La folie de la lune

We took Louis Catorze for his steroid shot just a couple of days before the full moon. And, on the night of the full moon, I kept the uppermost shutters open because I like the moonlight coming in and I find it quite relaxing.

I have now paid the price for my stupidity.

Firstly, having the uppermost shutters open and the lower ones closed provides a platform onto/from which feral little sods can jump. And, secondly, direct moonlight flooding in, as opposed to it being hidden by the shutters, is rather like giving said feral little sods a neat double vodka instead of a single measure diluted with soda.

Catorze was absolutely manic all night, bouncing around from the shutters to the dresser to the bed to the bedside tables and back again, knocking bottles and jars to the floor and generally being a pain in the arse. I actually had to sit up in bed and yell at him, not that it did any good because he just resumed his stupid behaviour as soon as I had drifted off to sleep again.

The next morning I was as far from being relaxed as is humanly possible, and I had to crawl around on the floor to retrieve various skincare products which had been kicked from the dresser during the chaos and which had rolled under the bed.

Cat Daddy: “It’s your own fault. You should have known that he’d want to get up onto the shutters and look outside at the foxes in the park.” (???)

I had a lot of things to do that day, and I have no idea how managed them on no sleep. Catorze, of course, doesn’t have to concern himself with such trivialities, and happily enjoyed Boys’ Club as if nothing had happened.

Bastard cat.

Une femme noble et son thé

A couple of mornings ago, Louis Catorze and I settled in front of the television for our usual early morning horror extravaganza.

I had prepared for being TUC by making sure I had as many important things as possible – tea, the remote control, a book and my phone – within easy reach, so that I wouldn’t have to wake Cat Daddy and ask him to bring me further supplies. He was already cross enough with me because, since the research I carried out for my Louis le Comte post, he has been inundated with county notifications. So I didn’t really fancy annoying him for a second time.

Email sent to me by Cat Daddy the other day.

Anyway, as Catorze stirred on my lap, his tail dipped into my mug of tea. I had a teapot at hand but only one mug, and I didn’t want to pour good tea into a mug containing horrible taily tea. And there was nowhere to tip out the taily tea without displacing Le Roi. So I had a dilemma. I knew that Cat Daddy would not appreciate being woken to help me. In fact, he would have just drunk the taily tea had he been in this situation. But I have horrifying visions of where that tail has been, so that wasn’t going to happen.

Teay tail.

Just as I had finished typing my message but before pressing SEND, Cat Daddy’s wine subscription delivery arrived. Now, as I have mentioned previously, dislodging a cat when TUC is akin to blasphemy in the cat freak world. However, not answering the door on this occasion would have meant losing the life-giving substance that fuels Le Château and helps us cope with Catorze, and that – along with Cat Daddy’s Unrepeatable Expletives that would have ensued – was utterly unthinkable.

So Sa Maj was undignifiedly turfed off my lap to allow me to take the wine delivery. He was not pleased.

I am expecting nothing short of Armageddon now.

Send holy water to TW8, merci s’il vous plaît.

Des souvenirs dorment dans cette chevelure

Louis Catorze had his steroid shot yesterday. There was the usual Benny Hill-style chase when putting him into his transportation pod and, as I was leaving, Cat Daddy – who was in the middle of a massive DIY session – asked me to pop into the hardware shop on the way back and buy a lightbulb and two little transponder-type things.

Catorze screamed all the way through his examination, but the vet confirmed that all was well and that he was “looking good”. He fell deathly silent as we went into the hardware shop then, as the shopkeeper spoke, the screaming resumed.

The shopkeeper was startled and looked outside, thinking there was some altercation taking place.

Me: “Oh, that’s just my cat.”

Shopkeeper: “Sorry?”

Me: “My cat is in this bag.”

Him: “There’s a cat?”

Me: “Yes.”

Him: “IN THE BAG?”

Me: “Erm, yes.”

Him: “…”

I should have explained that I’d come straight from the vet, instead of just saying “My cat is in this bag”, but I didn’t think of it at the time. So now the shopkeeper thinks I am the kind of weirdo who goes shopping with her screaming cat. And I can never go back to that shop again.

Although Catorze is in good health, his body is still spewing out fur. Clumps of it are drifting around Le Château like tumbleweed rolling through the American west.

A few days before the vet appointment, we had a Code Gris emergency on our hands. And by “on our hands”, I actually mean “on Catorze’s arse”. This (see below) started out as a few tiny strands of grey undercoat sticking out from his fur and I left it, imagining that, at some point, it would just come off by itself.

It didn’t. In fact, over the course of just a couple of days, it grew.

What in the world …?

My sister: “It’s a mat. You can get special mat combs that get them out.”

Me: “Could I not just use scissors?”

