Le Roi adore sa grand-mère

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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

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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 2am and 3am 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.

La Reine

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This little sweetheart, whom we’ve nicknamed La Reine, turned up at our local pub a week ago, and has been there ever since. We met her last night when Cat Daddy and our friend Alex went out for a meal, and she just walked up to me and let me pick her up. I held her for ages, to the point where other customers started staring, clearly thinking, “What kind of total lunatic would bring their cat to the pub?” (Mind you, I would if I could, and the only reason I haven’t so far is because I didn’t think of it.)

We don’t know whether La Reine is male or female, although we suspect the latter due to her small size and delicate pixie face. She let me cuddle her whilst Cat Daddy and Alex finished their meals, then she cheekily went to beg some fish from another customer. Cat Daddy has always said no to the suggestion of getting a brother or sister for Louis Catorze, but something about this sweet little thing melted his heart and – in front of witnesses (I’m writing that as a reminder to him) – he said, “If she’s not claimed after a month, we can keep her.” Fair play to the persuasive power of a few pints of London Pride; it’s so lethal that I’m surprised they don’t use it as an enhanced interrogation tool.

This is a neighbourhood where everyone knows each other, so anyone new coming to live close to the pub would have been common knowledge ages ago. Also, the pub staff know which locals are cat people and have already asked them whether they recognise her: no luck as yet. I asked the staff if they would mind me taking her to the vet to see if she was microchipped, still slightly haunted by the fact that my sister and I recently helped to reunite a lost cat in E3 with her family but only after I stupidly sat on her photo for 3 weeks and did nothing with it. Cat Daddy thought it too soon, but if it were my cat I wouldn’t want someone to hang around before checking, especially as Louis Catorze looks like a diseased stray who has led a torturously rough life and who is in grave need of veterinary attention.

I went back to the pub today a few minutes before the vet surgery opened … and La Reine wasn’t there. So I’ve lent them La Cage and asked them to give me a call if she reappears.

Please feel free to share her picture with anyone in or around the TW8 area.

Le Roi se sauve: vive Le Roi!

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This summer holiday hasn’t quite been as I’d expected. I was so looking forward to 6 glorious weeks at Le Château with Louis Catorze, drinking cocktails in the garden with him at my feet, listening to “Just The Two Of Us” by Bill Withers, that kind of thing. For a very short while, that’s how it was. But as soon as Louis Catorze’s allergy kicked in, I lost my sweet, affectionate little boy to the evil clutches of the Forbidden Greenhouse and Le Rouleau Suisse. (The picture is a month old, taken before his Mega-Sulk started, because his allergy is too unpleasant to photograph.)

I made the decision to close the door to the Forbidden Bedroom containing Le Rouleau, which was tricky as it’s impossible to check whether or not he’s actually in Le Rouleau first. I had many failed attempts whereby I would spy him in the corridor and race him to the Forbidden Bedroom to shut the door, but he would always sense when I was on my marks and beat me to it, bouncing deftly over the boxes and into Le Rouleau before I could even clutch the door handle. Luckily, I’m just as stubborn as he, so I just kept up my attempts until, eventually, I succeeded. And, fortunately, it hasn’t driven him into the Forbidden Greenhouse, as I had feared: his New Sulking Spot of Choice is now under our bed, but I’m happier about this as it’s cleaner and has had a dust mite controller fizzing away for well over a month.

What also hasn’t helped his sulkiness is the fact that I’ve had to increase the frequency of his meds; not only does he déteste being medicated (and what cat doesn’t, apart from that white YouTube cat who happily laps up medicine from the end of the syringe as if it were liquid Dreamies?) but he knows when I’m even THINKING about it and makes himself scarce. He’s also learned to grit his teeth when I administer it, so that it looks set to be a successful session but in fact the liquid rebounds off his teeth and goes all over the floor. If you imagine that prank we all pretend we played as children (but in fact we weren’t clever enough to think of it) – the one where you cover the toilet bowl with taut cling film and wait for some unsuspecting person to pee – that’s EXACTLY what it’s like.

Repeat after me: “This cannot go on indefinitely … This cannot go on indefinitely …”

Le rouleau suisse

Yet another good-news-bad-news dichotomy, as has become typical of Louis Catorze. The good news is that I’ve found his Secret Sulking Spot. The bad news is that it’s in the grubbiest and most inaccessible corner of the one room we haven’t yet unpacked, amidst the dust sheets that protected our pictures when Tom the decorator was working. The worst bit is that the silly cat hasn’t simply been sleeping ON the dust sheets: he appears to have fashioned himself a sort of Sulking Swiss Roll, with himself as the jam/cream filling and the dust sheets as the sponge. I’m surprised he hasn’t suffocated.

For the love of God, WHY? Why does everything that’s bad for him seem to hold such magnetism, especially as the house is full to the roof with far more comfortable, non-allergic (and bloody expensive) options? The obvious solution is to shut the door to that room until it’s cleared, but I’m concerned that that will only drive him to the forever-accessible Forbidden Greenhouse which is worse. I really do despair of this cat.

His scabby chin is, unsurprisingly, still scabby, and his balding eyes are getting worse. He continues to scratch ferociously and emit his horrible itch-yelp, and I can’t rub his chin to relieve the itching as the silly sod has broken the skin and it’s all weeping and sore. All our efforts seem futile at the moment, yet I know that keeping up with the dust mite mass genocide strategies really cannot do any harm, so keep up I must.

We’ve been here before, and it has passed. That’s what I must keep telling myself, however bleak things may look.

L’obscurité

Alas, no, I’m not talking about the moon anymore, but about Louis Catorze’s general temperament: his demeanour is blackening rapidly and, as ever, it appears to be proportional to the deterioration of his allergy (which I’ve not pictured as it’s pretty awful). The fur around his eyes is thinning, and the underside of his chin feels terrible: not just rough, but weepy and positively cavernous with scabs. (Sorry if you’re reading this over dinner.) When he scratches – which is pretty much all the time – he lets out his awful frustrated itch-yelp which is painful to hear. Happily it’s not QUITE as severe a flare-up as the one he had last winter, but it’s still enough to make him a miserable sod.

Although he’s very affectionate when we’re in bed (presumably because he knows we can’t medicate him whilst lying down), we barely see him these days, which is a pity as I’m on my summer holidays so I’m home all day. And, when we do see him, he eyes us with the suspicion reserved for someone who were about to assault him, and he skittishly edges past us and hides. His routine is to get up with us at around 8:30, eat, go out, then come back in and spend the rest of the day in his Secret Sulking Spot that we haven’t yet managed to locate. (I’ve looked in all the usual places – La Cage, the Forbidden Greenhouse, the suitcase, under beds – but to no avail.) Then we don’t see him again until bedtime, when he will reappear and snuggle up with us. That last point reassures me somewhat that he doesn’t totally hate us, but for most of the day it’s as if we don’t have a cat.

The only possible explanation for this recent allergic breakout is Louis Catorze’s illicit forays into the Forbidden Greenhouse; in fact, I am still mystified by the fact that dust didn’t register in either of his allergy tests despite the fact that he relapses EVERY TIME he comes into contact with it. The dust mite controllers are whirring away, the beeswax candles are burning, he’s being Atopicaed and Piritonned regularly (I need to up his Piriton, in fact, from a couple of times a week to twice a DAY, which is going to make me even less popular), yet it’s all a wasted effort if he sneaks past me and into the dustiest places I know.

So we’re powerless to do anything at the moment but take comfort in the fact that it will pass, and that he will snap out of it. I just hope that this will happen soon.