won’t need to worry about Louis Catorze causing havoc in my absence (no more than usual, anyway) as I’ll be back that evening, but I am concerned about what he will do when I come home.

I often hear reports of cats being extra loving and affectionate when their humans are ill or convalescing. Sa Maj, on the other hand, does everything in his power to send me back to hospital, no doubt hoping that I will die there. When I came home after spinal surgery the little sod jumped onto my torso, then used it as a launch pad to jump somewhere else. And, when I had abdominal surgery, he did THIS (see below), which not only nearly burst my stitches as I tried to wrestle him out of the room (1st link), but also triggered the long-term avian war that still wages on to this day, having started with the starlings and continuing with the magpies and the angry green parakeets (2nd link):



So … can we trust Catorze to be nice/good this time?

Cat Daddy: “You’ve really learned nothing in the last few years, have you?”

Le miroir de l’âme

Although hay fever is, mercifully, not one of the things we need to add to Louis Catorze’s list of health problems, something – probably rolling around in all the dust from when the Forbidden Greenhouse was dismantled – has aggravated his eyes again. So, as well as wiping down his polleny body, we are also having to wipe down his eyes. This is even less fun than it sounds.

Naturellement, being Sa Majesté Louis Catorze Le Roi Soleil, only the best paraphernalia will do, so I have been making up a solution of pink Himalayan salt and boiled water in one of Cat Daddy’s antique glass Chinese tea cups. (Cat Daddy: “I’m sorry, you’ve been doing WHAT?”) But it doesn’t take away the displeasure of having to trap the squirming little sod and restrain him as I wipe. 

There’s also the problem of what to use to wipe, as everything I can think of appears to be either too rough (e.g. towel or microfibre cloth), too sheddy (e.g. tissue), too dangerous (e.g. cotton buds – and ours are bamboo so there’s the risk of splintering as well as eye-stabbing) or too smooth to grip onto the crud and sweep it away (e.g. every other material on earth). I use kitchen towel, and I expect I will receive a deluge of responses saying how bad that is, but it seems to be the lesser/least of the many aforementioned evils, and the textured nature means it whisks away the crud without me having to rub repeatedly. Trust me, the fewer wipes, the better.

Hopefully this, alongside the rigorous brushing of his gross, chalky fur, will keep the problem under control and not require a trip to the vet. Here he is looking especially foul after rolling around somewhere he had no business being. Regretfully, the fifty shades of grey shown here are dirt, not a trick of the light:

À genoux devant Le Roi

My Laziness With Cat knee injury is no better and, in fact, if anything, it appears to be getting worse. So, this week, I went to see a physio to find out why and to try to get it fixed.

Physio: “So how did you do it?”

Me: “Erm … ahem … I sat with my feet extended outwards, and my cat resting on my legs.” [I mutter the last bit under my breath in the hope that she might mishear, but she hears perfectly well and now it actually says on my notes: “Sat with legs stretched out and cat on knees.”]

Her: “Oh dear. That’s not a good position to be in with nothing supporting the backs of your knees. Especially with a heavy cat on you.”

[I can’t quite bring myself to tell her that Louis Catorze is actually gossamer-light and that the injury more likely came about because I didn’t budge from that sofa for about 10 hours quite some time, so I just nod at this point. Nor do I mention that I kept crisps and champagne within arm’s reach so that I wouldn’t have to disturb Sa Maj by getting up for food and drink.]

Anyway, it seems that I have over-stretched my knee and some tendon is inflamed, so I have had an ultrasound treatment with that wet jelly stuff to bring down the inflammation. The knee is now strapped up with that weird black tape that athletes use which, whilst not pretty, is moderately better than the TubiGrip and gives some authenticity to the story that I am some grande sportive with a training injury. And, as we edge nearer to the date of the half-marathon in which I pretended to be participating, at least now I seem to have the perfect excuse not to do it (or anything, come to that).

Here is Sa Maj, disapproving of my sloth even though he is partly to blame for it:

Sous le soleil

Quelle joie: the Forbidden Greenhouse is no more! As you may be aware, this was Louis Catorze’s go-to place during heatwaves, so we were just in time before he could cook himself during Saturday’s 33-degree scorcher. (And, yes, we know perfectly well that, if it’s hotter than the depths of hell and you’re a black animal covered in fur, basking in a greenhouse like one of those desert lizards isn’t a very good idea, but this is Catorze we’re talking about.) Anyway, what a relief to no longer have to worry about a potential “Cat dies in hot greenhouse” shocker, with me protesting, “But he CHOSE to go in there, and he kicked me in the face when I tried to pull him out!” as the baying mob come for me with their flaming torches and pitchforks.

