Le nombre de la bête

A few weeks ago I posted this photo and comment (below) on social media, in response to a video of a dog rescuing someone from the water. As you can see, there are a lot of people out there who, like me, know that cats are psychopaths who would happily drown us all if they could. And black ones are the worst of the lot.

I couldn’t be more thrilled that, just in time for Hallowe’en, the number of Likes on my comment has reached 666.

Joyeuse Halloween à tous. And, if you have a black cat and also enjoy swimming, don’t take any chances at the time of year when the little sods are at their most powerful.

La menace fantôme

With Hallowe’en just around the corner, Louis Catorze has ramped up the creepy to Expert Level.

He has started opening doors and shutters, and he is remarkably good at it. However, when we wake up to find the wardrobe doors open it can feel very unnerving. Think Sixth-Sense-meets-Poltergeist and you will understand what I mean.

Naturellement, he hasn’t worked out how to shut doors after himself – unless it is to shut himself in a room, and then he decides he can’t be bothered to let himself out and screams for us to do it.

When my sister and her family came to visit, Cat Daddy and I assumed that, if anyone made trouble, it would be the kids. Not so. Catorze prowled around the house all night, opening bedroom doors repeatedly and scaring my sister by projecting strange shadow shapes on the baby monitor. (The moving vertical candy cane shape really foxed her until she finally realised that it was his up-tail with the silly kink at the end.) Once dawn had broken he was clearly bored of scaring everyone quietly, and that was when he came crashing into our room, screaming.

At breakfast that morning we discovered that everyone had a complaint about him, except for my eldest niece (aged 3) who said, “Louis came to look after me in the night! I love him!”

Cat Daddy: “I guess someone has to.”

My sister just about managed to catch him in action in the picture below. As if a black cat with vampire teeth weren’t already sinister enough:

Le dernier testament

As we approach that time of year whose very essence is darkness and death, it somehow seems apt to mention that Cat Daddy and I have just been for a meeting with our solicitor about our wills. And it went something like this:

“Have you written a will before?”


“Do you have any idea of what should happen to your estate upon your passing?”


“Have you talked about your funeral plans with anyone?”


“Have you nominated anyone to have power of attorney in case of your ill health?”


“Have you made ANY plans for what might happen after your death?”

“Well, we’ve made arrangements for our cat.”

[Silence, tumbleweed, crickets]

Obviously, if one of us departed before the other, the remaining one would take care of Louis Catorze. (Cat Daddy has just read this over my shoulder and says he wouldn’t, but we all know that he loves his boy.) However, we discovered when planning for the unlikely event of Catorze outliving both of us, that the issue of who would have him isn’t as straightforward as we thought. Many of our friends and family members have cats, or love cats, but that’s not to say they would want another one. Especially not one like Le Roi.

Here is a written summary of our discussion and conclusions:

⁃ My mum: has a cat who has one feline best buddy but hates all others, so no

⁃ Sister 1: has recently adopted a cat who has a history of scaring other cats, so no

⁃ Sister 2: husband is a dog person, so no

⁃ Neighbour 1: has Oscar the dog, so HELL no

⁃ Neighbour 2: has Cocoa the babysit cat who enjoys life as an only cat, so no

⁃ Neighbour 3: “likes cats, but wouldn’t want to live with one”, so no

⁃ Neighbour 4: is sick to death of having to bring Sa Maj back to us every time he escapes at The Front or breaks into his house, so no

Luckily, Catorze’s ex-rescue have a policy of allowing their ex-cats back into the fold should circumstances change. And, as they not only know his intricate and elaborate history but also saw fit to spend in excess of £12,000 trying to make him well, I would feel more comfortable with them heading up his rehoming process than with potentially inconveniencing someone who didn’t really want a(nother) (complicated) cat. So I have asked one of my sisters to be in charge of contacting them and arranging for them to collect him, and hopefully they would be able to find another set of suckers family to take him on.

I don’t suppose any of us really want to think about our cats outliving us. But we should probably still plan for it, just in case.

La chasse aux baies

Poor old Louis Catorze. Here he is, dutifully fixed to his post at the virginia creeper and utterly unaware that the tantalising sounds within are, in fact … falling berries.

Oui, mes amis: there are no birds, no mice and no bugs, nor has he discovered an opening to The Underworld. It’s just berries. Cat Daddy made this discovery during an alfresco session of Boys’ Club, and it perfectly explains not only why Catorze assigned himself to a spot too high for mice and too low for birds, but also why he hasn’t caught anything yet (not that we are complaining about this).

Anyway, he has spent most of the week still in the same place. No doubt he will be there today, tomorrow, the day after that, and the day after that. It would be tragic if it weren’t so utterly hilarious.

Le pouvoir du vampire

This week I asked some of my students whether they liked dogs or cats. They said cats. This is the correct answer.

The conversation then led to our own cats, past and present, including, of course, Louis Catorze, and at the end of the lesson I showed them a photo of him. They were utterly spellbound and speechless at the sight of his magnificent vampire fangs.

“Miss, he’s REALLY beautiful!” they exclaimed. “Can we see more pictures? Can we just look at cat pictures next lesson instead of doing work?” They will never know how much I wanted to say yes to this. French pluperfect tense grammar rules or cat photos? It’s a no-brainier, oui?

Anyway, the students now appear to be under the impression that people would pay a fortune for a black vampire cat, and they are devising a Dragons’ Den-worthy scheme to get rich by breeding Le Roi and having his hypothetical Reine birth lots of fanged babies. Cat Daddy spat his tea all over his newspaper when I told him this, and said, “Bad, bad idea. One: he has freakish physical and mental abnormalities that are best not passed on. Two: females aren’t his thing. Three: he has no balls and can’t reproduce anyway.”

Good points, well made. But, as the little sod’s big day approaches, I’m with my students on this one. I think that we have been blessed with a very special gift indeed, because who DOESN’T want a vampire cat at Hallowe’en? And it is my civic duty to share this gift with the world.

Cat Daddy again: “No. It’s really not.”

Je chasse, donc je suis

Whilst most normal cats are opting for indoors as the temperatures drop, Louis Catorze has been doing the opposite. This will, of course, be of no surprise to anyone.

He has been spending more time outdoors than he ever did in the height of summer, even/especially when it’s raining. In fact, we have barely seen the little sod lately, except for the regular 3am drenched screamathons. Even Boys’ Club meetings appear to have been adjourned indefinitely. And this is because he has found a new hunting spot. Oui, Mesdames et Messieurs: there is something in the virginia creeper.

The other day I just about managed to catch him mid-rummage (see photo). I am mystified as to what it could be as I can’t imagine birds would live so low down, nor do I think mice would live so high up. But whatever it is has been occupying every waking minute, and no doubt the mystery will be solved when we are woken in the middle of the night with a twitching, oozing corpse dumped onto our bed.

What more surprises could be winging their way to us during this cursèd month when psycho black cats are at their most powerful? (Not a rhetorical question: I genuinely want answers so that I can prepare myself.)

De nouveaux horizons

Cat Daddy and I are a little sad because we have had to give up Kim*, our lovely, reliable car who never gave us any trouble. (Although we do, of course, realise that we lead a very fortunate life if that’s our greatest upset.)

*Not named after Kim Kardashian, I might add, but after, erm, Kim Jong-Un. It was funny at the time.

Our new car is the same make and similar in colour and shape to Kim, so there should be none of that initial new car confusion when attempting to locate it in car parks. But will Louis Catorze recognise it? For all his lack of brain cells, the little sod had grown to know the sound of Kim and was always at the door to greet us when we got home.

Cat Daddy is convinced that cats instinctively pick up on the HUMAN presence at the door, not the car outside, and appears to have completely forgotten about this incident:


But I think it’s both. And I now wonder how long it will be before Catorze learns to associate a new car sound with us? I will keep you informed on how promptly he shows up at the door when we get home after being out.

The day we dropped off Kim and collected her successor, I said to Cat Daddy, “This must be what it’s like when you foster a cat and then it finds a new home, don’t you think?”

Cat Daddy, without looking up from his laptop: “No. I don’t think it’s remotely like that.”

Me: “Do you think Scott [the car dealership sales guy] would think it weird if we asked him to make sure Kim went to a good home? And maybe the new owner could send us photos?”

[Silence, tumbleweed, crickets]

Que Dieu ait son âme

I am taking a break from Le Château this weekend, leaving Boys’ Club to itself – Cat Daddy has assured me that he will “try to remember” to feed and water Louis Catorze – and I have escaped to the south coast for my annual Halloweekend celebration with my sister and her family.

It’s a tradition that we started some years ago and still continue to this day, and this time I am lucky enough to be a guest in their lovely town house overlooking the sea. My sister doesn’t have any cats but she does have a homicidal Hitchcock-esque seagull, easily big enough to carry off Catorze should it feel so inclined, who lives on her roof and who dive-bombs passers-by every now and again. So I haven’t entirely escaped from unhinged animals who want to kill me.

To help us decide what to do this weekend, we have been taking inspiration from Tina Brown’s book “Haunted Experiences in Hastings and Beyond”. The last chapter is entitled “Ghostly Animals” and, would you believe, it turns out that they’re all cats. Every. Last. One.

Oui, Mesdames et Messieurs: it seems that, whilst other animals have got the hang of the whole resting in peace thing, cats haven’t (or don’t want to). Even death is not enough to stop the little sods from driving us round the bend. I am shocked but not the slightest bit surprised.

Do you have any scary cat stories? Have you encountered any ghost cats, or have your living cats ever freaked you out with their kitty ESP, their spirit-spotting capabilities or their general creepiness? If so, I would love to hear all about it.

Chacun tire la couverture à soi

The members of our knitting class are now busily working on new individual assignments, having submitted our group one a few weeks ago. And we have welcomed Wife of That Neighbour as our newest recruit. Well, after making Freddie Mercury’s “I Want To Break Free” jumper she is knitting royalty, so how could she NOT join us?

Puppy Mamma is going to make a jacket for Nala the dog and I have started making a scarf for Cat Daddy in Brentford FC’s colours, but we might tell Cat Daddy and Puppy Daddy that our next assignments will be matching Freddie Mercury-style pink sleeveless jumpers for them, just to see their faces.

Anyway, I am sure you’re desperate to know what our group project was. (Cat Daddy: “NO. BODY. CARES.”) The multi-coloured, spirally squares that we made have all been coordinated and sewn together by our instructor to make a throw, and we have decided to donate it to a local charity shop to be sold or raffled. So, if you live in or around TW7 (which is where the shop is located) and you happen to purchase or win this item, you may wish to pay extra attention to the areas circled as they contain cat and dog spit: