L’apocalypse commence par Le Roi Soleil

Armageddon must be nigh: although Louis Catorze has escaped out at The Front about 78 times since we took delivery of our plant-topped recycling box thing, not once has he attempted to use it as a litter tray. Much as it pains and repulses me, I have been checking for signs of disturbed soil every time someone knocks at the door to return him to us, and there are none whatsoever.

Whilst we are delighted that Sa Maj is, for once, doing what we want him to do, something about it makes us rather uncomfortable and we can’t help waiting for the axe to fall at some random and inopportune moment. 

Here he is enjoying the new green surroundings of The Front, with the sedums now in place. Has he turned over a new leaf (metaphorically, I mean), or will his inherent evil triumph at some point?

Les perroquets verts

Cat Daddy and I have decided that we aren’t making the most of living in London, and that we ought to do more London things. To be honest, this is by no means a recent revelation. We have known this for some time, and it became especially apparent last year when I took a French friend on a Thames boat trip: “There’s a nice building. No idea what it is. Look, there’s another nice building. No idea what it is …” and so on. 

We have a book about strange and unusual sights in London, and, to my surprise, when I consulted the “South West London” section for things to do and see, I discovered that the Angry Birds were listed as one of the “attractions”. Yes, THOSE Angry Birds. Or, as Cocoa the babysit cat calls them, “main course”:

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Last year they drove us absolutely insane with rage with their screeching and, on one occasion, when I couldn’t stand the racket anymore, I looked outside to see that the Louis Catorze was winding them up. Now, it seems, not long after discovering the extent of their célébrité, they have started to drift back. Cat Daddy spotted a couple the other day on the telegraph wires behind Le Château, and they may have come back to nest and feed but it’s more likely that they’re looking to lay their vengeance upon Catorze.

Given that birds are able not only to recall the faces of individuals who have wronged them but also to encourage their bird friends to give said individuals some grief, I really hope Sa Maj will mind his own business this time. After all, a small, black cat with vampire teeth and a voice that could strip paint is pretty distinctive, and there’s no mistaking him for some other (nicer) cat or vice versa.

The Angry Birds can be found on page 266 of Graeme Chesters’ “London’s Secrets: Bizarre and Curious”. Their location is listed as Richmond Park although, in reality, they can be found all over West London and, rather like the Aurora Borealis, encountering them is more due to chance than anything else. Should you happen to meet them, it’s probably best to deny that you’ve even heard of Sa Maj.

Here he is, reminding them of who’s king around these parts:

Maintenant lavez-vous les pattes

We have just treated ourselves to a fabulous green solution for storing our unsightly recycling boxes. However, once the top bit is filled with soil and plants, I am concerned that a certain someone may mistake it for the world’s fanciest litter tray. So … how to keep Louis Catorze from doing unwanted business here? 

Cat Daddy, rather naively, is insisting that Catorze will never use this as les toilettes royales “because he isn’t allowed out at The Front”. But we all know better, don’t we? 

We – well, I – thought about everything from cat-arse-activated sprinklers to filling the top with spiky cacti to deter la derrière royale, but then my mum suggested sedums. No, I had no idea what they were, either, until now. 

As far as I can gather, sedums are low-maintenance, semi-succulent plants which (my mum says) will spread quickly, leaving little-to-no soil exposed to tempt wayward cat behinds. And although they are not covered in spines like cacti, they can be quite pointy in places, so I can’t say I would especially want to sit on one.

So, now that we have a genius idea for Roi-proofing our new purchase, all we need to do is ramp up our efforts to keep The Front under lockdown. Player 1 (me) is ready. Player 2 (Cat Daddy), not so much.

If you also fancy treating your cat to a ruinously expensive outdoor litter tray, we got ours from bluum.co.uk. We even managed to assemble it without Cat Daddy losing his temper and without me stabbing either him or myself in the head with the screwdriver.

FrankenRoi ou Le Prométhée Moderne

The other day, when we got back from the shops, Louis Catorze bolted outside the moment the door was opened. We meant to leave him for a few minutes and then haul him in but, with all the unpacking we had to do, we ended up forgetting about him and leaving him alone and on the rampage at The Front. 

After an hour or so he was screaming at the window to be let in again, so Cat Daddy did exactly what any loving cat parent would do: laugh hysterically and take photos. And I must say I couldn’t blame him, because this was the sight that greeted him when he opened the shutters:

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What looks like dusty, cobwebby crud on Sa Majesté’s head actually IS dusty, cobwebby crud. And the strange, flesh-coloured, ribbed area on the little little sod’s chest is Cat Daddy’s hand reflected in the glass. Obviously this wasn’t visible to passers-by outside but, to us, poor Catorze looked like a creature from one of the more modern Living Dead movies: an otherworldly, undead hell-beast with his rib cage protruding through his decaying flesh.

Me: “He looks like a zombie cat baying for brains.

Cat Daddy: “Well, I suppose he has to get them from somewhere.”

We did let him in eventually. And we now have some excellent ideas for his Halloween costume this year, even though, as a black cat with vampire teeth, technically he is in TWO costumes all year round. 

FURminateur 2: Le Dernier Jugement

Good grief. Louis Catorze looks disgusting. It seems that the FURmination a few days ago has stimulated his skin to release some sort of crud, and now he is all speckled and dandruffy. He looks just like he did when I accidentally poured xylitol all over him, and it’s so foul that Cat Daddy is threatening to bathe him. 

He doesn’t appear to me remotely bothered by the speckles but, for obvious reasons, it bothers us. We would all far rather have a non-dandruffy cat than a dandruffy one, wouldn’t we? 

FURminator users: please tell me that this won’t happen EVERY time I FURminate, and that it’s just a little first-time-user glitch?

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Hasta la vista, les poils

MERCI to everyone who sent good wishes to Louis Catorze on his birthday. It was difficult to know what to buy for a cat who already has everything, so we decided to treat him to some jambon de Bayonne (of which he ate two scraps, then looked at the third as if it were poison and walked away) and a FURminator. 

Cat Daddy: “Sorry, what? FURminator? FURRR-minator?”

Cat Daddy again: “And can you not write that WE gave him jambon de Bayonne and a FURminator? [He says the word “FURminator” in his Alan-Rickman-as-the-Sheriff-of-Nottingham voice.] YOU did this. I honestly couldn’t care less.”

If you have ever had a sheddy pet, it’s highly likely that you will know what a FURminator is: a special grooming implement designed to remove pet hair more effectively than a standard brush. It may seem a bizarre choice of gift for a cat who can’t stand being brushed, but the device is supposed to remove so much loose hair upon each brushing that, overall, progressively fewer sessions are required. So, really, it’s a gift to myself as well as to Catorze. 

The FURminator comes in different sizes – we purchased “Smallest Creature Possible”, of course – and in both long- and short-haired variants. I must say I was cynical about how much fur it would remove – a brush is a brush, after all, and I imagined all brushes to be created equal – but the FURminator is in a class of its own. Below is the amount of fur that I would ordinarily have extracted from a whole-body brushing session with the little sod’s old brush, but the FURminator removed this from just an eighth of his body. That said, I can see the device being quite sharp if not used properly, so I would advise you to test it out on your own skin (seriously) to ascertain how much pressure is more like a massage than a scratch, and adjust pressure on kitty accordingly.

As we are fairly certain that there is a link between regular grooming sessions and Sa Maj’s skin condition, it will be interesting to see how his health progresses with regular FURmination. We’ll be back.

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