J’adore la pluie

Anyone looking out of the window today would know immediately from the weather that it’s a bank holiday Monday: grey skies, torrential rain and general misery. Most people with any sense will have stayed at home and kept dry. Louis Catorze, on the other hand, is outdoors.

No, we haven’t shut him out, nor is he lost or disorientated and unable to find his way back. The cat flap is accessible, the back door is ajar and there’s nothing in the house which is scaring him away except, perhaps, for me. He has chosen, of his own free will, to sit in the flower bed, blink at the raindrops like a lunatic and get soaked. (No photo available because that would, of course, involve going out there myself, and I’m not going to do that.)

Although I’ve very much accepted that my cat isn’t normal, this behaviour really takes the gâteau. I can see the appeal of freshly-washed laundry, perhaps even cardboard boxes, but getting cold and wet when you don’t have to? WHY? Someone suggested that perhaps the rain was soothing on his sore skin, which is fair enough, but then why not stay out for just long enough to be sufficiently soothed and then come in? Why wait until you’re utterly drenched, come in shouting indignantly about it (even though it was your choice) and then rub your disgusting, wet body and muddy paws all over our bed?

News just in: he’s now run indoors, looked back outside through the glass doors and done the bird-chatter noise at the rain. There isn’t a single bird in sight (probably because even they have the sense to stay out of the rain). This is BEYOND weird.

I guess a normal cat wouldn’t give me nearly as many blogworthy moments. But then, are any of them normal?

J’adore mon pendentif


It’s all been happening here at Le Château. On Thursday night we were due to go to my sister’s place in East London for a weekend of flat-sitting and sightseeing (she’s away on holiday at the moment), so we made provisions for the little girl next door to feed Le Roi. However, for some reason we were unable to get into my sister’s flat, so we had to come home again … and it was just as well, because our cleaner had shut Le Roi in the Forbidden Bedroom, where he would have remained until Saturday afternoon had we stayed away.

Fortunately his pathetic meowing alerted us to his predicament, so we were able to release him immediately. And, even more fortunately, he hadn’t been imprisoned for long enough to need les toilettes; our brand new rococo mirror is lying on the Forbidden Bedroom floor until we can find the wherewithal to hang it up, and I’m certain that it would have been in the firing line.

After spending Thursday night glued to my chest and whining like a lost dog, Louis Catorze either recovered from his trauma or forgot that it ever took place (I’m guessing the latter). He spent most of Friday morning sunning himself on our bed, then went outside to sniff bugs for several hours.

Health-wise he is continuing to do well, with an almost scab-free under-chin area, increased energy and a voracious appetite that seems to have come from nowhere; he’s not eating a lot compared to most cats, yet this is the most I’ve ever seen him eat. He also seems to have forgotten about the very existence of the Forbidden Greenhouse, and not only is he continuing to sleep on our nice clean bed instead, but he seems to actually seek out the bioenergetics pendant (just visible in the photo); I often wonder whether he’s knocked it onto the floor, and then I discover that it’s underneath him.

I know that, at some stage, our bubble will burst and his allergy will return, because that’s the way it is with him. But, for now, I’m enjoying this little period of positivity.

Le Roi va bien: vive Le Roi!


C’est un miracle! Imagine our shock when we returned home from an overnight stay at Cat Daddy’s parents’ place and were greeted by a sweet, chirpy, sociable little cat with healing wounds and growing-back fur! (And yes, it was Louis Catorze, although I did have to check and make sure. Pictured are one of his distinguishing features: his chocolate paws with strawberry swirl.)

Whilst I can’t blame Cat Daddy for concluding that maybe our boy is allergic to us and that being away from us has brought about his transformation, I’m a bit less convinced. However, I’m sure it helps that we’ve had a few days of solid torrential rain, which makes the trip to the slightly-cleaner-but-still-Forbidden Greenhouse less appealing, and which also means less dust and pollen in the air. It probably also helps that I’ve been applying Louis Catorze’s bioenergetics tincture regularly, and that his new favourite place to sleep (including when we were away, according to the slightly hairy, cat-shaped indent in the duvet) is on our anti-allergy bed next to his bioenergetics pendant. This is where we’ve been wanting him to sleep for WEEKS.

So it seems that, in the space of 24 hours, our cat has become healthy, vocal and loving, AND he does as he’s told.

I’d better check again and make absolutely sure that it’s him …

Le Roi est sorti: vive Le Roi!


