Le meilleur ami de l’homme

One of my cat-loving friends has just got a DOG. If you are following Le Blog it’s likely that you are a cat person, so you will understand what an apocalyptically big deal it is for someone to leave our ranks and defect to the Dark Side. That said, given that dogs are loyal and loving and cats are psychopaths who don’t care if we live or die, it’s possible that our side IS the Dark Side and that my friend had to save herself by whatever means possible. 

I knew that she was thinking about getting a dog, because we spent a whole afternoon together Googling “Dogs that smell” and “Dogs that don’t smell” to help her to choose her breed accordingly. (Dog owners: sorry, but your houses can smell doggy. You don’t notice because you have become accustomed to it, and people don’t tell you because they are trying to be polite, but I’m afraid it’s true.) However, I didn’t know she’d actually got the dog until I went round to her place and her partner answered the door holding a trembling, honey-coloured ball of fur half the size of Louis Catorze. 

“Surprise!” my friend trilled. “This is Nala! I didn’t tell you about her because I wasn’t sure you’d want to come round if you knew she was here.”

“Erm, you’re right. I probably wouldn’t,” I replied. 

“I know you’re not a dog person,” she continued, “but she’s about the same size as a small cat, isn’t she? So, erm, maybe you could just PRETEND she’s a cat?” Right. 

Anyway, I spent the afternoon with little Nala and, apart from one pooing incident – fortunately nowhere near my person nor near my possessions – all went well. And, when I returned home, far from being repulsed by me (as he usually is), Catorze sniffed and nuzzled me, rolled all over me and purred like an aeroplane taking off. 

So does this mean that our cat is … part-dog? He certainly has some dog-like qualities (following people around, wagging his tail when happy, being irresistibly drawn to dogs even if they are displaying all the signs of wanting to kill him, etc.). The one area where they differ is their compliance with humiliating Hallowe’en outfits and, luckily, Nala has been able to compensate for Sa Maj’s shortcomings. 

As you can see, she was very obliging and happily dressed up whereas Catorze, despite usually being a lover and not a fighter, would tear my skin to shreds and watch me bleed to death if I attempted to put clothing on him. (Don’t ask me how I know this.) However, he and I did manage to produce a passable official Hallowe’en portrait this year, unlike last year when there was just one moderately decent shot out of about a hundred attempts, produced two months too late for the event.

Happy Hallowe’en from all of us (including Nala), and may your furry overlords of whatever species behave themselves tonight. 

Le lion a suffisamment de dents pour se sentir bien dehors

Have you ever seen one of those 1980s movies where the small-town neighbourhood bad boy is undignifiedly hauled home to his parents by the local sheriff? (I haven’t, but I am sure that it must have happened in some 1980s movie at some time.) 

Well, Louis Catorze’s troublemaking-about-town has reached such a level that neighbours have started knocking at our door to return him to us. Cat Daddy is BEYOND mortified about this although, curiously, he fails to see that it wouldn’t be a problem if we* were more vigilant about keeping The Front under lockdown.


The first time that this happened, Catorze had slipped out unnoticed at The Front and his screaming could be heard from the living room of one neighbour, disturbing his TV viewing. A couple of weeks ago, he had slipped out unnoticed again and had tried to get into the same neighbour’s house as their dinner guests were leaving. And the most recent incident involved him slipping out unnoticed YET AGAIN (I think I may detect a pattern here) and ambushing Oscar the dog’s mamma and sister, screaming, as they left the house. They politely knocked at the door a few nights ago and said, “Louis is outside at The Front, and we just wanted to check that you knew?” Erm … no. 

I never know what to say when the little sod is returned to us. I can’t even lie and say, “He’s never behaved like this before” because it tends to be the same people who keep bringing him back, and they all know what he’s like. 

I am trying EXTREMELY hard to be careful at The Front, but Cat Daddy is somewhat more, erm, relaxed when he puts out the recycling. With Hallowe’en – which I am spelling authentically for the first time ever – around the corner, and the very real danger of Catorze being mistaken for a novelty vampire cat toy and scooped up into some kid’s treat bag, we need to up our game. (Yes, most cats would probably loudly and violently object to being carried off by a gang of sugar-high youngsters, but this is Sa Maj we’re talking about.)

And I have just checked my calendar and realised that it’s a full moon tonight which, let’s face it, adds another complication into the mix that we really don’t need. Someone needs to intercept The Mothership’s transmissions très rapidement. 


Thank you to Emily for this amazing photo of the little sod who is, most unusually, moving AWAY from the front door

La paix, la justice, la liberté

Because all cats are selfish users by nature, it’s not uncommon for them to lead a double life with another unsuspecting family. However, despite Louis Catorze’s recent daredevil escapology, I didn’t expect his other life to be this:


That’s him at the bottom, happily nibbling on a plant whilst the murderers, gang members and drug traffickers of the Porto Velho penitentiary go about their daily prison business around him. And, yes, I am aware that most black cats look very similar to one another. But if you live with one – and especially if it’s a troublemaker – you know your own. The miniature size, the pose, the casual chewing of plant matter with the intention of puking it up later in some inappropriate place … this is all classic, unmistakable Louis Catorze. And we all know of his tendency to gravitate towards men. What’s less clear is how the flip he managed to get all the way to Brazil. (He speaks English, French and the odd swear word in dog and bird language, but no Portuguese.)

