On aime mieux la chasse que la prise

This may look like a set of backlit studio photos for Sa Majesté’s next Hallowe’en portrait but, in actual fact, this was another Code Ambre emergency. Oui, Mesdames et Messieurs: there was a fly in the living room again, behind the globe lamp. You can’t see the fly in these pictures but, if you ever played Spot the Ball in the 1980s, I am certain that you would be able to place the buzzy little beast with impressive accuracy via Louis Catorze’s body language.

Cat Daddy and I had settled down to binge-watch series one of Marcella when the buzzing and chattering started. Observing Catorze answered the long-standing question I had about why cats chatter at birds – or, in Catorze’s case, birds, flies and Jurassic World pterodactyls. They’re not trying to communicate at all. Catorze had the terrifying eyes of an enraged crack addict throughout the hunt, meaning one thing only: death to all winged beasties. 

There was something hypnotic about his pursuit of this fly. And the clever fly, having worked out that the globe lamp was spherical, didn’t have to try too hard to avoid being caught. All it had to do to escape the claws of doom was wander over to the other side of the world, which was against the wall and therefore inaccessible to the so-called hunter.

Our conversation went like this for much of the evening:

Cat Daddy: “Where’s the fly now?”

Me: “In Madagascar. Wait … now it’s walking across the Indian Ocean.”

[Chattering and swiping from Sa Majesté]

[Buzzing from the fly]

[Cat Daddy grabs his phone to take a picture and, at the same time, something dramatic happens on Marcella]

Cat Daddy: “Oh. I missed that. Can we rewind that bit?”

That is how a 45-minute episode of Marcella took us about 2 hours to watch. And, whilst Marcella edged closer and closer to catching the killer, Louis Catorze completely failed to catch the fly.

Next time: more excitement of a similar nature, no doubt. 

Les caresses de chat donnent des puces

C584A943-212A-47E7-9B98-81566F8D670CMy plan to make Louis Catorze a zero-waste kitty has reached an obstacle: spot-on flea treatment. Not only is the market fairly limited in terms of products – with some well known to be utterly useless – but not a single one is plastic-free. So it won’t be quite as simple as swapping brands, as we did with the little sod’s food. 

Louis Catorze uses Broadline, which has the added benefit of also treating worms and therefore absolving us of the Greco-Roman death-wrestle when we try to get a worming pill into him. Each little vial comes individually wrapped in a plastic tray with a peel-off film cover. Whilst I can see why vets and pet shops would want such packaging for sterility, I wrote to the manufacturer to ask if there may be another option for at-home users.

The response – which, unbelievably, came from a lovely customer services lady named Cat – was that the packaging was needed to keep the product stable and to comply with some fancy-sounding European safety law. 

(When I told others about Cat, very worryingly a couple of friends told me that the name must just be a coincidence, as if I genuinely thought the company might only recruit people with animal names or, worse, that I thought they had an actual cat managing their customer service enquiries.)

I wrote back to Broadline Cat and asked if they were doing anything to find an alternative to plastic. I understood about the product stability – after all, we wouldn’t want rancid chemicals to cause Catorze to mutate and turn into the scary Monsieur Hyde version of himself – but, given the ticking time bomb that is single-use plastic, I hoped that there might be another way. (Cat Daddy remarked that Catorze already IS the scary, mutant Monsieur Hyde version, and that a cocktail of putrid chemicals couldn’t possibly make things worse in that respect.)

Broadline Cat replied as follows: 

“Please rest assured that Boehringer Ingelheim continuously look to make improvements where possible to improve our environmental impact. Whilst there is nothing more we can share currently on this particular area, we will ensure to raise this with global manufacturing and supply chain colleagues working on our environmental programmes.”

I don’t know what the solution is for packaging spot-on flea treatment. But I hope Broadline Cat will be true to her word and that they will continue to look for one. 