I’m thrilled to report that, after a few days of entrapment, Le Roi’s face is looking much better. He still looks very scabby around the edges and, if you saw him in the street, you’d be forgiven for mistaking him for one of those feral cats who live on landfill sites and are riddled with fleas and mange. But his open wounds are healing nicely so, on Saturday, we let him outside for the first time in a few days.

Poor sausage was so delighted that he galloped out at top speed and has pretty much been outside ever since, rolling, chirping, chasing bugs and, very occasionally, having a cheeky wander into Oscar’s territory. In fact, even though it’s raining right now, he’s still out there, happily allowing himself to be rained on and absorbing all that lovely rain water to rub all over our sheets later.

Saturday was one of the hottest days of the month so far, but nevertheless Cat Daddy cleared out the greenhouse to make it more pleasant for his boy. Until we bought Le Château it had been in the same family since it was built in 1884, and there were things unearthed in the clear-out that I swear had been lying there decaying in the greenhouse since that very date: fish bonemeal garden fertiliser (no idea what this is, but it sounds bad), various museum-piece garden tools which could probably double as torture instruments in horror movies, and about a zillion terracotta pots of varying sizes, all of which were sticky with cobwebs and dust. So everything that had the potential to be Roi-unfriendly was cleaned, put away or dumped. The greenhouse will never be the ideal place for him to go rolling about in, but it’s now considerably improved.

The next steps will be the food overhaul and the rather more daunting garden makeover, which will be especially tricky as we have no clues whatsoever to guide us. But I feel we still ought to do SOMETHING. I will never, ever stop looking for things that could make my boy’s life more comfortable.

Huis clos


Louis Catorze and his big brother Luther come from very different schools of thought as regards being imprisoned against their will. Luther tended to think like Jack Bauer from 24: “If you won’t let me out, I’ll find my own way out somehow. Chloe, I need co-ordinates and a detailed architectural plan of Le Château and all its exit routes NOW.” Louis Catorze, on the other hand, is more like Hannibal Lecter, politely requesting to be released and, if you don’t comply, he will say stuff to mess with your head. And then he will say it again. And again. AND AGAIN. His way is like slow, insidious torture.

I decided to physically block off the cat flap by leaning a marble cheese board against it, to prevent him from constantly walloping his sore face against it to try and open it, but his response to this was to headbutt the blockade instead. So, because I was scared of the heavy cheese board toppling and crushing him, I’ve had to add a cushioned tray and a step ladder into the mix. I’m fully aware of how ridiculous it looks, but the alternative is him snorting outdoor dust and cobwebs, ending up with infected wounds on his face and having to play the Game of Cônes again.

Whereas Luther would have demolished woodwork, brickwork and metalwork by chewing a way out if he’d had to, luckily Louis Catorze has largely accepted his fate with good grace. And I must admit I really enjoy seeing more of him, even though it’s enforced togetherness. His litter tray has seen a ridiculous amount of action since his incarceration – I don’t recall his toilette habits being so prolific when he had his open air latrine – but, given that it’s in the attic en suite and therefore as far away from the garden as can possibly be, I suppose I should just be grateful that he’s going there and not on the sofa. Or on the kitchen worktop. Or on my face as I sleep.

I’m happy to say that 3 days under house arrest, whether he likes it or not, seems to be helping his wounds to heal. Please keep sending him your good wishes, so that his healing may continue.

Ça ne va pas

We’re back from the vet surgery. Louis Catorze has chubbed up to a mighty 3.45kg, he doesn’t have ear mites, and I only parted with £9 in total, but unfortunately this was it as far as good news was concerned.

Firstly, the skin scraping test couldn’t go ahead. As the name would suggest, the test involves scraping deeply, and presumably painfully, into the problem area to get a thorough cross-section of cells to analyse (not just the top layer) and, because poor Louis Catorze’s face is in such a dreadful state, the vet felt that the risk of infection was too great. His booster vaccinations couldn’t go ahead, either, as he needed an antibiotic jab for his messed-up face and the two injections aren’t compatible. So, after all my efforts to try and synchronise treatments to minimise vet visits, I need to take him back in 2 weeks for his boosters, when they will also review his face and whether it’s fit to be scraped. Although, to be honest, if it’s true that I should “trust my own observations more than test results” (the vet’s words, not mine), I’m even wondering whether to bother at all.

