Ce chat est une chose que je ne peux pas expliquer

*WARNING: CONTAINS GRAPHIC REFERENCES TO NASAL MUCUS. DO NOT READ THIS WHILST EATING OR DRINKING.*

After his 729th escape out at The Front this week, Louis Catorze rolled in with his hindquarters looking like this:

No, we have no idea what it was, but it appeared to be something organic rather than artificial. And, although the photo gives the false impression of it being chalky in texture like matt paint, in real life it appeared to be of a consistency similar to that of … dried snot. I cannot – je répète, CANNOT – tell you how much the thought of this repels me to the very core of my being.

For the sake of my own sanity I have decided to assume that he rolled in it, as opposed to someone actually picking him up and using him as a tissue. That said, neither idea is very pleasant – although Cat Daddy found the second one hilariously funny – and I don’t like the idea of any individual releasing snot into the public domain where others are likely to encounter it. A family member helpfully told me that, in some parts of the world, it is fairly common for people to expel snot directly from the nostrils into a roadside gutter and just let it wash away. Naturellement we stuck-up Brits find this utterly vile yet, if you think about it (not that I recommend it), it’s not much more offensive than blowing our noses into a tissue, carrying that gross tissue about our person all day long and constantly handling it to add progressively more snot. Not that any of this made me feel better, nor did it help me with the problem at hand.

Anyway, what to do about it? I didn’t relish the thought of having to restrain the little sod and wipe him down, but then I didn’t want him pitter-pattering about with suspected snot on his fur, either. I winced and shuddered as I weighed up the options and finally decided that I would clean him … only to discover that he had given me the slip and, by the time I’d found him again, the stain had vanished.

Cat Daddy, without looking up from his laptop: “He’s probably cleaned it off himself [i.e. eaten it]. Or he’s rolled it off somewhere [i.e. it’s on one of our beds]. It’s gone now, so who cares?”

Ugh. If it were possible to bleach Catorze’s mouth, then incinerate the entire Château and rebuild it brick by brick, I would do so with my bare hands. And, if there is any creature in the animal kingdom more revolting than a cat (apart from a dog when it rolls in fox poo), I hope I never meet it.

Des cris aigus

Although I probably give the impression that Louis Catorze only has two settings – Screaming and Asleep – in actual fact he has a number of different voices, as described in this post:

https://louiscatorze.com/2018/11/11/je-gueule-donc-je-suis/

My favourite sound is now numéro 2 on the list and, although we only used to hear it when he was taken by surprise, it is becoming more and more frequent now. It is making an appearance in Boys’ Club rough play and even, from time to time, in normal conversation with the little sod. (Yes, he and I do chat. I don’t always know what he’s saying but I just try to keep him talking because, if he’s talking to me, it keeps him from annoying neighbours or bullying Oscar the dog.)

However, despite becoming more common, this sound remains as elusive as Bigfoot when it comes to capturing it on film. If you hear it once, then grab your phone to try to film a second squeak, it won’t come. And, should you discuss your intention to film it, you can guarantee that you will fail in your mission. But I was able to get lucky just one time, and the evidence is below.

This video is from some time ago, but it captures the squeak perfectly. Turn the volume up:

L’amitié est un trésor

The beautician who does home visits tends to be mysteriously “fully booked” during the days surrounding Hallowe’en. She and Louis Catorze did make their peace** after that unfortunate incident* but I fear that, just to be on the safe side, she avoids him during Peak Psycho Time. And I can’t say that I really blame her; I would if I could.

*The incident: https://louiscatorze.com/2018/03/23/une-vision-de-la-beaute/

**The truce: https://louiscatorze.com/2018/04/12/la-maison-des-mille-cris/

Now that we are safely into November, she is free again and she came over the other day. We heard her talking at the front door long before she actually knocked, and we assumed she was on the phone but it turned out that she was chatting so Sa Maj who, at some point during the day, had escaped yet again. No, we have no idea of when nor how. But he followed her in, chirping and trilling, and then came upstairs to stare at her whilst she did the treatment.

I was relieved and rather thrilled when she told me that another of her clients had a cat. “Ah, what’s the cat like?” I asked, hoping she would say “Deranged and homicidal” so that Catorze wouldn’t seem like the only one.

“Very quiet,” she replied. “He just comes, looks at me for a few minutes and then goes away.”

Oh.

“But I told my client that, one day, her cat would be my best friend,” she continued. “Just like Lewis.”

Awww!

Afterwards I remarked on how well-behaved he had been during the treatment (although “well-behaved” is, of course, relative).

The beautician: “Yes, Lewis, you were! Well, today, at least.”

Le chat hérite de la Terre

Tonight is the biggest firework night of the year. And, as is the case every year, Le Château will be surrounded by bangs, crashes and whoops of all kinds. Most normal pets will be taking cover somewhere safe. However, if his behaviour last weekend – when a scattering of smaller-scale firework displays took place – is any indication of things to come, Louis Catorze will be more desperate than ever to escape out at The Front. Oh dear.

I was out all day on Sunday and drove home to a chorus of firework explosions. And, the moment I put my key in the door, Catorze launched himself at my feet, head down and tail up like an ankylosaurus* going into battle, and I practically had to kick him indoors as I fought my way in.

*Thanks to Jurassic Park, I expect the tyrannosaurus rex and the velociraptor top most people’s scary dinosaur lists, but don’t underestimate the ankylosaurus with its armoured body and flailing, mace-tipped tail. Living with Catorze on Bonfire Night is EXACTLY like having a very small, psychotic ankylosaurus loose in your house. Thank you to my nephew, aged almost 7, for introducing me to this dinosaur.

Le Roi spent the next few hours prowling suspiciously in the hallway, listening to the fizzles and crackles and waiting for that moment when one of us unsuspectingly opened the door to put something in the recycling. And, when our heightened vigilance prevented him from breaking out, he decided instead to go out and enjoy the fireworks from The Back, most likely sitting on the sedum roof for a better view.

Obviously it’s great that the little sod isn’t a petrified, quivering ball of nerves. But it’s not so great that WE are. Not to mention that this behaviour is utterly freakish and abnormal. Thank goodness this only happens once a year.

Écharpe 2,0

I have finally finished knitting Cat Daddy’s Brentford FC scarf, just in time for today’s match against Huddersfield. The knitting experience has taught me a number of things:

1. Drink-knitting is a thing and, like drink-driving, it should be avoided at all costs.

2. No matter how many times you unpick and redo the bits that you drink-knitted, it will still look shite.

The sober-knitted and drink-knitted parts of the scarf are so utterly distinct that anyone can spot the difference, even from far away. This scarf is not just a garment for winter warmth and an emblem of our beloved football team; its stitches tell a tale of resolute concentration followed by “Oh, sod this” followed by more concentration followed by more “Oh, sod this” and so on, from end to end.

I have started knitting another scarf, this time for someone else, and I was feeling a little bad that, having now learned all the pitfalls, the second scarf would be much nicer than the one I made for Cat Daddy.

Cat Daddy: “Well, mine is the original, and you can never beat an original. Plus, no offence, but I think it’s highly likely you’ll mess up the second one, too.”

Great. Thanks.

Anyway, Louis Catorze approves, even though he is a Sunderland fan. Here he is, giving his final quality control check – and, yes, it seems that the tongue is a crucial part of this:

Le nombre de la bête

A few weeks ago I posted this photo and comment (below) on social media, in response to a video of a dog rescuing someone from the water. As you can see, there are a lot of people out there who, like me, know that cats are psychopaths who would happily drown us all if they could. And black ones are the worst of the lot.

I couldn’t be more thrilled that, just in time for Hallowe’en, the number of Likes on my comment has reached 666.

Joyeuse Halloween à tous. And, if you have a black cat and also enjoy swimming, don’t take any chances at the time of year when the little sods are at their most powerful.

La menace fantôme

With Hallowe’en just around the corner, Louis Catorze has ramped up the creepy to Expert Level.

He has started opening doors and shutters, and he is remarkably good at it. However, when we wake up to find the wardrobe doors open it can feel very unnerving. Think Sixth-Sense-meets-Poltergeist and you will understand what I mean.

Naturellement, he hasn’t worked out how to shut doors after himself – unless it is to shut himself in a room, and then he decides he can’t be bothered to let himself out and screams for us to do it.

When my sister and her family came to visit, Cat Daddy and I assumed that, if anyone made trouble, it would be the kids. Not so. Catorze prowled around the house all night, opening bedroom doors repeatedly and scaring my sister by projecting strange shadow shapes on the baby monitor. (The moving vertical candy cane shape really foxed her until she finally realised that it was his up-tail with the silly kink at the end.) Once dawn had broken he was clearly bored of scaring everyone quietly, and that was when he came crashing into our room, screaming.

At breakfast that morning we discovered that everyone had a complaint about him, except for my eldest niece (aged 3) who said, “Louis came to look after me in the night! I love him!”

Cat Daddy: “I guess someone has to.”

My sister just about managed to catch him in action in the picture below. As if a black cat with vampire teeth weren’t already sinister enough: