Le rendez-vous d’affaires

Now that Louis Catorze is officially a teenager, he is doing what teenagers do and spending most of his time out. I barely see him these days; although he’s beside me when I wake up, as soon as he’s had his breakfast he’s off out again.

Nobody knows where he goes or what he does … or, at least, we didn’t know until Mamma Next Door sent me this photo:

Discussing the security implications of a protracted conflict in Sudan?

Catorze appears to be deeply involved in ICB* with Blue the Smoke Bengal. Relations between them have been, erm, somewhat mixed until now – and, naturellement, this was entirely Catorze’s fault for being a miserable sod – so I am delighted to see them getting along.

*Important Cat Business

I wish I knew what they were talking about. I like to think Catorze was giving Blue some fox-avoidance tips as poor Blue has been the victim of foxy bullying in the past, whereas foxes either ignore Catorze (not a worthwhile snack) or run away from him (no idea what he is).

However, it’s quite possible that Blue was the one passing on advice to Catorze. And, since Blue is a highly prolific hunter with some impressive kills on his rap sheet, this could have disastrous consequences …

La machine à remonter le temps

What topics do you like to discuss?

Feline bad behaviour is what I do. Jackson Galaxy (who, despite the elaborate name, is actually a cat behaviour expert and not a cult leader) would be able to make several feature-length films from the material that Louis Catorze generates.

One of my favourite blogs, the brilliant Bad Cat Chris, has a Throwback Thursday feature, which refers to the past feline adventures/transgressions of Chris and his siblings. I am considering something similar on Le Blog.

This idea is not because I lack Catorzian content – far from it – but to show his newer followers that I have been putting up with Catorze’s evil for years. But I hesitate for a couple of very valid reasons.

Firstly, I already struggle to fit in the little sod’s ongoing misdeeds, and this situation isn’t about to improve unless they invent a 943-day week (not likely) or Catorze starts to calm the heck down and act his age (even less likely). The WordPress daily prompts certainly don’t help, as they manage to turn things into blog posts that I didn’t even think were things. Adding more content to an already-bursting-at-the-seams schedule is going to make the backlog even worse.

Also, in a sort of creepy, invocative kind of way, is referring back to past felonies simply going to manifest more? This really isn’t what I want. In fact, it’s absolutely the last thing I want. Do I risk it, simply because I want to convince internet strangers of my suffering at the paws of this mini-brute? I need to think very hard before I do this.

If we snitch on him, he’s ready to do his worst.

Meanwhile, if you fancy having a chuckle at the antics of Chris and the gang, here is a classic tale with a genius title.

13 est le nombre magique

Thank you, Mum, for this card.

Thank you for all your birthday wishes for Louis Catorze. We could not have asked for more to celebrate the auspicious occasion of his thirteen years. Cards, gifts, visitors, jambon de Bayonne, Crémant and cherry gin cocktails (now named Screaming Roi, thanks to the landslide result of a vote among my cat freak friends), the traditional French feast of, erm, lasagne, an altercation with a parakeet, Kurt Zouma limping off the pitch with an injury (yes, we are STILL going on about that) … Catorze’s birthday weekend had it all.

Surveying his kingdom from his favourite spot.

At the start of the day we were worried about him because he appeared to have lost his voice, with only a weak, breathy squeak struggling from his mouth. Although we knew there was nothing wrong with him, and that he’d probably just overdone the screaming the day before, an almost-silent Roi is an eerie thing indeed. But, by this time his weekend visitor arrived, he had very much found his scream again and “normal” Catorzian service had resumed. And it hasn’t stopped since.

As Catorze is now at the upper end of the “Senior” age spectrum, I do worry a little more about what we may face as he grows older; I don’t have much experience with older cats and feel out of my depth. But he’s pretty good at letting us know what he wants, even if we are too dense to figure it out immediately.

Thank you for all the joy you bring, little sod. May thirteen be a very lucky number for you, although it doesn’t look as if this online source agrees:

“The number 13 has always been an ‘unlucky’ number. The number 13 is the number that represents Satan, evil, wickedness, devils, and everything vile that is connected to them.”

Antigone Books
“Hark! I smell beaucoup de mischief to be had!“

Une chanson pour fêter les 13 ans d’un chat dévisageant

Happy lucky thirteen, little sod. (Thank you, Lizzi, for this lovely card!)
You could never know what I’m like
I might look cute but I’m the Antichrist
And I’ve a loud and piercing scream that sounds like hell
You’ll wind up bleeding from your ears and from your brain as well

And do you really think you’ll ever win
Well, look at me, chasing after men again
I give you lots of grief and you live in fear
And though you need to know why I’m still staring, you have no idea

You know I'm still staring harder than I ever did
Looking like a spooky panther, being just a little weird
And I'm still staring after all this time
Gonna wait till 3am then do some parkour up your spine

I’m still staring, ouais, ouais, ouais
I’m still staring, ouais, ouais, ouais

Once you hoped to have a peaceful life
But now my creepy staring cuts you like a knife
I love to stuff things up and make a scene
And if my life was just a movie it’d be Halloween

You know I’m still staring harder than I ever did
Looking like a chupacabra, scaring you a little bit
And I’m still staring after all this time
Trying hard to decimate your life and make you lose your mind

I’m still staring, ouais, ouais, ouais
I’m still staring, ouais, ouais, ouais

[Instrumental break - please allow your cats to go psycho during this time and burn off some of that energy]

Don’t you know I’m still staring harder than I ever did
Looking like a goofy vampire, being such a little shit
And I’m still staring after all this time
Better find a darkened room and sit and cry and drink some wine

I’m still staring, ouais, ouais, ouais
I’m still staring, ouais, ouais, ouais

[Repeat until Louis Catorze stops creepy-staring or the world comes to an end, whichever happens first.]
Still staring.

Ça, c’est bien les chats

Merde, merde and thrice merde: it seems as if the mischievous fae folk of Beltane have already started working their naughty magic on Louis Catorze. Or maybe he is the one who controls them? That seems much more likely, doesn’t it?

I have just caught the horrid little sod nuzzling my signed – SIGNED – copy of CJ Tudor’s The Drift. It’s almost as if he did this on purpose to avenge his defiled silverware, although it would be very unfair indeed because Cat Daddy is the silverware-defiler, whereas this book belongs to ME, the innocent party in all this.

The edge of the book jacket is now scuffed, and there’s a fang mark on it. And it’s clear how firmly Catorze committed to his mission; the way the fur is all splayed out on his cheek shows that he was really, really going for it:

For goodness’ sake.

Now, before the extreme cat freaks among you – YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE – suggest that the Catorzian stamp will somehow add value or improve the book, come on; this is hardly in the same realm as Banksy shredding Balloon Girl.

The author describes herself on Instagram as a dog lover, and I am starting to think she might have the right idea. Cats are trouble … and black ones with book-ruining fangs, especially so.

Lent et régulier gagne la course

Cat Daddy and I are back from his sister’s birthday extravaganza. During our absence, our chat-sitteurs sent us this photo of Louis Catorze cavorting around on their bed. Yes, they were in the bed at the time. No, Catorze didn’t care:

Utterly shameless.

In other news, it’s that time again: the snail harvest is just beginning and Catorze is proving once again that, whilst you can take Le Roi out of France, you can’t take France out of Le Roi.

I recently found this little blighter crawling up our kitchen sofa:

Oh my.

The only way it could have come in is via Catorze’s fur. Either he is brushing against snail-studded undergrowth and dislodging them, or perhaps he can’t help but oblige when the snail bids him a jaunty bonjour and asks for a lift indoors.

With Catorze spending progressively more time outdoors as the weather brightens, no doubt there will be further extra guests sneaking in. At least I was able to catch this one before it ran amok – and, yes, we must be the only household who has to worry about catching the slowest animal in the world before it runs amok.

La mode se démode, les poils de chat jamais …

Cat Daddy and I are away for the weekend, at his sister’s birthday celebration. Although it was tempting to just leave Louis Catorze to go feral and see how much time it would take him to move in with Family Next Door (who would probably love him as their pet) or That Neighbour (who wouldn’t), we decided that it wouldn’t be fair to do that to other people. So we asked some previous chat-sitting family members if they could come and look after him again and, astoundingly, they agreed.

A photo from their last chat-sit.

The last time they came, Catorze had a marvellous time with both of them but he took a special liking to the gentleman of the couple. We were pretty sure that Catorze would annoy the merde out of him and prevent him from working, so we advised him to do as much of his work as possible before coming over. However, it turned out that Chat-Sitting Gentleman had already planned to do exactly that, because Catorze had annoyed the merde out of him and prevented him from working the last time.

Boss: “What’s that? You can’t do any work because of WHAT?”

Packing to leave took hours; “smart casual”, something that no British person truly understands, is open to going wrong if people’s expectations differ, and I know that Cat Daddy’s sophisticated family’s “smart casual” is equivalent to my “white tie and diamonds”. Whilst packing, I noticed that some of the clothes that I had hoped to take were coated in some sort of grey fluff:

Jumper: ruined.

I had no idea what it was, nor how to get rid of it. The old trick of a fistful of Sellotape didn’t make much difference. Picking it off with my fingers also didn’t seem to do much. In absolute desperation, I reached for Catorze’s Zoom Groom brush (the reverse side, obviously, not the side with the spikes) to see if its static magic would somehow help to shift the mess.

Not only did this work like a dream but, as the grey fluff came away, the pieces unfurled and lengthened. Oh. Mon. Dieu: the mystery fluff was compressed, embedded cat hair. The little bastard had been sleeping on my clothes.

Cat Daddy: “Well, it’s your own fault. You should have put them away.”

Anyway, no doubt our chat-sitteurs will regale us with tales of how angelic Catorze was during our absence. It happens every time. I guess he has learned by now that, since we are stupid enough to put up with his nonsense, he doesn’t need to bother behaving for us.

La peur du nombre 13

Since my school friends and I are all turning A Certain Age these days, I’ve been in a busy routine of meeting them for dinner or going to their birthday parties. My meet-up with my best friend from sixth form, with whom I have had a couple of joint parties as our birthdays are close together, was especially funny and quite the departure from our past celebrations:

⁃ Our 18th party: dressed inappropriately, got drunk, don’t really remember much else.

⁃ Our 25th party: dressed inappropriately, got drunk, don’t really remember much else.

⁃ Our “A Certain Age” dinner: dressed sensibly, drank water, one of us read the menu to the other who had forgotten their glasses, home by 9:45pm.

No such nonsense with Louis Catorze; the little sod is turns thirteen at the end of the month, yet he’s just as full of life as ever. We can’t believe he will soon be a teenager, which means he will be rolling in at sunrise after partying all night, treating Le Château like a hotel and generally taking the piss … OH WAIT …

And good grief: his thirteenth birthday is on 30th April and, from 21st April to 14th May, our good friend Mercury will be up to his old tricks again. I know. A creepy black cat with vampire teeth turning thirteen on Beltane Eve, during Mercury Retrograde … what could possibly go wrong?

I know that I say this every time he has a birthday, but we are astounded not only that he has made it to this age, but also that he is thriving and loving life. People who meet him can barely believe how old he is, because he looks and acts like a kitten. One of my friends, when meeting him, said, “Is he always going to be that size? Awww. It’s like having a KITTEN FOREVER!”

We are so lucky that our Forever Kitten is in such good shape at the moment. Here he is, captured in a very fortuitous photo opportunity, on a blanket of skulls and with a real rainbow shining down on him:

Le Roi is both goth and gay.

Le regard a toujours un but

When Cat Daddy and I met Shadow the black Labrador, her humans told us that she was an expert at seeking out people who had food and giving them the Full Hepburn, playing the convincing part of a starving dog. Her Dog Grandpa repeatedly vows not to fall for her act, yet always gives in.

I told the Dog Parents that Louis Catorze does something similar, except that his creepy staring is a means of bullying, rather than eliciting pity. When I give in and feed him, it’s not “pandering to him” as Cat Daddy often says; I am genuinely fearful.

Catorze, being much smaller than Shadow, is easier to ignore; in fact, if he is right up close to the sofa and I’m leaning back, sometimes it’s a while before I even notice him. However, he has wised up to this, and has moved his efforts from ground level to eye level to increase the intimidation factor:

Yes, those are my knees in the foreground. Yes, all that fluff and crud on them is from his body.

On that note, I’d better go and feed the little sod.

Animal, végétal ou minéral?

Into every Cat Mamma’s life a little rain must fall. However, sometimes it’s not a little rain; it’s a lot. A full-on hurricane, in fact. With a hefty dose of pollution thrown in. Oh my, this was a bad one.

When Louis Catorze came indoors a couple of mornings ago and settled on my lap, I was dismayed to see what appeared to be a hair on his leg. It did not match mine or Cat Daddy’s. And, judging from its shape and length, it seemed to come from, erm, a body part other than the head.

Oh. Mon. Dieu.

Naturellement I didn’t dare touch it to find out. Before I could give the situation the careful consideration it deserved without making it worse – for instance, sending the hair floating off or, worse, hoovering it up into my nostrils – the little sod had rolled over onto it. And, when he unrolled, it was gone.

What do you mean, “It must have been there somewhere”? It wasn’t. Believe me, I turned the room over – and turned Catorze over – like CSI, but there was no sign of that hair. And Catorze has previous when it comes to making things disappear just to make my life hard. Look here if you don’t believe me.

Now, if you are one of those rare people who own a normal cat, “gadding about with semi-clothed or naked strangers” would be the least likely of things for your cat to do when they leave the house. However: CATORZE. Clearly when Occam was doing his razoring all those years ago, he had never met a cat like him.

Cat Daddy: “Maybe it wasn’t a hair. Maybe it was something from outside.”

Yes. Flower stamens or leaf fibres or whatever else happens to look like body hair. “IT WAS PLANT MATTER” shall now become the mantra that I repeat over and over, in between sitting on the floor and blowing into a paper bag, until I actually start to believe it.

Please let it be this. (Picture from crocus.co.uk.)
Please let it be this. (Picture from hobbycraft.co.uk.)

Quand le soleil se lève

What are your morning rituals? What does the first hour of your day look like?

Sleeping through sunrise after a long night out on the lash.

Louis Catorze is the first person that I see every morning. He is like one of those Lumie alarm clocks with different pre-recorded sounds, most of which are pretty jarring and awful. But I love waking up to this one:

Quite a departure from the typical Catorzian scream.

The first waking hour of every day is spent just the two of us – unless Catorze is out bothering the local wildlife on an ICB* all-nighter, in which case he’ll roll in whenever like a wayward teenager. I like to pretend that he consciously chooses me and values this precious morning time together but, in actual fact, it only happens because his first choice person, Cat Daddy – who sleeps in the attic due to his thunderous snoring – keeps his bedroom door shut. So my company is only marginally better than no company at all.

*Important Cat Business.

After a few minutes of listening to his soothing purring, I walk downstairs – being sure to take an extra big stride at the bottom, in case I step on a dead rat – and make myself a pot of green tea. During the winter months Catorze snoozes on my lap whilst I drink the tea and read a book but, now that it’s spring, he just pretends to sleep. His eyes are closed but his ears are upright and alert and his tail thumps from side to side, indicating that he’s ready for mischief. And, if it doesn’t come his way, he will go looking for it.

This blissful state only lasts as long as it takes for Cat Daddy to start stirring; the minute Catorze hears his papa up and about, the spell is broken and he’s off to join him. But, despite the fact that I’m used and then cruelly discarded, I don’t take it too personally because I know that I’ll be able to do it all again the next day. I am very lucky to be able to start every day like this.

Un cocktail digne d’un Roi

If you could have something named after you, what would it be?

A cocktail would be very cool, non?

It’s Louis Catorze’s thirteenth birthday at the end of this month and, in preparation for this, I have been toiling away* to create a birthday cocktail worthy of a Sun King. (A cocktail for the humans to drink, I mean, not for Catorze. You’ve seen the trouble he causes when sober, so the last thing he needs is alcohol.)

*Mixing random alcohol together.

One of my favourite cocktails is the French 75, which has a gin and champagne base. I have decided to reproduce it for Catorze’s birthday, since he’s French, and I have stuck to the traditional champagne, although Crémant would be a perfectly acceptable alternative. (Definitely no Prosecco, though; not only is it too flowery to do justice to an evil vampire cat, but it would no longer be a FRENCH 75.) For the spirit element, instead of standard clear gin, we have opted for a cherry gin steeped in Transylvanian oak casks, called Prince of Darkness.

Sun King or Prince of Darkness?

Cat Daddy and I have taste-tested this, and not only does it pack the required punch but its blood-redness makes it look the part. We love it and can see it reappearing in our celebrations throughout the year, including Hallowe’en. The only thing it lacks, however, is a name.

“À la santé du Roi.”

