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Summer is fast approaching, which means that Louis Catorze spends the vast majority of his time sitting to attention, carefully monitoring the gap between the Forbidden Greenhouse and the shed (first picture). Very occasionally he relaxes his pose and sits at ease, but his concentration does not wane (second picture).

Nothing can successfully shift him from his station except someone approaching to take a photo, so these shots were very lucky indeed.

The only explanation we have for this behaviour: this must be a spot where rodents hang out. Obviously it’s great that the little sod takes his Rodent Duty so seriously – and, by this, I mean that he spends hours and hours like this, and neighbours have begun to comment and laugh – but I’m not looking forward to him bringing his panting, dismembered prey to our bedroom. Which he will.

I’m not joking about the panting. Look here if you don’t believe me: https://jesuisleroisoleil.wordpress.com/2017/11/26/psycho-kitty-quest-ce-que-cest/

Cat Daddy: “He’s not on Rodent Duty; he’s just staring at nothing because he’s THAT boring. He’s the most inept hunter ever. He won’t catch a thing.”

Cat Daddy was really silly to tempt fate by saying this. For an “inept hunter”, Catorze hasn’t done badly since we moved here (rats, mice, a bird and, of course, the slug that was dropped onto my pillow as I slept). Plus he is highly proficient at doing exactly what we don’t want him to do, so I’d be prepared to put money on us receiving a delivery very soon.

The bin bags and the rubber gloves are primed for action … and, should the worst happen, Cat Daddy will be on disposal duty.

Le lit découvre tous les secrets

Louis Catorze has a Château full of comfortable beds at his disposal, with soft anti-allergy bedding and freshly-laundered duvet covers. So, naturellement, he chooses to sleep in … a grubby Hounslow Council plastics refuse sack, in the equally grubby Forbidden Greenhouse. You couldn’t make this up … and, to prove that I really haven’t, here he is, narrowing his eyes at me with no shame whatsoever: 

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Could he BE any more low-brow and unbecoming of a Sun King? 

Cat Daddy: “If you gave him enough time, probably, yes.”

Le meilleur assaisonnement

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Phase Deux has begun, and I have decided to tip the Lily’s Kitchen Fabulous Fish into the refillable dispenser along with the Acana Pacifica. I am hoping that, rather like putting a vanilla pod or lavender sprig into a pot of sugar, the Lily’s Kitchen will infuse the Acana Pacifica with its irresistible goodness, resulting in a certain fussy little sod eating both. And this would spell the end of my wearisome sessions with the John Lewis stone pestle and mortar. 

So far, it seems to be working.

Cat Daddy: “It’s nothing WHATSOEVER like infusing sugar with vanilla or lavender. What rubbish.”

Me: “Have you ever infused sugar with vanilla or lavender?”

Him: “No.”

Me: “Well, be quiet, then.”

(I didn’t tell him that I have never done it, either.)

Anyway, the ratio of food in the dispenser is probably about 9 parts Acana Pacifica to 1 part Lily’s Kitchen. After a couple of weeks on this, I will buy more Lily’s Kitchen to balance out the ratio a little more (but hopefully not enough to activate the puke switch). And, thereafter, every fortnight or so, I will continue to add more Lily’s Kitchen to ensure as seamless a transition as possible for Louis Catorze.

Cat Daddy again, in his nobody-gives-a-shit voice: “What will the next ratio be? 8 parts Acana Pacifica to 2 parts Lily’s Kitchen? Or will you go for the more gradual transition of 8.5 parts Acana Pacifica to 1.5 parts Lily’s Kitchen? I bet you’ll have the whole of the Cat Internet in suspense over that cliffhanger.”

I am not happy about the sarcasm. But I am glad he has established that there is a Cat Internet. 

La ténacité permet d’atteindre l’excellence

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This darned cat is going to be the death of me. Every morning and evening I am forced to crush up Lily’s Kitchen biscuits in my expensive John Lewis stone pestle and mortar and scatter the resulting gravelly, powdery mess over his Acana Pacifica. If I put them in whole, he cherry-picks only them and leaves the rest.

I should have waited a little longer before starting Phase Une. But the chances of Louis Catorze liking the new food better than his old one – given that he doesn’t really like any food at all, apart from the odd sliver of jambon de Bayonne or organic mountain Comté – were very slim indeed, so the odds really should have been in my favour. But the little sod went out of his way to make sure they weren’t. 

The time spent crushing is also starting to get to me. On Thursday morning, had I not stopped to do it, I would have caught the bus normally. Instead, I had to sprint undignifiedly for it like an idiot, coated in a fine dust of Lily’s Kitchen Fabulous Fish and probably smelling of it, too, falling over my own feet as I got on. This can never, ever happen again.

Cat Daddy: “For crying out loud. Just give him the new food! It’s not as if he’s coming off heroin.” 

No: food waste is food waste, whether it’s human food or cat food. Last week I even walked home from the pub with a little copper pot of coleslaw, because I was too full to eat it but didn’t want it thrown away. Cat Daddy ridiculed me beyond belief … then wanted to share some of the coleslaw for lunch the next day. (I agreed but charged him the pub price.)

I really, really want Le Roi to like the new food without wasting the old one. So I don’t suppose there’s much I can do, except quite literally keep my nose to the grindstone.

Le cri est bien souvent plus gros que la bête

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Cat Daddy popped out yesterday morning to go to Cocoa the babysit cat’s place. On his way back, he saw from a distance that Oscar the dog’s family had gathered on the pavement outside Le Château … and, as he approached, he heard the unmistakable, fingernails-down-the-blackboard sound of Louis Catorze’s excruciating screaming. 

