Le renard peureux

It’s the summer solstice. Usually, by this time of the year, we are not even close to hitting the heady heights of 28+ degrees – that tends to come in July/August – but this month has been a hot one.

However, the one good thing about it all is that cat mischief is inversely proportional to soaring temperatures; it’s simply too hot for cats to misbehave. And we imagine that Donnie has been feeling it, too, since he hasn’t been round in a while. Apart from, erm, last night, when he showed up and started a yowling match with Louis Catorze in front of our horrified dinner guests. And that time when a neighbour whom I don’t even know had to break up a fight between the pair of them. Oh, and that other time when I was awoken by that awful cat fight sound, and I looked outside to see their unmistakable forms on the fence. (Yes, it was definitely them. I know their silhouettes like I know my own name.)

Sa Maj has been flopping languidly around Le Château and Le Jardin, spending inordinate amounts of time at his Rodent Duty station (the gap by the fence separating us from the Zone Libre). He was outside with Cat Daddy the other day, happily pitter-pattering around, when the birds in the Zone Libre started screeching.

Now, we all know full well that, when birds screech in unison, it’s never good. Anyone with any brains would run in the opposite direction. So, naturellement, Catorze decided to run into the Zone Libre to investigate.

It was Foxy Loxy.

Cat Daddy was powerless to help on the other side of the fence, and all he could do was stare (and curse the fact that he didn’t have his phone to take a picture). Then, unbelievably, Foxy Loxy took one look at Catorze … and fled.

This is not the first time we have seen this; in fact, Cat Daddy has seen THREE foxes run away from Catorze. Obviously it’s no bad thing that a predator who could finish the little sod in an instant would choose, instead, to retreat. But we are puzzled and terrified that the birds’ screeching, something we thought to be a universal sign of abject peril – yes, known even to a dimwit like Le Roi, surely? – would send him running TOWARDS it.

Is there anything we can do about this? There must be some kind of training or lessons, like teaching kids the Green Cross Code? (Younger followers: ask your grandparents.)

“I hear danger! I must interfere for absolument no raison whatsoever!”

De l’Orijen des espèces

It’s official: Louis Catorze is no longer on the steroid pills. And thank goodness for that because, after I came home from hospital, he decided to be extra difficult about eating his Pill Pockets, meaning that every pill has had to be a Greco job. This was how I found his Pill Pocket yesterday, on the floor next to his empty bowl:

For goodness’ sake.

He has upped his Greco game, too, having learned (from where?) to do a fake-swallow, spitting out the pill when he’s released. Cat Daddy, incidentally, refuses to Greco, using this defence: “But he loves me! It should be you because he doesn’t like you as much.”

Luckily it’s all over and the little sod is on nothing but Orijen and beauty oil, which makes life much easier.

Orijen claims that their food “mimicks the diet your cat’s ancestors would have hunted and eaten in the wild”. Although there is no doubt that their ingredients read like the tasting menu of a Michelin-starred restaurant, I find it doubtful that most cats would have been able to source them of their own accord. Venison: nope. Wild boar: nope. Bison: HELL, nope.

SASKATOON berries?

Catorze is very much a fish gentleman and his food is called “Orijen Six Fish”. I imagine hell would freeze over long before he successfully caught even one fish, let alone six. I chatted a few months ago with one of Catorze’s lovely blog followers about the size of tuna, and the smallest species is twice his size at 7kg, with the largest weighing in at up to 250kg (!). So the more likely scenario would be him falling into the water and the fish grabbing him in its jaws, then promptly spitting him out again after realising that he wasn’t a worthwhile snack (being only just bigger than krill and nowhere near as nutritious).

A true ancestral diet would, surely, have been small birds and rodents, although the idea of buying them freeze-dried in foil somehow doesn’t appeal. I think what’s REALLY going on here is that the good folk at Orijen are just like us, i.e. complete suckers who want the little sods to have the best of everything. And they’ve made up all the stuff about ancestors to shut up those who accuse them of spoiling their pets. “But Alaskan cod, garnished with Saskatoon berries, is what cats have always eaten, ever since the dawn of time!”

Here is Catorze, with his eyes locked on the green parakeets. His chances of catching one are zéro, and the parakeets know this.

Dreaming of confit de perruche aux baies de Saskatoon …

We bought our first 1.8kg bag of Orijen from the manufacturer’s website but, since they don’t do a subscription service, we recommend this site: https://www.petscorner.co.uk/cats/orijen-six-fish-cat

They have a huge range of unusual brands and are carbon-neutral, packaging their deliveries in cardboard boxes with paper tape.

L’alpha et l’oméga (Partie 3)

When Louis Catorze stopped eating his fish oil vol-au-vents, I tried smearing the oil onto his fur to see if he would groom it off. When it worked a treat, I decided to adopt this method permanently, using a teaspoon as an applicator as my finger was too melty and my lip balm pot was just too weird.

My morning routine now includes squeezing the contents* of a capsule onto the back of a teaspoon, taking said teaspoon into the living room with me with my morning cup of tea and waiting for the little sod to join me. When he does, I pounce.

*I do the whole lot every other day rather than half every day, which saves me from having to reserve a sticky, smelly, half-squeezed capsule. I choose the odd-numbered days because Le Roi is odd.

Now, Catorze wouldn’t be Catorze if he didn’t do something strange and off-the-wall in response to this. The first time I did it he was fine but the second time, unbelievably, he didn’t know where the smell was coming from. His sense of smell is supposed to be 972 times better than mine, and yet I could detect this foul substance from across the room but he had no idea it was ON HIS OWN ARM.

Catorze sniffed the coffee table, the window shutters and the lamp.

Me: “It’s on you!”

Catorze sniffed the carpet, the sofa and his igloo.

Me: “C’EST SUR TOI!”

It was quite some time before the penny dropped and he finally started to groom himself. Naturellement by this point he had done a few circuits of the whole room trying to find the source of the smell, with me nervously following him with kitchen towel and anti-bacterial spray (which I suspect are powerless against oil but I didn’t know what else to do) and desperately praying for him not to rub against anything porous.

The same company who makes the Omega 3 also makes a brain supplement. I don’t suppose we’ll be needing that.

Thanks but no thanks.

Donnie Darko

I came home from hospital a few days ago, and it’s so good to be back. The males of the household have been shut out of my bedroom until I recover, although Louis Catorze did manage to break in one night and bounce around all over my abdomen. He may only weigh 3kg but, trust me, THIS HURTS.

Taking my medication is much like medicating Catorze, although I like to think I am more cooperative. I have painkillers, antibiotics and anti-inflammatories all on the go at once, all requiring different timings, and now that hay fever season is upon us, I have also had to add antihistamines to the heady cocktail. There is no pain in the world quite like sneezing when you have abdominal wounds.

At least I haven’t had to deal with cat drama, as Donnie hasn’t been by since I came home. Before I went into hospital, however, he popped round whilst Cat Daddy, Catorze and I were all in the garden.

At first everything was quite civilised, with the two cats chirping at each other and sitting together. Then, when Catorze approached Donnie for a sniff, Donnie went for him. Before we could even blink, the two of them were rolling on the floor, and Cat Daddy was scratched whilst trying to break up the fight.

We were absolutely dismayed, and we felt like utter idiots for believing that an unneutered male would be a positive presence … although, that said, Ginger Impinger Dosti was also an unneutered male and nothing like this ever happened with him. Even beefy tabby Tigger, despite having a terrible reputation in the neighbourhood, comes in peace, and the only altercation between Tigger and Catorze took place because Catorze was trying to protect scaredy-cat Donnie. I expect he wishes he hadn’t bothered now.

Although the little sod was absolutely fine immediately afterwards and seems to have forgotten about what took place, we don’t want this happening again. The new Sureflap has made Le Château’s interior secure, but we are going to have to start shooing Donnie when we see him outside. It feels a bit mean, but this is Le Roi’s place and he needs to feel safe here.

Les cerises noires were very much present during that last encounter. Let’s hope that the fruit harvest has now taken place …

A few minutes before disaster struck.

Le patient gériatrique

Poor old Cat Daddy has had to deal with medical incidents for both me and Louis Catorze in the last week.

I went into A&E last Sunday with stomach pains which turned out to be appendicitis, and I had an emergency appendectomy the next day. Luckily the magic of scheduling WordPress posts allowed Le Blog to continue whilst I was too unwell to write properly. Thank you to everyone who liked and commented, and sorry I haven’t been able to reply back properly as I usually would.

On the day of my surgery, Cat Daddy also had to take Catorze to the vet because, the last time we ordered steroid pills, the vet told us that she would need to see him before issuing any more.

Cat Daddy: “Obviously they want to check that he’s not turning into a wizened old addict.” I think that ship has well and truly sailed. However, we were debating tapering down his dose and would rather do this after seeing the vet, especially as it’s always turned to merde every other time I’ve tried.

We have also been concerned about Catorze’s weight. He wolfs down the Orijen multiple times a day, faster than we can dish it out, and we have never measured his portions on the basis that we would do so if we noticed him chubbing up. But he isn’t. Quite the opposite, in fact. So we were happy to take him in to be sure that nothing was amiss.

Anyway, the little sod now weighs 3.05kg which is the lightest he’s ever been. The vet took a blood test to which she referred as a “geriatric profile” (Cat Daddy: “What will the results say: “Yes, he’s getting old” or “No, he’s not”?”), and I was in my hospital bed with Cat Daddy sitting beside me when the vet called the next day to deliver the shocking news that Catorze is … normal.

Yup. Liver, kidneys, thyroid and whatever other things were tested: all normal.

Cat Daddy again: “Normal? He’s FAR from normal.”

The vet has prescribed, erm, more plentiful portions of Orijen (the most expensive food on the planet, in case I hadn’t already mentioned that) and another weigh-in in a month’s time.

Having started mentally preparing ourselves to say goodbye to the little sod – after all, he has already lived for much longer than we expected – this was the best news in the world. Cat Daddy went home after visiting hours to have a little celebration with his boy, and he also said he might give him an extra pill as a treat, although I hope he was joking about this.

He may be an old boy, but he’s not finished yet. (Le Roi, I mean, not Cat Daddy.)

I asked for photos of the celebration. I received this.

La livraison de repas à domicile

Last week, we and the Dog Family fed Blue the Smoke Bengal whilst his mamma was away, and someone – to protect their identity I shall refer to them as “Dog Sister” – accidentally shut Blue’s house keys in the house with a couple of days’ feeding still left to go. Luckily Blue had enough water to last him until the next day – when his Cat Uncle, who had a key, would be stopping by – but no food.

Blue is a scoffer rather than a grazer, so the chances of him pacing himself and making a meal last would have been zéro.

This is what he looks like when he needs food.

Dog Mamma asked if Louis Catorze would be good enough to let Blue have some of his Orijen and, quite frankly, after the little sod’s persistent meanness to Blue, we thought it was the least he could do. The problem was how to get it to him. After much deliberation, Dog Mamma leaned precariously over the garden fence and lowered a bowl of Orijen into Blue’s garden, using a pair of tongs.

The Dog Family called Blue’s name repeatedly, but without success. He was nowhere to be seen.

We then mooted the idea of, erm, scattering Orijen through the letterbox. Now, please hear me out. Leaving the bowl unattended in the garden would have risked it falling into enemy hands/mouths: Catorze, Donnie, Jaws, Foxy Loxy, the squirrels, to name but a few. Plus, if Blue wasn’t in the habit of being fed outdoors, he could have been waiting indoors by his bowl, unaware of the drama taking place in the garden.

Dog Mamma retrieved the Orijen with the tongs and took it to Blue’s front door to push it through the letterbox, and I went along to watch and laugh offer my support. At first Blue sat at the top of the stairs and stared. Then, when it dawned on him that he wasn’t dreaming and that IT REALLY WAS RAINING FOOD, he couldn’t shovel it down fast enough.

Anyway, Blue had his meal, Catorze did a good turn for his needy neighbour and the rest of us had a good giggle, so all is well in the Cat Province of TW8. However, let’s hope that this (below) won’t be the scene at Maison Blue every time the postman comes:

Taken from telegraph.co.uk
Taken from express.co.uk

Here is the full story behind the photos, if you’re interested. Nothing to do with food but somehow the photos just work. https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/royal-mail-threaten-stop-house-7852721.amp

Le danger biologique

We have had another Code Orange emergency at Le Château, involving unidentified crud stuck on Louis Catorze’s fur.

As ever, we went first of all for the “He’ll groom it off when he’s ready” approach: nope.

We then decided to try to pluck it off as he pitter-pattered past but he kept doing that creepy Terminator thing, turning his body to liquid and sucking in his flesh just out of our reach so we ended up just grabbing at air (see below). So: nope.

Taken from Imgur.com

Following that, my sister and her husband tried to do their civic duty with one of them picking up Catorze and the other attempting to clean off the crud with a baby wipe. This was when they made the horrifying discovery that the crud was not cleanable. Whatever it was had somehow bypassed his black top layer fur, stuck fast to his grey under-fur and hardened to a crisp.

Anyway, it was still there the next day. However, terrifyingly, the day after it was gone. We are just getting on with life and trying not to think too hard about the fact that it’s most likely disintegrated in our bed.

Good grief.

Grâce à l’amour des chats

My sister and her family (husband, boys aged nine and seven, and a girl of ten months) came to visit at the weekend.

Louis Catorze enjoys having visitors but he especially likes children and is very patient with them, allowing them to pick him up and manhandle him. If children stay overnight, Catorze often sleeps at their feet like a little guardian daemon keeping watch, and we have complete confidence leaving him with them (older ones, rather than babies).

Although Sa Maj is the devil himself, his evil seems to be reserved for mind-bending psychological games with me rather than meanness towards children. He has an inner code of conduct decreeing that he shall be as sweet as candy towards guests, particularly kids, and I try to ignore the fact that the main aim of this is to make me look stupid when I complain about how horrid he is.

My baby niece loves cats. She has a special shriek of delight reserved for her own cat, King Ghidorah, and she looks for him around the room when she hears his name. I played her some of the 8,094 cat videos on my phone and, interestingly, whilst she watched and listened, transfixed, to Catorze’s ear-bleeding screaming, she showed a clear preference for the more melodic, dainty meowing of Cocoa the babysit cat.

My sister tactfully suggested that perhaps the painful, grating sound of Catorze’s voice “wasn’t quite as recognisable as that of a cat”. We know. Try living with it.

Sa Maj’s presence was a little more scarce during this most recent visit. He was happy with the boys (see below) and even spent some time hanging out in their room, giving them a real fright then they thought that black lump on the bed was one of their towels.

Reserved but comfortable.

He was a little less sure of the youngest, having not seen a baby in a while:

Sa Maj says, “Bof.”

However, Blue the Smoke Bengal was much more obliging, leaning right in and rubbing his face against her:

Smiles all round.

Here are the kids with their feline brother King Ghidorah:

Happy tail.
Reading time for the boys.
Happy tail once again.

Les premiers jours de Disco

Mesdames et Messieurs, this is Disco, the new addition to the Dog Family’s household:

Sweet boy.

He is every bit as cuddly as he looks. And, when we got home from meeting him, Louis Catorze sniffed me and gave the same look that he gives when things smell vetty: https://louiscatorze.com/2021/04/20/lalpha-et-lomega/

Naturellement the Dog Family are overjoyed to have Disco join them, especially Dog Sister who finally gets to be a BIG sister. We used to tease her about having to respect her elders and do what they say (because Oscar was older). However, she remains younger than Catorze so there is still some mileage in that.

Curiously, the day before Disco’s arrival, it was as if the feline contingent knew something was afoot. Donnie swung by after several days’ absence to make an urgent and loud announcement to Catorze, after which the chats noirs held an emergency COBRA* meeting in Le Jardin.

*Cats On Bumper Red Alert

“The age of a new foe is nigh, mon gars. We must assemble our armée.”

On Disco Day itself, Sa Maj popped next door to, erm, welcome his new neighbour. We didn’t witness the encounter for ourselves, but we had to stand there squirming with shame whilst the Dog Family – who DID witness it – told us all about it.

Not only were there raised hackles and glaring on Catorze’s part, but there was also a demonic Hallowe’en-cat yowl (not very gentlemanly given that he was the one who was trespassing). Then the Dog Family watched him snake along the fence into our garden and come in through the newly-secured and impinger-impenetrable Sureflap, so I couldn’t even pretend that it might have been Donnie.

Oh dear.

I hope that, once Disco has settled in, he and Catorze might eventually become friends. But I fear that Oscar may have left Roi-specific instructions on invisible Post-It notes for his little brother, saying, “Bark first, ask questions later.”

L’alpha et l’oméga (Partie 2)

Not long ago, I picked up Louis Catorze’s bowl to wash it and found two pills underneath it. The little bastard had eaten off the Pill Pocket casing, then somehow hidden the pill. Twice.

And remember when he liked his Omega 3 vol-au-vents? Yeah, well, now he doesn’t. And, as per his usual méthode de travail, he decided this right after I bought further supplies of Pill Pockets.

This meant that I had to find another way of getting the Omega 3 into him. It’s too big a capsule to Greco, and I didn’t dare squeeze it onto his food for fear of giving him another excuse to go on hunger strike.

I then had the idea of, erm, squeezing it onto his body and letting him groom it off. The only problem was that, should he fail to groom and just let it air-dry on himself, I would be left with a greasy, fishy, screaming furbag pitter-pattering around and rubbing disgusting oil everywhere. But it had to be worth a go since the Omega 3 made a huge difference to the little sod’s yucky fur after just a week of use.

Anyway, this was the sequence of events that followed:

1. Pierce hole in capsule and sit on sofa with holey capsule just within reach.

2. Target sits on my lap.

3. Squeeze contents of holey capsule onto my finger, ready to rub onto Target’s body.

4. Target scarpers, leaving me with gross, fishy gel on finger.

5. Wait for Target to return and, as I do so, fishy gel starts to melt on my finger. There are no non-porous items within reach onto which I can temporarily scrape fishy gel, other than my pot of lip balm (SORRY to Cocoa the babysit cat’s folks, who gave me said lip balm).

Nothing sweet about this.

6. Target appears to realise that something is up and doesn’t return to my lap.

7. I pick up lip balm, casually walk towards him then pounce, rubbing the pot against his arm and transferring the fishy gel onto him in one smooth movement. Am probably prouder of this than is normal/appropriate.

8. Target is perturbed by what’s just happened and doesn’t know what to do. He remains frozen for a few seconds.

9. Target scarpers.

10. Target returns and grooms off the fishy gel. I HAVE SUCCEEDED IN MY MISSION. (Well, it was about time. My missions can’t just go on failing forever, right?)

Anyway, since we now have 639 packets of Pill Pockets, the little sod has been able to send some to his buddy Dexter (below) in India, who is being a bit of a shite about taking his medication.

“Nah … not gonna eat that.”

And Cat Daddy was highly amused to discover where the most recent Pill Pocket shipment had passed through before coming here:

Never been but it sounds dodgy as hell.