L’écharpe jaune

Since Brentford FC stormed into the Premier League, I have been furiously knitting away to create some scarves that match our new away kit. Yellow isn’t my favourite colour but, having seen some other clubs’ horror show kits – Spurs and Liverpool, I’m looking in your direction – I think we’ve got off quite lightly.

Naturellement, Louis Catorze is going through a phase of being a crud-magnet at the moment (see first photo below), and a light wool colour that shows every speck of crud has made my work utterly irresistible to him. He has interfered with this particular scarf at least 8,489 times, depositing various pieces of what I really hope is plant matter along the way, and now the wool is wound firmly around his foot and I can’t get it off (see second photo below). Any efforts to unravel it have been met with objections, and if I am too clumsy with any further efforts I will either snap the wool (not great) or push it towards his rear end (a cataclysmic disaster).

I don’t even want to know.
Uncomfortably close to you-know-where.

So I am just sitting here, not even daring to breathe in case of it ending up in that unmentionable location, and waiting until the little sod decides to move. And the fact that I want him to move is a sure sign that he will be here for the rest of the day.

Cats: just why?

David et Goliath

Every neighbourhood has a Ginger Impinger. And there is a new one in town.

Defending his royal title, in the Black Corner and weighing in at 3.12kg, is Sa Majesté Louis Catorze, Le Roi Soleil, whom we all know and love. And the challenger, in the Orange Corner and weighing in at 173kg, is this dude:

Oh. Mon. Dieu.
Saint Jésus.

He is absolutely enormous. And he was quite happy to make himself comfortable, too, lounging around on the patio and even letting Cat Daddy stroke him.

Cheeky sod.

Now, you would be forgiven for thinking Catorze wouldn’t stand a chance against this beast. However, I have seen him once before – or, rather, glimpsed his hindquarters fleeing into the night. And, would you believe, he was fleeing from Catorze.

The little sod had escaped out at The Front, as usual, and we had opened the living room window in case he needed to run quickly to safety. When I heard him growling outside I peered through the open window and saw Catorze on the wall, and Goliath’s unmistakable rear end and fluffy tail heading for That Neighbour’s garden. At the time I wasn’t able to see how large he was, and until today Cat Daddy was convinced that I had seen a fox and mistaken it for a cat (?). But now he knows, and he is delighted with his boy for standing up for himself.

It’s hard to demonstrate the size disparity without a photo of the two cats together, but the hinge on the shed door, visible in both photos below, gives some sense of scale. Here is David, by the gap leading to the Zone Libre:

Size isn’t everything.

And here is Goliath, defying all odds by succeeding in squeezing his considerable bulk through the same gap:

What do you mean, “Breathe in”? I am breathing in!”
Oof.

Yes, he’s a monster. That said, if we were to pit them against one another in combat, my money would be on Le Roi.

Une haie entre voisins préserve l’amitié

A few days ago I heard Cat Daddy shout “Cat fight!” and, naturellement, I ran to the window see who it was, so that I could tut at the badly-behaved cat(s) and judge the human(s) for their inadequate parenting.

I arrived just in time to see Blue the Smoke Bengal being seen off by none other than … Louis Catorze.

Merde.

Cat Daddy could not have been more proud to see his boy take on a cat twice his size, and win. However, I was much less impressed, not least because we get along very well with Blue’s mamma and don’t want problems on account of our scrapping animals. In fact, we had the following conversation with numerous friends and family members of Blue’s mamma at her recent birthday party:

Them: “So how do you know [Blue’s mamma]?”

Us: “We live down the street. Our cat hates her cat.”

Them: “Aww! But Blue is so lovely! How can anyone not like him?”

Us: “We know. We’re utterly ashamed of Louis. If he were our human child, we’d kick his arse.”

Whilst I understand that a cat might dislike other cats in general – after all, I’m a person and I dislike most people – what is truly mystifying is how a cat who is low on friends can dislike a cat who is perfectly friendly and sweet. Worse yet, we can’t teach the little sod how improve his behaviour because he doesn’t understand what we’re telling him to do and, even if he did, he wouldn’t listen/care.

This photo demonstrates perfectly how much he respects our wishes. He truly is a little sod.

Horrid cat.

Les belles assiettes

Poor old Louis Catorze has been gorging himself silly on Orijen, with no mess whatsoever, since I started sprinkling water over to soften the pieces. On the day of writing this he’d had three breakfasts, and he’s just eating his third dinner of Cat Daddy’s drunkenly-served Orijen soup.

He seems to be finding it much easier to eat, plus he’s probably experiencing the Post-Steroid Hungries, but either way this is good news as we want him to gain weight.

At around the same time of Catorze’s messy eating, but before I knew that he had a problem with his teeth, I also noticed that he would take a mouthful of food, then stand upright to crunch. So I bought him one of those fancy tilted (and unbreakable) bowls that apparently save poor kitty from having to strain his neck downwards to eat.

Sa Maj is a man of many bowls, including this one.

However, Catorze’s buddy Sammypuss, who sent the little sod the original bowl and the back-up bowl, has very kindly offered him a third, identical one, in the extremely likely event of me smashing the back-up. And Catorze even has his friend Dexter in India scouring the local pottery market for a similar bowl, in the equally likely event of me also smashing the THIRD Sammypuss bowl. So now he has a current bowl, a new tilted bowl still in its packaging, plus half the world’s cats are also busily sourcing bowls for him.

Cat Daddy: “F***ing ridiculous.”

We all know what a cirque de merde it was the last time we changed bowls, so I certainly won’t be deploying the new one until I absolutely have to. So, for the moment, I am handling the current Sammypuss bowl very tenderly indeed, only just stopping short of lining the kitchen sink with bubble wrap before I wash it.

Anyway, Catorze is blissfully unconcerned and gives not a single hoot about his dental condition, about Bowlmageddon, about any of this. Here he is, happily gadding about outside whilst we all run ourselves ragged on his account:

Surveying his royaume (and picking out which foxes to bully first).

Les miettes sur l’assiette

Louis Catorze has been making a God-awful mess during feeding. Recently his mat and bowl have been covered in crunched-up fragments of Orijen, suggesting that the pellets are too big for him when, in actual fact, they’re smaller than those of Lily’s Kitchen and therefore should be easier to manage.

When I took him for his steroid jab I asked the vet to check his teeth, because I wanted to be sure that the little sod wasn’t having difficulty chewing. It turns out that the he has something called feline odontoclastic resorptive lesions or FORL for short, in other words absorbing a tooth back into his gums. Long story short, he will need surgery under a general anaesthetic to fix it, to the tune of £550-£675.

Cat Daddy: “He’s such a ****.”

I feel awful when I think that this may even be the reason why he lost weight, although he was showing no signs of having tooth problems. Perhaps I should have known something was wrong as he has been very clingy towards me lately, and Cat Daddy has a theory that he does this when he’s not feeling well. (Usually, as you know, he couldn’t give a shite whether I live or die.) Anyway, we have made an appointment for 10th September, and Catorze will hop aboard the Animal Bus to the TW3 branch and have the procedure there. We can’t do it any sooner because the surgery has to take place when the steroid jab is beginning to tail off but not worn down to nothing.

Meanwhile, I am dampening his Orijen with water to soften it and wondering what the heck else could possibly go wrong with him, because surely he’s now had every ailment there is? Here is some information about his freakish yet apparently common condition, if you’re interested.

Poor little sod.

La vénération des chats noirs

Today is Black Cat Appreciation Day. This celebration was, apparently, created by Wayne Morris, as a memorial for his sister June, a black cat devotee, who passed away on this day.

Morris (pictured below) wasn’t actually named after Wayne Morris, but it’s a nice coincidence, n’est-ce pas? Morris works as Head Tester at the Cool Cat Club. Obviously the notion of WORKING for a living goes completely against what cats are about but, if the job description involved eating food, I am pretty sure that most would oblige.

When Morris’s humans lost his predecessor, the magnificent Parky, Morris worked his Chat Noir magic to draw them in. He was rescued from a run-down farm at 8 weeks old, feral, frail and not used to people. After the fantastic work of the RSPCA Blackpool and his foster carer, Morris officially agreed to take on his new forever humans.

For the first few days he remained under the bed, but eventually the humans coaxed him out and he became more trusting. Initial impressions of being a timid cat turned out to be all lies, and in actual fact a more brazen little sod has never walked this earth.

Morris has a canine brother called Gizmo, and naturellement Morris quickly let him know, with a couple of gentle swipes, who was boss. The two brothers have a great relationship. The humans even wonder whether Morris thinks he’s a dog or whether he’s training Gizmo to become more cat? (The former would be cute, the latter extremely terrifying indeed.)

On one occasion Morris caught a bird and brought it not to his humans, but to Gizmo. That was his first and last kill as he now has a bell collar – a clear sign of a cat with previous – which announces his approach like Santa’s sleigh bells. Not very cool when you are supposed to be the neighbourhood kingpin, but at least the avian population can rest well in their nests at night.

One of Morris’s quirks is that he likes to sleep with his head upside down, perhaps indicating that he is part-bat or even channelling his inner Batman?

Nana-nana-nana-nana Bat Caaaaat!

He is also partial to a scrunched-up ball of tin foil (quite common) but no other ball or toy whatsoever (erm, somewhat less common). If the doorbell rings he’s the first there, perhaps wishing to add Head of Security to his job description, perhaps being Batman again, perhaps thinking he’s a dog … who knows? Anyway, it’s all fun and games until someone trips over him.

He is a wonderful cat and his humans are very lucky indeed to have been chosen by him.

Here are some more pictures of Morris doing Morris stuff and making his big brother Parky proud, every day. And, if you’d like to find out more about his employer, the Cool Cat Club, please have a look here.

Cheeky boy.
Spot le chat.
Morris and his frère from another mère/père.

L’autre bol royal

I have broken the bowl that Louis Catorze’s friend Sammypuss gave him. I know. I KNOW.

Cat Daddy: “What happened to it?”

Me: “I dropped it in the sink whilst I was washing it.”

Cat Daddy: “Why did you do that?”

Well, I dunno … to see if it would bounce? For goodness’ sake.

Luckily, Sammypuss was kind enough to gift Catorze with two bowls, so I have an identical one as back-up. However, if anything happens to the back-up, we will be royally stuffed; as you know, Catorze would rather starve than eat from an undesirable bowl, even if he used to find said bowl perfectly acceptable in the distant past. And, knowing him, he will probably reject the back-up EVEN THOUGH IT IS EXACTLY THE SAME AS THE ORIGINAL ONE.

The poor little sod was waiting to be fed when the mishap occurred, and the sound of the porcelain smashing sent him scarpering outside. Here he is, tentatively debating whether or not to come back in again:

Not sure …
Merde.

Le restaurant à la carte

Cat Daddy’s Avian Apartheid is working: the larger birds have given up trying to eat from the bird feeder, and he could not be more delighted about this. His favourite visitors are two pairs of pretty goldfinches who come every day, multiple times.

During his Friday night Zoom call with his boozy pub mates (yes, they’re still doing it, even though they’re allowed to go to the actual pub now), one of the lads told him that you can buy finch-specific bird feed. I know. So Cat Daddy then bought a huge 863kg sack of it.

Now, of course, he is complaining that the goldfinches like the food too much, because he is having to refill the feeder more often than before. It’s quite surprising that four such tiny birds manage to chomp through so much food in such a short time but, if he makes the choice to cater for particular birds’ dietary requirements, he surely can’t be too shocked that they, erm, eat the food?

Anyway, the good news is that, despite the fact that the finches have caught Louis Catorze’s eye, he appears to make no attempt to catch them. He sits and stares intently from a distance, and that’s as far as it goes. And we are glad about this.

Catorze definitely sees himself as the apex predator. But he also knows that he can’t be arsed to do anything about it.

Merci à Dieu: he’s leaving well alone.

Insidieux

Louis Catorze is creeping me out.

I am home alone with him right now because Cat Daddy has gone out, and I can hear the sound of the little sod thundering around on our wooden floorboards.

I am certain that Le Roi has company but that’s not the worst part of this. After all, I have dealt with snails, rats (both curly- and straight-haired) and mice, a multitude of times, and a bird once. What’s terrifying is the fact that both he and his mystery guest appear to know when I’m coming and can maintain silence and statue-stillness in an instant.

I have tried creeping up quietly on him/them but it makes no difference; every time I look, I am met with this:

Nothing to see here.

Then, when I turn my back, the thundering restarts. And, once again, when I take a look, Catorze is the picture of sweet innocence and there is no sign of anyone else:

Still nothing to see here.

I am desperate for Cat Daddy to come home but I know that, when he does, Catorze will stop all this and behave like a normal cat. And we’re not even close to a full moon so we don’t even have those extenuating circumstances.

Heaven help us all (but mainly me).

Le siège royal

Louis Catorze appears to be on some sort of hunger strike. He’s eaten pitifully little since we returned from holiday, and I imagine it’s either because of the warm weather, or because he’s just an idiot. I’m leaning more towards the latter.

Everything else about him is “normal” – in fact, the other day he escaped out at The Front and screamed at a French passer-by who cuddled him and spoke to him in French – so we are not too concerned. But, obviously, if his lack of appetite continues at length, we will have to take him to the vet again. As a last resort we still have an Ace of Spades up our sleeves: one of the appetite-enhancing pills that turned him into an eating, screaming, bug-eyed maniac at the end of last year. However, it’s not for the faint-hearted, and Cat Daddy and I need time to psych ourselves up before we deploy that.

Catorze is, however, very much enjoying his alfresco Boys’ Club sessions with Cat Daddy. And – merci à Dieu – he also appears to have stopped scratching the cushions, although no doubt that will change the minute this post goes live.

Because the back support cushions are so thick and sturdy – much more so than the old ones – he can sit on the top edges and survey his royaume. He can see all the way down the garden, right to where the Zone Occupé meets the Zone Libre, which means that Rodent Duty can be conducted with a comfortable, soft surface beneath la personne royale instead of having to sit on the ground. I am sure you will agree that this is far more fitting for a king.

Here he is, having outdoor fun with his papa:

In his happy place.
Watching the sunset.