Le Cône est de retour (encore une fois)

It’s been almost 5 days since we declared a Code Rouge state of emergency and deployed Le Cône to save Louis Catorze from his worst enemy: himself. So much has happened but here’s a brief synopsis:

Monday: The vet suggests that we Cône Catorze for a day or so.

Tuesday: We take off Cône for about 90 seconds and he manages to scratch and cut through his skin again. Cône goes back on.

Wednesday: I try removing Cône once more, this time for about 12 seconds, and the same thing happens. We decide to keep it on for another day.

Thursday: Little sod seems much better and appears to have stopped scratching, so I swap Cône for a more comfortable and yielding soft Cône. He sneaks off somewhere and scratches himself into a worse state than ever. Hard Cône goes back on.

Friday: Cat Daddy takes him back to the vet. Another steroid shot, this time the month-long one, is booked for Monday.

We had completely forgotten how much hard work it is to have a cat in a Cône and to manage all the inevitable life adjustments. It also doesn’t help that Catorze is such a shite.

His firm Cône is well-designed, with a front part that de-Velcros off for feeding, but kitty needs to be ready to eat the moment it comes off. If they’re not, and you leave them at length with the front part detached, the weight of the heavier back part makes it swing back to front, and then they can’t eat. And, of course, this is where Catorze won’t play ball.

When we straighten Le Cône to allow him to eat or drink, he no longer wants to do either of those things. Then, when his Cône swings the wrong way around again, he decides that he DOES want to eat and drink after all. So we straighten his Cône, and he changes his mind again. You get the picture. Much of our week has been spent tearing our hair out over this.

Le Cône is pictured below, in detached mode and with the detachable segment just visible on the wooden chest in the background. Our model is sporting a size XS (which will surprise absolutely nobody).

If you are interested in the same Cône that was given to us by the lovely Marc from Katzenworld (THANK YOU, MARC), I have attached a link at the bottom of this post.

The next size up should fit a guinea pig


La brosse royale (Partie 1)

Since Louis Catorze’s skin problem returned, Cat Daddy and I have been very strict about brushing him every day. The brush is quite firm so we don’t actually brush his face with it as such, but we hold it up and let him decide how hard – if at all – he wishes to rub his face against it.

On a couple of occasions, he has pressed/hurled himself against the brush with such ferocity that it has alarmed us. I even videoed it once (mainly because I didn’t think anyone would believe me) and it’s quite gut-wrenching viewing, with scraping sounds akin to fingernails down a chalk board. Yet we trusted him to instinctively know what was best for him and to manage it accordingly. This was a massive mistake because, earlier in the week, the yelp happened.

Yes: the little sod actually brushed himself to the point of pain. This is not good.

So now the brush is strictly for body use only, and the moral of this story is that, however bad your judgement may be, it will always be better than that of a not-very-bright cat. And I really should have known better, because this is the same silly sod who picks fights with dogs and foxes, who heads for hotter-than-the-sun greenhouses during heatwaves and who rolls in the middle of the road for fun.

On a more positive note, I have ordered a brand new brush just for his face, and I can’t wait for it to arrive.

I know. Had Teenage Me known that Forties Me would be excited about the arrival of my cat’s new facial brush, I would have had a serious word with myself.


Le mot C

Things are developing here at Le Château faster than I can write. I had an entirely different entry ready to post today, but I have had to make changes following recent events. Please feel free to mute us (if, indeed, that is a thing on WordPress) or to unfollow if the updates become a nuisance, but it really helps me in terms of record-keeping to write and post in real time about Louis Catorze’s health.

Yesterday, when we came home from a day out, Cat Daddy and I noticed that Catorze’s face was a little redder, but not alarmingly so. However, in the couple of hours after our return, he disappeared off to scratch himself to smithereens and reappeared looking like the victim of an acid attack. So we took another trip to see the vet.

Although we had initially said no to repeating the steroid shot in case it exacerbated any fungal infection, the vet felt that this level of deterioration was unlikely to be of fungal origin. In any case our priority was definitely to control the itching, so we went ahead with the second shot. Once again Catorze went stark raving psycho, screaming bloody murder and scratching both Cat Daddy and the nurse (not the same lady that he scratched before, and I can’t decide whether this is good because he hasn’t made the same person suffer twice, or bad because he’s doubled his victim count in the space of a few days).

Anyway, he is now under house arrest and we have had to deploy Le Cône. I really didn’t want to have to do this, but we haven’t had much choice; as he clearly can’t be trusted not to scratch, if we were to leave him sans Cône he would pretty soon have no face or ears left.

The saddest thing about him being Côned is that he doesn’t become skittish or aggressive around us but wearily compliant, like a prisoner of war so broken down that he finally resigns himself to his fate. He is more affectionate and needy than usual, presumably because not being able to fully see around him makes him uneasy and therefore he needs to be near us to feel safe.

I wish we could make him understand that he will always be safe with us.

“Je déteste Le Cône.”

Pourtant on a le même vieux gruau

When we saw the vet last week and discussed changes in the home that could have triggered Louis Catorze’s problem, she suggested that we stop the Delicious Chicken food for a while.

Cat Daddy is rather cross about this as we only bought a brand new pack of Delicious Chicken two days before the vet appointment. But, because he is a huge advocate of cutting down on meat consumption to save the planet, he is also delighted that he and his boy can form a special little pescatarian club together.

Yes, I know: what’s missing in their lives is their own club.

I checked the ingredients lists of both the Fabulous Fish and the Delicious Chicken at the weekend, and virtually the only differences are, erm, the fish and the chicken. Even the minuscule trace ingredients are more or less consistent between the variants. But, according to the vet, cats can react to the protein in foods, and changing from fish to chicken or vice versa can be sufficient to trigger symptoms. The huge gauntlet of allergy testing that Catorze underwent at the rescue appeared to indicate that his issues were NOT food-related but, since it’s a change that we can deliver with zero effort, we have decided that it has to be worth a try.

So the little sod is back to just one type of food for the moment. But we may allow him a few slivers of jambon de Bayonne on 30th April as a birthday treat.

Picture taken last Tuesday; the more recent ones are not pretty.

Une descente aux enfers

On Thursday, after a series of skin-scraping and hair-plucking tests, Louis Catorze returned from his vet appointment looking worse than ever. He looks so bad that, if a stranger in the street were to see him, they’d scoop him up and take him straight to a rescue.

Ideally he would have a tag saying, “I AM NOT A STRAY: I have a home and a plentiful food supply, my skin problems look dreadful but are being treated, and that pitiful, gut-churning screaming is just my normal voice” but I don’t suppose he would wear a collar. Plus that’s a lot of text to fit onto a small tag.

This time I left Cat Daddy to do the packaging-up and the transportation, as we didn’t want a repeat of those previous incidents.* Here he is, striding purposefully through the park with the screaming bag of fur, and I’ve added a sombre Noir filter to match the general mood du jour:

It was the worst of times

*Incident 1: I hurt my neck and shoulder trying to restrain Sa Maj for his flea treatment. Consequence: cancellation of our Paris trip.

*Incident 2: I hurt my back carrying him home from his vet appointment, and Cat Daddy was away. Consequence: I was left stranded in the park opposite Le Château, and the only readily-available local people whose phone numbers I had were those whom Catorze had pissed off in some way.

We were all set for another steroid shot but, when we told the vet that the last one had been very short-lived, she advised against a second for the time being. It seems that steroid shots can make fungal infections worse and, although we are pretty sure that this isn’t what Catorze has, Cat Daddy and I agreed to try and rule it out before bombarding him with more treatments. So we decided to do the parasite and fungal infection skin scraping tests there and then, and to leave the second steroid shot until we had the results.

As expected, the little sod completely lost it during the tests, screaming, climbing all over Cat Daddy’s shoulders, clawing the poor vet nurse which then led to her having to deploy the strait-towel, and so on. To be honest I don’t really blame him. I can’t think of anything worse than being taken to a place you hate and having already-sore skin poked and scratched whilst the people who are supposed to care for you just stand and watch. When it was all over, it was a relief for every single one of us.