After researching how the French 75 came to be so called, I was troubled to discover this:

“The inspiration for the title was apparently a 75mm Howitzer field gun used by the French and the Americans in World War 1. The gun was known for its accuracy and speed, and the French 75 is said to have such a kick that it felt like being hit by just such a weapon.”

Hmmm. Not very cheery. Whilst I like the idea of the name celebrating the strength of the hit, is there a different name that would perhaps echo the bombardment on the soul that is life at Le Château, minus the getting shot part?

Here are our favourite ideas so far, in order of preference:

1. Vampire Kitty

2. Louis Catorze (quite distinct from the Louis XIV, the gin and Chambord cocktail that honours the human Sun King)

3. Screaming Roi

4. Catorzian Scream

5. [Various Unrepeatable Expletive-based names suggested by Cat Daddy]

If you have any other name suggestions that might work, or if you feel the burning need to buy cocktail ingredients to celebrate a special cat in your life, please let us know.

How do we like our cocktail? Pour 1 x 25ml shot of Prince of Darkness in a champagne flute, then top up with champagne, with an optional half-teaspoon of sugar. Or, if you’re Cat Daddy, hold the gin bottle in one hand and the champagne bottle in the other, and pour both freely into a pint glass until full.

Le soleil et l’ombre

On Good Friday, Cat Daddy and I strayed onto the Dark Side and met up with a DOG. (With the Dog Parents present, obviously. We wouldn’t have the slightest clue what to do with a dog by ourselves.)

This is Shadow, who belongs to one of my old school friends:

Gorgeous girl.

Despite being a member of the opposing faction, Shadow has a remarkable amount in common with Louis Catorze: they’re the same colour, they’re similar ages, and both have dodgy teeth, iffy legs and weird tails. If they ever met in another life, they would probably be friends.

It was a gloriously sunny day when we met in Richmond Park, so everyone else and their dog was there, too. Given the unpredictable mix of different types of dog (and human) plus geese, deer and whatever other animals lurk in the undergrowth invisible to human eyes, I expected utter carnage. However, Shadow was impeccably behaved throughout, sticking close to her Dog Parents even when off the lead, and showing no interest in looking for trouble. There was only one minor disagreement with a couple of chihuahuas, and they were the ones who started it.

Cat Daddy: “It’s always the small ones, isn’t it?”

Chihuahua Mamma, looking sheepish: “Yeah … sorry.”

We are very lucky that Catorze’s misbehaviour tends to take place out of sight, often under cover of darkness, and, if we’re stuck, we can always wheel out the old “It must have been some other black cat” excuse. It’s rather more difficult to deny the transgression if it’s in broad daylight, in public, and you’re standing there holding one end of the lead whilst the crazed animal at the other end is going absolutely ballistic. If you have a psycho dog, rightly or wrongly, people judge you and think you’re a useless, negligent parent. But if you have a psycho cat, everyone seems to accept that there’s not much you can do about it. In fact, if your cat is especially bad, they might even feel a bit sorry for you.

Shadow thoroughly enjoyed her walk and made the most of every sunny moment, as you can see from this picture:

Easter weekend dog goals.

And, as if we needed evidence of how fundamentally different they are, this is how Catorze passed the time on that same day:

Easter weekend cat goals.

Le lapin de Pâques

Louis Catorze’s tattoo sleeves have fully grown back. So now he looks more like a normal cat, and less like a [insert name of cryptozoological beast undiscovered by science].

However, his evil eye – the mysterious bald patch on his left shoulder – is taking some time to grow back, and its cause remains a mystery. We don’t understand it. The vet doesn’t understand it. Nobody understands it.


We have been truly perplexed as to what substance could have such an almost-corrosive effect on his fur. Then one of Catorze’s favourite pilgrims made me realise that there’s only one substance which would affect a vampire in such a way: holy water. And there happens to be a church within walking distance of Le Château.

Oh. Mon. Dieu.

Could Catorze have screamed at the poor, unsuspecting Reverend who, not knowing what on earth he was, panicked and threw holy water at him? And can we trust the little sod to leave the churchgoers alone on this, their sacred Easter weekend?

My niece, aged seven, created the fabulous piece of art below, depicting Catorze as the Easter bunny. The chances of him wearing such a costume in real life are slim-to-zéro, however he may well hop from garden to garden leaving little chocolate treasures …

Joyeuses Pâques à tous.

Picture by @earthtoevazarina.