Her: “Do you trust him to hold still and not injure you or himself?”

[Silence, tumbleweed, crickets]

Narrator: “And so she bought the special mat comb.”

Anyway, the comb arrived the next day, and it seems that someone in the marketing department felt that its appearance wasn’t quite scary enough, so they named it the Dematting Rake. RAKE.

Ouch.

Catorze sat on my lap and, astoundingly, was happy to let me hack away at his arse end with this device, only emitting the occasional squeak when I accidentally pulled too hard. Perhaps he felt uncomfortable and knew that whatever I was doing had to be better than living with the mats? It was quite the feat but, eventually, I managed to loosen and remove the TWO horrible knots:

The mats, alongside my customary £1 coin for scale.

So Le Roi is now a mat-free zone. And I have something fun and unique to tell my students when they ask me what I did during my holidays.

What a time to be alive.

The Catorzian arse, sans mats.

Un plat qui se mange froid

Remember Kurt Zouma? Remember what he did? The British public certainly do and, given that he’s now being prosecuted AND he had the ignominy of an own goal against Spurs a few weeks ago, it seems that Lady Karma is doing her thing.

However, we certainly weren’t about to pass up an opportunity when West Ham came to play Brentford on Sunday. Now, I’m not one of those who shouts abuse at sportspeople, no matter what they’ve done. Instead, I decided to take a leaf from the Catorzian Playbook of Unsettling Behaviour and just creepy-stare, with the help of one of these:

Good grief.

These items, unbelievably, are not props from The Purge but part of a kids’ party pack of a dozen animal masks, of which seven are cats (and one is a fox but looks sufficiently cat-like from a distance). There isn’t a fully black cat, as you can see, which upset Cat Daddy far more than he will ever admit, so he picked one of the tuxedo cats, which were plain black on the reverse, and wore it inside out.

I bought two sets of masks and handed them to anyone who would agree to wear them. However, it seems we needn’t have bothered, because the rowdy blokes in the West Stand were on it. Not only did they boo every time the ball went to Zouma, but they blasted him with two new, never-heard-before chants. The first was “R, S, P-C-A, R-S-P-C-A!” to the tune of Oops Upside Your Head (aka Louis Catorze’s Chubbing Up Song). And, when Zouma hobbled off, injured, after twenty-nine minutes, he was hailed with a chorus of “Put him down, put him down, put him down!” to the tune of Stars and Stripes Forever.

I would never wish an injury on anyone, not even Zouma. But there was something about it that felt like a karmic coup de foudre.

At the start of the game, one of the blokes who sits in front of us asked me for my score prediction, and I said, “2-1 to Brentford, with Zouma being sent off.” And that’s so eerily close to what ended up happening that I can’t help wondering whether The Mothership had anything to do with it.

Catorze doesn’t need a lawyer because he knows we can’t prove anything.

Les fangs sont de retour

Louis Catorze’s fangs FINALLY seem to be reappearing from wherever it was that they went.

And I don’t know whether this is just wishful thinking on my part, a genuine consequence of the new way that his mouth fits together or just an illusion because I am home for the holidays and seeing more of the little sod, but the fangs appear to be slightly more prominent. I love it. Whereas they previously appeared as tiny white dots under his jowls, now they have a little more length to them. (More photos to follow, so you can help me decide whether this is true or whether I’m hallucinating.)

This picture was taken when he was doing the Chubbing Up Dance in bed with Cat Daddy. It’s wonderful to have him looking like our spooky little boy again.

Looking fangtastic.

Le poids du Roi

Louis Catorze is an eating, screaming machine, and we can see and feel him chubbing up. Cat Daddy even saw him in the garden the other day and thought he was another cat.

To mark this auspicious occasion Catorze has done the Chubbing Up Dance, which involves Cat Daddy bouncing him on his lap whilst singing “You, are, chub-bing up, say you are chub-bing up!” to the tune of Oops Upside Your Head. (Younger followers: ask your grandparents.)*

*About the song, I mean, not about the Chubbing Up Dance. They will probably look at you very strangely if you ask them about the Chubbing Up Dance.

Gone are the days of minuscule portions of Orijen sprinkled with exactly the right amount of boiling water. These days Catorze is guzzling down generous scoops of dry food and loving it. He still prefers freshly-served Orijen to food that’s been sitting around for a while, naturellement, but, at a push, he will eat slightly stale food eventually. Whereas if his food had absorbed too much water, he would quite literally starve himself rather than consume a single pellet.

Assuming the little sod doesn’t randomly change his mind again, this could be an absolute game changer for chat-sitting here at Le Château. And, in equally magnificent news, it’s exactly a month since his last steroid shot and, astonishingly, he has shown no sign of needing the next one as yet. Usually, after three weeks, we are counting down the days to that calendar month marker but, right now, he’s looking and feeling good.