The crumbling shed has also gone and Cat Daddy has treated himself to a whizzy new one with a sedum roof, despite the obvious risk of Catorze finding some way to ruin it. We are very pleased with it and we are now taking bets on which of the following scenarios we will see first:

  1. Sa Maj sunbathing up there
  2. Sa Maj and a friend (Cat Daddy: “He’s going to have to find one first …” sunbathing up there together
  3. Sa Maj hunched creepily over a row of drying-out-in-the-sun mouse corpses, cackling to himself as he decides which one to lick first
  4. Some other bizarre and abnormal “You couldn’t make this up” type of incident that I haven’t thought of

All suggestions are most welcome, Mesdames et Messieurs.

Toute blessure guérit, sauf les blessures du chat

It’s official: Louis Catorze is bad for our health. Three weeks ago, whilst Cat Daddy was away, I sat with Catorze on my legs and my my feet outstretched and resting on the coffee table. We spent the day fixed in that position watching back-to-back X Files together, including that episode where Agent Scully has to deal with a barking, snarling dog infected with an alien virus. (And, no, Sa Maj didn’t even flick a whisker at the barking and snarling. This is no doubt because he carries the same alien virus and therefore he knows his own kind, in the same way that zombies never attack other zombies.)

Anyway, at the end of our 10-hour fairly lengthy spook-marathon, I tried to get up but I couldn’t. My left leg (upper calf, lower thigh and behind the knee) had completely seized up, and it has been painful ever since. I don’t suppose sitting at length with my legs in an over-flexed position, and with a 3kg weight on them, was the best thing to do, but it’s too late now.

As a result, I am struggling to walk and my daily routine now includes the attractiveness of a limp and a thigh-to-ankle TubiGrip. Naturellement people have been asking what happened, and I have been too embarrassed to admit that it was a Laziness With Cat injury but I have lost track of which lie I have told to which person. (I know, I know, I should have just told the same lie to everyone instead of telling some people that I tripped on a wonky paving slab and others that it was a half-marathon training injury, but I didn’t think this through.)

These last few weeks of the school year have felt like months. And this picture of Sa Maj just about sums up my place in it all; I am like a portrait cat trying to fit into a landscape sun puddle:

La propreté est proche de la sainteté

Hurrah! Someone has FINALLY acknowledged what I have been saying for years: hay fever sufferers, wipe down your cats!

And, somehow, I can’t help singing that mantra in my head to the tune of “Spice Up Your Life” by the Spice Girls (younger followers, ask your parents):

"Pollen in the air


In your nose and in your hair


People everywhere

WIPE DOWN YOUR CATS ..." and so on

Wiping down is easier said than done if your pet goes in and out about 738 times a day, as Louis Catorze does. So we try and grab him just before we go to bed as he usually comes up with us and settles across our stomachs like a two-person, living belt, no doubt shedding pollen with every movement. Naturellement he isn’t the greatest fan of being wiped down but, because of the difference it makes to my itchy eyes and to Cat Daddy’s scratchy throat, the little sod is just going to have to suck it up. Plus it’s preferable to bathing him, which would require sedatives (for us as well as for Catorze). 

Thank you to both Spa de Sal and Hen Corner for their hay fever advice and for their fight against the evil pollen of TW8. Details of their wonderful products – a health-boosting salt spa experience (no, I haven’t taken Sa Maj there, but I would if I could) and lovely London honey – can be found here:


https://hen-corner-micro-bakery.myshopify.com/collections (scroll down for the honey)


Quel ange me réveille sur mon lit de fleurs?

The summer solstice is here, and that can mean only one thing: Louis Catorze’s summer bed has been deployed.

The rest of us, of course, have to put up with just one bed all year round, but Sa Maj has his winter bed (the igloo), his spring and autumn bed (the igloo converted into a bowl) and his summer bed (the chaise longue). And, when he feels like it, he also has our bed, any of two guest beds, any of two laps (but usually Cat Daddy’s), any of THREE sofas, Cat Daddy’s overnight holdall, Cat Daddy’s work rucksack, the shed roof, Oscar the dog’s shed roof and probably a whole host of other locations that we don’t know about.

Here he is, staring evilly (looks wrong but spellcheck confirms that it is, indeed, an actual word) from the chaise longue, probably mentally totting up his total number of beds and cursing us for providing so pathetically few.

Happy Midsummer to you all from the Sun King.