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.