Could his birthday at the end of the month be his happiest and healthiest yet?

Who ate all the Orijen?

Le chat chassé

Every now and again, when Cat Daddy and I want to relax in front of something mindless and unchallenging, we watch Celebrity Hunted. If you haven’t seen it, celebrities team up and “disappear” in the U.K. and, the longer they can stay hidden, the more money they raise for charity. This particular series features two athletes, an actress, a musician, a drag queen and a girl from Essex whom we presume to be a reality TV star or a YouTuber or some such thing.

Cat Daddy and I often marvel at the stupid things they do to give away their whereabouts, such as calling friends and family (their phones are monitored) or letting random members of the public take pictures with them and upload them to social media (also monitored); we are pretty certain that, if we ever took part in this show, we would be cleverer than that.

However, we are mere amateurs compared to Louis Catorze. It’s time to give Catorze his flea medication. And, naturellement, the little sod is nowhere to be found.

I have to hand it to him: for a not-especially-intelligent cat, he is good at vanishing. A few years ago we made Disco the dog’s folks go searching for him in their shed in the middle of a storm, when he turned out to be somewhere in Le Château – we still don’t know where – all along. He has also been known to go missing at The Front, right after chasing down the Ocado delivery driver, and on many occasions we have debated whether or not to call the driver and ask him to check the back of his van. Luckily he has always reappeared but, again, we don’t know from where.

Cat Daddy and I still can’t find Catorze, but I’m hopeful that one of us will soon utter the magic words: “I have eyes on the fugitive!”

Où est Le Roi?

Louis le Comte

You know how annoying it is when you’re messaging someone and Autocorrect changes it to “ducking”? Come on. Anyone who claims not to know this is a liar (or doesn’t have a phone).

Cat Daddy has discovered a new dimension to this problem.

Louis Catorze recently decided to curl up on a mattress cover which had just been washed and which was drying outside. Cat Daddy photographed him and sent me the picture, declaring that Catorze was a “total count”.

Just make yourself comfortable.

So … which count is he?

Here are some options, as suggested by friends:

1. Count von Count from Sesame Street. He’s goth, toothy and cute, but is he a bit TOO cute to be a role model for Catorze?

Picture, very appropriately, from muppet.fandom.com.

2. Vicomte Sébastien de Valmont from Dangerous Liaisons (if, indeed, a viscount can still count as a count?). Like Catorze, he’s French. However, he seduces women for fun. And ladies aren’t really Catorze’s thing, if you get what I mean.

Picture from vulture.com.

3. Edmond Dantès, aka The Count of Monte Cristo. He’s French, vengeful and a skilled escape artist, and he suddenly finds himself with untold riches, all of which make him startlingly similar to Catorze. This could be the one.

Picture from thetimes.co.uk.

4. Count Dracula, the papa of them all. An evil, shapeshifting bloodsucker who sleeps all day and goes on psychotic rampages at night. Bingo. I think we have our answer.

Picture from lwiles.com.

Maybe he should never have been Sa Majesté Louis Catorze, Le Roi Soleil. Maybe he should always have been Count Dracula. But, as we Brits are aware, once the monarchy are in place, deposing them isn’t as easy as all that.

Which member of the aristocracy most resembles your cat? And are there any counts that we have neglected to, erm, count? Please let us know.

Les poils de la bête

Merci à Dieu: the Easter holidays are here. And it looks as if I will be spending them brushing, because Louis Catorze is shedding fur. A lot of fur. His tiny body is producing more fur than I can handle, a bit like that old fable about the machine that churns out salt forever because the person forgets the magic word to make it stop.

Yesterday I managed to extract a huge handful of fur from one side of him.

Cat Daddy: “Why only one side?”

Me: “I couldn’t brush the other side.”

Him: “Why not?”

Me: “He was lying on it.”

Him: “So just flip him!”

Me: “I couldn’t. He refused to be flipped.”

Him: “He’s 3kg!”

Me: “HE REFUSED TO BE FLIPPED.”

Cat Daddy has probably only had to force Catorze to do things against his will about four times, versus my countless times. So, really, he should be taking my word for it regarding Catorze’s flippability, or lack thereof.

Anyway, I’m brushing him 862 times a day (that’s sessions, not individual brush strokes) and it’s not enough. No number in the world would be enough; every time I do it, it’s as if I have never done it before. And I am pretty sure that, if I kept brushing indefinitely and didn’t stop, the fur would just keep coming until, eventually, I would be left with a bald, screaming skeleton.

Here he is, sitting in the tarragon (again), looking wonderfully soft. And so he should, after all my efforts:

“Brush moi.”
“Then brush moi again. And again.”

