Je bouffe, donc je suis

After several months of a carefully-orchestrated changeover and regular snippy comments from Cat Daddy about the slowness of it all, Louis Catorze has now fully transitioned from Acana Pacifica to Lily’s Kitchen. So he is well on his way to becoming a zero-waste kitty. (Cat Daddy: “Apart from the waste that comes out of his arse end.”) 

Better yet, he genuinely seems to like the Lily’s Kitchen better, which is quite the accomplishment for a cat who, generally speaking, doesn’t like food. He actually comes running when he hears the biscuits rattling and sometimes clears his plate, neither of which he used to do before, and I feel almost* guilty that we have subjected him to merely satisfactory food until now. 

*Almost, but not quite. Louis Catorze leads a life of luxury and certainly doesn’t need our sympathy. 

Whilst I am delighted that our boy is happy and that he has actively reduced his carbon pawprint, I hope we won’t lose the many advantages of a cat who doesn’t like food. It is an absolute joy to be able to leave human food on the kitchen worktop, knowing that it will be safe. It’s also great to be able to go out for a whole day, having put down 2 meals’ worth of food, and know that the little sod will make it last. His big brother Luther was very much a guzzler rather than a grazer; his inability to pace himself meant that, if we were going out, we would always have to make arrangements for someone to come and feed him. I recall my mum once witnessing his gluttony and saying, “That food was meant to last him until the evening. When you gave it to him, did you not EXPLAIN?” 

Here is Catorze’s custom-made feeding station (created by the builders upon Cat Daddy’s orders), which houses his black kitty feeding mat (gifted by my sister) and his vintage French bowl (gifted by one of his best-loved pilgrims). La vie est belle.

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La prise de la Bastille

One of our neighbours popped round a couple of days ago, and not only did he overhear Louis Catorze’s tormenting of Oscar 2 weekends back, but the little sod has, on numerous occasions, broken into his house. Through an UPPER FLOOR window. 

And, on the most recent occasion, a member of his family found him pitter-pattering around their landing, screaming, because said window had been shut and he couldn’t get back out. 

“Mortified” doesn’t even BEGIN to describe how Cat Daddy and I felt upon learning this news. And “mystified” would have been our second adjective of choice, had we not remembered what used to happen in our previous home when we were attempting to train Catorze to use the cat flap. Long story short: he wasn’t having any of it and, instead, chose the Mission Impossible route in and out via next door’s fence, their conservatory roof and our upstairs bathroom window. During one outward (we assume) journey he even managed to get a large bottle of mouthwash stuck in the slats of the Venetian blind. To this day, we have no idea how he did this.

We also recalled that, just like his big brother, Luther, Sa Majesté was a master of going into places where he had no business being. Our next-door neighbour at the time would often text me saying, “There’s a black cat in my house. Is it yours?” And, when the texts stopped, I assumed it meant that Catorze was no longer impinging but, in actual fact, the neighbour had simply got to know him so there was no need to ask me if he were mine. The same lady also once heard scrabbling around under her bed and thought she had mice but, when she looked, it was Catorze.

So now that we know HOW, the only question is WHY the little sod would break into a house that has traces of dog in it, that doesn’t have a supply of food (both of which should make it less attractive to an impinging cat) and that is occupied mainly by ladies (which should make it less attractive to Catorze). And I don’t suppose there’s much we can do to stop him. We are just lucky that we have patient, understanding neighbours who like us. 

Cat Daddy: “For now. Our neighbours like us FOR NOW.”

This photo was taken last month but I love it because it sums up Le Roi’s arrogant and entitled attitude, surveying his Château and all the neighbours’ adjoining Châteaux which, it seems, are also his Châteaux:

Les oiseaux furieux

Cat Daddy and I have been struggling to sleep since returning from holiday. This is partly down to our post-holiday body clock stuffage, but also because of the Angry Birds, a flock of attractive but maddening bright green parakeets who have nested in the park across the road. Our neighbours hate them, too, and, if we are to hope for any sleep at all, we have no choice but to either keep the windows closed in the heat or to do Rock, Paper, Scissors to determine who will be the one to get up and shut the windows once the racket starts at dawn. 

Cocoa the babysit cat is doing his utmost to keep their population down – and has had some success – but he has a way to go before he makes a significant difference. Not that we actually want to see them all killed but, after several consecutive nights of no sleep, we can’t help but cheer on Cocoa just a little bit. 

