Le cheval de Troie (Partie 2)

I had my second vaccine a couple of days ago and have been hovering between life and death ever since. (Cat Daddy’s Helpful Comment of the Day: “Just think positive.”) Although the unpleasantness is less severe than that of my first vaccine, it is certainly longer-lasting. Louis Catorze’s response has been to mostly ignore me during the day but to be an utter pest at night, leaping all over me, screaming and whining. In fact, he is probably why the pain is so enduring, but that’s just what he does.

The disappointment continues: a week after tapering him off his pills, he was scratching again and the skin around his eyes started to swell and split. I cannot express how disheartening this is, given that the summer used to be his time of peak health. The one small positive in this situation is that, as ever, his mood is unaffected.

Having been through this many times, we know to deploy the pills as soon as we see the first signs. However, Catorze used to eat Pill Pockets with no problem, and now he doesn’t. We imagine that this is because he loves Orijen so much that he can no longer be bothered with the second best thing on his plate – and, to be fair, I understand where he’s coming from. Who wants moderately acceptable food when they can have great food?

So now we have had to resume our quest for a Trojan Horse-style pill conduit. This is our progress to date:

⁃ Jambon de Bayonne: has a very short shelf life and Catorze won’t eat it if it’s been frozen and thawed, so we are paying £3.99 per 70g for something of which he will only eat 10g

⁃ Organic aged Comté: can sometimes work if room temperature, but is rejected if straight from the fridge

⁃ Every other food known to humankind and catkind: rejected

I have had a few lucky strikes with the one weapon left in my arsenal – Reflets de France tuna rillettes – but, knowing Catorze, the moment that this goes live, he will have changed his mind about that, too.

Meanwhile, we are considering reverting back to the less-troublesome steroid injections. We are also slowly coming to terms with the fact that the little sod may have reached the point where he needs medication for life.

We can’t say they didn’t warn us.

Bit rough around the edges but still loving himself.

L’alpha et l’oméga (Partie 4)

My school holidays are here. (Yes, U.K. teachers, I break up much earlier than the rest of you.)

My holiday time so far has consisted of the following:

1. Writing a list of the books I want to read this summer.

2. Writing a list of the cocktails I want to make, and spending inordinate amounts of money on random, niche ingredients that I will most likely use just one time, for one drink. (Mezcal, anyone? A bit of Fernet-Branca?)

3. Watching football.

4. Reading the comments on Matt Hancock’s Instagram and laughing so much that I almost need to be sedated. (If you have not done this, please try it even if only for a few minutes. It will brighten your day more than you ever thought possible.)

So, in all, I have been pretty productive, even if I do say so myself.

In other news, we know that the Omega 3 oil wasn’t supposed to have so many Parties. However, we have hit upon a huge deal-breaker of a stumbling block: the supplements make Louis Catorze stink like a rotting corpse.

It’s very unfortunate because his dandruff is hugely improved, and we are sure that further use would have continued to show positive results. But, given the choice, I’m pretty sure most people would choose a cat who didn’t stink like a rotting corpse over one who did.

Honestly, it’s not a mild smell that can be disguised by room spray, scented candles or suchlike, not that we use any of that kind of thing anymore on account of our sensitive mutual friend. It’s a truly gut-wrenching stench, just awful.

Cat Daddy’s Helpful Comment of the Day: “I’d actually rather have the dandruff.” (Regretfully, I am inclined to agree.)

Anyway, the vet has never heard of this side effect before – the fact that it’s only ever happened to Catorze will, of course, surprise nobody – but she has suggested some other brands to try, and I am hoping that one of them will make him smell better. They certainly can’t make him smell any worse.

When you don’t need to set an alarm, because the smell wakes you.

Dîner comme un Roi

Louis Catorze is strutting around Le Château with some swagger. He’s alert, happy and in fine voice. (Non-Brits, “in fine voice” is just an expression. There is nothing fine about his voice.)

He also appears to be gaining weight. And so he should, given that we are feeding him unlimited quantities of a food that is better than anything we’ve ever eaten ourselves and more expensive than gold and crystal meth combined.

Since he loves his food, as opposed to just liking it, feeding him is a completely different experience and is probably starting to resemble what life would be like with a normal cat. Previously, I would serve his food and he would keep his distance as the pellets hit his bowl. Then he would wander over, sniff it, eat a couple of pellets and walk away, saving the rest for later.

This is the experience at present:

⁃ Waking me at a ridiculous time of the morning

⁃ Circling my feet like a hungry shark as I open the Orijen packet

⁃ Screaming

⁃ Rearing up on his hind legs and putting his front paws on my legs as I pour the food into his bowl

⁃ More screaming

⁃ Leaping onto his food the minute I step away, and even sometimes clearing his plate in one sitting

⁃ More screaming and creepy staring at various intervals throughout the day, to request more food

⁃ Late-night screaming at Cat Daddy for more food

The last of the above is so severe that I can hear it from upstairs, and I am starting to wonder whether Catorze deliberately waits until late as Cat Daddy’s portion-measuring is, erm, less accurate after a few wines.