It turned out that, as usual, the little sod had slipped out unnoticed when Cat Daddy left. And, instead of just waiting for him to come back, he had decided to ambush Oscar’s family as they left the house and accompany them, screaming, to wherever it was that they were going. They were about to knock at the door to ask us to intervene when Cat Daddy approached. 

“He caused complete and utter havoc,” said Cat Daddy, when he later related the story to me. “They really didn’t know what to do.”

“Was the screaming loud?” I asked. 

“Oh yes. GOD, yes.” 

Oh. Well, it’s not as if we have to face them again anytime soon … except, erm, probably tomorrow, then every day forever more, on account of them being our next-door neighbours and good friends. 

Which means that we can expect more of the same, anytime soon. You’re welcome. 

La nourriture des rois: Phase Une

Phase Une of Opération G-T-L-S-O-N-F-W-H-N – which involves giving Louis Catorze a serving of his old Acana Pacifica topped with a scant garnish of the new Lily’s Kitchen Fabulous Fish – began on Sunday. It was most satisfying to tear the top strip from the packet of Lily’s Kitchen and put it straight into the compost. The excuse that others give for not using compostable packaging is that it’s not robust enough to protect the food but, let’s face it: cats are pretty gross. They happily chow down on maggot-infested road kill and suchlike, so I’d imagine that the possibility of their wholesome, natural biscuits becoming exposed to air/dirt/bugs is the least of their worries. 

The Lily’s Kitchen biscuits (the golden-coloured triangular bits) are different in shape and colour from the Acana Pacifica. This was not going to help in my mission to combine them invisibly. And, given Louis Catorze’s abysmal track record for doing what I want him to do when I want him to do it, I was nervous. 

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And I was right to be nervous, because, to my utter dismay, the little sod delicately picked off the Lily’s Kitchen garnish but left the Acana Pacifica. Quel fichu salaud.

Cat Daddy: “So he likes the new food? That’s good, isn’t it? Just give him that. No need to do this slow phasing.”

I told him that I would NOT be wasting the huge amount of Acana Pacifica that we still had left, nor would I be responsible for any, erm, digestive episodes that took place as a result of a too-rapid change in food. (We did this when Catorze first came to live with us, before we knew that slow phasing was a thing, and he was a prolific puker back then. Luckily, it was usually on the floor rather than on the carpet. And, on the only occasion that he projectile-vomited on our bed whilst we slept, it was all on Cat Daddy’s side.)

Cat Daddy again: “So now we’re going to have to force him to eat food that we want him to eventually stop eating?”

It would appear that way, yes.

Anyway, I tried hiding some of the Lily’s Kitchen under the Acana Pacifica, but, like a truffling pig, Catorze still managed to unearth it, leaving the rest untouched. Then I hit upon the idea of crushing up some of the Lily’s Kitchen and scattering it over so that everything tasted of it. A seasoning rather than a garnish, if you will. 

And … BINGO. 

I will not be outsmarted by a cat, and a stupid one at that.

(That wasn’t supposed to rhyme.)

Sois le changement que tu désires voir en ce monde

Cat Daddy and I are continuing in our efforts to reduce the use of plastic. Our household now boasts sustainable bamboo toilet paper (which used to come from Amazon wrapped in nasty plastic, until we snitched to the supplier and they put pressure on Amazon to stop), plastic-free ladies’ sanitary items made of cotton and other plant matter, and we have even ditched supermarket meat and started going to the pricey-but-worth-it butcher who doesn’t use those polystyrene tray things. 

This morning we said goodbye to the last thing that is really bugging us, which is Louis Catorze’s environmentally-unfriendly Acana Pacifica packaging. Unfortunately some other living thing somewhere will be forced to say hello to it, seeing as the darned thing isn’t recyclable, and I wish there were something we could do about that. But there isn’t.

So we have done the next best thing, which is to stop buying it and to buy something else instead. Lily’s Kitchen is officially our new partner in Opération Get-The-Little-Sod-Onto-New-Food-Without-Him-Noticing, which goes live later today. 

Phase Une will consist of normal servings of Acana Pacifica, with the lightest garnish of Lily’s Kitchen Fabulous Fish on top. Assuming it passes with neither refusal to eat nor freak vomiting/diarrhoea incident, we will move onto Phase Deux, which is, erm, the same thing but with a moderately heavier sprinkling of Lily’s Kitchen. 

Despite getting rid of the plastic packaging we still have a considerable supply of the Acana Pacifica food left, having decanted it into Catorze’s refillable airtight dispenser. And, actually, this suits us fine; we will need plenty of the base ingredient because Opération G-T-L-S-O-N-F-W-H-N is going to be a long and arduous project. But it will definitely be worth it for the positive impact of buying from a UK-based company with compostable packaging. And, better yet, our local Pets at Home stock Lily’s Kitchen, so I can go there to collect it rather than have it arrive in a cardboard carton and a layer of bubble wrap. (Cat Daddy: “It’ll be far too heavy for you to carry, with your bad neck and shoulder. Let’s face it: I’m the chump who’s going to end up being the packhorse.”)

I told Cat Daddy how proud I was that our boy was doing his bit to minimise his negative impact on the planet. His deadpan reply, without looking up from his laptop: “Great. Let me know the minute he starts making a positive impact.”