La fin du traitement?

The citizens of the United Kingdom have spent the last couple of days taking in the government’s new pandemic advice. Which is as follows: “Go back to work. NOT ON THE TUBE, FOR GOD’S SAKE.”

Meanwhile, Louis Catorze has almost finished his course of steroids. And what a très grand relief this is because, as you know, they have turned him into a fireball of energy and a criminal genius, and we just can’t keep up with him.

Just like Bradley Cooper in that film about the blue pills, it’s as if the steroids allow Catorze to access the parts of his brain that he wasn’t accessing before (and, lets face it, that’s a lot of previously-untouched brain). He has become uncharacteristically cunning and resourceful and, avec Cône, managed to do a number of things that Côned cats should not be able to do, including – but not limited to – the following:

1. Scaling 2-metre fences.

2. Travelling across several gardens, covering more ground than we ever thought possible.

3. Opening doors.

4. Chasing foxes.

5. Losing the detachable part of Le Cône.

6. Losing Le whole Cône.

7. Discovering bizarre new ways of scratching himself, the most notable of which was by using the corners of Cat Daddy’s old vinyl album covers. (Please see below for a picture of Le Roi having just toppled Deep Purple’s Machine Head after being caught in the act.)

Catorze will have been on the pills, in various strengths, for almost twelve weeks in total. Had it been a few weeks longer, we probably could have asked him to join our pub quiz team and he would have nailed that tricky anagrams round. And, after a few months, he may well have become Prime Minister.

Me: “Who would you rather have as Prime Minister? Option 1: Boris Johnson. Option 2 …”

Cat Daddy, interrupting: “OPTION 2.”

So that’s settled, then.

“Rock et roll.”

Les ennemis tenaces

Louis Catorze was highly displeased by someone or something outside the other day.

We were in the middle of a play session when he broke off to leap onto the shutters, his huge, inflated tail swinging and thumping. And he made an exhaling sound so bizarre that, initially, I didn’t even realise it was coming from him. (Yes, that noise on the video, sounding rather like someone sweeping gravel outside is, apparently, Catorze.)

Just as I was about to open the shutters, I heard the sound of someone calling their pet/child in their pet/child voice. (Anyone who has either, and anyone who may not have them but works with them, will know exactly what I mean by That Voice.) So, although I did not see the cause of Catorze’s chagrin, I am certain that it must have been a dog.

Now, Catorze has never behaved in this way towards any dog, EVER. Not Bert the dog, not Oscar the dog, not even the psycho fox with the zombie war-cry (who isn’t actually a dog but is close enough).

This, and the incident with Blue the Smoke Bengal during last week’s Clap for our Carers, disproves my theory that Sa Maj likes all other animals and wants to be friends with everyone. In actual fact he’s just like us, i.e. in the same way that not all people like all other people, he likes most animals but there was something about this particular one which offended him. I am now kicking myself for not being quicker to look behind the shutters too see what kind of dog it was. I’m imagining something like Cujo but it could just as easily have been a wispy little chihuahua wearing a pink feather boa and a tiara.

Here he is (see video below) puffing, whining and bristling. Luckily, having the attention span of a gnat served him well on this occasion, because he promptly forgot about this whole experience in a matter of minutes.

I would love to find out how your pets get along with other animals, so please comment below to let me know. Do they like their own species? Other species? Or are they a bit racist like Rocky, the ginger cat down the street who only likes black and tuxedo cats?

Guardian of his Château.

La guerre de la planète des renards

Almost seven weeks into lockdown, and both our dishwasher and our car have packed up, the former no doubt through over-use and the latter through insufficient use. And Cat Daddy appears to be coming down with a severe case of FOSTD: Fear of Starving to Death. Every meal time, he snaps, “Don’t eat all the [insert name of whichever food is in the vicinity]”, and I swear there is chocolate in the house that he’s hiding from me, although I can’t prove it.

Louis Catorze, however, is fine and dandy. In fact, with the human race safely off the streets, all the animals are ranging from fine and dandy to running riot and having a ball. First we had those goats in Llandudno and now there are wild boar in Paris, lions on a golf course in South Africa, and, erm, some part-leopard, part-dinosaur mystery beast that absolutely nobody can identify, in Kozhikode, India: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=LHBgvhD7pOE

Here in TW8, as well as the squirrels, the foxes are at it.

