Flotte comme un papillon, pique comme une abeille


Louis Catorze is strutting around Le Château as if he were the heavyweight champion of the world.

Mind you, by “world”, we really mean a small patch of land in TW8 measuring about 10 metres by 6 metres. And weighing in at 3.48kg (as he did at his Christmas Eve vet visit) is hardly, by any reasonable interpretation of the word, “heavyweight”. Come to think of it, given that we haven’t seen the condition of his opponent and can’t conclusively state that Catorze delivered the knockout punch, even “champion” is a bit of a stretch.

Apart from all that, though, he’s the feline incarnation of Muhammad Ali, sans doute.

He is utterly unconcerned about the fight and is full of feisty confidence. (I like to think this is because he’s such a fearless warrior, but in reality he’s probably just forgotten about it.) People who haven’t seen him for a while – even Cat Daddy, who was away for a day or two – remark upon how thick and soft his fur is, and how meaty and well he looks. His ear, on the other hand, looks rather like a gnarled, 900-year-old tree root, and I expect it will continue to look this way as it heals, but it’s much less red and sore than it was. Plus it adds a little grit and character to his neatness, rather like a tattoo, a piercing or an extreme sports injury (not that Louis Catorze has any friends to impress).

As this year comes to a close and we prepare to welcome in the new one, this is a great place to be. All of us at Le Château wish you a very Happy New Year, and we hope that 2016 brings joy to you and your furry overlords. Xxx

Le club de bagarres


The first rule of Fight Club, apparently, is not to talk about Fight Club. And, for once, Louis Catorze has been sticking rigidly to the rules.

Because I know his face better than I know my own, I was able to tell immediately that all was not well this morning. He has cut his ear, and I know full well that he didn’t simply catch it on a trailing bramble or any such nonsense: the little sod has been fighting again. Cat Daddy, who is still away, agreed: as soon as he saw the photo he texted back, saying, “Fighting wound. Little bastard.”

I posted this photo on a cat forum and others confirmed my belief that it wasn’t an urgent vet situation. Apart from the odd shaking of his head, Catorze is absolutely fine; in fact, if anything he is MORE zany than ever, and I was lucky to get him still enough to take such a clear photo. But my bigger problem is the identity of this invisible assailant, and when and where this underground Fight Club takes place.

We haven’t seen a single cat in our garden since the week we moved in. Nor have we heard any fighting, as we used to all the time during the Luther administration – and, on the rare occasion that Luther wasn’t responsible, upon hearing the howls he would go outside immediately to get involved. So how on earth is this happening, unseen and unheard, to Louis Catorze?

The good thing is that Le Roi is either exceptionally brave or too stupid to remember the fights, because he continues to come and go happily; obviously this is far better than being terrified to set paw outdoors. But I’m not loving the thought of him having this double life and fighting like a silent, invisible ninja behind our backs.

Cat Daddy, on the other hand, now sees him as some sort of Bruce Wayne / Batman superhero and is secretly quite impressed.

Le repas de Noël


One of the best parts of the Yuletide season has been reading online about other pets’ attempts to steal their humans’ festive fare, smug in the knowledge that I never have to worry about this. Firstly, as you know, Louis Catorze doesn’t like food (pictured above, showing conspicuous indifference to the Christmas Day cheese board). And, secondly, he wore himself out so much with his Christmas morning madness that he spent the whole of the afternoon and evening sleeping it off. So Cat Daddy was left to prepare our dinner utterly unbothered and in peace, and, whilst we didn’t leave the turkey to defrost on the floor, we could have done so had we wanted to. JUST BECAUSE WE COULD.

My first childhood cat, Misha, a gigantic pinstripe tuxedo cat the size of a tank, was one of my favourite and most memorable cats. No food was safe from him; everything had to be locked away because he just couldn’t be trusted. One Christmas we let our guard down, and my aunt caught him on the kitchen counter with his face in a huge bowl of her home-made brandy butter. Had this happened recently it would have been an emergency vet situation, but, back then, things were different and I’m not sure whether the out-of-hours vet even existed. My mum carried Misha back to his cat bed, with his limbs flopping drunkenly in all directions, and, after a short nap, he was fine.