I am just grateful that he’s eating SOMETHING. Cat Daddy, however, is still not over the fact that the little sod chose the most expensive food there is, and the fact he is shovelling it down at such a rate just adds insult to injury.

Here is Le Roi, not really giving a merde about what we think:

Loving life.

Mieux vaut un bon sommeil qu’un bon lit

If you have been following Le Blog for a while you will be aware that, if Cat Daddy sits down next to us, Louis Catorze climbs off my lap and onto his. Usually he does this in under ten seconds (and Cat Daddy has timed him).

Yesterday I’d had him on my lap for a good hour or so and, when Cat Daddy sat down with us, he said, “You know what’s going to happen now, don’t you?”

Me: “Yes but, to be honest, I could do with him getting up and leaving because I want to go and get a glass of water.”

And, as soon as those words were out of my mouth, that was it. Catorze wasn’t moving.

Twenty minutes later:

Me: “I can see his ears twitching. He’s preparing to move.”

Catorze didn’t move.

Forty minutes later:

Me: “I can feel his paws twitching. He’s preparing to move.”

Catorze didn’t move.

An hour later:

Me: “I’m actually really thirsty now.”

Cat Daddy: “You can’t chuck him off! He’ll be upset!”

Me: “…”

Should they find my body in months to come, dehydrated and lifeless on the sofa, you’ll know what happened. And, most likely, Catorze will still be on my lap, mainly to make sure that I’m really dead.

Not moving.

Le renard peureux

It’s the summer solstice. Usually, by this time of the year, we are not even close to hitting the heady heights of 28+ degrees – that tends to come in July/August – but this month has been a hot one.

However, the one good thing about it all is that cat mischief is inversely proportional to soaring temperatures; it’s simply too hot for cats to misbehave. And we imagine that Donnie has been feeling it, too, since he hasn’t been round in a while. Apart from, erm, last night, when he showed up and started a yowling match with Louis Catorze in front of our horrified dinner guests. And that time when a neighbour whom I don’t even know had to break up a fight between the pair of them. Oh, and that other time when I was awoken by that awful cat fight sound, and I looked outside to see their unmistakable forms on the fence. (Yes, it was definitely them. I know their silhouettes like I know my own name.)

Sa Maj has been flopping languidly around Le Château and Le Jardin, spending inordinate amounts of time at his Rodent Duty station (the gap by the fence separating us from the Zone Libre). He was outside with Cat Daddy the other day, happily pitter-pattering around, when the birds in the Zone Libre started screeching.

Now, we all know full well that, when birds screech in unison, it’s never good. Anyone with any brains would run in the opposite direction. So, naturellement, Catorze decided to run into the Zone Libre to investigate.

It was Foxy Loxy.

Cat Daddy was powerless to help on the other side of the fence, and all he could do was stare (and curse the fact that he didn’t have his phone to take a picture). Then, unbelievably, Foxy Loxy took one look at Catorze … and fled.

This is not the first time we have seen this; in fact, Cat Daddy has seen THREE foxes run away from Catorze. Obviously it’s no bad thing that a predator who could finish the little sod in an instant would choose, instead, to retreat. But we are puzzled and terrified that the birds’ screeching, something we thought to be a universal sign of abject peril – yes, known even to a dimwit like Le Roi, surely? – would send him running TOWARDS it.

Is there anything we can do about this? There must be some kind of training or lessons, like teaching kids the Green Cross Code? (Younger followers: ask your grandparents.)

“I hear danger! I must interfere for absolument no raison whatsoever!”

De l’Orijen des espèces

It’s official: Louis Catorze is no longer on the steroid pills. And thank goodness for that because, after I came home from hospital, he decided to be extra difficult about eating his Pill Pockets, meaning that every pill has had to be a Greco job. This was how I found his Pill Pocket yesterday, on the floor next to his empty bowl:

For goodness’ sake.

He has upped his Greco game, too, having learned (from where?) to do a fake-swallow, spitting out the pill when he’s released. Cat Daddy, incidentally, refuses to Greco, using this defence: “But he loves me! It should be you because he doesn’t like you as much.”

Luckily it’s all over and the little sod is on nothing but Orijen and beauty oil, which makes life much easier.

Orijen claims that their food “mimicks the diet your cat’s ancestors would have hunted and eaten in the wild”. Although there is no doubt that their ingredients read like the tasting menu of a Michelin-starred restaurant, I find it doubtful that most cats would have been able to source them of their own accord. Venison: nope. Wild boar: nope. Bison: HELL, nope.