A few nights ago I glimpsed a baby fox on the roof of That Neighbour’s shed. Then, at 4 o’clock the next morning, I awoke to the sound of what seemed to be a vehicle being driven with a flat tyre, and I thought someone was trying to steal a car. I opened the shutters and saw two to three (I can’t be quite sure) adult foxes circling one of the neighbours’ cars, all the while punctuated with the flat tyre thumping noise.

I couldn’t figure out how they were making the racket, as they didn’t appear to be hitting the car; they just SOUNDED as if they were. I then realised that the sound was coming from their mouths. How a fox can possibly make a thumping noise with its VOICE is beyond me but, as I learned from the zombie fox that Catorze screamed at a couple of years ago, every time I think I know what they sound like, they surprise me: https://louiscatorze.com/2018/09/30/je-suis-une-legende/

I then realised that Catorze wasn’t with me, and my heart sank at the thought of him on the loose outside with foxes gadding about. I went downstairs and turned on the outside light at The Back but there was no sign of him. He eventually appeared, soaking wet and screaming, after I had gone back to bed, and he rolled his cold, drenched body all over me which spelled the end of any hope for sleep.

At the risk of sounding like one of those panicky people who calls the vet if their cat so much as farts (and we all know at least one of those), should we be concerned about our outdoor cats under these circumstances? Traditionally foxes are said to steer clear of cats because they know about those murderous slasher claws, but I wonder how desperate they would be if they weren’t receiving scraps from restaurants and bars? Not that Catorze would make a very satisfying meal – you’d barely get a couple of canapés from his mini-rump – but that’s not the point.

I also imagine that most cats would give a gang of thumping-voiced foxes a wide berth, but we all know that Catorze does exactly the opposite of whatever is expected (or wanted).

Here he is, on the lookout for foxy interlopers:

“Dégagez!”

La performance de sa vie

Clap for our Carers: https://clapforourcarers.co.uk

What a heartfelt gesture to pay tribute to our key workers, and what a positive way of uniting the neighbourhood. Or so we thought, until Louis Catorze escaped out at The Front during this week’s clap and caused an incident in front of our neighbours.

When the clap began, Cat Daddy and I dashed outside to join in, leaving the front door open. YES, I KNOW. But, when we saw Catorze sitting on the stairs and staring in wide-eyed disbelief as if to say, “… the hell are you all doing out there?” we thought he’d stay put.

He didn’t. The little sod’s curiosity got the better of him and he pitter-pattered out. And, would you believe, Blue the Smoke Bengal escaped out at the same time.

Catorze decided to sit under a parked car and wait for the clapping to die down, and Blue caught sight of him and wandered over in a perfectly friendly and unthreatening way, to say hello. The two of them edged closer and closer together, and we thought perhaps this would be their chance to bond over their common foe of Oscar the dog … until Catorze hissed and sent poor Blue packing.

Oscar the dog’s mamma was mightily impressed that Sa Maj stood up for himself. But Cat Daddy was mortified. He later gave his boy a stern talking-to, and I overheard the words, “No wonder you don’t have any friends, if that’s the way you behave.” And he has a point. Blue is a lovely cat and, let’s face it, Catorze’s friend zone has been pretty barren since his BFF Dosti aka Ginger Impinger stopped coming by, so you’d think he’d be grateful for some chat company. We are mystified as to why he wouldn’t want to be amis with Blue, not to mention embarrassed as we get along very with with Blue’s mamma and we don’t want to add another person to the list of Neighbours Annoyed By Catorze’s Stupid Behaviour.

Catorze returned home not long after his spectacle but was soon back out again, this time at The Back, presumably to seek out Blue and make more trouble. This is not good.

Here he is, saying sorry for ruining the clap and for being rude to Blue, and trying to convince us all that he’s a good kitty really. We’re not having it.

“Pardonnez-moi?” Whatever.

La vénération du soleil

Last Friday, the day after Louis Catorze’s birthday, it was Beltane, the Celtic start of summer. And, as most of us rethink our sun protection at this time of year, so does Louis Catorze. I’m not joking.

His recent allergy flare-up, and/or possibly friction against Le Cône, has caused him to lose fur from his ears. This is what they look like now, whereas a few months ago they just looked like normal, furry black ears:

Cochon.

My friend Lizzi thinks they look like pigs’ ears, which is revolting but she has a point. And now we can’t stop thinking about this. When we see pigs on television (e.g. when James Martin went to that pig farm in Dorset), we actually look for ones with ears like Catorze. I know. We really need to get out more (although there’s a very good reason why we don’t at the moment).

Apparently sunburned ears are a thing, albeit usually for pale-coloured cats. So, after seeking the vet’s advice, I have, erm, purchased some sunblock for Sa Maj.

