Le pain à l’estragon

Cat Daddy is coping well with life under house arrest. Over the weekend he conducted numerous experiments to see whether wine eased the symptoms of Covid, but unfortunately he can’t remember any of the results so he says he’s going to have to repeat them.

In other news, Cat Daddy’s tarragon is starting to sprout again (not a euphemism; I do mean actual tarragon). And so, naturellement, Louis Catorze has felt compelled to sit his arse on top of it, having shown zero interest in the trough when it was just soil.

Luckily the tarragon has been dislodged/bent to one side by the royal rump, so none of the herb has actually come into contact with anywhere unmentionable. But this is still far from being an optimal situation.

Hark! Do you hear the sound of Unrepeatable Expletives ringing out through the springtime air?

Cat Daddy is absolutely livid, but there’s nothing he can do about it. He’s already busy enough devising inventive ways of getting one over on the squirrels and the pigeons, and he simply doesn’t have time to police another individual too (ironically, the very one whose responsibility it is to fend off the squirrels and the pigeons).

Will Cat Daddy succeed in deterring the royal rump? Stay tuned …

Le Château Arc-En-Ciel

As you know, Louis Catorze loves having visitors to Le Château and is usually an excellent host (apart from that one time when we didn’t know where he was, then I found him in the shrubbery and had to poke him out with a broom).

Male visitors are especially well-received. However, if said male happens to be gay, Catorzian excitement levels go stratospheric. And that is what happened when a friend came over last week (before Cat Daddy tested positive, I might add).

As we weren’t going to be home when our friend arrived, we gave him a key and he let himself in. The sequence of events was as follows:

1. Catorze: “Ooh, a stranger dans mon Château! I must investigate!”

2. Catorze: “A man! Ooh la la!”

3. Catorze: “A BONHOMME WHO PREFERS THE COMPANY OF BONHOMMES! ONE OF MY PEOPLE!”

4. Friend sits down. Catorze is all over him.

5. Friend stops stroking him for 0.4 seconds. Catorze is highly affronted by this and bullies him for more cuddles.

6. Friend leans over onto one side in foetal position on sofa to make himself comfortable.

7. Friend dozes off and wakes up like this:

Cheeky sod.

8. Catorze bullies him into lying flat on the sofa so that he can curl up properly on his lap.

“Now stay put until I say, salope.”

9. Cat Daddy arrives home to find them asleep together.

10. Cat Daddy sits down and chats to friend. Catorze takes a whole ten minutes to exit friend’s lap and go and greet his papa.

11. Cat Daddy and friend open wine at 4:30pm (!) and go outside. Catorze follows and continues to pester friend.

12. I come home to two drunk men and a screaming cat.

13. I tell friend that Catorze fights with most other cats but loves hanging out with unneutered males. Friend spits out wine through laughing so much.

The moral of this story is twofold and takes the form of “Good news, bad news” which is, by now, familiar in Catorzian lore:

– Our cat is a delightfully affectionate little soul, and it makes me so proud when visitors say they’d like to take him home.

– Our cat would be beyond useless during a home invasion and would most likely snuggle the burglars, make them a cup of tea and tell them to take their time.

Le point positif

Merde, merde and thrice merde: Cat Daddy tested positive for Covid yesterday afternoon.

To be fair, he’s done very well indeed to get this far without testing positive. But what a monumentally massive pain in the arse. We have had to cancel Disco the dog’s human sister coming for dinner (Friday), Cat Daddy’s rugby hospitality day out with the blokes from his Friday evening Zoom call (today) AND my mum coming over for Mothers’ Day weekend (all weekend).

So now Cat Daddy is stuck indoors for [nobody in the U.K. has a clue how many as The Rules are so confusing] days.

I am negative (my test result, I mean; this isn’t a general observation on my demeanour, although that still works) so we’re watching television and eating in separate rooms, and we may, at some point, meet outdoors, two metres apart, for the odd chat. This is the sensible and practical thing to do. However, in the event of being TUC, I can bring things to Cat Daddy but he can’t bring things to me. This is more annoying than I ever thought possible.

Louis Catorze won’t be able to sit with us both this weekend, so the little sod will have to make a choice. I don’t suppose this will turn out well for me.