Je gueule, donc je suis

I often write about Louis Catorze’s screaming but, in actual fact, depending on the situation and on his mood, he is a Man of Many Meows, not just one standard scream. Here they are, in order of volume (quietest first): 

  1. Le Miaulement à la Bouche Fermée. This is usually deployed in the middle of the night and is murmured through a closed mouth, which we take to mean, “I don’t want to wake you up, but I’m just checking in to bid you a bonne nuit.” Unfortunately, despite its softness, it DOES wake us up, hence why Cat Daddy finds this meow the most annoying of them all. 
  2. Le Cri Aigu. As the name would suggest, this sounds just like a dog’s toy, and it is the most un-catty sound that one can possibly imagine. It is usually uttered when Le Roi is grabbed or squeezed when not expecting it. And, yes, sometimes we DO do this to him just to make him squeak because we find it so funny.
  3. Le Cri de Guerre Wah! Wah! Wah!. What it lacks in volume – for it is only moderately loud – it makes up in evil intent. This sequence of short, staccato meows tends to be heard when Le Roi breaks into a sudden sprint, such as when he spots the door open at The Front or when he is in the perfect position for an exquisite photograph and then sees me reach for my phone. 
  4. Le Miaulement Habituel, aka what we hear 60% of the time. This sounds like a spoilt, whiny child who has just been told that there is no more ice cream. Visitors are often concerned that our boy is upset or in pain, and we are forced to shamefacedly admit, “Erm, no. That’s just his normal voice.”
  5. Le Cri des Cris, the most awful of the lot and, sadly, the second most frequently heard after Le Miaulement Habituel. This indignant holler can mean an assortment of things including, “Let me in/out!” and “Where the heck have you BEEN?” Those who have heard this sound – which, by now, includes most of our street – are unlikely to forget it, and, if you haven’t, today is going to be the day. 

Now that my new domain of louiscatorze.com allows me to post videos, you will have the pleasure of hearing all of these meows at some stage (although I expect that, now that I have announced my keenness to capture them on video, Sa Maj will refuse to produce most of them ever again). We were, however, (un)fortunate enough to be greeted by a 5 pointer – Le Cri des Cris – one day after coming home from work, and I do have evidence of that. Turn the volume DOWN. 

You’re welcome. 

La boîte à merveilles

Middle-class cat problems: when your cat has too many toys. And, since every single one of them was given as a gift by a visiting pilgrim (oui, Mesdames et Messieurs: we have never needed to buy Louis Catorze a single toy in his life), I guess that makes it an upper-middle-class cat problem. 

Cat Daddy decided recently that the cat toys must be secretly moving and/or multiplying in the night because, every time he comes downstairs, he finds them in a different position. It’s possible that supernatural forces are at work … although it’s far more likely that Catorze, like his mamma, is great at using things but not so good at putting them away afterwards. 

I thought, for a minute, that Cat Daddy was going to threaten to get rid of the toys (or Catorze). But, instead, he suggested: A TOY BOX. And, naturellement, because he is Sa Majesté Louis Catorze, Le Roi Soleil, only the best box will do. 

So Cat Daddy spent an afternoon painstakingly restoring Cat Grandpa’s antique tool box to make it into a toy box for Le Roi. We know that Cat Grandpa would have approved of this as he had a very special relationship with Catorze. During his visits he would whistle to Catorze, just like whistling to a dog, and the little sod would go running for a cuddle.

Cat Grandpa would have been 100 today and we hope that, wherever he may be, he has cats and a whole stack of toys.

Le voyage des pèlerins

Hallowe’en is over for another year, which makes me a little sad, although living all year round with a black vampire kitty means that every day is Hallowe’en here at Le Château. And, yes, we succeeded in keeping Louis Catorze under lockdown on the night of the 31st, with the little sod only managing to escape once. 

Best moment of the Hallowe’en season? Catorze’s conspicuous indifference to the severed zombie hand. And, having transferred Le Blog to the new domain louiscatorze.com*, I can now post videos, so see below for some splendid non-giving of a merde from Le Roi: 

*Cat Daddy: “Louiscatorze.com? Why have you done this? You only need to do this if you’re going to sell Louis Catorze merchandise. Are you going to sell Louis Catorze merchandise? Please don’t sell Louis Catorze merchandise.”

This time of year is traditionally for remembering loved ones who have passed on. We have certainly been doing that, but I have also resolved to spend some time looking back at the Sun King’s visitors’ book and remembering the pilgrims who have come to pay homage to him. 

I have been pretty rubbish at printing out the pilgrims’ photos and, until now, they have remained pointlessly trapped in my camera roll. But, thanks to a friend kicking me into action, they are now all in the book alongside the pilgrims’ lovely little notes. Having a picture of Catorze with each visitor really does make the book and, better yet, we have a VERY special visit due later this month. The details shall be revealed nearer the time, but I am excited beyond belief and I know that Catorze is, too. 

Thank you to everyone who has been kind enough to visit Sa Maj and bring him gifts. He really does appreciate it, although he needs to work on showing it.