Cat Daddy spat his tea all over his laptop when I told him. But, given that this is a cat who loves the sun so much that he used to take refuge in the GREENHOUSE during 35 degree heatwaves, he simply cannot be trusted to know what’s best for him.

Anyway, my quest for a cat sunblock revealed that there aren’t many U.K. options available, I imagine because we’re not exactly known for our sun. I eventually found some which, naturellement, costs twice as much as the product that we use on ourselves, for around 1/5 of the quantity. But it’s a relatively small price to pay to save us the crippling embarrassment of having to look another living soul in the face and tell them that our black cat has burnt his bald piggy ears.

So now the Sun King can sunbathe to his heart’s content.

If your cat is pale, bald, piggy-eared or or stupid enough to cook themselves half to death in the sun, you may wish ask your vet’s advice about something like this: https://www.vetsend.co.uk/dermoscent-sunfree-dogs-cats/?search=Dermoscent%20SunFREE%20for%20Dogs%20&%20Cats&autocomplete=true

La fête de la décennie

And, in the blink of an eye, Louis Catorze’s birthday weekend was over. But what a party it was.

Cat Daddy, in a deadpan voice: “Oh yeah. It was probably the best cat birthday party I have ever been to.”

This celebration had everything: there was a birthday barbecue with Oscar the dog’s family – each of us in our own garden, of course – with a cat-themed music playlist, a Cat in the Hat recital and a speech in both English and French, all created by Oscar’s very talented human sister. Even Oscar was lured out of his post-meds sulk and joined in the proceedings, although that was more about the burgers than about extending an olive branch to his némésis.

Cat Daddy and I talked afterwards about this most likely being Catorze’s last big birthday, as it’s doubtful that he will make 20 or even 18. But, given that he doesn’t do very much or go very far, we see no reason why he wouldn’t make 14. And surely we should celebrate Catorze turning, erm, quatorze ans? Is it too early to start planning that?

Merci beaucoup to the Dog Family for their company, their impeccable party planning and their splendid gifts. Here is the little sod (below) checking out his stash and, although he loves everything, his favourite items are the handmade card and the beautifully decorated gift box.

Thank you also to Cocoa the babysit cat, his sister, Chanel, and their family for the Lily’s Kitchen treats, which came wrapped in the most sublime gift wrap ever (last photo).

“Pour moi?”
Un, deux, trois cat(s).
Le cœur de notre famille.
Cocoa Chanel.

Les pilules de Catorze

Thank you so much to everyone who wished Louis Catorze a bon anniversaire and who donated to charitable causes in his honour. He had a great day, bouncing around, screaming and full of energy, although the bad weather meant we had to postpone some of the celebrations for this weekend. That said, he doesn’t know what a weekend is and, come to think of it, he doesn’t even know what a birthday is, so tant pis.

Cat Daddy also had a ball, managing to lose his phone after far too much white wine. He later found it in the garden, where he had left it after trying (and failing) to take the perfect Official 10th Birthday Portrait of Sa Maj. Cat Daddy also said lots of rude sweary words whilst watching the government’s daily briefing, then picked up his boy and murmured, “Sorry, Louis, for being angry on your birthday.”

Catorze had the unexpected birthday treat of being double-pilled by accident, receiving his whole day’s dose in one morning. Now, I know you are thinking I would have to be pretty stupid to double-pill a cat by accident. But I was tricked, as follows:

1. I placed the Trojan Horse Pill Pocket on Catorze’s plate but he refused to eat it.

2. I tried to persuade him about 739 times, but he continued to refuse.

3. I gave up and pilled him using the Greco-Roman method, leaving the first pill in his bowl (GROSSE ERREUR).

4. Little sod changed his mind and ate it immediately after being Greco-Romaned, when I wasn’t looking.

Had I been on holiday I most likely would have thought to remove the Trojan Horse from his bowl after pilling him but, because I am working full days from home, I have other things to do and I forgot. So now all pills not for immediate consumption locked away in the way one would lock away sharp knives or drain unblocker from small children.

We were supposed to have moved well into the tapering phase of Catorze’s medication by now but, because the silly sod scratched himself when we unCôned him, we had to increase his dose for a while. Tomorrow we will be reducing him from two pills to one pill a day but, now that I have told you that, I’m pretty sure he will do something to mess it up again.

This (below) is the kind of behaviour we have been having to deal with, both with and without the pills. At 10 years old he should be trying to slow down, right? Yeah, well, he isn’t.

Might as well JUMP!