Gémir comme un chien

Louis Catorze has a new sound.

Oui, Mesdames et Messieurs, his repertoire of sounds is no longer limited to the ones mentioned here: https://louiscatorze.com/2018/11/11/je-gueule-donc-je-suis/. We can now add Le Chien Blessé to the list, and this sound is exactly as one would imagine.

If you have a dog, and your dog has ever been shut in a place that they really, really don’t want to be in, THIS IS THAT SOUND. It’s not far off Le Miaulement à la Bouche Fermée (no.1 on the above link) and I would probably place it in that same family, but there is something altogether more tragic about Le Chien Blessé. This horrendous whining scrapes at one’s eardrums and can be heard from anywhere in the house, irrespective of how quietly Catorze may do it and how far one may be from him.

I often go to bed long before Cat Daddy, who stays up watching television or listening to music. Catorze usually comes to bed with me and lies with me for a while, but then goes back downstairs for Boys’ Club. Occasionally he finds the living room door shut so, unable to access Le Club, he utters that sound to alert Cat Daddy to his predicament.

Unfortunately Cat Daddy is often engrossed in some film or programme, or he has his headphones on or some such thing, so he fails to hear Catorze. So Catorze whines again. And again. And again. At this point the sound wakes me from my deep sleep, and I have to send Cat Daddy a text message saying, “LET HIM IN.”

This sound is the second most annoying thing that there is. The only thing more annoying is the fact that I don’t have it on video. Here is Catorze, smug in the knowledge that I have no proof:

“Who whined? Pas moi.”

La masque de la mort noire

Good news: Brentford beat West Bromwich Albion on Friday night.

Bad news: although we desperately scoured the television for a glimpse of earless Louis Catorze on the giant banner, we weren’t able to spot him.

Even worse news: Brentford happened to score just as Cat Daddy was having an intimate papa-fils moment with his boy and, in his euphoria, Cat Daddy screamed in Catorze’s face and sent the poor little sod scuttling outside.

Cat Daddy felt absolutely terrible about it afterwards and was worried about having caused permanent damage to Boys’ Club and to their special bond. But, luckily, Catorze is as thick as mince and promptly forgot about the incident within seconds.

Brentford’s next home game is on 4th July. This also happens to be the day that social distancing rules will relax, and we will be allowed to maintain a distance of “1 metre plus” should 2 metres not be possible. Nobody quite knows what this means, but any system that relies on “the common sense of the British public” must be pretty foolproof, I guess. Ahem.

Pubs will also be open from 4th July, and people are saying, “Imagine how drunk everyone will be!” Erm, they know about drinking at home, right? Or is that just us?

Anyway, although Cat Daddy and I are planning to avoid shops, public transport and people for a little longer, we have bought some new masks just in case we are unavoidably forced to deal with any of the above.

Here is mine. No further words are needed:

Fangtastic.

Sous la chaleur du soleil

It is unbelievably, painfully, brain-vaporisingly hot. And Louis Catorze wants lap cuddles.

But, when he settles on me, it makes him/us even hotter. So he meows disdainfully as if it were all my fault and steps off.

But then he wants lap cuddles again. So he steps onto me and settles down once more. As before, this makes him/us too hot, so he meows disdainfully as if it were all my fault and steps off again.

The little sod has invented possibly the most annoying perpetual motion machine on earth: himself. And it will keep motoring along until one or other of us snaps and loses our shit.

My money is on me being first.

🎵 The heat is on. On my lap … 🎶

À l’intérieur, à l’extérieur

A couple of evenings ago, when Cat Daddy was putting out the recycling, Louis Catorze escaped out at The Front. Then he came to the window as we were watching television and stared in unflinchingly and creepily.

We ignored him and carried on watching television. He continued to stare.

Cat Daddy: “I’m going to have to let him in. I can’t stand to look at his eyes any longer.”

He opened the window. Catorze didn’t move.

Cat Daddy: “I’m going to count down from ten. If you’re not in by one, I’m shutting the window and you’re going to have to stay out there.”

Cat Daddy counted down. Catorze stood statue-still. The window was closed and Cat Daddy sat down.

Then the screaming started.

Cat Daddy: “[Unrepeatable expletives, then] I’m not letting him in now. He can wait.”

The screaming continued.

Cat Daddy: “I’m still not doing it.”

The screaming continued.

Me: “The neighbours are going to be really annoyed by this.”

I was thinking, in particular, of That Neighbour, who got his nickname not because we don’t like him – we do – but because he is always the one who ends up escorting Catorze home when he causes mayhem at The Front. When I tell stories of his escapades and I ask friends to guess who brought him back, they always reply, “Oh God, not that neighbour AGAIN?”

Cat Daddy: “[Unrepeatable expletives, then] Fine.”

This time the little sod came in as soon as the window was opened, only to go out at The Back immediately.

Cat Daddy: “If he wanted to be outside so badly, why didn’t he just stay out at The Front?”

Trying to figure out cat logic? Waste of time. Trying to figure out Roi logic? Seriously, don’t bother.

Let the right one in. This is the wrong one.

Un chat sur un maillot

Cat Daddy and I are thrilled that the football is back. Louis Catorze would have preferred it if we were able to invite the boys* round to watch it, bien sûr, but I think even he accepts that compromised football is better than none at all.

*Catorze is, however, still able to get his virtual boy-fix through Cat Daddy’s Friday night Zoom meet with his pub mates. Last week’s topics of conversation were as follows:

1. Moles (at the time I misheard and thought it was “Mould”, but I have since been corrected and I am sure you will all agree that “Moles” is a far more interesting topic)

2. Who slept with whom in their youth (and finding out that they had women in common)

3. Gin

4. Hot TV presenters from the 70s and 80s, and which ones are still hot

5. Hoarding/finding food items in the cupboard with ancient expiry dates

6. Ice Road Truckers, and which ones have haemorrhoids

7. Pensions

8. Simon’s fruit loaf, and whether or not he should ice it

As we aren’t able to attend matches, our beloved Brentford Football Club have offered season ticket holders the chance to have photos of themselves printed onto a giant banner. (Again, an implied presence at Griffin Park is better than none at all.) And I thought it might be rather fun to, erm, PhotoShop Catorze’s face onto my body and submit that, instead of submitting a photo of myself.

Cat Daddy, when I suggested the idea: “…”

I don’t have the skills to do such a thing but, luckily, Cocoa the babysit cat’s daddy does. So I sent him a photo of myself in my Brentford shirt, plus a selection of Catorze head shots, and let him work his magic. And this is what he created:

“Allez les Abeilles!”

Cat Daddy, when he saw the above image: “…”

The only possible glitch that I can foresee is that the club supplied a humanoid-shaped template into which supporters have to somehow make our photos fit, and of course this doesn’t allow for Sa Maj’s ears. So, in the very unlikely event of him slipping past the censors, his image will probably be earless. This will make the end result creepier but also much, much funnier.

Here is Catorze in the template:

“Où sont mes oreilles?”

So now we wait. The possible outcomes are as follows:

A. Brentford Football Club accept the photo and Catorze is shown on TV, with or without ears.

B. They send me a politely-worded rejection email.

C. We never find out whether I have been accepted or rejected.

Obviously option C would be very disappointing indeed, and I hope beyond hope that it’s option A. But I’d settle for the moderate comedy value of option B.

Thank you so much to Cocoa and Chanel’s Cat Daddy for his magnificent work.

Le vieil homme et son chat

The summer solstice is here, the football is back, AND it’s also our wedding anniversary today. We will be celebrating at home, of course, but I know that Cat Daddy misses pubs and would far rather be there. (Remember when there were pubs?)

Not long ago he was recalling one pub, in particular, that he visited for the first time just before lockdown, and our conversation about it went something like this:

Him: “There was a cat in the pub.”

Me: “What kind of cat was it?”

Him: “Quite large, similar to Nimbus [our first cat]. British Blue with white around the mouth. Short-haired. When I asked the barman about her, he said she was a Persian. She didn’t look Persian, though.”

Me: “Oh, right.”

Him: “And there was a dog in the pub, too.”

Me: “What kind of dog was it?”

Him: “I dunno. [Long pause.] Floppy-eared.” [Another long pause, sips wine.]

And there it is.

I am a little better in this respect and I can name a wide range of dog breeds such as Yorkshire terriers (like Oscar), Cockapoos (like Nala), erm … police dogs, Andrex dogs and those stout, meaty ones that look like John Wick’s dog.

However, Cat Daddy’s statement just about sums up most cat people: able to give intricate details of every type of cat on the planet, yet can’t put together more than two words about any dog. For all his protests and name-calling of Louis Catorze (most of them too rude to repeat), Cat Daddy is a cat man and proud of it. And the photo below proves that.

Incidentally, Cat Daddy wasn’t overjoyed about me publishing this photo, but reluctant permission given under duress is still permission, non? And, if you zoom in, you can see one of Le Roi’s perma-fangs, which are always on display even when his mouth is fully closed.

Joyeux Solstice à tous.

Retirement goals.

Le bras roux

The fur around Louis Catorze’s slowly-regrowing tattoo sleeve has turned a reddish-brown.

The first time I saw it, my heart almost stopped because I thought it was sunburn, and I felt like the worst person in the world for not thinking to protect my poor boy’s bald arm from the sun. (He would have looked ridiculous with bright white ears AND a bright white arm, but I don’t suppose it would have done him any harm. And that wasn’t meant to rhyme.)

However, as you can see from the picture, it’s not even the tattoo sleeve area itself that’s turned brown, but the fur around it. And it’s only this leg. He doesn’t have brown fur anywhere else on his body.

HOW has this happened?

All possible explanations welcome, although nobody has ever really been able to explain the enigma that is Le Roi so I don’t suppose it’s time to start now.

Terracotta arm-y.

Ma drogue de choix

Because I am usually at work when our cleaning lady is round, I don’t often get to see what Louis Catorze is like when she is cleaning.

Most cats would run for the hills at the sight of a stranger brandishing a vacuum cleaner but, whilst he doesn’t love the sound of it, he’s not afraid, either. On one occasion, during the school holidays, I was able to see his response. As you can see from the video below, he was more outraged than frightened, and he screamed and screamed at me as if to say, “Well? Aren’t you going to do anything about this?”

“Wahhhh!”

Since lockdown, during which Cat Daddy and I have been cleaning the house ourselves (although we have still been paying our cleaning lady), I began to notice some very peculiar behaviour from Catorze in the bathroom. He has never shown much interest in the bathroom before now but, on Cleaning Day, he can’t wait to pitter-patter around it, sniffing in every corner (paying particular attention to the toilet), before having one of his psycho fits, jumping onto furniture and knocking stuff onto the floor.

Cat Daddy: “That’s just him. That’s what he’s like.”

Me: “No, this isn’t his usual style. Something weird is going on. I honestly think he’s … ahem … getting high on the bleach.”

[Silence, tumbleweed, crickets]

Cat Daddy: “That’s just bloody stupid.”

Now, I am fully aware of how idiotic this sounds. After all, the only thing more ridiculous than getting high on bleach is injecting it. But a quick Google indicates that I might be right, and if it’s on the internet it has to be true, non?

It seems to be quite a common thing, although there must be a serious glitch in The Matrix if my cat’s conduct in any way resembles that of other/normal cats. And it’s worrying that this particular habit sees him irresistibly drawn to a substance that could kill him.

The worst thing is that I have a faint recollection of someone in a cat social media group, many years ago, talking about her cat doing something similar, and I found it hysterically funny. Ain’t karma a bitch?

Anyway, it’s now the day after Cleaning Day (at the time of writing) and clearly the bleach fumes are still lingering, because Catorze keeps trying to get into the bathroom and is hollering at me to open the door. Cat Daddy has abandoned me to my fate of Death By Punctured Eardrums and gone out for a bike ride to get some peace.

If you fancy some light reading about cats and bleach, have a look at this link. Be warned, however, that the reason why they like it is pretty disgusting:

https://www.thecatvet.co.uk/jo-blogs-the-cat-vet-blog/eau-de-domestos-does-your-cat-have-a-bleach-fetish

Le grand écran

It’s almost 12 weeks since lockdown began and, merci à Dieu: NO MORE VIDEO CALLS.

I’ve had to deal with a number of them for work, of course, which is fine because there’s an actual point and because there are actual new things to say, but gone are the social video calls which make me feel stressed and uncomfortable. People are FINALLY getting the message. And at least I have never had to endure the abyss of doom that is the Zoom dinner party, with people watching me ugly-eating on a screen. UGLY-EATING. ON A SCREEN.

Louis Catorze, on the other hand, is becoming quite the video call expert. A couple of weeks ago he marched up to my laptop and screamed at a poor kid to whom I was giving an online taster lesson, with a view to him choosing my subject for the next stage of his education. (I don’t suppose he’s massively tempted now.)

The little sod did the same thing on a NATIONAL work Zoom call with 600+ delegates, although I might have got away with that one as one of the speakers’ cats (a lovely, plushy tux) also appeared on camera and put on a longer and more visible show. So, had anyone asked about the screaming, I would have just blamed that cat.

And he did the same thing for a third time to a class of 15 students, stopping one kid mid-sentence. And, without thinking, I told Catorze to let the kid finish, then said to the kid, “Sorry about that. He talked over you, and that is unacceptable.” When the kid, who is known for dominating lessons with his long monologues, continued with what he was saying, a second kid groaned, “Nooo. Let the cat talk!”

Catorze’s favourite moments, however, are Cat Daddy’s video calls with his boozy pub mates, which continue to take place at 6pm every Friday. I imagined that, perhaps, he liked to sit next to Cat Daddy on the sofa and passively absorb all those male voices. (As you know, Catorze loves boys.) However, Cat Daddy revealed to me that, in actual fact, Catorze switches into full-on flirt mode, purring, rolling and and having his tummy rubbed. Whilst, erm, a bunch of men watch on their webcams.

I have no words for this. But maybe we should be charging money for it.

Anyway, for those of you who are interested, last week’s boozy pub chat consisted of the following topics:

1. Women.

2. The reopening of the Porsche showroom.

3. Golf.

4. Women.

5. Interest rates on savings accounts. (I had originally written just “interest rates” for this point, but Cat Daddy peered over my shoulder, tutted at my inaccuracy and made me change it.)

6. Cloudy beer.

7. The enormous relief when Simon finally fixed his WiFi problem (with some help from Johnno).

Sa Maj thinks Simon should have tried switching off the router and then switching it back on again.

Une nouvelle brosse royale

My hay fever symptoms started early this year – 20th May rather than the typical 1st June – and, somehow, my regular management methods didn’t seem to be as effective as they were last year.

Then I discovered that I’d had the foresight to write myself a reminder last July in the Notes section of my phone, but not the sense to actually read it. This reminder informed me that there is an extra hay fever supplement that I usually take but, somehow, I had completely forgotten it this year.

Naturellement I did not have enough of a supply to last me through this year’s hay fever season, so I went online to buy some more. And I discovered that the company selling it had a 20% off sale … which had ended the day before I read my note.

Ugh.

In a happy twist to this tragic tale, I bought more product and, as if by magic, they applied the 20% discount anyway! Hurrah! So now I am fully armed, although I am over a month late in taking everything together.

And I have now set myself a reminder to read my reminder next spring. Whatever next: setting reminders to read reminders of reminders? Oh dear. It’s all downhill from here, isn’t it?

Anyway, my full hay fever arsenal is as follows:

1. AA Formula https://www.archturus.co.uk/AA-FORMULA-90-p/h0760v.htm

2. Nutri Aller C https://www.yournutritionshop.com/products/3956-nutri-advanced-aller-c/

3. Local honey from Hen Corner https://hen-corner-micro-bakery.myshopify.com/collections/london-honey

4. Air-purifying beeswax candles (we got ours from Hen Corner and from The First Candle Company on Etsy) https://www.etsy.com/shop/FirstEditionCandleCo?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Search_UK_DSA_GGL_Categories_Home_New&utm_ag=Candles&utm_custom1=6e117eef-6f88-48cd-9d35-567a2bc3f656&utm_content=go_9968986279_104634485910_433085796378_dsa-43493190151_m_&utm_custom2=9968986279&gclid=Cj0KCQjwoPL2BRDxARIsAEMm9y9MbdSoBhYfG-De3e4IszGPDEDJd7E-WzZ9CgeOS9AzGZQB4Zj4yjYaArfwEALw_wcB

5. Brushing Louis Catorze regularly to rid his fur of pollen and whatever other indescribable allergenic and non-allergenic shite that he has rolled in

The grooming device that Louis Catorze received from Oscar the dog for his birthday is quite the most amazing thing.

It appears to have some sort of magical static force field that sucks the loose fur from the little sod’s undercoat and holds it between the rubber teeth until I pull it out. I have no idea how it does its job – my limited knowledge of Physics tells me that it shouldn’t work – but it does.

Best of all, Catorze LOVES it. And, because the device is soft and pliable, I don’t need to worry about one careless move slashing his skin, in the way I had to with the FURminator, and I can just brush away with carefree abandon. The little sod purrs happily through our brushing sessions; no screaming, no Greco-Roman death-wrestling, just one happy Roi.

Here he is (below) after an especially intense sitting that yielded three handfuls of fur (pictured), and a further two handfuls came later that day. He looked like a different cat afterwards, and probably lost at least 1/3 of his body weight in the process.

Me: “Look at him! Doesn’t he look smart?”

Cat Daddy: “No. Not one bit. Why do you keep saying that?”

Me: “His fur! Can’t you see that it looks smoother and shinier?”

Cat Daddy: “Oh, right. I thought you meant “smart” as in “intelligent”.”

I hope any hay fever sufferers are managing their symptoms. Don’t forget to wipe/brush down your outdoor pets as part of your routine.

Almost enough fur to build a second Roi. Not that we want a second Roi.