Sometimes a squawky magpie or two also join in, resulting in a cacophonous chorus of “Screech-screech-screech-screech-screech-screech-screech-screech-cawwwwww-cawwwwww!” It’s quite the most dreadful thing imaginable. 

Not long ago I was forced to get up upon hearing the hellish alarm call, because just lying there would have made me more annoyed. I looked out at The Back and saw about a dozen or so parakeets perched on the telephone wires screeching at something below them. And now I know what has been making the Angry Birds so angry. Most of them flew away when I went outside, but I managed to catch one bird with the object of its enragement:

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Oui, Mesdames et Messieurs: what’s making them so cross is a little black sod, pitter-pattering about the garden, stopping occasionally to look up at them and meow back. As I watched, open-mouthed with shock, I observed that the meowing only made the Angry Birds’ screeching worse, which in turn made the meowing worse, and so on, just as it does with Oscar the dog’s barking. Oh. Mon. Dieu.

I have no idea whether the Angry Birds are screeching to alert their comrades of the potential predator danger, or whether they are just shouting insults and swear words (which, frankly, is much more likely). Whatever the reason, we apologise unreservedly to the neighbours who follow Le Blog and, erm, might just keep quiet about this when we bump into the neighbours who don’t. 

L’ordinateur a l’intelligence de celui qui s’en sert

We have only been back for a few days, and already Louis Catorze is causing utter mayhem and driving us round the bend. 

His connerie began on the very evening of our return, when he goaded poor Oscar the dog so badly that we, Dog Mamma and Dog Sister had to go out and intervene before blood was spilled. And, on Monday, he walked across my laptop, causing me to submit my enhanced disclosure application before I had proofread it. 

For those who don’t work in education: this is the highly important process that informs one’s employer whether or not one has a criminal record, so it’s safe to say that it really, really needs to be done properly. Worryingly, after Catorze pressed/kicked “Submit”, I received no error message indicating incomplete or invalid information, meaning that everything written thus far had some sort of logical sense. Whether or not it was correct or desirable is another matter. 

So, at best, I may have entered an incorrect passport or driving licence number and will look like a dodgy fraudster when this is detected. And, at worst, I may have mistakenly clicked “Yes” to the question asking about crimes against children. I guess I won’t know until my application has been processed and my employer contacts me to ask me to explain myself. 

Here is the little sod, pictured not long after the incident and having also dribbled on Cat Daddy’s newspaper. Shits given: zéro. 

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On est de retour!

We British “sit” everything, from pets to houses to plants. And, apparently, the only things that the French “sit” are babies. Yet this hasn’t stopped me from referring to Équipe Une and Équipe Deux as “les chat-sitteurs”, with “chat-sitteur”, rather like “professeur”, being an invariable noun, as “chat-sitteuse” sounds somewhat absurd despite both Équipes being female. (This was the basis of my conversation with Cat Daddy on the flight back from Belfast, until he put on his headphones a few minutes in and pretended to be asleep.)

We are back from holiday and, whilst it didn’t go entirely to plan, with both lost luggage and injuries preventing us from doing all that we wanted to do, it was a relief to escape the heatwave that has only just relinquished its hold on London. And it was nothing short of delightful to be able to sleep in without being jolted awake by screaming, rodent deliveries and suchlike.

That said, we did miss Louis Catorze, although he has had an absolute ball over the last couple of weeks and probably didn’t even notice/care that we had gone. Apart from bringing Équipe Une a rat* on their very first morning, he seems to have been the perfect host.

*Oui, Équipe Une: I may have given the impression that it was a mouse, but only because I didn’t want to scare you with the awful truth. When I saw the long, rangy limbs in your photo, I KNEW. Je suis désolée. Cat Daddy and I are still wondering how on earth Catorze managed to haul a beast half his body weight through the cat flap, and we are just grateful that it didn’t end up on your bed. Erm, see you again next summer? 

So life has resumed as normal. Cat Daddy and I are facing the mammoth task of undoing all the damage caused by eating our weight in potatoes for a fortnight (which will be a challenge, as my leg and his back are still done in). And Le Roi, no doubt, will go back to doing whatever it is that he does, although Cat Daddy’s too-rude-to-publish remark suggests that perhaps the little sod doesn’t contribute an enormous amount to the planet.

This image shows one of the places that we visited, whose name had a certain air of familiarity: 

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