Me: “Would you like to sit with your papa or …” Catorze: “Mon papa.”

20.000 lieues sous le chat

Every cat person, it seems, has a name for the state of being during which you ask others to bring things to you because you cannot possibly move the cat from your lap.

My cousin, for instance, calls it PCP (Pussy Cat Privileges). Cat Daddy and I call it TUC (Trapped Under Cat). However we may name it, it’s the ultimate in feline worship and we cat freaks regard it as bad form both to dislodge the cat and to complain about having to bring things to the person who is TUC.

Cat Daddy is TUC.

When it happens to me, if Cat Daddy is in another room, I text him requesting drink/food/whatever and sign my message “TUC”. My TUC requests tend to be quite straightforward and reasonable: a cup of tea, a refill of my water bottle, that kind of thing. Cat Daddy, however, is more, erm, elaborate, and he has been known to say, “Could you make me a cocktail, please? Two parts rye bourbon to one part Cointreau, with some crushed ice, served in a cocktail coupe?” (I’m not joking. He asked for this just the other day.)

What name do you give to TUC? And what has been your most outlandish request when TUC, or your most extreme action to avoid disturbing a sleeping cat?

Not sure I’d go quite this far. (Picture from Reddit.com.)

Le royaume déchu

Louis Catorze escaping out at The Front is bad enough. We know this because he has done it countless times, sidestepping all our security measures as if they were just air and rolling on the pavement where dogs have done unimaginable things (ugh). But the idea of him doing it from the uppermost window in Le Château, with a literal slippery slope to a sheer drop on the other side, is just beyond the pale. And this is exactly what the little sod wanted to do yesterday afternoon.

I saw his head flick in the direction of the open window when he heard dogs barking in the park. I saw his psycho eyes widen and his fangs protrude (both of which always happen when mischief is afoot). And I saw him do the pre-launch shimmy, with the wiggle of the arse. Each one individually is a bad sign, but all three at once mean Armageddon is nigh.

Luckily, he failed in his mission because the window was too heavy for him to lift. But that didn’t stop him from trying.

Here he is, just like the velociraptors on Jurassic Park, testing the window for weak spots. Clever boy.

No.
NO.
NOOOOO.

Le miracle du printemps

Oh. Mon. Dieu. A spring equinox miracle has taken place at Le Château.

I was somewhat reluctant to mention it for fear of jinxing it, but I’m going to take a chance. What’s the worst that could happen (apart from plunging back into the unending purgatory that had become our existence prior to this day)?

As you know, since Louis Catorze’s first dental surgery in September, we have been adding water to his Orijen to soften it. This was only supposed to be temporary whilst he healed, but the little sod decided that this was how he wanted it forever. Then he didn’t. Then he did again. Then he wanted water heated to 70 degrees. Then he wanted boiling water. You get the idea.

Now that he has had his second dental surgery, I was about to devise a complicated plan for gradually reducing the water by 0.001 millilitre/degree increments when Cat Daddy cheerfully informed me that he had already served Catorze a couple of portions of completely dry food. And, apparently, Catorze had eaten them.

This sounded far too good to be true. But, when I tried it myself, Saint Jésus et tous ses anges: I had the same result.

No more will we have to throw away untold quantities of rejected Orijen when our serving skills haven’t been up to scratch. No more will we have to boil the kettle multiple times a day, only to use a minuscule amount of the water each time. No more will we have to tell non-resident chat-sitteurs to visit 78 times a day and to give him 0.4 teaspoonfuls of food per visit, sprinkled with 4.73ml water heated to 100 degrees. And no more will the silly sod starve himself rather than consume one pellet of unsatisfactorily-watered food. This is all très big news indeed.

As well as feeling elated beyond belief, I also feel guilty because, despite everything, my gut tells me that Catorze was doing this because he was in discomfort. If he were only doing it to be a contrary shite, I’m sure he would have strung it out for a lot longer.

Feeding Sa Maj is now a delight. We dish up the dry food, and he eats it. And, because he’s no longer suffering, he’s eating more.

Cat Daddy: “So we’ve spent £1,000 on surgery so that he can eat more of the most expensive food on the planet. Great. That’s money well spent.”