Cat Daddy and I remain mystified. I even wondered if perhaps Catorze might be allergic to The Special One (the merino wool scarf that I’m knitting at the moment), but, to my knowledge, he doesn’t sleep on the scarf, and his contact with it is limited to batting at the yarn with his paws and trying to kill it as I knit. Pets who are allergic to wool usually sleep on blankets or carpets containing the offending substance; could Catorze be so freakishly sensitive that he reacts to wool just by being in a room with it?

Anyway, the mite/parasite test came back all clear, and I am prepared to bet Le Château and all its contents on the fungal one saying the same thing in 2 weeks’ time. In the meantime, we are giving the little sod plenty of extra love – or, as Cat Daddy puts it, “It’s all about HIM, as usual.”

Exclu du ciel trop longtemps

Someone is not happy that we are continuing to shut him out of the bedrooms during the day. Even though he has his igloo and a perfectly good selection of clean fluffy blankets and cushions downstairs.

Cat Daddy, referring to the mid-scream moment when this picture was taken: “He was absolutely manic. Totally bloody psycho. I was actually scared.”

Louis Catorze is prowling angrily around the landing right now as I write, no doubt waiting for some unsuspecting sucker to open a door so that he can dart in and dive straight under the bed. But we can’t give into his campaign of bullying and intimidation. We have to stay strong until bedtime, when he is distracted by the fact that we are there and appears to forget about the allure of the underneath part of the bed.

It looks as if he might need another steroid shot this week, as the silly sod has scratched himself and drawn blood again. Cat Daddy fears that we will have to deploy Le Cône, which we all hate and which is truly the papa of last resorts. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that …

Ouvrez la fichue porte!

Malade? Moi?

“He can’t be that unwell if he’s managing to do THAT” is set to become the third most common refrain here at Le Château, after “What the hell is WRONG with him?” and “If any neighbours ask, just say it must have been some other cat.”

My sister and her daughter came to visit at the weekend and, as you know, Louis Catorze loves kids. However, rather than showing affection to my niece (aged 4) when she was awake, he decided to visit her after she had been put to bed to stir up trouble.

The grown-ups’ chosen horror film for the evening (which was unbelievably rubbish, but that’s not the point) was repeatedly interrupted by “Loooouis!”, then giggling and thumping, then feline screaming, then more “Loooouis!”, more giggling and so on.

After around 90 minutes of this sleep deprivation torture, my niece was so over-tired that she lost her rag and bawled. Catorze’s work here was done, so he left my sister to mop up the carnage and pitter-pattered out to join Storm Dennis in wreaking neighbourhood havoc.

If you have sent him get-well vibes, merci. We could, however, use a few more behave-yourself vibes.

Party all night!

La peau de chagrin

It’s been a tricky week here at Le Château.

Louis Catorze’s scabby facial skin condition, from which he has been free for YEARS, has suddenly returned, turning him from moderately scruffy to FrankenRoi in a matter of days.

Despite our best efforts, we still don’t exactly know why this happens to him. We can only imagine that, this time around, it’s due either to some foul substance with which he has come into contact outside, or to his recent penchant for sleeping in a dusty old gym bag under our bed despite having an extensive selection of anti-allergy beds at his disposal.

We were all set to take him to the vet but, inexplicably, he was dramatically better the next day, so we didn’t. But then, mid-week, he looked worse again, even though we had taken great pains to reinstate the Code Rouge État d’Urgence measures as follows:

1. Daily brushing (for reasons unknown, despite the fact that we only brush his body, it appears to improve his facial skin too)

2. A ban on Catorze entering our bedroom unsupervised (when he is likely to creep under the bed unnoticed)

3. At least an hour a day spent in a room with an air-purifying beeswax candle (and, thanks to Cocoa the babysit cat’s mamma, who makes them, we have a healthy stash)

Anyway, Cat Daddy took him to the vet on Thursday, where he was given a week-long steroid shot and instructions to return for a month-long one if there was no improvement.

Unfortunately steroid shots are known to turn cats absolutely manic and, as you are aware, Catorze’s starting point is already somewhat concerning. I came home that evening to frenetic, up-tailed pitter-pattering around and off-the-scale screaming, and Sa Maj wolfed down his dinner in one sitting without a single crumb to spare. This has never happened before.

Please send him both get-well and behave-yourself vibes, in equal measure, so that he is back to his majestic self in time for his Official 10th Birthday Portrait sittings.