Cat Daddy: “Are you kidding? He can escape outside at The Front in broad daylight without being seen. He can break into locked rooms and cupboards and re-lock the door after himself. Of course he could make it out to Brazil and still get back in time to wake us up screaming at dawn.”

This is true. 

The only other question we have is which way Catorze’s prison gang allegiance has swung: has he made himself the kingpin of the Comando Vermelho or the Primeiro Comando da Capital? Given his extraordinary capacity to incite barking wars between Oscar the dog and (now sadly departed) Bert the dog and then smugly sit back and watch the fallout, I’d say that he has probably managed to fuel even more hatred between the two gangs whilst remaining annoyingly impartial* himself. In fact, I’d be prepared to bet Le Château on at least 80% of the riots in Porto Velho being his fault. 

*Not giving a merde about either faction 

One day his pot-stirring will he found out, and I don’t suppose the inmates will be too happy about it. In the meantime, it’s probably just as well that he has Le Château as a bolt-hole and us to take care of him. 

La nuit des morts-vivants

The zombie fox is back, and not only has he brought back-up in the form of three equally shouty buddies, but they have been raising absolute hell in our street at night with their part-reanimated corpse, part-Velociraptor shrieking. I have seen/heard them with my own eyes/ears and, a few mornings ago, I found paw prints on our car windscreen which were much too large and too muddy to belong to cats. It seems unlikely that the dog walkers of TW8 would suddenly decide to use parked cars as an obstacle course, so I can only assume that Monsieur Renard and his comrades are to blame. 

Needless to say, this has made our street quite an unnerving place after dark. And, naturellement, it has also made Louis Catorze more desperate than ever before to defy us and go outside at The Front.

As you are aware, he can hear the sound of the front door opening from wherever he is in the house or garden. However, he has recently figured out that putting out the recycling involves opening the front door and, as soon as he sees us gathering up cardboard, glass or tins, his silly little ears prick up and you can almost smell him mentally planning his bolt. Evidently the stupid act was just that: an act, to trick us into lowering our guard and give him licence to run riot. 

Last night I discovered that it is utterly impossible to gather up the recycling in silence. I tried, but the little sod’s head whipped around as soon as he heard the first clunk of aluminium against glass. He followed me to the front door and, when I came back indoors, I knew he was waiting on the other side of the door so I swung it open hard to startle him into retreating. He didn’t. He let out a squeak which sounded shockingly like a whoop of glory, shimmied between my ankles and pitter-pattered out, up-tailed and screaming. 

I was never comfortable with him being out at The Front at night, but I feel even more nervous knowing that the streets are being prowled by four predators who are, most likely, seeking the little upstart who insulted one of their number. And taking refuge on top of a car is evidently not going to work for Catorze, as the foxes will just follow him. Foxes are not known for attacking cats but, if the cat is the one who starts the fight, I don’t suppose I can blame them for retaliating. 

If Le Château was on high alert before, I don’t know what to call our current state. Is there a word for higher than high and redder than red? Anyway, here is Sa Majesté in his observation tower, waiting for nightfall so that his Army of Darkness (which consists of, erm, just himself) can attack: 


Louis Catorze et la Cape d’Invisibilité

*Today’s entry of Le Blog would be greatly enhanced by listening to the Harry Potter theme music whilst reading*

After the recent altercation with the zombie fox, you’d be forgiven for thinking Louis Catorze had been put off going out at The Front. Mais non. He is now obsessed with it and, even if he is outside at The Back, he can hear the front door being opened and he hurtles in, screaming, to try and break out. 

And his Cloak of Invisibility appears to be growing in power as the Season of the Black Cat progresses, because he is managing to slip out unnoticed more than ever before. Last Tuesday night we found him outside on the window sill when we came home from the football, happily watching all the football fans make their way home, and on Thursday I came home from work to find a random passer-by stroking him on our front wall. On yet another occasion, a neighbour sent us this picture when we thought Catorze was asleep on our bed:


Little sod is having a ball, but I wouldn’t trust him as far as I could spit. If he is out at The Front, I have the shutters open and am anxiously checking every few minutes to make sure he isn’t rolling around in the road, screaming at dogs/foxes or launching himself at some terrified man. And, although he has been ok so far, I daren’t let my guard down. 

Cat Daddy: “If we had children you’d be absolutely ridiculous with them, wrapping them in cotton wool.” Not true in the slightest. This is more of a civic duty to save the good people of TW8 some heartache, rather than for Le Roi’s benefit. Plus children come back when they’re called – or, if I had any, they’d bloody well BETTER come back when they’re called, or else. Louis Catorze couldn’t give less of a merde if he tried. 

So Le Château is now in a state of high alert, although we are pretty defenceless against a Cloak of Invisibility on account of it being invisible. A friend suggested we confiscate the Cloak, and we would, if we could find it …