Louis Catorze also had his ears cleaned whilst at the vet surgery and, whilst I wasn’t present for this, I could tell how it had gone because the nurse who handed him back to me afterwards had the look of a pained woman. I asked her if he’d behaved himself. “Erm … well … he didn’t like it very much,” she replied hesitantly. “But we were able to do most of it.”


The worst part of today is possibly the fact that, far from being able to reduce the Atopica, we’ve been told to increase it. In fact, Atopica seems to be regarded as the last-resort medicine to try when nothing else has worked so, if we can’t find a way of making it work, we have nowhere else to go. I really didn’t want to increase it but it seems that Louis Catorze’s immune system isn’t equipped to fight off possible infections from his broken skin, so we have no choice. And gross, dusty greenhouses and sheds are the worst possible places for him to be in whilst he has open cuts on his face, so we need to keep him indoors until they heal.

So the outlook isn’t especially positive for my poor boy right now. I’ve shut him in the attic for the moment, which must seem very cruel but it’s the cleanest room with the least stuff in it, and there’s a nice big bed with freshly-laundered anti-allergy bedding. I shall keep going up for regular cuddles with him, then, when Cat Daddy gets home, I’ll let him have a wander through the rest of the house and hopefully he’ll want some time on the sofa with us.

He could really use some good wishes right now, so please send him healing, itch-free thoughts.

Aucune photo cette fois-ci

Louis Catorze looks terrible at the moment, so much so that I’m having to resort either to using oldish photos on this blog, or ensuring that the angle/focus/distance are such that the worst bits of his face aren’t visible. (Obviously if you are reading this then you’re an animal lover so you will sympathise, but I understand that not everyone wants to see something that looks, to the untrained eye, very like a severe case of animal neglect.)

It’s been hard to monitor his condition given that I barely see him in daylight hours, but I’ve just had a look at his face during some very rare garden rolling-around time and he looks horrendous. He’s lost pretty much all the fur on one side of his jawline, and a lot of the fur on the other side of his jaw and under his chin (only visible from the side and underneath – from the front he still looks normal-ish). He also has bloodied cuts on his face, presumably from over-vigorous scratching, and just now, when I witnessed one of his scratching sessions, he put his paw so far into his ear that I thought it would never come out. So could it be that something in his ears is causing this bother? Yet another question for the vet tomorrow, along with the zillions that I already have.

My debit card is donning its battle gear in preparation for the battering it’s going to get tomorrow. I haven’t dared even ask what the cost is going to be for vaccinations plus the skin scraping test plus possibly an antibiotic injection (I’m sure he has an eye infection) plus possibly an ear mite treatment (not confirmed but wouldn’t surprise me). I’m fully expecting tomorrow to empty out what’s left of Louis Catorze’s sick fund, although I’d spend a million pounds to get results for him. What pains me at the moment is that I’m spending money, but he’s not getting better. In fact, he’s getting worse.

It’s now more apparent than ever that his grumpy moods are directly proportional to his flare-ups: when he’s well, he’s alert, energetic, playful and sociable. Now he hides all day, runs when he sees me and only feels safe to come near me when I’m asleep. I’m desperate beyond belief for this skin scraping test to tell us something. Please send the little sod all the good wishes you can for his vet visit tomorrow, and please pray for the poor staff who are going to have to deal with him.

Je ne comprends pas les chiens


Le Roi may look pretty grim, but this is the most sociable he has been in a long time. This photo is miraculous in itself as he rarely makes an appearance before dark these days, but what makes it more remarkable is that he’d just had his first proper, visual-as-well-as-audio encounter with Oscar the dog from next door. Look at his face: he doesn’t give a shit.

I was chatting over the garden fence with Oscar’s mamma, and Cat Daddy later told me that we looked like 2 parents talking at the school gate, with my boy patiently waiting at my feet until our conversation finished but her boy being a bit less accommodating. The two of them were face to face and inches apart, with Oscar growling away like a saltwater crocodile, yet Louis Catorze showed no fear whatsoever and instead appeared to be trying to communicate by meowing at him. After a few minutes he seemed to tire of Oscar’s growling and say, “We clearly speak différentes languages, mon ami, so I am now going to take my leave and sit in la fleur bed.” And that’s where I photographed him, sporting his “Je m’en fiche” face.

