Je suis une légende

Colder weather usually brings cuddling kitties, although they’re clearly just using us for our warmth and haven’t suddenly decided that they really like us. Louis Catorze, however, is still spending as much time outside as he did during the summer months, and his Short Man Syndrome has been getting him into trouble with foxes. This is not good. 

Last Tuesday a fox ran through our garden and he thought it would be a good idea to run after it, screaming. He chased as far as the gap under the fence at The Back, all puff-tailed and indignant, watching the intruder disappear into the distance and not budging until he was certain that it had gone. 

And, on Friday night, he had another stand-off with another fox, this time at The Front. As you know, he isn’t allowed out at The Front unsupervised because he can’t be trusted but, when he bolts out unexpectedly when we get back from an evening out and refuses to be caught, we can’t do much apart from keep the window open, watch nervously and hope he will decide to come in. 

We thought Catorze’s screaming was bad, but he has nothing on Monsieur Renard. Everything we thought we knew about fox sounds was blown right out of the water after experiencing this hellish din. Imagine, if you will, a modern horror movie in which the lead zombie – of chillingly superior intelligence compared to the others – throws back his head and emits a piercing war-cry, the signal for his comrades to destroy the last few pathetic humans. THAT is what Monsieur Renard sounded like. And, terrifyingly, not only was he glaring straight through the bars of the park fence at Catorze as he made this unforgettably dreadful sound, but CATORZE WAS GLARING AND SCREAMING BACK. 

“Aw, they want to be friends!” cooed Cat Daddy. “That’s so cute. Let’s leave them to it.”

I really didn’t want to do that, yet Catorze was NOT coming in and repeatedly darted out of my way when I tried to grab him. I have no idea what the neighbours must have thought but, unfortunately, they all know the little sod well enough by now.

Eventually, after more gut-wrenching zombie-hollering from Monsieur Renard, Sa Maj did come in through the window, and a punch-proud Cat Daddy rough-cuddled his boy and commended him for “showing the fox who was in charge at Le Château”. I would far rather he retreat and mind his own business, but nobody in this household seems that concerned with what I think. 

October – and therefore the Season of the Black Cat – started today. And I fear that this means things are only going to get worse. 

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La belle et la bête

I don’t often feature other cats in Le Blog – mainly due to the fact that Louis Catorze doesn’t have any friends – but I couldn’t resist a picture of Bella, who lives in Cat Granny’s residential care home. 

We have visited Cat Granny there many times, and I have often said that the one thing the place needed was a cat. Then, suddenly, Bella was there. She is an absolutely delightful addition the home, happily sitting on residents’ laps for cuddles and slow-blinking at people passing by. And the place is big enough so that, should she want time to herself, she can just slip off and have a nap on a chair (as she was doing here when I interrupted her for a photo): 

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Cat Daddy and I wondered whether Sa Majesté could become one of those officially certified therapy cats who tour hospitals and residential care homes to cheer up sick and/or old people. Cat Daddy remarked that he was “most definitely certifiable”, which means that he agrees, right? In reality, however, because Catorze is such a little sod, I think he would end up being whatever the opposite of a therapy cat is, i.e. people who were fine before meeting him would need therapy afterwards.

That said, he is bold, friendly and great with new people, and the fact that many elderly people are hard of hearing would mean that nobody would care that much about his screaming. Dialling down the volume on the hearing aid would bring instant peace, something for which we at Le Château desperately yearn at times. 

Cat Daddy said we didn’t do enough to support elderly people’s charities and suggested that we make a donation.

Me: “That’s a lovely idea. How much do you want to donate?”

Cat Daddy: “About 3kg of pointless black fur?”

(He was only joking. And, to make up for his unkindness, we have made a donation to the Mayhew, whose therapy animals – unlike Catorze – make people feel better.)

La joie de l’automne

Today is the autumn equinox, which signifies the start of my favourite time of the year. Normally I would mark this by lighting a scented candle but, because of a certain sneezing little sod, this is now off limits. (He actually hasn’t sneezed in a while, but we are being cautious as we really don’t want another trip to the vet.)

And, if my memory serves me correctly, this time last year I had also hoped to treat myself to a relaxing spa bath but the same little sod ruined it by battering at the bathroom door and screaming himself senseless. So I guess that is also off limits … unless, of course, I invite him in to make use of the steam to clear les narines royales.

Instead, Cat Daddy and I will be celebrating with Louis Catorze cuddles – which, despite everything, are always a treat – and fillet steak when we get home from our autumn walk. And, yes, Catorze will be getting a little sliver of steak with his dinner. (His preference is medium-rare. Thank you for asking.) 

Happy autumn to you all. Here is Sa Maj, resplendent among the Japanese anemones, heralding the new season in the only way he knows how: 

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Un chat sans parfum

After le silence total for a couple of days, Louis Catorze finally sneezed on Thursday night. So we have been giving him Metacam in his food AND HE HAS BEEN EATING IT (wish I had known it were this easy when I was Greco-Romaning it to him in the past). We have not yet attempted the sauna treatment, although it’s on the agenda for discussion at the next Boys’ Club meeting.

However, as a precaution, the vet did suggest that we do an audit of any new household or skincare products which could have caused an allergic reaction. So I have started to tighten up my usually rigorous control which lapsed a little during the summer months, resulting in a few cheeky perfumed items sneaking their way into the inner sanctum of Le Château. The lapse was partly because Louis Catorze was spending more time outdoors and therefore it didn’t matter so much, and partly defiance on my part: if Catorze couldn’t be bothered to spend time with me, I didn’t see why I should knock myself out making things nice for him and his silly nose.

It also didn’t help that the airline lost our bags when we went on holiday, and we were forced to go shopping for toiletries that didn’t fit our usual exacting specifications. Rather than throw them all away when we got back and create more unnecessary waste, I have been frantically using them in the hope that they will be gone by the time the weather turns and Sa Maj decides to return indoors.

The more time passes, the less convinced I am that his skin issues were directly caused by an allergy to scent, and I am fairly sure that his sneezing was caused by something else (most likely him just being an idiot). That said, I am not sorry that I cut down the scented products and, having got him to a healthy, drug-free state – no Gabapentin or steroid shots since summer 2017 and no Atopica since FOREVER – I am not prepared to take any chances by allowing too many of them back into Le Château again.

When I let retailers know that I’m looking for low- or no-scent products because of my sensitive-skinned cat, it’s amazing how many of them turn out to be cat people. I receive lots of nice comments and questions about Sa Maj and, if I send a photo along with my enquiry, they often say how handsome he is. (Cat Daddy: “Trust me, they’re just trying to be polite.”) And, every now and again, someone truly goes the extra mile and does this: 

Bravo et bien joué, Scent Trail. Sa Majesté wholeheartedly approves, as you can see from the photos in which he is conducting his official royal analyse de contrôle de la qualité. 

Louis Catorze loves Scent Trail and highly recommends, in particular, their lime and vetiver candle, which appeared to have a calming effect on him during his stressy, tail-chewing days. Their products can be bought here: 

https://www.scent-trail.co.uk/ourshop/

Un rare courage devant la maladie

Cat Daddy and I had a long discussion about the right time to take Louis Catorze to the vet, because investigating the sneezing would require a general anaesthetic and that is not something that we feel should ever be undertaken lightly. 

However, Catorze scared us witless when his usual breathy post-drink wheezing – a bizarre but utterly harmless quirk of his – sounded more like that awful mating fox yelp that sometimes wakes us Londoners in the night. And, when I checked his face again on Tuesday morning, I could see that his right nostril was somehow enlarged and misshapen. We know our cats’ faces like we know our own, don’t we, so we knew then that it was time. 

Cat Daddy took Sa Majesté to the vet that morning and, as luck would have it, he had a sneezing fit in front of her so she was able to see it properly. He was sedated and thoroughly examined, only to discover no blockage whatsoever. It turns out that the little sod is likely to have a viral infection, and the cure is Metacam anti-inflammatory (which, apparently, tastes like chicken) along with … a series of steam sessions to help clear his nasal passages. I’m not joking. “Just turn on the hot taps in the bathroom and shut the door,” is what we were told.

Cat Daddy afterwards: “So it’s cost us £300 to send him on a jolly day out and to find out that he basically has a cold? And now we’ve got to give him tasty meds and a luxury spa treatment? Who does he think he is: royalty?”

Mais bien sûr.

And, to add insult to injury yet again, not only was the little sod super-affectionate and flirtatious with the veterinary staff all day long, but he also stopped sneezing. Since his procedure there hasn’t been so much as a sniff, neither at the veterinary surgery nor here at home. So we have been left feeling hugely relieved but also quite annoyed, and Le Royal Sick Fund is sitting in a corner, crying, after the battering it has received. And Cat Daddy and I may well go and join in.

Here is Le Roi just after he returned home, displaying his macho shaven arm like a tattoo sleeve. Quel. Fichu. Salaud. 

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À ses souhaits

It’s happened before, Mesdames et Messieurs, and I don’t know why I didn’t learn my lesson from the last time: the minute I boast about Louis Catorze’s astonishingly good health, something goes wrong. 

Remember when I played Saint Jérôme to his lion and extracted a HUGE piece of grass from his poor little nose? (The full story is here, in case you missed it at the time: https://jesuisleroisoleil.wordpress.com/2017/07/02/saint-jerome-et-le-lion/)

Well, the little sod now has something else stuck up there. I can’t prove it but I know it. I am even inclined to believe that he remembers me removing the grass the last time, as he won’t leave me alone and even allowed me to look up his nose and down his throat. (If you have followed Le Blog for any length of time, you will know that he would usually kick me unconscious and leave me for dead for trying to pull a stunt like this.)

For the moment his snorts seem to be quite infrequent – one or two a day, as opposed to several times an hour the last time – and he is managing to eat, drink, scream, purr, sleep and sit outside for hours on Rodent Duty. But I can see that, if the blockage doesn’t work its way out – or at least make itself known so that I can pull it out – we are going to have to make our third vet trip in as many weeks. 

For once, unbelievably, I am actually HOPING he will spew up something unpleasant – yes, even whilst lying on the trousers that I was going to return to Marks and Spencer but now can’t as they are full of cat hair (see below). Please send Catorze your best vomiting vibes. 

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Parce qu’il le vaut bien

Louis Catorze had his annual booster injections yesterday, and it was nothing short of wondrous to be able to have such a straightforward visit. Well, when I say “straightforward” I mean the treatment required, not the overall experience. Naturellement we had the usual screaming on the journey there and the usual brutal combat during the injection, although this time it was I who had the merde kicked out of me and not the vet. And, to quite literally add insult to injury, the little sod refused me cuddles but was happy to have them with the vet and with a delighted 7-year-old boy whom I invited into the examination room with us because he was desperate to see the black vampire kitty. (Cat Daddy later on: “Other people come into the examination room with you, JUST TO SEE HIM?”)

Health-wise everything was great: no pressing problems to discuss with the vet as Catorze’s eye is now fine, no having to pre-order the special vaccine which didn’t clash with his myriad of other treatments, no new medication to pay for, just turning up, having him weighed and injected, gritting my teeth through the kicking and screaming and then going home again. 

It’s been a tough road getting Catorze to this level of health but, despite being an ungrateful little sod, he is worth it, and you would understand if you were to see his heartbreaking “Before” photos. They are too upsetting to post here and, in fact, I have only ever shown them to 3 people: my friend in South Africa who runs a feline health forum, a lady in Malaysia whose cat had similar symptoms and, erm, a famous Asian celebrity to whom I sent them by accident because she happened to have the same name as the lady in Malaysia. But, trust me, the transformation is miraculous, and it’s hard to believe that he is the same cat.

Not long after our return, as I attended to the lacerations on my hand – who knew that a cat’s BACK feet could be such lethal slashing machines? – Catorze recovered from his anguish by rolling on the pavement at The Front, which dogs have used multiple times as les toilettes. Quelle joie. 

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