Mon cerveau est la clé qui me libère

We survived Christmas Day with Louis Catorze only escaping out at The Front once. After spending the morning thundering around the house, screaming, he then slept for the rest of the day and gave us some peace.

Catorze may well be the expert in supernatural teleportation that defies the laws of science and nature, but his Cat-Cousin King Ghidorah is nailing the more terrestrial, Houdini kind of escapology.

The little sod was under house arrest recently whilst he recovered from an eye infection, so my sister took the TRIPLE precaution of locking the cat flap, taping it up and placing the huge kitchen bin in front of it. The next morning she came downstairs to find the bin tossed aside, the cat flap like this (below) and no sign of King Ghidorah.

It’s not hard to see how he might have toppled the bin, but we are utterly mystified as to how he unpicked the tape and turned the lock. And, the next day, he managed to move aside Barricade 2.0: a bucket full of bottles of Prosecco and beer that even my sister cannot lift on her own, although her double-taping and extra layer of cardboard defeated him.

It makes a change for me to get to laugh at another cat’s abysmal behaviour. But, as all cats are connected and controlled by The Mothership, I don’t suppose I’ll have long to wait before it’s Catorze’s turn to raise/lower the bar (depending one’s perception). *EDIT: A few days after I drafted this, I woke to the sound of clawing and caught the little sod using my favourite dress as a scratching pad.*

Here is King Ghidorah, looking the picture of, erm, innocence:

C’tait la veille de Noël

'Twas the night before Noël, and in Le Château
A creature was screaming; quite why, we don’t know.
No stocking was hung by this cat’s human slaves.
(Saint Nick only visits the ones who behave.)
The well-behaved pets were all snug in their beds,
While visions of summertime danced in their heads;
Cat Daddy with red wine and I, with my gin,
Had just settled down to watch “Holiday Inn”
When, out at The Front, there arose such a clatter.
We sprang from the room to see what was the matter.
Away through the hallway we flew to the door,
Our lightning-quick feet barely touching the floor.
When what to our wondering eyes did appear,
But an evil, horned demon with devilish sneer
And the foul, rotting odour of sulphur from hell.
We knew it was Krampus, the beast of Noël.
More rapid than eagles his goblins they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
"Now, Beelzebub! now, Lilith! now Azazel and Adrian!
On, Pazuzu! on, Satan! on, Lucifer and Damian!
To the top of the porch!” we then heard Krampus shout.
“Let’s grab that bad kitty, then get the hell out!”
And then, in a twinkling, they heard small paws plod:
The soft pitter-patter of one little sod.
As they drew in their heads and were turning around,
Sa Maj down the hallway approached with a bound.
He was jet black in fur, from his toes to his head,
And he screamed bloody murder, which filled them with dread.
His razor-sharp fangs were both shining bright white. 
He looked like a vampire preparing to bite.
Sheer terror filled Krampus and his entourage
(Despite this loud kitty not being that large)
And the shrill, piercing screams made the goblins’ ears bleed;
First they froze still with shock, then retreated at speed.
And, putting his fingers inside of his ears,
With a terrified whimper, eyes filling with tears,
Poor Krampus sprang back, to his team gave a yell,
And away they all flew just like bats out of hell.
But we heard him exclaim, ere he flew out of sight:
“Even hell hath no demon like that little shite!”

La renaissance du soleil

Louis Catorze’s Cat Granny passed away last month, and Cat Daddy and I have been thinking about her during our traditional winter solstice reminiscing. She was the best mother-in-law imaginable and would always take my side in an argument with Cat Daddy. In fact, she would always take my side even if there had been no argument, and at Christmas she would give me better presents than the ones she gave him. Her words to me when we announced our engagement were: “Well, he’s always been a very nice son to me. I just HOPE he’ll be a nice husband to you.”

She left us on Remembrance Sunday, which was a very important day to Cat Grandpa, and I can imagine him hurrying her along on that morning and telling her she’d better get to him before 11 o’clock.

Cat Granny loved cats, although I don’t have any decent pictures of her with Louis Catorze as he preferred hanging out with Cat Grandpa at Boys’ Club. But they had a lovely relationship, and she was one of the few people who didn’t mind stroking him when he had just come in, cold and wet, from a thunderstorm. She would always be there with the cuddles, whilst Cat Daddy and I flinched and shuddered when Catorze came near us with his gross, drenched fur.

Cat Granny is pictured below with Brook, the enormously fat* cat who lives in her residential home and who is the same cat that ruined her 90th birthday party by catching a bird in front of horrified guests.