SASKATOON berries?

Catorze is very much a fish gentleman and his food is called “Orijen Six Fish”. I imagine hell would freeze over long before he successfully caught even one fish, let alone six. I chatted a few months ago with one of Catorze’s lovely blog followers about the size of tuna, and the smallest species is twice his size at 7kg, with the largest weighing in at up to 250kg (!). So the more likely scenario would be him falling into the water and the fish grabbing him in its jaws, then promptly spitting him out again after realising that he wasn’t a worthwhile snack (being only just bigger than krill and nowhere near as nutritious).

A true ancestral diet would, surely, have been small birds and rodents, although the idea of buying them freeze-dried in foil somehow doesn’t appeal. I think what’s REALLY going on here is that the good folk at Orijen are just like us, i.e. complete suckers who want the little sods to have the best of everything. And they’ve made up all the stuff about ancestors to shut up those who accuse them of spoiling their pets. “But Alaskan cod, garnished with Saskatoon berries, is what cats have always eaten, ever since the dawn of time!”

Here is Catorze, with his eyes locked on the green parakeets. His chances of catching one are zéro, and the parakeets know this.

Dreaming of confit de perruche aux baies de Saskatoon …

We bought our first 1.8kg bag of Orijen from the manufacturer’s website but, since they don’t do a subscription service, we recommend this site: https://www.petscorner.co.uk/cats/orijen-six-fish-cat

They have a huge range of unusual brands and are carbon-neutral, packaging their deliveries in cardboard boxes with paper tape.

L’alpha et l’oméga (Partie 3)

When Louis Catorze stopped eating his fish oil vol-au-vents, I tried smearing the oil onto his fur to see if he would groom it off. When it worked a treat, I decided to adopt this method permanently, using a teaspoon as an applicator as my finger was too melty and my lip balm pot was just too weird.

My morning routine now includes squeezing the contents* of a capsule onto the back of a teaspoon, taking said teaspoon into the living room with me with my morning cup of tea and waiting for the little sod to join me. When he does, I pounce.

*I do the whole lot every other day rather than half every day, which saves me from having to reserve a sticky, smelly, half-squeezed capsule. I choose the odd-numbered days because Le Roi is odd.

Now, Catorze wouldn’t be Catorze if he didn’t do something strange and off-the-wall in response to this. The first time I did it he was fine but the second time, unbelievably, he didn’t know where the smell was coming from. His sense of smell is supposed to be 972 times better than mine, and yet I could detect this foul substance from across the room but he had no idea it was ON HIS OWN ARM.

Catorze sniffed the coffee table, the window shutters and the lamp.

Me: “It’s on you!”

Catorze sniffed the carpet, the sofa and his igloo.

Me: “C’EST SUR TOI!”

It was quite some time before the penny dropped and he finally started to groom himself. Naturellement by this point he had done a few circuits of the whole room trying to find the source of the smell, with me nervously following him with kitchen towel and anti-bacterial spray (which I suspect are powerless against oil but I didn’t know what else to do) and desperately praying for him not to rub against anything porous.

The same company who makes the Omega 3 also makes a brain supplement. I don’t suppose we’ll be needing that.

Thanks but no thanks.

Donnie Darko

I came home from hospital a few days ago, and it’s so good to be back. The males of the household have been shut out of my bedroom until I recover, although Louis Catorze did manage to break in one night and bounce around all over my abdomen. He may only weigh 3kg but, trust me, THIS HURTS.

Taking my medication is much like medicating Catorze, although I like to think I am more cooperative. I have painkillers, antibiotics and anti-inflammatories all on the go at once, all requiring different timings, and now that hay fever season is upon us, I have also had to add antihistamines to the heady cocktail. There is no pain in the world quite like sneezing when you have abdominal wounds.

At least I haven’t had to deal with cat drama, as Donnie hasn’t been by since I came home. Before I went into hospital, however, he popped round whilst Cat Daddy, Catorze and I were all in the garden.

At first everything was quite civilised, with the two cats chirping at each other and sitting together. Then, when Catorze approached Donnie for a sniff, Donnie went for him. Before we could even blink, the two of them were rolling on the floor, and Cat Daddy was scratched whilst trying to break up the fight.

We were absolutely dismayed, and we felt like utter idiots for believing that an unneutered male would be a positive presence … although, that said, Ginger Impinger Dosti was also an unneutered male and nothing like this ever happened with him. Even beefy tabby Tigger, despite having a terrible reputation in the neighbourhood, comes in peace, and the only altercation between Tigger and Catorze took place because Catorze was trying to protect scaredy-cat Donnie. I expect he wishes he hadn’t bothered now.