Whilst I didn’t expect Louis Catorze and Oscar to be best buddies immediately (although I still secretly hope this might happen eventually), the fact that they were able to be in each other’s company without needing us to physically restrain one or the other, is promising. Also promising is the fact that Louis Catorze is confident crossing enemy lines: as well as going into Oscar’s garden on our left, he has also ventured into the garden on the right, where Bert the dog lives.

So it seems he is more than comfortable getting to know his petit quartier, although I’m quite surprised that he’s not yet encountered any other cats. Le Roi likes other cats. Where are they all? Why aren’t they stopping by to bid him a friendly BONJOUR?

La Reine est chez elle: vive La Reine!


A brief update on La Reine: it turns out that the cheeky madam was neither lost nor stray, but simply bored because her folks were on holiday.

I just went to the pub to retrieve La Cage and to drop off a paper collar for her, and the staff told me the happy news. It seems that a neighbour was feeding her in her family’s absence, but clearly their services and sustenance were inadequate so she felt the need to go to the pub for food and love, too. And, since the return of her people, she hasn’t been seen at the pub.

“Cat behaves like a selfish user.” I KNOW. What a shocker of a story.

Le Roi adore sa grand-mère


My mum is staying for a few days and, because she’s broken her ankle, she is in our bedroom and we’re in the attic. (Mind you, being a typical mum and “not wanting to inconvenience us”, she offered to have the attic. Up an extra flight of stairs and on a mattress on the floor? With a bad ankle and crutches? Really, Maman?) Louis Catorze let out a sad yowl of confusion when he couldn’t find us last night but, once we’d called out to him and he understood who was where, all was well in his world once again.

Louis Catorze shared his love last night: I told my mum to keep her door shut in case he sat on her bad ankle, but, being the original Crazy Cat Lady whose genes have passed to the rest of us, she ignored me, left the door wide open and welcomed him in for cuddles instead. He sat on her stomach last night as she lay in bed, itched a bit, she nudged him to stop him itching, he itched a bit more, she nudged him again, and this went on until one or other of them fell asleep. Then he came up to join us.

I’m continuing with his morning play (despite the weirdness of sleeping with a toy fish on a string by the bed), although I think it’s going to be a while until I’m able to say that Louis Catorze is truly exercising. Cat Daddy came back from the bathroom mid-session and said, “There must be something wrong with his eyesight. No cat is THAT slow.” Sorry, but ours is. The vet pretty much said said so. I had his eyesight checked the last time we went, because I had exactly the same concerns, and it was fine.

I’ve booked his vaccinations for the 18th, and he will be having his skin scraping allergy test at the same time, to get the full horror over and done with in one go. I’m giving some thought to asking the vet about reconsidering his use of Atopica because, as well as making him grumpy, it’s clearly not serving its main purpose of keeping the allergy away. Also, despite it not being a steroid, nobody is quite sure about its prolonged use and subsequent side effects and, whilst I might take the chance for something that was working well, it seems senseless to risk his long-term health for such inconsistent results. He seems to fare better on plain old Piriton, especially in terms of his mood.

After all this time and money spent on tests and treatment, it would be somewhat ironic if his condition were kept in check with a £5 bottle from the pharmacy, wouldn’t it?

Le Roi est gros: vive Le Roi!

Louis Catorze is chubbing up a bit (although the picture is a week or two old, as his more recent ones look awful). He’s definitely not a fat cat – in fact, he is some way off being even average-sized – but there is clear evidence of chubbing having taken place: his neck is thicker, and his belly is rounder than it was before (so says Cat Daddy, who can’t seem to stop calling him “meaty” these days). Now, I wonder what could possibly be the cause?

  • Too many treats / too-big meals from us: no, because he doesn’t like food
  • Stealing food from other cats: no (see above, plus he hasn’t yet made any friends from whom he can steal)
  • Lack of activity, due to spending all day under the bed and no longer having 2-metre fences to climb as he did at Le Palais: VOILA

So, what to do about it? Well, given that he’s not overweight – in fact, if anything, this extra poundage probably brings him up to a healthy weight – I’m leaning towards doing nothing. But, with Oscar the dog living to our left, and Bert the dog on our right, I suspect Louis Catorze isn’t going to be doing the level of exploring that he did in the dogless realm that was Le Palais, so we’re going to have to ensure that he gets off his lazy arse and does some exercise. This will be tricky as he’s very all-or-nothing when it comes to play, either really annoying me with his relentless demands or just not bothered. (Mainly not bothered, though.)

Medicating him is the perfect activity for making him run, especially as I only have to think about it for him to take off and therefore it requires zero investment from me. But, as others have pointed out in light of his midnight bubble wrap habit, he could be in need of more play to tire him out. So, when he made his evening appearance yesterday I tried my luck with his fish on a stick.

After 15 minutes of trying, I eventually registered 2 minutes of very mild interest before he got fed up and left the room. It certainly wasn’t enough to get him moving. However, I took the fish to bed with me so that it would be on hand quickly after morning cuddles, and that was rather more successful, with Louis Catorze even managing a few leaps. And is it too soon for it to be having an effect? He spent the morning sitting on the flower bed watching the world go by, & he’s just greeted my mum, who’s come to stay for a few days, with a meow and a roll in the dirt. This is progress!

I am determined to do this again and somehow enforce some compulsory fun, just like they do at those team-building days out at work. He WILL join in and he WILL enjoy himself, or else.

Le papier bulles


Dear God. Yet another night of disturbed sleep, because a certain someone decided to break into the cupboard under the stairs and pop bubble wrap (again) at some hellish early hour. Now, I don’t know if you have ever been woken from a deep sleep by the sound of bubble wrap – probably not, as I don’t imagine you share a house with the sort of inconsiderate shite who would do such a thing – but, believe me, it doesn’t sound like bubble wrap. It sounds like gunshots. So, rather than waking up cursing that inconsiderate shite, you wake up terrified for your life and reaching for the nearest weapon with which to defend yourself (in my case, a tube of Dermalogica moisturiser).

Cat Daddy got up between around 3am and 4am to go downstairs and haul Louis Catorze’s arse out of the cupboard. I was mildly perplexed that he chose to say, “Louis! What are you doing?” rather than just getting on with the hauling out – after all, Louis Catorze wasn’t about to reply – but I guess it was still better than having to go down and sort it out myself. After much scrabbling around I eventually heard the cupboard door close, followed by, “You’re putting on weight. You’re so MEATY!” Then there was Cat Daddy’s stomp-stomp back upstairs followed by a gentle pitter-patter of stupid little paws after him. Finally Louis Catorze jumped onto our bed, stretched out across both our stomachs and went to sleep on top of us.

WHY IS HE BEING SO ANNOYING? I suspect that, if we were dealing with a child, Mumsnet and their sort would be instructing me to wear the little sod out with relentless activity during the day in order to make him sleep at night. Louis Catorze sleeps under a bed from about 9am till after dark and barely moves a whisker during daylight hours; could it be that I need to kick his lazy behind into some sort of action? It seems rather mean to wake a cat from his sleep, but surely it can’t be good to go through a whole day without a spot of sunlight touching his body; maybe a bit of vitamin D could be good for his immune system?

I guess these are questions I could ask the vet when I book the appointment, although if any of Le Roi’s loyal subjects have any suggestions, I would love to hear them.

Le sanctuaire de câlin

I’ve really been missing my boy due to his under-bed Mega Sulks and, to add insulte to injury, the moments when we do see each other are far from being quality time; he gives me the suspicious sideways glare, I rack my brains to remember where I’ve concealed the loaded syringe, and THAT ALONE is enough to send him scooting back under the bed. The one place where he feels safe is on our bed, preferably lying like a furry, 2-man belt across both our waists (probably in an effort to pin us down and prevent us from going for the syringe), so today I wondered whether it could be worth trying to turn the bed into our special Sanctuaire de Cuddles throughout the day. Since he won’t come downstairs and do the Bill Withers and cocktails thing in the garden with me, why not take the initiative and invite him to join us in the place where he feels secure?

So Cat Daddy and I made an agreement that, in order to preserve the sanctity of the bedroom, we would never medicate Louis Catorze there; if we were truly desperate and felt it might be our only opportunity to get him, we would remove him from the bedroom first. Despite being pretty thick (Louis Catorze, I mean, not Cat Daddy), he knows his name and responds to it so, during my mid-morning lie-down (sounds rude but I do mean just lying down) I called him, not really expecting anything extraordinaire. However, he came shuffling out from under the bed, then THIS happened (please excuse the towels and crap on the bed):  I know! A rare treat, indeed! So, whilst my dear boy isn’t quite himself, at least I know where I can go if I want cuddles with him, and I’m delighted that he has even the slightest inclination to give them to me.