A spring in his step. And in his appetite.

Le pouvoir du vaisseau mère

The Mothership seems to be beaming very clear “Go apeshit” messages to the feline population at the moment. This is not good.

Louis Catorze, still full of the post-steroid munchies, has been more of a pain than I can possibly describe, with Cat Daddy describing his all-day screaming as “beyond a joke”. Catorze’s French frère-from-another-mère, Antoine, is also behaving oddly, bouncing around on the kitchen worktop (where he’s not allowed). However, the prize for the absolute worst goes to Catorze’s cat-cousin King Ghidorah who, after overgrooming a relatively minor scratch into something awful, raised merry hell throughout my sister’s efforts to fix him.

King Ghidorah was booked for a 3:30pm appointment with the vet one afternoon and, naturellement, when it was time to leave, he was nowhere to be seen.

My sister hunted in all the usual and unusual places but to no avail, then had to make the Call of Shame to inform the vet that she wouldn’t be coming because she didn’t know where her cat was. Most vets are quite used to this, but that doesn’t make it any less embarrassing when you’re the one having to make that call.

King Ghidorah eventually rolled in a couple of hours after the appointment, not giving a single shite about the upset caused. My sister hastily packaged him up, then called the vet to ask whether they had any availability that evening.

They didn’t.

So she had to unpackage him again, and her next-door neighbour later sent her this:

“Mwahahahahaha!”

Oui, Mesdames et Messieurs: after royally stuffing up the afternoon, he spent the early evening sitting on the neighbours’ skylight, creepily spying on them and (most likely) sniggering with glee at the success of his dastardly plan.

If you think your cat is behaving normally, be warned that there’s a full moon coming. It won’t last.

UPDATE: King Ghidorah made it to the vet eventually and it turns out that, despite regular Advocatting, he has fleas, no doubt from his numerous scraps with dodgy members of the feral gang living in the badlands of SE20. Hopefully the steroid shot to stop the itching, and the change of flea medication from Advocate to something stronger, will see him well again.

Une histoire brève des fangs

As you are aware, the snout-swelling that Louis Catorze experienced after his dental surgery concealed his famous fangs. The swelling has now receded but I still don’t see the fangs returning to their former glory.

I recently overheard Cat Daddy saying to Catorze, “Your fangs are coming back, aren’t they, Louis-boy?” to which he replied with a little “Mwah!” The friend who chat-sat him when we went to Norwich, is also certain that they’re back, as is another friend who visited us the weekend before. So, curiously, others can see them. I seem to be the only one who can’t.

Cat Daddy, grabbing Catorze’s head and pulling back his top lip like an over-zealous dentist: “What do you mean, you can’t see his fangs? Look! LOOK!” (Interestingly, Catorze just hangs compliantly in his hand whilst he does this. If I did this same thing to administer medication, it would be a gladiatorial fight to the death.)

Well, obviously I can see them when he does THAT. But, when the little sod is pitter-pattering about his daily business, somehow his fangs don’t seem prominent.

Is my eyesight failing? Is everyone else’s? Or are the fangs interdimensional objects which, like Catorze, can travel through wormholes in time and space, appearing and disappearing at will? Will the imminent full moon be the deliverer of the answers to some of these life mysteries, or will she simply bring more questions?

Only Sa Maj knows, and he ain’t telling.

This was Catorze before his dental surgery, pictured on some wall graffiti that we spotted in Norwich.

Morceaux cassés d’une chose

Most pet owners will admit that they look after their animals better than they look after themselves, and I am no exception. When I visited the doctor recently about my recurrent headaches*, the consultation went something like this:

Doctor: “For how long have you been getting these headaches?”

Me: “I don’t know.”

Her: “How often do you get them?”

Me: “I don’t know.”

Her: “How long does each one last?”

Me: “I don’t know.”

Her: “When was the most recent one?”

Me: “I don’t know.”

[Silence, tumbleweed, crickets]

*Mum, if you are reading this, don’t worry. Everything is fine.

Now, had these been Louis Catorze’s headaches and not mine, I would have immediately been able to say that the he’d had them every 3.4 days for the last three weeks, that they lasted 22 minutes on average and that the last one started two days ago at 8:43am.

