Danser dans le noir

Cat Daddy and I recently had friends over for dinner. Two of our three guests were men so, naturellement, Louis Catorze found this very pleasing indeed and spent the evening pitter-pattering back and forth between our gathering and ICB in the Zone Libre.

When our guests were about to leave, I made sure that the coast was clear because I really didn’t want Catorze escaping out at The Front at 2am. I was tired and couldn’t face the sleepless night that I knew would follow if I went to bed with him still outside.

Just as I was closing the door after saying our goodbyes, we heard the most almighty BA-DOOMPH, BA-DOOMPH, BA-DOOMPH. The little sod, who had been waiting silently on the landing for the right moment to strike, galloped down the stairs like a wild deer. You would be forgiven for wondering why the loud stomping didn’t trigger us to shut the door more quickly, but it was so un-catlike that it took us by surprise and we froze.

Catorze shot out and under That Neighbour’s car.

Guest 1: “Oh. Is he allowed out here?”

Me: “Not really. But, as you can see, he doesn’t give a shit.”

Guest 2 tried to entice Catorze out, without success. I know from bitter experience that, in situations such as these, the more one tries to chase, the more resistant he becomes, so the only thing to do is wait until he decides to come back. Regretfully there is no way of knowing whether that will be in the next few minutes, or at sunrise.

Cat Daddy decided to have a go at calling Catorze, to see if he would respond better to his favourite human. But Catorze, seemingly buoyed by the novelty of the quiet, empty street, taunted him by dancing tantalisingly out of his reach and refusing to come in.

Eventually I went to bed, with Cat Daddy promising that he would wait up and keep trying. But I decided that I couldn’t leave Catorze to the mercy of his papa, who was drunk and therefore highly likely to forget and/or fall asleep, so I came back downstairs at 2:40am for one last attempt. Luckily Catorze was waiting on the doorstep when I opened the door, and he gave me a little squeak of gratitude, then pitter-pattered up to bed with me and lay across my stomach like a living, furry belt.

What IS this peculiar beast who can both float silently and BA-DOOMPH like a charging rhino, and who can sense exactly when we don’t want him to do something and then do that very thing? One thing is for sure: no way in the world is he just a cat.

Bastard cat/deer/rhino.

J’adore le ventilateur

During previous searingly hot summers, I have sat in the living room with a fur-covered animal on my lap, a blanket over my knees (because said animal doesn’t like contact with bare skin), a candle burning (because of said animal’s allergies) and the fan off (because said animal doesn’t like the breeze), all the while hating myself and wondering how I became such a pathetic excuse for a human being.

However, Louis Catorze has decided that he does like the fan after all. So I am proud to declare that I now only do three of the four things mentioned above, making me merely SOMEWHAT pathetic as opposed to an utter loser.

Here I am, sweltering in the blistering heat, whilst Sa Maj relaxes in comfort:

You just relax whilst my internal organs melt and leak out of me.

Le maillot arc-en-ciel

A couple of days ago, I went into the kitchen where Cat Daddy was watching the Tour de France. Louis Catorze had squished himself so hard into his papa’s leg that it was a while before I spotted him.

I then noticed that THIS was happening:

Apologies for the Tour de France commentary in the background.

Me: “What’s going on?”

Cat Daddy, without taking his eyes off the Tour de France: “It’s Boys’ Club. This is what we do.”

Well, I wouldn’t know. I’m not a member, and if I so much as pass by when meetings are taking place, I am met with baleful glares from those in attendance.

It’s not really fair, is it? I am the one who organises all Catorze’s important stuff and, in return, I am merely tolerated. Cat Daddy, the one who swears at him, calls him names and roughs him up to the point of flatlining ears (Catorze’s ears, I mean, not Cat Daddy’s), is treated with utter adoration.

It would be annoying were it not for the fact that it’s also hilariously cute. I can’t help but love their partnership and, despite Cat Daddy’s protests to the contrary, I know that he does, too.

L’eau est la vie

We are still suffering the after-effects of the crippling heatwave that peaked last week. At least we HOPE that was the peak, and that it isn’t going to get worse.

Most normal cats are flopping languidly around the place and not doing a great deal. Louis Catorze, however, is splitting his time between screaming, intensive Rodent Duty, more screaming, gorging on Orijen and indulging in all-night parkour around the back bedroom, including in and out of the window. (Don’t worry, there is an extension roof below and it’s not just a sheer drop. That said, he has tried to jump out of upper floor windows that DO have a sheer drop, and I’ve had to stop him.)

Like good citizens, we have been dutifully putting out extra water for the local wildlife. Stupidly, I assumed that Catorze were too engrossed in his other summer activities to bother himself with the birds’ water bowl. When he’s on Rodent Duty not even Armageddon will shift him, as you can see here:

Good boy.

However, I have just busted him doing this:


It’s not the clearest picture as I had to take it from some distance away; any attempt to move closer would have sent him scarpering and denied me any evidence. But we can all see what’s going on, non?

And the prosecution would also like to submit this piece of evidence: on the same day that these photos were taken, the little sod came in from a long evening of Rodent Duty with a suspiciously damp body, when it wasn’t raining.

We are now concerned that Cat Daddy’s greatest fear will come true: that Catorze will drink from The Iron Pool (assuming he hasn’t already done so), making it the most expensive cat drinking vessel on the planet. And the fact that it’s not even his MAIN vessel, and only a secondary one, makes it worse.

Will the spooky Book of Hope work some self-preservation magic on its outdoor counterpart? Or will it and Catorze team up to form some unholy alliance that will take over the world?

“Your maman snorts catnip in hell, you faithless slime!”
“The haunted bones made moi do it.”

L’âme de la montagne

During our stay in beautiful Durness, Cat Daddy and I embarked upon a magical voyage into the home – and creative imagination – of artist Lotte Glob. Words alone cannot adequately describe her world and it really has to be seen in person, but you can find out more about it here.

We fell in love with one of Lotte’s pieces in particular, called The Book of Hope. It’s named after Ben Hope, the mountain from which the raw materials were gathered to make the book. But, somehow, it also sums up our optimism in putting a precious, fragile piece of art in the same house as a cat who always does the opposite of what you want. The exact combinations and proportions of clay, minerals, plants and bones (yes, BONES) that went into the pages are known only by it and its author, and that’s part of its wonder. It’s like the Cailleach’s personal book of shadows, excavated from deep within the earth, and we will never fully know its secrets. (Unless Louis Catorze smashes it up.)

When we returned to Lotte’s place the next day to collect the book, a second piece also caught our eye. This one is called The Iron Pool, and we hope that it will provide the birds with some much-needed water in this heatwave whilst also being high-sided enough to keep it from inquisitive Catorzian paws/tongues. We love the fact that it looks like an earth-toned flower from a distance but, when you approach, there’s a surprise blue loch inside:

The Iron Pool, supported by a small selection of the inordinate number of rocks that Cat Daddy insists on gathering, wherever he goes.

I wasn’t allowed to plonk Catorze next to The Iron Pool for a photo (Cat Daddy: “Nooo, we don’t want to draw his attention to it in any way!”), but I did manage to capture the little sod with The Book of Hope. The more I think about it, the less weird it is that a household with a black vampire cat also has a sculpture containing hidden bones.

“Magic et secrets et bones, oh my!”

If you are in the Scottish Highlands, Lotte’s place is well worth a visit (by appointment only). As well as being talented, she is a delightful person and so easy to talk to. We would love to see her again when we return next year to climb Ben Hope.

Le cafard post-vacances

Cat Daddy and I succeeded in our plan to beat the worst of the searing heat on Tuesday, and we were fortunate to spend much of the day in an air-conditioned car. However, when we arrived back at Le Château, it really was the end of days because the screaming started. Not that it had ever really stopped.

Saint Jésus, Louis Catorze has been BEYOND horrendous since our return and it’s like having the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse all stampede us at once. Is this really the same cat who received a glowing behaviour report from his chat-sitteur during our absence?

He screamed as we were unloading our bags from the car. He screamed as Cat Daddy watered the parched garden. He screamed as Cat Daddy let fly a string of Unrepeatable Expletives when it started to rain minutes after he had finished watering the garden. And, as if I wouldn’t already have difficulty sleeping with both the brutal heat and the grim realisation that all our summers could be this hot from now on, the little sod alternated between screaming, aggressive headbutting and parkour at hourly intervals throughout the night. And, naturellement, he only did this in my room, steering well clear of his papa (who was in another room as it was cooler than sleeping together).

Catorze only quietened down when dawn broke … and that was when the parakeets started. My happy holiday feeling was gone in an instant, as if it had never existed.

Here he is, watching the birds intently but doing nothing, nichts, niente and nada about their infernal racket:

Bastard birds and bastard cat.

Plus chaud que la moyenne

Whoever said “Truth is stranger than fiction” certainly knew what they were talking about (and had probably met Louis Catorze). So, when Cat Daddy came back from the bar and told me that he’d seen a memorial on the wall paying homage to a previous pub cat, I believed him. I also believed him when he said that the cat was called, erm, Craig David. (Non-Brits: ask your slightly older British friends.)

Photo from chroniclelive.co.uk.

Craig David was a stray who turned up one day at the Free Trade Inn in Newcastle and never left. He soon became an iconic feature of the pub, and customers would often find him asleep on a bar stool or on top of the jukebox. There was quite an outpouring of grief from the community when he passed away after four years of living his best life at the pub, and the staff decided to pay tribute with a commemorative blue plaque on the wall:

They met the cat on Monday, gave him a few treats on Tuesday, he had moved in by Wednesday …

They even sell Craig David t-shirts – and, yes, we bought one:

Craig David all over your (shirt).

I sometimes think of what we should do to honour Catorze when he is no longer here. But, since the little sod was forged in the raging fires of The Underworld, he will probably outlast every single one of us. And, just as Earth implodes, he will hop onto a spacecraft and return to his home planet, having accomplished his mission here.

Why were you screaming loudly late last night? Can you fill me in?

Speaking of hellfires, later today we will be heading back to the inferno that is London, having had a relatively lucky escape here in that tiny strip of England that wasn’t in the Red Zone. Cat Daddy tried to cheer himself up by Googling places hotter than London, only to feel worse when he discovered that Seville, Cairo and Addis Ababa are all COOLER.

Much has been made of animals in the heat, with advice involving extra water and fans but, unbelievably, this is one area where I trust Catorze to do the right thing for himself, however insane it may seem to me. After all, he has ninety-nine problems but a heat-related illness ain’t one.

As ever, there is online panic, with people on my local neighbourhood forum telling cat owners to keep cats indoors. However, I disagree. Unlike dogs, who would blindly follow their owners across hot lava if they had to (and even if they didn’t have to), cats won’t do things that they don’t want to do. Also, if cats are used to going outside and they enjoy it, keeping them in would drive them round the bend; we would be able to hear Catorze’s screaming even from up here. So we have just told our neighbours to feed him smaller portions, keep an closer eye on the levels of his one water glass, and let him do as he wants. (He doesn’t need extra water glasses; trust me, he won’t drink from them. And, when the fan is switched on, his ears flick back and he moves away.)

Incidentally, our chat-sitteur reported that Sa Maj was the perfect angel during our absence, with no pukes, no rats and no 3am parkour. For heaven’s sake.

Un tableau noir à la lumière

Cat Daddy and I have decided, last-minute, to extend our holiday, to avoid the London heat which now looks set to peak at 41°C (FORTY-ONE DEGREES CELSIUS). Sadly we can’t stay in the eco-croft as it’s reserved, but we have booked a place in the north-east, in the same complex where KettleGate took place. It’ll still be 30°C there, but come on: 30°C or 41°C? The latter sounds like a made-up number, applicable only to Death Valley and to that place in Ethiopia with the acidic water.

Non, non and thrice non.

We are very lucky indeed to be able to do this, and our wonderful, kind neighbours have agreed to take over Catorzian duties for the extra few days. We feel for anyone who has to endure this weather covered in black fur, but not enough to go and join them in it. Sorry, Louis Catorze.

Anyway … cats and circles. We all know about that. (If you don’t, please have a look here.)

However, cats and RECTANGLES? That’s a new one to us. But for Catorze, who always does the opposite of whatever is expected or wanted, it’s absolutely perfect.

It’s not often that Catorze creates perfect moments but, on this occasion, he did. The little sod decided to position himself in a rectangle that isn’t even a real rectangle, but a shadow one cast by the trellis above him. Perhaps he understands that every work of art needs a frame, and in this case the masterpiece is himself.

Here he is, demonstrating that rectangles are, apparently, the new circles. This was taken some time before the raging inferno into which London has just plunged but, to be fair, Catorze would do this whatever the weather:

This art installation created itself.

La queue du monstre

Cat Daddy and I are on the last part of our holiday, which is a week in a secluded eco-croft in Durness. And, whilst London sizzles in a heatwave that looks set to hit 37°C on Monday, we are luxuriating in the joy that is 23°C and below. It’s absolutely blissful, although I do miss the company of Louis Catorze. (Cat Daddy, however, says he doesn’t.)

I have brought my Great British Map of Folklore and Superstition on holiday with me, and the north coast of Scotland is packed with spooky creatures of interest. These include ghosts, mermaids and even witches who shapeshift into cats, the latter of which made me think Catorze would probably feel quite at home here:

Us: “Do you think our cat is a baobhan sith, or is he a cait sith?” Scottish people: “Aye.”

I’ve said it before but it’s worth repeating: Catorze has the weirdest cat tail I have ever seen. Although the tail itself is still nowhere near as weird as the fact that, when making him, God/Mother Nature/Satan/whoever decided that he wasn’t quite weird enough in his personality, so a weird tail was also necessary:

Nope. We have never seen anything like it, either.

We have various theories in terms of what could have inspired this crocodilian creation. Here are some suggestions:

A friend sent me this, and I see the resemblance.
Catorze’s hindquarters could make a fine hat one day. A very small one, obviously. (Sent by another friend.)
The branch of a monkey puzzle tree. Quite apt as Catorze is both a monkey and a puzzle.
Caterpillar segments, anyone?
A snazzy, snaky bangle, perhaps?
Maybe he’s more haute couture than we realise?

Are there any other Catorzian tailalikes out there? Please let me know, if so.

Le bâillement-miaulement

Last Friday it was Cat Daddy’s birthday, and his second-best present was the whisky that I bought him from the Abhainn Dearg distillery on the Isle of Lewis.

His best present, however, was a restful birthday lie-in unpeppered with feline screaming. There really is no price one can put upon that.

Our chat-sitteur captured les fangs perfectly here.

One of the many things that I love about cats – apart from the rare occasions that they let us sleep in peace – is when a meow turns into a yawn. My family have named this phenomenon, erm, the yawn-meow. I know. Creativity and originality just run in our blood.

I suppose it should be the meow-yawn since the meow comes first, but yawn-meow is so much easier to say.

It’s a difficult thing to record because we don’t know when it’s coming. I don’t imagine even the cats know it’s coming – and, if they did, they’d try to hold it in as soon as we took out our phones, just to spite us. But I was lucky enough to capture the Catorzian yawn-meow some time ago but, as is often the case with Louis Catorze, I couldn’t post it at the time as he was doing so much other stupid nonsense which took over Le Blog.

Catorze reads Le Blog, highly amused by the antics of King Ghidorah and Samba.

Here is the yawn-meow, in all its fine glory. You’re welcome:

Watch him go cross-eyed when he does it.

Le pouvoir du Premier Chat

Blimey, Westminster. We turn our backs for five minutes, and now this! Despite being on holiday, Cat Daddy and I have been following the plot twists and turns with great interest. This has been better entertainment than all the best episodes of Jeremy Kyle* fused together.

*Non-Brits: ask your British friends who didn’t work 9-to-5 jobs between 2005 and 2019.

In short, the U.K. government has just imploded and, whilst this is a wonderful thing because Boris Johnson is one of the most abysmal human beings there is, we are now somewhat nervous as we await the news of what will happen next. Ministers have been resigning in their droves, and just about the only government post still occupied is that of Larry the cat, Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office.

Larry has lived at 10 Downing Street since 2011, although a resident cat has, apparently, been a feature of the Office since the reign of Henry VIII. Larry remains a constant presence whilst Prime Ministers have come and gone. (Incidentally, Cat Daddy thinks it’s a wonderful idea for the cat to belong to the house, and for each set of departing humans to leave it behind for the next suckers.) It is said that Larry wasn’t especially keen on David Cameron, something to which I’m sure many of us can relate since he was the one who started all this mess in the first place. Larry also had troubled relations with Palmerston, former Chief Mouser to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and their physical fights once led to a lost collar for one party and an injured ear for the other.

At the time of writing this, we had no idea who Larry’s new humans would be, but our country never fails to surprise us every time we think, “It can’t possibly get any worse than this”. The most noxious turd may well have been located, but we still need to fully scoop it out of the litter tray. And then there’s the business of the remaining piss-soaked nuggets and their stubborn stench which, sadly, will linger for some time.

Here are Larry and Palmerston, doing what they do best. Even as an in-fighting coalition, they would be better at leading the country than any member of the Conservative party:

I’d vote for Larry even if he puked in my shoes. (Photo from bbc.co.uk.)
Palmerston is flanked by (left to right) his Feeder, Groomer, Door-Opener/Closer, Toilettes-Cleaner, Kill-Binner and Chief Cuddler. (Photo from mirror.co.uk.)

L’envahisseur de l’espace (Partie 2)

Cat Daddy and I are in the Outer Hebrides. Louis Catorze would have loved the ferry from the mainland; firstly, they have priority seating for pet owners and, secondly, it’s right next to the men’s toilets:

We will disregard the fact that they’ve pictured a DOG.

They are right about the trip hazard, too; Catorze would be weaving in and out of men’s feet, purring and rolling, if he were here.

Before leaving Glasgow, we took a walk along the Clydeside Expressway and were lucky enough to come across this beauty:

If any Scottish followers know the story behind this, we would love to hear it.

Meanwhile, back in London, these were the scenes at the château of Catorze’s cat-cousin King Ghidorah recently. Might I add that my sister and her family have one (1) cat:

Erm …?

Hang on a second … this all seems remarkably déjà vu, doesn’t it?

*Checks back through previous Le Blog entries*

IT IS. I posted these very words in April. Same shit, different cat.

This time the impinger is a known one, called Samba, and he lives down the street from Château Ghidorah. Whenever my sister mentions him, I cannot help but hear Samba de Janeiro, by Bellini, in my head. And, now, so will you. If you’re a football fan you will recognise it as the song that Norwich City play whenever they score, although it didn’t have much airtime last season and, as a result, Norwich have since been relegated.

Regretfully, relations between King Ghidorah and Samba are all a bit Brazil-Venezuela, as you can see:

Sempre assim.

Samba’s humans have had him for six weeks of which they have been letting him out for three, and this seems to me like a short time of house arrest. Not that I’m in a position to criticise as we let out Louis Catorze’s big brother, Luther, after a few days. Well, I say “let out” but in actual fact he escaped, managing to bypass our supposedly impenetrable airlock system. And, on reflection, the fact that we were outsmarted is far more shameful than just being plain irresponsible.

However, Luther knew where his home was. Samba doesn’t. Or perhaps – and this is far more likely – he knows exactly what he’s doing, but just doesn’t care.

Here is Samba, reminding me of another famous namesake: Brice Samba, who plays for Nottingham Forest and who is also known for wasting people’s time and taking the piss.

Well, don’t mind us. You just take your time.

La liberté et le whisky

We are in Scotland, and what a feeling it is not to wake up at 4am to the sound of screeching parakeets, all the while knowing that our cat is partly responsible for the cacophony. In fact, the only parakeets that we’ve seen have been taxidermied ones in the Kelvingrove Museum.

Cat Daddy: “Dead and stuffed. Just how I like them.”

The only cats we’ve seen were in the same museum:

Cat Daddy: “I can’t believe Louis is descended from that. What an absolute joke.”
A cat impinging on what is supposed to be a bird display. The only surprise is that it’s not a black cat.
Citizens of Glasgow: a bell ain’t gonna do shit. Don’t bother.

Later today, we hope to visit one of Cat Daddy’s favourite distilleries because he, Disco the Dog’s daddy and Cocoa the Babysit Cat’s daddy have decided to form a Rum and Whisky Club.

What could POSSIBLY go wrong there?

And their WhatsApp group is called, erm, High Spirits. I know. I KNOW.

Cat Daddy first fell in love with whisky years ago, when my mum bought him a bottle. He later told me, “It’s really kind of your mum, and I appreciate the thought, but I don’t like whisky.” But he drank it anyway, and now he can’t stop. So all this is partly her fault.

The Club was born during the first lockdown of 2021, on Burns Night, when we weren’t allowed to meet indoors, so the three gentlemen lined up their whisky bottles and glasses on the front wall outside and drank on the pavement. And, because it was so cold, they didn’t need any ice for their drinks. I have no idea whether The Club plans to alternate drinks by having rum at one session and whisky at the next, or both within the same session or even, dare I say it, both from the same glass. And, frankly, I daren’t even ask.

Now that lockdown is over, plans are afoot to kickstart The Club (this time in the comfort of each other’s houses, not standing in the street) and nobody is more delighted about this than Louis Catorze. The only thing better than a drunk, animal-loving, man fussing over him is SEVERAL drunk, animal-loving men fussing over him.

Luckily we are holidaying in the best place for Cat Daddy to taste-test various bottles samples of whisky. And, in Catorze’s mind, we imagine that Rum and Whisky Club looks just like this (taken last month), except with harder alcohol and more men:

Dreaming of boys.

Des substances qui améliorent la performance

Cat Daddy and I are off on holiday today. At a time when petrol prices are astronomical, what better thing to do than, erm, a two-week road trip?

Earlier this week we took Louis Catorze to the vet for his steroid injection. To be honest he wasn’t desperately in need, but our other options were to wait until we returned home from holiday (nope) or have our chat-sitteur take him to the vet (hell, nope).

Our cleaning lady started vacuuming just before we set off for the appointment, and the sound of the vacuum cleaner turns Catorze into a feral, screaming hell-beast. So that didn’t really help us. However, at least no dogs were waiting in the Dog Area. When that happens, it never goes well.

Once, when I arrived at the surgery, there was an Oscar the dog lookalike in the Dog Area. Although Catorze and I obediently complied with the apartheid system and sat in the Cat Area, the reception is fairly small. So the opposing factions were able to eyeball each other across the room like the Jets and the Sharks in West Side Story, and it was only a matter of time until one of them decided to start the altercation. I imagine it was Catorze, although I can’t remember for sure. My brain appears to have blocked it out, the way that brains do with traumatic events if they know that you won’t be able to cope with them.

“I don’t know why he’s doing this,” the Dog Daddy said, apologetically, of his dog. “He doesn’t usually mind cats.”

More barking from the Oscar dog, more screaming from Catorze and more apologies from the Dog Daddy followed.

“What’s your cat usually like with dogs?”

Jésus, Marie et Joseph, et le petit âne; let’s not even go there. Luckily the Oscar dog was then called into the examination room, so I was spared the horror of having to have that conversation. “He torments the shit out of them” probably wouldn’t have sounded great.

Anyway, the little sod’s dose kicked in the day after this latest appointment and, whilst I was packing, he followed me around, walking across all my clothes, screaming his little guts out. The only thing that shut him up was me picking him up and holding him, so I had to finish packing one-handed.

One of my friends suggested that perhaps Catorze felt sad that we were leaving. I’d say it were drugs, general idiocy or a combination of the two.

Glassy-eyed and ready to cause havoc.