Hurler à la lune

On Thursday Cat Daddy had to pop to Chiswick at around 2:45pm, which meant that Louis Catorze was, tragically, without male company for 90 whole minutes.

Obviously waiting for Cat Daddy to return was too much to ask so, instead, he decided to seek out boys from elsewhere. And, regretfully, the only ones available happened to be the Year 11 students in my online lesson – yes, THE SAME GROUP who’d had to endure the tail shenanigans a couple of weeks ago, whilst studying the joys of the imperfect tense: https://louiscatorze.com/2021/01/14/limparfait/

The combination of irresistible male voices plus steroids (yes, he’s back on them: more about that next time) plus a full moon meant that Catorze was absolutely feral, clambering across the laptop and screaming himself senseless.

Him: “Mwahhhh!”

Me: “Be quiet!”

Him: “MWAHHHHHHH!”

Me: “Oh, for God’s sake, shush!”

[Lots of giggles]

Kid: “Aw, Miss! Don’t bully your cat!”

Merde. Not only had I forgotten to press the mute button, but the little sod had managed to convince my class that he was somehow the victim in all this.

Not long afterwards, the same kid casually informed me, “Miss, the other cats have started now.”

Me: “What do you mean? What other cats? Started what? I thought you only had one cat?”

Him: “No, not my cat. The ones he hangs out with. They’re kind of like a gang.”

Oh my.

I couldn’t hear any other cats, but the kid appeared to be telling me that random neighbourhood ones had started to gather and/or respond. So either Catorze’s screaming had drifted through the open window, compelling his comrades to come to his aid, or the cats had detected the general full moon madness and had picked that very moment to have some fun. Or maybe it was both. Anyway, given the choice of doing any work or laughing hysterically at the double cat cacophony, the kid chose the latter. And his classmates soon followed suit.

The phrase “You couldn’t make this shit up” was INVENTED for me/this household/cats/Catorze. Here he is, psyching himself up for more of the same:

“Où sont les garçons?”

L’horloge hantée

Louis Catorze is absolutely MANIC at the moment. He sleeps from late morning to late afternoon and is in full-on play mode after that, thundering around the house and being a nuisance. I now have to make sure my knitting bag is fully zipped to the end, because Cat Daddy has caught him jumping into the open bag and thrashing around, tipping my darning needles all over the place. And his uninvited appearances at my online lessons have now become more regular; yesterday was another day of students screaming, “Miss, I can see his tail! Miiiiiiiiss! MIIIIIIIIISSSS!”

It’s a full moon tonight, which partly explains it. But I also suspect that Catorze might be communing with and/or summoning evil entities from somewhere, which isn’t ideal.

In other, possibly related news, the Lumie Bodyclock saga continues, and I have discovered that the way to get it working is to turn the sound off. Yes, I know, this is exactly the opposite of what should happen, but nevertheless it’s what DOES happen: when the display says “Audio off” and there is an image of a musical note with a line through it, this indicates that both the alarm and the light function ARE ON and will work exactly as they should in the morning.

I have also discovered that, during the few minutes just before the alarm goes off, there is some sort of sound inaudible to human ears. I don’t know what it is (obviously, on account of it being inaudible) but Le Roi has detected it, in the same way that cats’ hypersensitivity picks up on all manner of things indiscernible to us. You know that moment when your cat stops what they’re doing and stares, wide-eyed, at a blank patch of wall behind you? It’s the audio version of that.

Here he is listening intently to it, whatever “it” may be, and confirming my view that cats are creepy as hell. What he can hear is most likely the tropical birds on a much lower volume. But, equally, it could be demons or poltergeists.

“Is anybody there? Chirp once for OUI.”

Les poils sales

Louis Catorze has had some sort of vile crud stuck on his tail for a number of days now. We have no idea what it is, but we have established that it’s not excrement of any kind: not his (which would be bad) and not that of any other animal (which would be very, very bad indeed).

Now, I imagine you’re wondering why on earth the crud has been there for such a long time, and this is a fair question. Believe me, this is not what we want. But the little bastard refuses to clean it off – in fact, he’s so thick that he may not even know it’s there – nor will he allow us to clean it off. I’ve tried, and it didn’t go well. One of his many terrifying superpowers is his ability to summon the strength of ten angry bears if he is made to do anything he doesn’t want to do … and, in the unlikely event of us managing to pin down this freakishly strong hell-beast, his tail then develops a wild, thrashing life of its own, making cleaning impossible.