My brother-in-law’s family dog, Rufus, once managed to swallow a duck whole, in the time it took for his dad to leave the kitchen and sign for a parcel at the door. When he returned there were no bones, no mess, no sign of Rufus having struggled with the fresh-from-the-oven heat. In fact, there was nothing to say that the duck had even existed, and, had the dog’s face not been covered in sauce, he may well have concluded that he’d dreamed the whole cooking process.

Louis Catorze’s sparring partner, Oscar the dog from next door, is the supplier of yet another incident of food thievery, and made me the funniest person of all my friends when I repeated it. His folks once saw him flash past them with what appeared to be a white frisbee in his mouth, and it turned out that Oscar had stolen the Camembert that they’d taken out of the fridge 2 hours beforehand to bring it to room temperature. One can, of course, always pop to the shops and buy another Camembert, but nothing can erase that fruitless – or rather, cheeseless – 2-hour wait.

The one problem with a pet who doesn’t like food is, of course, what to do with Yuletide leftovers when they’re past their best but too good to throw away; Luther was the perfect food dustbin, but his little brother is useless. Cat Daddy is away at his parents’ place until tomorrow and he’s convinced that the turkey will still be fine upon his return. If in doubt, however, I might just deliver it to Oscar the dog as a peace offering from his cher ami.


Joyeux Noël


I’m delighted to welcome a new influx of followers to Le Blog since the winter solstice post, and I feel I owe you lovely people some sort of glorious introductory fanfare as you embark upon your Catorze odyssey. But, unfortunately, it’s been a bit of a sac mélangé here at Le Château, and things, whilst not utterly horrendous, could be better.

Le Roi’s condition is on the turn again: when Cat Daddy medicated him yesterday night – his least successful session ever, with the Atopica squirting all over Louis Catorze’s face and into his eye – he discovered that he’s been scratching up his under-chin area again.

Usually, with a failed meds session, our strategy is to abort until the next time rather than upsetting the little sod twice. But Louis Catorze’s skin was so bad that Cat Daddy insisted on a retry straight away; this involved him somehow maintaining a vice-like grip on a pissed-off, struggling cat – who, by this time, had figured out what was going on and wasn’t overjoyed – whilst I raced downstairs to reload the syringe. The next attempt was successful – if you can call traumatising a distressed animal “success” – and Louis Catorze bolted straight out of the cat flap afterwards.

That night we went out for our annual festive dinner at the local pub. But, instead of being full of starry-eyed optimism for the coming year, we just talked about our heartbreak over poor Louis Catorze and what our options were: braving the carnage of a Christmas Eve vet appointment for another steroid shot, or leaving it and risking things turning to merde when the wound deteriorated and every vet was closed for the holidays. In the end we chose the Christmas Eve carnage over the potentielle merde, despite the fact that a steroid injection right before the full moon is probably the feline equivalent of mixing wine and beer on an empty stomach.

The appointment was 6 hours ago, and I’m happy to report good news. Firstly, Catorze behaved. (I KNOW!) Secondly, because we’d caught things early, he didn’t need an antibiotic shot. And, lastly, the steroid shot that he’d had last month was only supposed to last a week, so he’s done well to get this far before relapsing. We’ve also been told that we can start to wean him off the Atopica with a view to replacing it with steroid shots, which, whilst not ideal, would only involve monthly rather than thrice-weekly entrapment.

So Papa Noël’s gift to Louis Catorze was a shot in the back of the neck, and we’re due to return to the vet in a few weeks’ time, as soon as the effects start to diminish. But, if it guarantees our boy comfort, however short-term, ainsi soit-il.

Le solstice d’hiver


The winter solstice is almost here! Soon the days will gradually start to get brighter and will bring, along with the new light, the promise of spring and happy times.

This time of year is said to be most auspicious for making wishes for the future but, to be honest, we have everything we want: a home, food in the fridge & a happy, healthy Roi. So, to thank you all for your support, we have decided to donate £1 per person following Le Blog to an animal charity*, and to wish for a more positive future for the less fortunate kitties out there.

We are sure Catorze will have no objection to sacrificing a few festive treats to help his comrades. Plus he’s thick, so he won’t know.

May you all feel the magic of this beautiful season, and may your cats forever feel lucky and loved.

*Louis Catorze donated to Lilly’s Legacy, a rescue group which can be found on Facebook and which helps stray and missing cats. If you’d like to donate to them, too, their PayPal account name is lillyslegacy@hotmail.com.


Le sapin de Noël

Our Yule tree is up! Hurrah!

Cat Daddy insisted on choosing the biggest and puffiest tree of the lot, then, when it wouldn’t fit in the house, complained that “we” had made an error of judgement, but it was definitely worth all the pain and heartache. Something about decorating a festive tree caresses the soul in a way that you wouldn’t understand unless you actually do it, although Louis Catorze didn’t appear to agree; he showed mild curiosity and interest, but this lasted all of ten seconds before he clambered onto his daddy’s lap and fell asleep. And long may his indifference continue: I would be very cross indeed to come home one day and find our beautiful tree toppled, chewed, urinated upon or worse. (Actually, there isn’t really anything worse than “urinated upon”, is there? That’s about as bad as it gets.)

I couldn’t resist a photo of our tree topper, which Cat Granny gave me a few years ago (although not for this purpose, I suspect). I think this pretty much sums up the hierarchy in this household, with Le Roi at the uppermost point and the rest of us … well … wherever.


Ma peau est parfaite!

Someone is highly pleased with themselves because they’re 100% scab-free!


I’m quite staggered by the speed at which the steroids have worked. When I look at pictures of the little sod taken just 3 weeks ago, he looked so different. And the change in his personality is astounding; whereas previously we would have to drag his arse out of the Forbidden Greenhouse and force him to interact with us, now he won’t shut up or leave us alone.

My one and only wish this festive season was for Louis Catorze to be well, and it’s incredible to think that it’s steadily becoming more of a reality than a mere prospect.

Papa s’énerve


I came downstairs this morning to find the living room looking like this, and my initial thought was, “How cute: Cat Daddy has set up a viewing platform for his boy to watch the world go by.”

However, the truth was somewhat different; it turned out that, late last night, after I had gone to bed, Cat Daddy had heard a commotion outside and gone to investigate. And, as soon as the front door was open, Louis Catorze had bolted off into The Forbidden Front and refused to come back.

The shutters were open so that Cat Daddy could keep a lookout for Catorze’s pathetic face meowing to be let in again. The Fortnum and Mason box thing was where Cat Daddy spent ages sitting, because he couldn’t see out properly from the sofa, and the stool was in place not as a viewing platform but as a resting place for the bottle of wine he needed to fuel his vigil.

“Can you believe it?” Cat Daddy sighed. “I didn’t dare go to bed leaving him outside at The Front. Yet, every time I tried to catch him, he’d run away, then stop and scream for a bit, then run further away. So I had to sit there until really late and wait for him to decide to come back.”

“At least we’ve learned that he comes back,” I said.

“Yeah,” Cat Daddy countered, “but we’ve also learned that he’s a little shit.”

Oh dear. Maybe Louis Catorze needs to be told that, if he keeps up this kind of behaviour, Papa Noël won’t be stopping by …


Do cats have an OFF button? Or, at the very least, a LOW POWER button? Louis Catorze is driving us crazy with his naughtiness at the moment.

His lust for play has reignited, and he’s started to let out little “Waaah!” sounds as he chases his toy. If he sees us in the kitchen through the patio doors, he refuses to use the cat flap and screams to be let in. He can be frighteningly convincing, pawing at the glass and looking utterly fearful for his life yet, if we ignore the little weasel for long enough – usually a minute or two – he will come in of his own accord, up-tailed, chirpy and smug, as if saying, “Et voilà! I didn’t need you after all.” He’s also starting to go out for longer at night, as his big brother Luther used to do, and rolls in just before my alarm goes off, soaking wet, shrieking in my ear and with that vile, stomach-churning wet dog smell. Yuck.

His eyes now look exactly like the eyes of a normal cat, with no leathery, bald bits. The horrible under-chin scabs are disappearing, with fur growing back. And I suspect his annoyingness is down to the fact that he’s happier and feeling much better. So, in all, things are looking up for the little sod.

This time last year he looked like crap and was sad, and the year before he was even worse, so I’m excited beyond belief at the prospect of Louis Catorze’s first festive season, to my knowledge, in good health. Here he is, drinking to that!