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

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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!

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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

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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.