Il faut qu’on parle de Louis

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Have you read the book – or, if you’re a low-brow pleb like me, seen the film – “We Need To Talk About Kevin”?

The title character is a boy who, throughout his life, is as sweet as a marron glacé to his father but a total monster to his mother, psychologically tormenting her and haunting her nightmares. The book/film culminates in Kevin murdering several of his classmates.

I am still ill. And Louis Catorze still doesn’t give a shit.

HE IS KEVIN.

“I don’t think this is true,” said Cat Daddy, reading this over my shoulder. “Louis can be monstrous with me at times, too.” Ok. That just makes it worse.

We had my cousin and her husband staying with us this weekend and Louis Catorze was all over them, purring, nuzzling and sleeping on their laps. I must admit I was mildly put out, but I thought, “My turn will come later.”

Nope.

When he came to bed with me last night, I thought that perhaps he had finally sprouted a goutte of feeling for his maman malade. But, the minute I sneezed, he meowed in disdain – yes, he actually VOICED his annoyance – and shuffled further down the bed, away from me.

Normally, when guests leave, they joke about me having to check their bags, such is their temptation to take our delightful little cat with them. This time, however, I was hovering awkwardly around my cousin’s Louis Vuitton and wondering how I could shove the little sod IN.

L’esclave est malade

I often read others’ stories about how cats instinctively know when you are sick and respond by snuggling you back to wellness. Louis Catorze instinctively knows, too, but unfortunately he doesn’t give a shit; here he is, displaying his “You’re ill? Pardonne-moi whilst my heart breaks” look.

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I have had a bad couple of days with a headache, sore throat and temperature. Catorze has been “empathising” by repeatedly entering and exiting the bedroom, meowing, walking up and down my body and rubbing cold, wet fur in my face. (How he manages to get wet when it’s not raining outside – pond? river? bucket of water from exasperated neighbour? – is up there with Le Triangle des Bermudes in terms of eternally unsolvable mysteries.) And this didn’t happen just once: we’re talking at least once every hour, over the course of a whole night.

As a result, far from feeling comforted by my nursemaid’s sensitive attentions, I want to kick his selfish little arse.

Naturellement, when HE’S the one who’s unwell, he’s the most miserable sod ever to walk the earth; when his allergy takes hold, he pretty much goes into hiding and we’re not even sure where he goes. This happened a lot when he first came to live with us, including during that initial period of house arrest when you get a new cat, and our reaction was to panic that he’d somehow broken through our maximum security penitentiary blockades and escaped out of the house. I would be phoning neighbours, trawling the streets shaking a pack of cat biscuits (this was before we found out that he didn’t like food, obviously), and all the while the little sod would be holed up in a dark corner somewhere within the house, sulking.

We weren’t thrilled at the thought of having a cat that nobody ever saw, but we accepted it as a consequence of our decision to have a special needs cat. Now, of course, we know that hiding away is not an intrinsic part of his personality but a symptom of his illness (although sometimes I wish he would make himself scarce between 11pm and 7am to allow us some sleep).

I’m presently lying on the sofa under a blanket, surrounded by green tea, tissues and pills. Louis Catorze just came in from outside, yelled, shook water all over me and went back out again.

They really do treat us like dirt sometimes, don’t they? Mind you, we’re the ones at fault because, time and time again, we let them.

J’adore hurler

It’s February! Hurrah! We haven’t yet experienced enough days of the month to justify me being so happy about it, but the fact that it’s no longer January is good enough for me.

Something about the shift from winter to spring, imperceptible though it is, has given us all a much-needed burst of renewed energy. Cat Daddy and I have resolved to spend more time outdoors, sorting out the garden, going on walks, that kind of thing. Louis Catorze, on the other hand, has decided to put all his efforts into yelling at every possible opportunity.

Most cats yell when they’re hungry; however, given that Louis Catorze doesn’t like food, this cannot possibly be the reason for him. Despite the fact that he has the whiney voice of a spoilt child who has been told to go to bed, sometimes his yelling is very cute. 6am, however, isn’t one of those times.

His first yell tends to be when he rolls in from his outdoor all-nighter, 15 incredibly annoying minutes before my alarm. He pitter-patters downstairs with me, watches me dish up his food, then promptly ignores it and goes outside. Purpose of yell: unknown.

There’s a bit of a racket upon my return home after work, too, which I expect is because he’s been alone all day. Purpose of yell: welcome-home greeting / “about bloody time” type of retort.

He reserves the worst of it for the evening, when he wants us to hurry up in the kitchen and settle with him on the sofa. He pitter-patters to the living room doorway, yells, pitter-patters back to us and yells some more. If we ignore him, he does it again and again until we do what he wants, all the while his tail pointing up. Purpose of yell: wanting snuggles / utter selfishness.

This photo was taken a couple of nights ago, right after I gave into his vociferous demands and followed him into the living room. The smug little sod immediately settled on my blanketed lap, all puffed up and proud that he’d got his way, and gazed at me with his weird, glassy, extra-terrestrial eyes.

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Given that a shouty, up-tailed Roi is a happy Roi – and his scab-free face seems to confirm this – we’re inclined to just let him get on with it. (Whatever “it” might be; your guess is as good as ours.)