Although the little sod was absolutely fine immediately afterwards and seems to have forgotten about what took place, we don’t want this happening again. The new Sureflap has made Le Château’s interior secure, but we are going to have to start shooing Donnie when we see him outside. It feels a bit mean, but this is Le Roi’s place and he needs to feel safe here.

Les cerises noires were very much present during that last encounter. Let’s hope that the fruit harvest has now taken place …

A few minutes before disaster struck.

Le patient gériatrique

Poor old Cat Daddy has had to deal with medical incidents for both me and Louis Catorze in the last week.

I went into A&E last Sunday with stomach pains which turned out to be appendicitis, and I had an emergency appendectomy the next day. Luckily the magic of scheduling WordPress posts allowed Le Blog to continue whilst I was too unwell to write properly. Thank you to everyone who liked and commented, and sorry I haven’t been able to reply back properly as I usually would.

On the day of my surgery, Cat Daddy also had to take Catorze to the vet because, the last time we ordered steroid pills, the vet told us that she would need to see him before issuing any more.

Cat Daddy: “Obviously they want to check that he’s not turning into a wizened old addict.” I think that ship has well and truly sailed. However, we were debating tapering down his dose and would rather do this after seeing the vet, especially as it’s always turned to merde every other time I’ve tried.

We have also been concerned about Catorze’s weight. He wolfs down the Orijen multiple times a day, faster than we can dish it out, and we have never measured his portions on the basis that we would do so if we noticed him chubbing up. But he isn’t. Quite the opposite, in fact. So we were happy to take him in to be sure that nothing was amiss.

Anyway, the little sod now weighs 3.05kg which is the lightest he’s ever been. The vet took a blood test to which she referred as a “geriatric profile” (Cat Daddy: “What will the results say: “Yes, he’s getting old” or “No, he’s not”?”), and I was in my hospital bed with Cat Daddy sitting beside me when the vet called the next day to deliver the shocking news that Catorze is … normal.

Yup. Liver, kidneys, thyroid and whatever other things were tested: all normal.

Cat Daddy again: “Normal? He’s FAR from normal.”

The vet has prescribed, erm, more plentiful portions of Orijen (the most expensive food on the planet, in case I hadn’t already mentioned that) and another weigh-in in a month’s time.

Having started mentally preparing ourselves to say goodbye to the little sod – after all, he has already lived for much longer than we expected – this was the best news in the world. Cat Daddy went home after visiting hours to have a little celebration with his boy, and he also said he might give him an extra pill as a treat, although I hope he was joking about this.

He may be an old boy, but he’s not finished yet. (Le Roi, I mean, not Cat Daddy.)

I asked for photos of the celebration. I received this.

La livraison de repas à domicile

Last week, we and the Dog Family fed Blue the Smoke Bengal whilst his mamma was away, and someone – to protect their identity I shall refer to them as “Dog Sister” – accidentally shut Blue’s house keys in the house with a couple of days’ feeding still left to go. Luckily Blue had enough water to last him until the next day – when his Cat Uncle, who had a key, would be stopping by – but no food.

Blue is a scoffer rather than a grazer, so the chances of him pacing himself and making a meal last would have been zéro.

This is what he looks like when he needs food.

Dog Mamma asked if Louis Catorze would be good enough to let Blue have some of his Orijen and, quite frankly, after the little sod’s persistent meanness to Blue, we thought it was the least he could do. The problem was how to get it to him. After much deliberation, Dog Mamma leaned precariously over the garden fence and lowered a bowl of Orijen into Blue’s garden, using a pair of tongs.

The Dog Family called Blue’s name repeatedly, but without success. He was nowhere to be seen.

We then mooted the idea of, erm, scattering Orijen through the letterbox. Now, please hear me out. Leaving the bowl unattended in the garden would have risked it falling into enemy hands/mouths: Catorze, Donnie, Jaws, Foxy Loxy, the squirrels, to name but a few. Plus, if Blue wasn’t in the habit of being fed outdoors, he could have been waiting indoors by his bowl, unaware of the drama taking place in the garden.

Dog Mamma retrieved the Orijen with the tongs and took it to Blue’s front door to push it through the letterbox, and I went along to watch and laugh offer my support. At first Blue sat at the top of the stairs and stared. Then, when it dawned on him that he wasn’t dreaming and that IT REALLY WAS RAINING FOOD, he couldn’t shovel it down fast enough.

Anyway, Blue had his meal, Catorze did a good turn for his needy neighbour and the rest of us had a good giggle, so all is well in the Cat Province of TW8. However, let’s hope that this (below) won’t be the scene at Maison Blue every time the postman comes:

Taken from telegraph.co.uk
Taken from express.co.uk

Here is the full story behind the photos, if you’re interested. Nothing to do with food but somehow the photos just work. https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/royal-mail-threaten-stop-house-7852721.amp