La malédiction de Mercure

Oh. Saint. Jésus. As well as Hallowe’en being on a full moon this year, Mercury will also be in retrograde.

This is a period said to occur around three times a year and, in short, everything goes wrong. Travel is disrupted, misunderstandings occur, that email that you think was sent isn’t received, and so on. I tend not to look ahead to find out when the next Mercury Retrograde is, because I would rather not know. But, if things happen to be going particularly awry, I find myself checking and, more often than not, it’s here.

This time around, warnings appeared on my social media feed without me looking it up. So, even though I didn’t want to know, I do. And, now, so do you. You’re welcome.

The worst thing is that there doesn’t seem to be anything we can do about it. It would be more useful to read something like “If you must travel, protect yourself by carrying in your pocket thirteen hairs from a black vampire cat” but this kind of advice is never available. (That said, I’m pretty sure I could reach into any pockets of any clothes, dirty or clean, and find thirteen of Louis Catorze’s hairs.)

Mercury Retrograde is said to affect pets in various bizarre and/or undesirable ways: https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/metro.co.uk/2020/02/22/half-uk-pet-owners-think-dog-cat-acts-differently-mercury-retrograde-12284377/amp/

Now, if we were to visualise cats on a baseline scale from 0 to 10 in terms of freakishness, and to award one point for each of the thirty strange behaviours listed on the link above, even the worst cat in the world would only have a maximum total score of 40. However, if it’s a black cat, that’s automatically worth another 20 points. Plus we are approaching a full moon (+50) on Hallowe’en night (+666), and of course this is Catorze (+443,566). So, unfortunately, things aren’t looking promising for us.

The little sod has already started to ramp up the annoying behaviour by screaming, thundering around the house at all hours like an army of soldiers, and so on. Even The Count himself can’t cope with it and has decided to end it all (see photo below).

Mercury Retrograde is from 14th October to 3rd November. If you fancy monitoring your pets and letting me know how they get along, I would love to hear from you.

This wasn’t the ending that Bram Stoker had in mind.

La vengeance de l’écureuil

Merde, merde and thrice merde: it really is kicking off at Le Château right now.

Earlier this week, Cat Daddy found this object (below, with a 5p coin for scale) whilst sweeping up the leaves at The Front. He thought it was a piece of faux fur from someone’s coat, but a few enquiries among my cat freak friends seem to suggest that it’s … a squirrel’s tail.

It’s all going a bit Godfather here in TW8.

Now, although squirrels can apparently lose their tails during combat, I highly doubt that Louis Catorze could ever be fast enough to catch one. But what a coincidence that we found the tail 24 hours after we glimpsed him howling, growling and swishing his puffy tail at an unknown adversary at The Front.

And, on the day of our grim discovery, we noticed that his left eye was looking sore and scratched. Our theories are as follows:

1. He is allergic to the merino wool scarf that I made recently (unlikely as I finished it and gave it to the recipient three weeks ago, plus Catorze was barely even in the HOUSE when I was knitting it, let alone in the room)

2. He has come into contact with some noxious matter outside which has irritated him (highly likely for the reason given above, i .e. he is constantly outdoors)

3. Cat Daddy’s theory: a squirrel took offence at having its tail lopped off by Catorze and punched him in the face (also highly likely, not to mention shameful on many levels)

I gave Sa Maj a steroid pill (left over from his course in the spring) the day we discovered the problem, just in case it was option 1 or option 2, and it seems to be preventing things from deteriorating. I would never normally advocate giving medication without consulting the vet first, of course, but the soonest available appointment is on Monday morning and I know from bitter experience how Catorze’s condition can turn from concerning to utterly catastrophic in an instant. Trust me, had you seen the worst photos from February and March (unpublished on here and unseen by all but a strong-stomached few), you would want to pill him too.

Worse yet, this afternoon I am heading over to the south coast for my annual Halloweekend celebration with my sister, so I won’t be around if things turn bad. I am aghast at Catorze’s timing yet, at the same time, he has previous in this department so it wouldn’t surprise me if he had planned it all just to spite me and to get extra love from Cat Daddy during their lads’ weekend together.

Please keep your fingers crossed that we won’t have to deploy Le dreaded Cône. Not now. Not in the run-up to Full Moon Hallowe’en.

L’armée rousse

Saint Jésus et tous ses apôtres: Cat Daddy has seen three foxes run away from Louis Catorze at The Back.

Je répète: three foxes, each weighing (I imagine) around 7-10kg, have RUN AWAY from our 3kg cat.

The strange thing is that he didn’t even scream or hiss to send them packing; all he did was stick his head through the gap in the fence that separates the Zone Occupé from the Zone Libre. That said, his diminutive stature and vampire fangs mean that he isn’t immediately identifiable as a cat, so perhaps they saw him as some cryptozoological freak of nature and thought it best to steer clear. And, to be fair, it’s not the first time anyone has looked at him and had those thoughts.

Cat Daddy found a big hole dug in our garden not long ago, so clearly the foxes had been gadding about back here again (unless, of course, a bunch of them cornered Catorze and forced him to dig his own grave), which is not what we want. I would be very happy if these three reported back to their foxy friends that a peculiar beast is at large in the Zone Occupé, and that they must avoid the area at all costs.

However, I wouldn’t want Sa Maj to become over-confident and to go sashaying over there thinking there were only three of them, when in fact there are at least eight.

This is a situation which will require ongoing monitoring. But Cat Daddy and I are ready.

“You and whose armée?”

Le décor de la saison

Now that October is well under way, I can officially start filling Le Château with Hallowe’en paraphernalia without looking like a complete freak.

Cat Daddy: “[Unrepeatable expletives.]”

I have just discovered a website of fabulous seasonal decorations, and I am having to sit on my hands to stop myself from ordering because I can see it escalating dangerously. The merchandise itself is quite pricey, and the fact that it’s an American site means that the postage will also be ruinously expensive, so, rather like smoking or doing drugs, it’s probably better not to start at all than to start and then try – and fail – to moderate.

If you like Hallowe’en decorations and you have more self-restraint than I do, have a look here: https://www.grandinroad.com/halloween-haven/#1

My friend Lizzi has been shopping a little closer to home – TK Maxx, to be precise – and here is one of her purchases from earlier this year, in preparation for the spooky season:

Reminds me of someone …

I know. I didn’t know what to say, either.

Whoever designed this object has clearly either met Louis Catorze or been astral-visited by him during a nightmare, because this is exactly what he looks like when he screams. I guess at least Lizzi won’t require any kind of protective amulet to ward off demons on full moon Hallowe’en night. Because not even Satan himself would set hoof on a property containing this monstrosity.

Lizzi’s cat Boots also doesn’t know quite what to make of his mamma’s purchase. Just look at his “… the hell is THIS?” expression:

“Put down the debit card and step away from the shop.”

What do your cats think of your seasonal decorations? I know that the answer is likely to be either “Couldn’t give a hoot” or “Ripped them to shreds” but I’d love to hear anyway.

Vents, soufflez à crever vos joues!

Anyone who thought Louis Catorze was a complete maniac anyway should see what he’s like when there are high winds. And when I say “should”, what I mean is “really shouldn’t”.

He can be an absolute hell-beast on a windy night, bouncing all over the bed, screaming, whining and thundering around the house. However, on Thursday night, when it also happened to be the first full moon of October AND a raging storm, he decided to thunder around the house WITHOUT A SINGLE UTTERANCE.

Now, this may seem preferable to the screaming, but at least with the screaming I know that it’s him. Voiceless stomping can sound just like a burglar, a poltergeist or some other horror that my mind decides to visualise during fitful half-sleep, and it’s quite an alarming sound to hear over and over again.

I lost count of the number of times the little sod woke me up that night but I estimate it to be around ten to twelve. And, when my alarm went off in the morning, I discovered that he had rolled his wet body all over the clean clothes that I had put out for work. To add insult to injury (and we’re talking considerable injury here, as I regard a sleepless night as akin to being stabbed in the guts), when I came down for my morning cup of tea he crawled into his El Día de los Muertos cold-weather igloo and went to sleep.

Cat Daddy: “He probably brought in a mouse.”

Me: “He didn’t.”

Him: “Maybe we just haven’t found it yet.”

[Silence, tumbleweed, crickets]

Here is Le Roi, most likely telling me that he’s just getting started:

“Shhhhhh. Just sleep. Sweet dreams, salope.”

La lune du chasseur

There’s a full moon tonight. And, mon Dieu, do we know it: Louis Catorze’s screaming has been building up for days and has now reached what we really, really hope is its peak. Although, knowing him, now that I’ve said that, he will probably dig deep and find more from somewhere.

During the day Sa Maj screams for any number of the following reasons:

⁃ Wanting to be let in from The Front (after Cat Daddy kicks him out for a few minutes’ respite)

⁃ Excitement at having Cat Daddy all to himself

⁃ Excitement when visitors come (especially men), leading Cat Daddy to recite his usual spiel of “No, he’s not distressed, that’s just his normal voice …”

⁃ Disapproval of the cleaning lady’s methods

⁃ Disapproval if it’s been more than 0.3 seconds since Cat Daddy last stroked him

⁃ Liking the sound of his own voice

⁃ Just for fun

⁃ Whatever

It would be reasonable to assume that his day-long screamathons wear him out, allowing us a more restful evening and night. Nope: the little sod follows Cat Daddy around, screaming, right through to late afternoon/early evening when I come from work. He then goes out for Night Patrol at both The Back and at The Front – with creepily accurate timekeeping still in operation, bien sûr – and wakes us up at least twice during the night with more screaming/whining/bouncing around.

Cat Daddy: “This is what it’s like ALL BLOODY DAY when you’re at work. It’s starting to feel like bullying.”

As I have said many times before, at his age he should be slowing down. But he isn’t. We have no idea from where he is getting this energy, but my guess is that he’s drawing from either the moon, The Mothership* (although some have theorised that the moon and The Mothership are one and the same thing), or – most likely of all – Lucifer himself.

We cannot cope. Please send help.

*The Mothership is the invisible alien vessel that controls all cats by beaming instructions to them via their chips. We cannot see her, but we know she is there.

Message received and understood: when you give le signal, we will attack.”