Les chiens ont des maîtres, les chats ont des serviteurs

Not long ago we decided to try a little experiment inspired by this link:

https://honesttopaws.com/dogs-told-theyre-a-good-boy/?bdk=a*undefined&ch=bt

It’s true, Mesdames et Messieurs. Dogs’ faces visibly change when humans say “Good boy” or “Good girl”, because they actually value our opinion. Cats, on the other hand, aren’t even listening to us. And, in the highly unlikely event that they hear what we say, they don’t care.

Anyway, here is Oscar the dog:

Before
“Good boy!”

A hint of a smile from Nala the dog:

Before
“Good girl!”

(We did not conduct this experiment with Gizzy as her weird face-fur conceals any type of facial expression. Plus we’re still not sure what she is.)

Noah the dog:

Before
“Good boy!”

And, erm, Louis Catorze:

Before
“Good boy!”

So … does this prove that dogs are loyal, eager-to-please companions and cats are dastardly villains?

Cat Daddy: “Yeah, because we were all racking our brains over that one.”

Thank you to the Oscar’s Dog Parents, Nala’s Puppy Parents and Noah’s Dog Aunty – and to the doggies themselves, of course – for being such good sports.

L’écharpe à trous

I am not pleased.

Cat Daddy and I have a present box in the attic and, every time we see something that reminds us of one of our friends or family members, we buy it, put it in the box and save it until Christmas or their birthday.

I spent November and December working flat-out to knit a scarf for someone in time for their late January birthday and, after completing it, I put it in our present box. However, a certain little sod has somehow managed to bypass my cleverly-constructed barricade, climb into the box, roll all over the scarf and make holes in it. So not only is it covered in cat hair, but it looks as if I drink-knitted it when I didn’t.

Cat Daddy: “I thought it was a little strange when I saw that massive cushion in the middle of the floor.” The cushion, which was the barricade, is about 78 times the size of Louis Catorze and there’s no way he could move it on his own. Or so I thought.

Anyway, I don’t have time to knit another one, so I have no option but to hand over a holey, hairy scarf. Thank goodness the recipient likes Catorze. Because I’m not sure I do at the moment.

Le mauvais écureuil

Oh my: it seems we may have been a little hasty in accusing Louis Catorze of digging around in the sedums.

To be honest we had started to have our suspicions some time ago, when we noticed that the soil disturbance incidents didn’t correspond with Catorze’s escapes at The Front. And, as we were leaving the house the other day, we caught this sizeable sod – he doesn’t look that large in the photo but, trust me, he was massive – having a fine old time in our recycling box planter. I wasn’t quite quick enough to catch him in the act, but here he is making his escape (below).

I almost feel bad for blaming Sa Maj, but then Cat Daddy rightfully pointed out 1) that Catorze doesn’t care (and never did) and 2) that it makes up for all those times when he did things and got away with it.

We can’t prove the things, nor do we know what half the things even are. But we know that THERE HAVE BEEN THINGS.

Le pré et la marée

When Cat Daddy retired last August I imagined he would start spending time intensifying his fitness regime, learning a new musical instrument and attending language classes, but it seems I underestimated him and he has his mind on much higher things.

He has been threatening for ages to stockpile Louis Catorze’s food in case of a no-deal Brexit. And, when I got home from work one day, he very proudly asked me to check inside the cat food cupboard. So I did … and I saw not one but TWO containers containing Catorze’s Lily’s Kitchen biscuits. I’d rather have found diamonds or champagne but, erm, ok.

Me: “… ? …”

Him: “I bought him some Delicious Chicken as well as Fabulous Fish, and I’ve put them into two separate containers.”

Me: “Ok. That’s great …”

Him: “He does like Delicious Chicken, doesn’t he?”

Me: “I think so, yes.”

Him: “So why haven’t we been giving him both? Why have we only been giving him Fabulous Fish?”

To be honest I didn’t really know the answer to this, and I then had the lecture about whether I would like having to eat the same thing every day. (If having crisps for breakfast counts, then I think that ship has well and truly sailed.)

That evening, I gave Catorze a helping of both foods together.

Cat Daddy, looking disgusted: “What? Both? On the same plate?”

Me: “Erm, yes. Why not?”

Him: “They’re DIFFERENT MEATS.”

Me: “But cats eat bugs and maggot-infested roadkill. I don’t suppose fish and chicken on the same plate will bother him in the slightest.”

Him: “Would YOU eat fish and meat from the same plate?”

Me: “Is that not what “surf and turf” is?”

[Silence, tumbleweed, crickets]

Anyway, Catorze now has two different foods. And, every time I feed the little sod, Cat Daddy yells, “Don’t forget: fish for breakfast, chicken for dinner!”

I’ll be sure to let you know when someone turns this gripping story into a film.

Le figuier royal

People who plant new trees are good. But people who are nice to existing trees are also pretty good, non?

As if to make up for delivering us the devil-plant that is deadly nightshade, Mother Nature has gifted us a fig tree (pictured below when it still had leaves; at the moment it’s just a sticking-up twig).

Oui, Mesdames et Messieurs: it quite literally just appeared one day, and I had no idea what it was until the delightful people on my social media tree group collectively Shazammed it. What a wonderful gift this is, and how very appropriate given that the human Louis XIV apparently grew figs at Versailles. That said, I am trying not to think too hard about the fact that the seed most likely fell out of a bird’s arse (and quite a middle-class bird at that).

Unfortunately it seems that the fig is toxic to cats. Not in a “sit downwind of it and you die” type of way, like the nightshade, but ingesting any part of it will cause vomiting and general malaise. And yet, in a world that is wiping out trees by the minute as if they are some sort of liability, I am determined to love this one and to find some way of enabling it and Louis Catorze to coexist happily. This is not going to be easy, given his penchant for doing exactly what we don’t want him to do, when we don’t want him to do it.

Anyway, as advised, we have moved the fig to a terracotta pot and are keeping it indoors until the spring. Can we trust Sa Maj to neither eat it nor turn the pot into les toilettes royales?

Que la force soit avec eux

Nala the dog now has a new sister, and my messages to and from Puppy Mamma about their most recent family member went something like this:

Her: “You’re not going to believe what’s happened. Promise you won’t judge?”

Me: “Ok.”

Her: “I’ve got a new puppy!”

Me: “Not meaning to judge, but what the ****?”

Her: “I KNOW! I just blinked and it happened!”

Me: “Send me a picture.”

[She sends a picture.]

Me: “That’s not even a dog.”

[She sends another picture.]

Me: “That’s still not a dog.”

[She sends more pictures .]

Me: “STILL NOT A DOG.”

If you don’t believe me, look for yourselves. This is Gizmo, a.k.a. Gizzy:

Not a dog

No, I have never seen anything like it, either. And, no, I’m still not convinced it’s a dog. In fact, I’m struggling to even articulate what I think it is, although perhaps some sort of Chewbacca-alien hybrid is the closest thing.

Anyway, I now have a second creature to add my list of animals who don’t need costumes at Hallowe’en (the first being Louis Catorze). And the Puppy Parents now have TWO unhinged beasts to deal with. The only thing that could possibly make their household more bonkers would be to add a psycho black cat to the mix and, quite frankly, I wouldn’t put it past them.

If you have any suggestions as to what species Gizzy might be, we would love to hear them. We’re still undecided.

La tête de mort

We have just discovered that the fall of the print pattern on the fabric of Louis Catorze’s igloo makes the hanging fish look like a sideways-on severed zombie head wearing some sort of scuba diving headgear. And, the more we stare at it, the more we wonder how on earth we could have failed to notice it before.

Cat Daddy winced and shuddered when I pointed it out. But I rather love it that, just as we thought Louis Catorze couldn’t be any creepier, he adds an extra layer, intentionally or otherwise. I’m pretty sure that, if he were human, hanging the heads of dead scuba divers at the entrance to his home would be just his kind of thing. Maybe he would even wear one of the heads as a hat, as that guy from Con Air did and as he is attempting to do in this picture. (Yes, he is actually sitting with the fish resting on his head.)

As they say on the internet: once seen, it cannot be unseen. You’re welcome.