So we have had to live with it, trying not to think too hard about the fact that the little sod is probably dispersing invisible granules of micro-crud wherever he goes. And, every so often, when we stroke him, he gives us a little reminder of this horror by flicking his tail upwards and making the crud touch our skin. Nothing – I repeat, NOTHING – is as revolting as the feeling of this.

Here he is, taunting us with the sight of the crud and knowing full well that we will never get to it:

“Clean moi if you can.” (We can’t.)

On a dépassé cinq cents!

Sainte Marie, Mère de Dieu: Sa Maj has reached the incredible number of five hundred – yes, FIVE HUNDRED – followers. This is quite something given that, when I began Le Blog all those years ago, I thought perhaps my mum and about a dozen friends might read it (and that most of them would get bored after a week or two).

Back then, the original aim was to reach out to other humans with allergic cats, in the hope of finding someone who had a cat like Louis Catorze and perhaps even finding a cure for his allergy. I never did find that cure, and I certainly didn’t find another cat like Catorze (which is probably just as well), but Le Blog has introduced me to lovely people from all over the world, and their wonderful furry overlords.

I have lost the odd follower along the way, most notably the group of bodybuilders who started following when I added the key word “steroids” to my tags. Unsurprisingly, when they came to realise that this was actually a blog about a silly black cat and not about performance-enhancing substances, one by one they fell away. I can’t say I’m surprised, as Catorze has that sort of effect on people. But how delightful that the hardcore among you have hung on in there. If you’re still here, MERCI BEAUCOUP, especially if you have been around since the beginning.

Here is the very first photo of Catorze, taken in his foster mamma’s garden on the day we brought him home in July 2014:

A bit rough around the edges.

And here he is now (taken yesterday):

Not really any improvement, but tant pis.

Le chat aux yeux kaléidoscopiques

I recently found out that Louis Catorze’s appetite-enhancing pill (Mirtazapine, of which he had one dose in late December) is also used as an anti-depressant. A friend told me that she was prescribed this drug as in her younger days and “lost six months of her life”.

As you are well aware, an anti-depressant is absolutely the last thing in this world that Catorze needs. No wonder he went off the rails and turned into an eating, screaming maniac. What a good thing we only gave him one dose and not two.

Anyway, I have hidden the remaining Mirtazapine just in case Cat Daddy is tempted to give it to Sa Maj just for a laugh. Although, the way online teaching is going, I think I may well need it more than Catorze.

It’s for medicinal reasons, Officer.

À cheval donné on ne regarde pas les dents

Blue the Smoke Bengal gave Louis Catorze a Christmas gift, which was very generous of him given that Catorze hasn’t done the slightest thing to deserve it and, in fact, has been quite rude and unpleasant to him. This must be what it feels like when your kid is the awful one whom all the other kids hate, but their parents still go out of their way to be nice because they feel sorry for you.

If some other cat were mean to Catorze I’m not sure I’d be bothered to give him/her a gift, and I’d probably judge the human for their poor parenting skills, but good for Blue’s mamma for being the bigger person here.

The Trojan horse.

Anyway, the gift was a set of ELEVEN jingle bell cat toys, and they are the noisiest things I have ever heard. Catorze loves them, with his preferred playtimes appearing to be the times that are the least convenient for us: during tense football matches or television dramas, that kind of thing. In the middle of the night would, I imagine, also be an excellent time, were it not for that fact that we do an inventory of the balls before we go to bed at night, just like in prison kitchens where they count in the knives at the end of every shift.

Bien joué, Blue’s mamma. Bien joué.

Here are a few of the offending items. Even the soft ones have bells in them.

Qui n’a pas de mémoire doit avoir des jambes

Louis Catorze is now on the lowest dose of one steroid pill every other day. And it’s just as well it’s only every other day, because the little sod has now decided he won’t eat his Pill Pockets anymore. So every pill has to be a Greco job.

There have been one or two Drunk-Grecos. The less said about these, the better.

Anyway, health-wise he is doing very well indeed. His skin and fur are much improved.

Cat Daddy: “Yeah, until you get close up. It’s like when you see a girl from afar in a dimly lit club, but then when you approach …” [Rest of comment is too offensive to repeat.]

Catorze’s knee, however, isn’t so great. I had started keeping a diary of occasions when his knee caved in, hoping that it would prove useful in the future should the vet need to know, but then I came to realise that there is no pattern whatsoever. And, the last time I updated the diary, Cat Daddy looked over my shoulder and said, “Oh, is that what you’re doing? His knee has gone loads more times than that, but I didn’t tell you because I didn’t know you were recording it.”

And that was the end of my record-keeping.

These days, when Catorze’s knee goes, it’s nowhere near as distressing for him as that first weekend when he collapsed on top of me at 5am, hissing and whining. He is getting used to it, and sometimes he surprises us by how darned fast he is on three legs. On one occasion I took hold of his leg and gently stretched it backwards and after a soft click, it was fine again. But, annoyingly, whatever I did then seems to have been a lucky one-off, for I haven’t succeeded since.

I have been trying to teach him to lie down when his knee goes. And, despite being so dense that light bends around him, he is learning and starting to do it of his own accord. He insists on choosing the least helpful places to lie down, but we’ll get to that next. The main thing is he’s beginning to understand that lying down beats hobbling around, whining and suffering.

Here he is, demonstrating one of his highly unhelpful places:

Yes, he WAS the one who pulled out those stringy bits from the carpet. Who else would it be?

L’imparfait

So … cats ruining video calls. Always hilarious when it happens to someone else and you’re just observing. Distinctly less funny when it’s your cat, and you’re the one responsible for maintaining any vague semblance of order.

It’s not normal to have 863 examples of such behaviour, unless you have 863 cats. One cat is not meant to cause this much bother. However, this is Louis Catorze we’re talking about, so I don’t imagine anyone is surprised.

Anyway … Year 11 can be a troublesome bunch, and the graveyard shift with them (last lesson of the day, 15:00 to 16:00) is always a tough gig. It’s been particularly bad since they were told that their exams have been cancelled, yet minimal guidance has been given about exactly what will happen instead. They have taken this to mean it’s party time. Unfortunately I don’t share this view.

During one especially trying lesson last week (the imperfect tense: everyone’s favourite thing), Catorze decided to come and sit on my stomach and chest. Now, we all know that he wants me dead, and that he only has another 8 days to do the deed and have it register as a Covid death, so there is no reason for him to sit on me other than to spite me, or perhaps in the hope that I will suffocate and die. However, due to the unfortunate camera angle and the shadow falling across my body, he wasn’t fully visible to the students on my video lesson. So all they could see was his sticking-up tail sailing past the camera.

This was how the tragic sequence of events unfolded that day:

1. Poker-straight vertical tail sails past, left to right. Students say nothing.

2. Tail sails past, right to left. Students’ eyes are suddenly fixed to the screen, concentrating yet also confused.

3. Tail sails past again, left to right. Now everyone is paying attention.

4. Kid 1: “Miss …?”

5. Kid 2: “Yeah, Miss. What the …?”

6. Catorze settles on my lap/chest and now everyone can see his head. He has only ever sat in this position twice in his whole life, once last year and once in 2014. (The fact that I can remember when is indicative of its rarity.)

7. Me: “Erm, ok, so it seems we’ve got company. Alors, continuons…”

8. Kids start giggling.

9. Cat Daddy looks in (with the kids safely out of sight, bien sûr), sees Catorze on me and guesses from my French conversation that I am mid-lesson. He mouths the words “PUSH HIM OFF!” making appropriate gestures at the same time to be extra helpful.

10. It then dawns on me that he thinks I placed Catorze there on purpose. Oh. Mon. Dieu.

11. Kids giggle some more as I attempt to bluster on. No work whatsoever is done.

12. The end.

The bad news is that we have another five weeks of this until half term, and the kids have learned absolutely sod all French so far. The good news is … well … I’ll get back to you as soon as we have any.

Je me reposais, tu te reposais, il/elle se reposait …

Le menu du jour

Louis Catorze’s Thrive arrived last week week, three working days after I ordered it on Zooplus (pretty good), and a mere six days after originally ordering it on a “same-day” delivery on Ocado Zoom which never came (pretty poor).

I was about to write “Better late than never” but what a nonsensical phrase this is. If anyone ever says this to you when you’re late, they are just trying to be polite and, in actual fact, your inefficiency has probably made them quite angry. It’s only better late than never if, whilst waiting for you to get you act together, the other person made the time fly by doing something pleasant or useful and didn’t urgently need the thing you were supposed to be delivering. If they are in any way sensible and resourceful and start to make alternative plans to receive the thing you were meant to do, upon realising how shit unreliable you are, and THEN you deliver late, trust me, this is not “better” at all. “Better” would be to be honest and tell them from the outset that it won’t be happening.

(Obviously this is not what I would say to my students, as I don’t want them all saying, “Miss, you know that homework you set? Yeah, sorry but I won’t be doing it.” (In fact, I doubt if most of my lot would even say “Sorry”.)

Anyway, Cat Daddy and I now have a decision to make. We are going to have to introduce the Thrive to our mutual friend at some stage. And, given his love of doing the exact opposite of what we want him to do, we don’t want him to love the Thrive so much that he rejects the Lily’s, leaving us with up to £100 worth of product which was a real ordeal to source. Equally, if we try it when the Lily’s is almost out, he will reject the Thrive and leave us scrabbling and panicking as we were last month.

The ideal scenario would be to for him to happily tick along on a mix of both foods for a short while until the Lily’s runs out, but we know that the little sod won’t make it that easy for us.

Anyway, trying to work that out will be the next task in this fun-packed project. As if I don’t have enough to do, what with recovering from Covid, going back to work, teaching a new timetable to a new set of classes, and so on.

He likes to keep us wondering. Mainly wondering “What the hell …?”

La livraison vitale

The perks of online teaching: last week I met my Year 11 students’ cats and dogs. I loved them all but my favourite was Tobo (“like hobo but with a T, Miss”), a tabby point Birman so enormous and so fluffy that, when he was picked up, his human sibling disappeared in all the fur, and all you could see were his fingertips and the top of his hair.

In other news, I often start my posts with “Merci à Dieu et à tous ses anges” but, today, I mean it more sincerely than ever: LOUIS CATORZE’S LILY’S KITCHEN MARVELLOUSLY MATURE ARRIVED BEFORE WE RAN OUT.

No more will I be bullied and intimidated by a screaming, psycho hell-beast. Nor will I have to spend countless hours sifting … although I must admit I had enjoyed singing “Come on, let’s sift again like we did last summer, yeahhh let’s sift again like we did last year …”

Buying obsolete cat food from an off-grid, Dark Web vendor is just like buying drugs: you can never guarantee that what you’ll get is what you wanted, and there’s not much comeback if it all goes wrong. However, because I know my gear, I was able to spot the little details that didn’t look right and eliminate the dealers suppliers that were clearly shonky. And it turns out that all the checking and cross-referencing was worth it, so a word of warning: there are SEVERAL third party sellers out there who display the wrong photos and/or the wrong product description and/or the wrong ingredients list (or no list at all).

Now, I am not proud of giving my custom to Lily’s Kitchen. I don’t like it that they told me they wouldn’t be changing their recipes, only to do exactly that. But the little sod eats their food, and that has to come first at the moment. And our Dark Web purchase, whilst only a temporary fix, has bought us a little time to figure out how the heck we are going to change the food of a cat who doesn’t like food and whose old food no longer exists.

Cat Daddy: “He’s a f***ing ungrateful ****. Our next cat is going to have Cool Cat Club food from day one. No more of this f***ing b*******.” To be fair, he has a point.

Anyway, Catorze’s uneaten food found a new home with Cocoa the babysit cat and his sister Chanel, ans they love it. Please see below for pictures of them tucking in.

If you have a cat, please check out the Cool Cat Club. We love everything about them: their ingredients, their brilliantly responsive customer service, their ethics, EVERYTHING. The fact that the stupidest cat in the world declined their food should, if anything, be a diamond-standard endorsement equivalent to a Michelin star:

https://thecoolcatclub.com/?r=mvMcQ6JPh50D

It’s a OUI from the other Chat Noir group members.
Nom nom!