Last week, once again I demonstrated the extent to which we put our little sods first. After stuffing my face with salted caramel cheesecake, I decided that I wanted more cheesecake. However, when I opened the fridge, the cheesecake dish slid out and fell onto the floor.

Scientists may well tell us that matter cannot both implode and explode at once – or, if it did, the two would cancel each other out – but clearly they have never dropped a dish of cheesecake on the kitchen floor. Because I was a couple of glasses of Crémant under, both my clean-up efforts and my judgement were pretty shambolic; after a perfunctory sweep with the dustpan and brush, I tried to salvage a couple of spoonfuls of cheesecake from the mess and only stopped when I realised I was crunching on glass**.

**Mum, if you are reading this, don’t worry. Everything is fine.

Cat Daddy, a few minutes later: “Did you clean up all the glass from the floor?”

Me, aware that I probably hadn’t: “Yeah.”

Him: “Are you sure?”

Me, pouring myself some more Crémant: “Uh-huh.”

Him: “I really hope so. We can’t have HIM hurting his little paws.”

HIS LITTLE PAWS. OH. MON. DIEU.

Before Cat Daddy could even draw breath I was scouring the floor for fragments of glass, looking at the same spots multiple times from different angles to see if I could catch them glinting. I picked up every single piece by hand, threw them away, then did another sweep with the dustpan and brush AND a further sober sweep the next morning. We have broken glass countless times in this house and Catorze has never come a cropper, but HIS LITTLE PAWS.

Lessons learned have been as follows:

1. The universe has ways of letting me know that one helping of cheesecake is enough.

2. I would – and did – crawl over broken glass for Catorze. And doesn’t he look appreciative?

Smug little sod and his weird tail.

La peau de chagrin (Partie 2)

Louis Catorze’s skin problem is returning.

The fur around his eyes is thinning, and this is the familiar, telltale sign that all could turn to merde if we aren’t careful. In fact, it could very well turn to merde even if we ARE careful. Since we don’t know what causes it, we are still at a loss as to what we’re supposed to do.

We had a feeling that this would happen since he only had a short-acting steroid shot the last time, but that doesn’t make it any less frustrating. He wasn’t allowed to have a steroid shot within two weeks of his surgery, nor too close to his Loxicom, so we have been waiting until the earliest opportunity, which was yesterday (as advised by the vet). I was stuck at work so Cat Daddy took Catorze, and the vet, who hadn’t seen the little sod before, called him a “noisy boy”. TRUST US, WE KNOW.

At least now he’s done … just in time for the full moon next week, which isn’t ideal as we could do without double the level of psycho, but Cat Daddy and I are just going to have to stock up on vodka and ride this one out.

If you have ever had a black cat in your life, you will know that the their eyebrow area can look perfectly normal from certain angles, and almost bald from other angles, and Catorze is no exception. The two pictures below were taken by his chat-sitteur last weekend, and they look very different indeed, so it’s hard to know from taking photos whether or not he is improving. However, if he’s eating (check), drinking (check), screaming (check) and being a complete and utter pest (HELL, check), I think we can be reassured that he is fine.

Looking a bit scruffy and threadbare here.
Not looking too bad here.

Ne l’oublions pas

Cat Daddy and I have just returned from a weekend away watching Brentford play Norwich. Louis Catorze was left in the care of a chat-sitting friend and, apart from The Curious Incident of the Bubble Wrap in the Night-Time and a LOT of creepy-staring and screaming, he was the perfect host.

Best not to even ask.

In somewhat related news – well, linking tenuously to football and cats – we really aren’t about to forgive Kurt Zouma anytime soon. During that first match against Wolves, when fans were booing him, I wondered if people would have the energy or the inclination to keep it up for ninety minutes. It seems that I underestimated the elephantine memory of the British public, because we’ve all managed to keep it up for a whole month.

On Saturday West Ham played Liverpool away, and even Cat Daddy, who doesn’t like Liverpool football club, had to raise a smile at these scenes at and around Anfield:

I will even pardon the lack of apostrophe. (Picture from worldsportstale.com.)
Terrifying but nonetheless a flash of genius. (Picture from si.com.)

Scousers, we applaud you. Please pass the baton to the Brummies and encourage them to do something equally brilliant when Aston Villa play West Ham at the weekend.

It’s another month before West Ham come to Brentford, and I’m already giving serious consideration to a placard saying “Zouma, may I have your shirt (so that my cat can wipe his arse on it)?” Best of all, Catorze even knows how to say that in Zouma’s language: French.

L’élixir blanc

In my last post I mentioned how easy it was to give Louis Catorze his Loxicom, since I just blobbed it onto his fur and he happily groomed it off. So, naturellement, as soon as that went live, he had to stuff it up.

This was the tragic sequence of events that took place the other night:

1. Prepare syringe and lay it on coffee table.

2. Little sod comes in, drenched from the rain, and settles his gross, cold body on me.

3. Casually reach for syringe and gently empty its contents onto right side of royal rump.

4. No reaction from Catorze.

5. Realise that, because he is so wet from the rain, he hasn’t noticed the additional liquid.

6. Poke hopefully at royal rump with syringe tip, to draw his attention to area.

7. Catorze begins sniffing air around me, realising that something is afoot but too thick to see what.

8. Catorze exits lap and starts sniffing around living room carpet.

9. Catorze returns to lap and settles, letting Loxicom air-dry on his body.

10. Decide eventually to apply another dose. Message Cat Daddy to refill syringe, but request that he return it in nonchalant fashion to avoid arousing suspicion.

11. Cat Daddy refills syringe and returns it suitably nonchalantly. Second dose applied to left side of royal rump (Catorze’s, not Cat Daddy’s).

12. Catorze ignores second dose.

13. Cat Daddy sits down next to us.

14. Catorze exits lap and sits on Cat Daddy, left side down, smearing most of second dose on his jeans.

15. Unrepeatable Expletives.

16. Catorze flips over, FINALLY notices remains of second dose and starts to groom it off. Success!

17. Catorze exits Cat Daddy’s lap, discovers dried-on first dose and grooms that off, too, ending up double-dosed.

18. Vet’s words of “Too little is better than too much” ring in my ears for rest of evening.

Mercifully he has now completed his course, so we won’t have to go through this farce again. Until the next time something goes wrong.

Unbelievably, his body felt worse than it looked.

Où sont les fangs?

Louis Catorze’s follow-up with his royal physician went well.

When I stuffed him into his transportation pod, naturellement there was the usual unearthly screaming. Yet, on the walk over to the practice, he was eerily silent. This is most unlike him. The only moment that he let out a little squeak was when we passed a couple of French bulldogs; no doubt he recognised his compatriots and was keen to bid them a friendly bonjour/m’aidez.

Upon arrival, Catorze made a friend in the waiting room: a fellow allergic cat called Pebbles, the same age as him but twice the size, whose humans thought Catorze’s pod was my handbag until it started screaming. In fact, this is the one disadvantage of the pod. Because it doesn’t look at all like a vessel for transporting animals, I worry that people who see me on the way to the vet will think I have some bizarre screaming holdall – or, worse, that I am walking along making the noise myself.

Bag o’screams.

Anyway, when we went into the examination room, I confessed my monumental medication stuff-up to the vet. If she thought I was an absolute idiot, she hid it well and told me that too little was better than too much. Unbelievably, despite everything, Catorze is healing well and there is no sign of any infection. I have to continue giving the little sod his Loxicom for another five days which, luckily, is very easy since I just blob it onto his fur and he calmly and happily grooms it off. So there is no need to Greco it to him. (Grecoing a liquid is a lot harder than it sounds.) Then, after three clear drug-free days, he can go back for his steroid shot.

When we returned to Le Château, he forgave me instantly and settled on my lap (photographed below). So it seems that the days of the Post-Vet Sulk are a thing of the past.

Le Roi’s fangs are taking their time in coming back. Cat Daddy seems to think they are progressively returning, but I’m struggling to see it myself. Obviously we love him with or without fangs, but they are my favourite part of him and he doesn’t seem like himself without them. Let’s hope that they return fully soon.

Thanks again to everyone who has wished him well.

Where ARE those fangs?