A little poorly, but still a massive pain in the arse

Un peu un phénomène

I couldn’t be more relieved (and grateful) that I did all my stupid stuff back in the 90s when there were no cameras on mobile phones. (Nor were there any mobile phones, come to think of it.)

No such luck for Louis Catorze, whose life is played out on social media for all to see. And, when Cat Daddy was going through old photos on his phone the other day, he discovered one or two of the little sod having an unguarded moment with some, erm, special herbs.

Although Catorze was a regular catnip user whilst at the rescue (for medicinal purposes, I might add) I haven’t given him much since he’s lived here with us, mainly because I don’t really know what to do with it. In this case I stuffed the dried herb into one of Cat Daddy’s socks, which greatly displeased him as they are apparently Special Cycling Socks (?), but it appeared to have the desired effect.

Anyway, here is the least flattering picture of the bunch, with the Special Sock in shot and with visible trails left by his drug-addled eye-shine and his fangs:

🎵 White lines … 🎶

Le pouvoir de la lune

Cat Daddy and I felt miserable and out of sorts the other day after a dreadful night’s sleep. And I expect you can guess the reason for that dreadful night’s sleep.

Cat Daddy [edited version]: “He was absolutely ****ing awful: going out, coming in, jumping on me, screaming, sticking his wet nose in my ears, rubbing his whiskers on my face. He’s a ****ing pest.”

I must admit I was surprised as he’s not usually this bad (Louis Catorze, not Cat Daddy). I am often aware of his presence during the night, but he tends to utter just a few closed-mouth whines and not much more.

My friend: “Are we approaching a full moon, by any chance?”

I checked the date.


I don’t dare tell Cat Daddy that this is no one-off, but something that is likely to happen 12-13 times a year. And, yes, most cats of Catorze’s age are winding down, but clearly The Mothership has failed to send him the “All seniors, stand down” memo.

Anyway, Cat Daddy is still livid and says we need to give him to a rescue for a few days’ respite so that we can get some sleep. Is this even a thing? Do rescues or catteries – or does ANYONE – offer this service?

“Réveillez-vous! Aucune raison!”

Le gobelet

One of Louis Catorze’s favourite people in the world – with the exception of, erm, all the men – came to visit us recently.

Sa Maj’s visitors are always very generous with their gifts to us and to him, but this lady is especially kind and thoughtful. Her gifts include his vintage French cat bowl, the like of which we have never seen before, a beautiful cat silhouette picture made up of the most commonly-used words on Le Blog – excluding the swear words – and, of course, his beloved igloo.

Her most recent gift to us is below. And, unbelievably, Cat Daddy – yes, he who complains non-stop that “this house is full of cat shite” – loves it so much that he has claimed it for himself. Even though he is now retired and so isn’t really in the market for a travel mug, unless you count his long journeys from the kitchen to the sofa.

Thank you, Lizzi, for this:

C’est le diable Louis-même

Dieu doit penser que je suis un chat génial

A further addendum to Little Sods’ Law is now in place: a black cat’s attraction to a ball of wool is directly proportional to the cost of the wool.

Louis Catorze showed moderate interest when I was knitting cotton scarves at £2.50 per ball but, now that I have made a start on The Special One (my scarf made of merino wool at £783.99 per ball), his “Urge To Kill” switch has been well and truly activated.

I have learned the hard way that knitting with merino wool is complicated if you are a novice and not following a pattern. It takes several goes with different sizes of needle and various numbers of stitches to get it right. And drink-knitting is an absolute no-no: just a couple of glasses of Crémant give me the dangerous false confidence that I can fix anything that goes wrong, which invariably leads to making everything worse. And there are only so many times that I can message Wife of That Neighbour with Knitting SOS distress signals before she and her husband become even angrier with us than they already are because of Catorze’s disturbances.

In short, my task is arduous enough and I could really do without him attacking both the wool and the needles every few seconds and generally being a shite.

I have to wind the wool around the table leg as I work to stop it from twisting and, as you can see, this is like an injured seal to Catorze’s great white shark. In the last picture he decided to actually SIT ON MY WORK to take a break from his tomfoolery, and I am very unhappy indeed with the position of that needle.