*I must add that the residential home staff do not overfeed him. As anyone with a greedy and determined cat will understand only too well, he goes out and manages to find food – and clearly rather a lot of it – from somewhere.

Moments after this photo was taken, the delightful scene was ruined because Brook dug his claws hard into poor Cat Granny. Cat Daddy and I had to delicately unpick the big sod and hoist his considerable bulk off her body, which was quite some challenge, demonstrating yet again – not that we really needed reminding – cats’ innate capacity for spoiling things that were perfectly lovely before.

I hope that Cat Granny and Cat Grandpa, wherever they may be, are surrounded by cats (but maybe better-behaved ones than naughty Brook). And Catorze, Cat Daddy and I wish you all a wonderful winter solstice.

Le calendrier de l’avent

I am usually quite a stickler for tradition when it comes to advent calendars: I don’t like chocolate, Santa, North Pole animals wearing clothes, excess glitter, mini bottles of alcohol (just give me one large bottle) and DEFINITELY not Disney characters (shudder).

I like plain, normal windows with no weird gimmicks and genuine midwinter symbols with pagan roots, such as mistletoe, holly and deer. I even once went through a phase of buying a special winter solstice advent calendar every year, despite the two notions not really being compatible, but I eventually stopped buying when it dawned on me that it was essentially fewer windows (it stopped at 21) for double or triple the price of a normal advent calendar.

These windows in my current calendar certainly defy tradition, as cats aren’t usually a Yuletide phenomenon (apart from this scary Icelandic one who eats naughty children: https://www.iizcat.com/post/4373/The-Christmas-Cat-of-Iceland-a-giant-terrifying-cat-that-gobbles-up-children-if-they-039-re-bad). Yet I am sure you will see why I found them very pleasing indeed:

Le bruit ne fait pas de bien, et le bien ne fait pas de bruit

Someone escaped out at The Front when we went to the cheese shop the other day, and this is what greeted us when we got home (see below). You can even make out Cat Daddy’s “Shut up!” 3 seconds in.

This must be what our neighbours hear and see every single time the little sod breaks out. We feel terrible for them all but for That Neighbour, in particular, and it’s not remotely surprising that the poor man can’t stand the infernal racket and is forced to leave his house and escort the miscreant back home.

Good folk of TW8, we are truly sorry. Please don’t hate us. (It’s Louis Catorze’s fault. Hate him instead.)

Les lumières de Noël

What a surprise when I returned from work the other day to discover that Cat Daddy had set up a magical winter wonderland here at Le Château. This was especially cheering after our trip to Paris last weekend (yes, the same trip that was postponed in the summer when I injured myself trying to de-flea Louis Catorze: https://louiscatorze.com/2019/08/05/aucun-sejour-a-paris/ ) had to be cancelled because of train strikes in France. It seems that, one way or another, the French are determined not to let us go.

Anyway, we now have:

1. Cool white lights at The Front which Cat Daddy has fixed to “epilepsy” setting (possibly to stun Catorze when he tries to escape)

2. An outdoor tree with warm white lights at The Back

3. CATORZE’S TREE

Oui, Mesdames et Messieurs: despite all his protests against giving Sa Maj his own tree, Cat Daddy braved the Blood-Letting Needles of Death to decorate it and has lived to tell the tale.

Here is the tree in all its splendour. And here is Catorze showing his gratitude in the only way he knows how:

Le sapin de mort

We have the maman of all middle-class problems here at Le Château: the festive tree that we purchased for our cat is so spiky that we can’t decorate it.

Cat Daddy: “Well, you wanted a tree for him. It’s your fault.” To be fair, he has a point.

Here is a picture of the tree (below) and, as you can see, I can’t even take the packaging off the pot because the Blood-Letting Needles of Death slash me to smithereens whenever I go near.

Cat Daddy is concerned that Louis Catorze will come a cropper in the same way but, despite logic suggesting entirely the opposite, I actually trust the little sod on this one. After all, it was he who informed us that the sprawling tendrils of the butternut squash plant were riddled with killer spines when we noticed him leaping to clear them instead of just elbowing/headbutting his way through: https://louiscatorze.com/2017/09/10/attention-aux-courges-butternut/

Anyway, my options now are as follows:

1. Leave the evil tree as it is.

2. Invest in one of those telescopic picking-up devices and use it to hang the decorations from a distance.

Cat Daddy: “What about “Option 3: Leave someone else to fix the problem that YOU CREATED IN THE FIRST PLACE”? That’s what’s going to end up happening, isn’t it?”

He has a point there, too.