UPDATE: since the above photos were taken, Cat Daddy has devised a plan and put it into action. Will these lethal shanks solve the problem, or just move it elsewhere?

Sit on THIS, Sa Maj!

L’envahisseur de l’espace

These were the scenes at the château of Louis Catorze’s cat-cousin King Ghidorah recently. Might I add that my sister and her family have one (1) cat:

Left to right: King Ghidorah, Nephew 2, Random Chat Noir.

The impinging feline was busted on the Ring security device positioned by King Ghidorah’s food bowls. My sister chatted away through the talky bit, assuming it to be King Ghidorah, and it was only when Nephew 2 wandered into the kitchen that they discovered the truth. “It’s not King Ghidorah, Mum! IT’S NOT KING GHIDORAH! It’s a small, really nice black cat!”

Incidentally Château Ghidorah is a non-Sureflap household, so their kitchen turns into an all-you-can-eat buffet whether they want this or not.

The absence of any visible cerises noires, and the fact that King Ghidorah, who is usually a massive Alpha Male scrapper, was happy about all this, suggested that the visitor was a young female cat. After nuzzling Nephew 2, purring and trilling, she approached King Ghidorah for a sniff and a kiss:

King Ghidorah and his nouvelle amie.

My sister posted on local forums, and a representative from a local rescue came over a couple of days after these photos were taken to scan for a chip. There wasn’t one, so L’Impingeuse was promptly collared and labelled with the rescue lady’s phone number. However, this plan to send a message to her humans was royally scuppered because, the day after the collar and label were affixed, the little sod returned without them.

The rescue lady then dropped off a SECOND collar and label but, in order for them to work, L’Impingeuse actually needed to leave. She wouldn’t. In fact, she just stayed and made herself at home for the rest of the week.

Complete with label and collar, on Nephew 2’s bed.

After a few more days, the rescue lady finally received a message from the owner. Apparently they had been away dealing with an emergency, and the cat had escaped from the neighbour’s place where she was supposed to be under house arrest.

So I don’t think we will be seeing her anymore.

My nephews were a little sad as they had become used to a second cat being around, with the bell on her collar jingle-jangling as she went. However, Nephew 2 is relieved that his portion of the inheritance will not become the Second Cat Fund (since he was the first to condone the impinging by stroking her).

Anyway, Mesdames et Messieurs: we must chip our cats. We already knew this, obviously, but it doesn’t do any harm to repeat it. Had the owner done this, my sister would have been able to establish ownership quickly. (And the rescue lady said that the absence of a chip meant L’Impingeuse most likely wasn’t spayed, either, so she could return home and pop out hundreds of babies.)

We have also learned that, given half a chance, all cats will take the piss. We already knew this, too, didn’t we?

Le pain à l’estragon

Cat Daddy is coping well with life under house arrest. Over the weekend he conducted numerous experiments to see whether wine eased the symptoms of Covid, but unfortunately he can’t remember any of the results so he says he’s going to have to repeat them.

In other news, Cat Daddy’s tarragon is starting to sprout again (not a euphemism; I do mean actual tarragon). And so, naturellement, Louis Catorze has felt compelled to sit his arse on top of it, having shown zero interest in the trough when it was just soil.

Luckily the tarragon has been dislodged/bent to one side by the royal rump, so none of the herb has actually come into contact with anywhere unmentionable. But this is still far from being an optimal situation.

Hark! Do you hear the sound of Unrepeatable Expletives ringing out through the springtime air?

Cat Daddy is absolutely livid, but there’s nothing he can do about it. He’s already busy enough devising inventive ways of getting one over on the squirrels and the pigeons, and he simply doesn’t have time to police another individual too (ironically, the very one whose responsibility it is to fend off the squirrels and the pigeons).

Will Cat Daddy succeed in deterring the royal rump? Stay tuned …

Le Château Arc-En-Ciel

As you know, Louis Catorze loves having visitors to Le Château and is usually an excellent host (apart from that one time when we didn’t know where he was, then I found him in the shrubbery and had to poke him out with a broom).

Male visitors are especially well-received. However, if said male happens to be gay, Catorzian excitement levels go stratospheric. And that is what happened when a friend came over last week (before Cat Daddy tested positive, I might add).

As we weren’t going to be home when our friend arrived, we gave him a key and he let himself in. The sequence of events was as follows:

1. Catorze: “Ooh, a stranger dans mon Château! I must investigate!”

2. Catorze: “A man! Ooh la la!”

3. Catorze: “A BONHOMME WHO PREFERS THE COMPANY OF BONHOMMES! ONE OF MY PEOPLE!”

4. Friend sits down. Catorze is all over him.

5. Friend stops stroking him for 0.4 seconds. Catorze is highly affronted by this and bullies him for more cuddles.

6. Friend leans over onto one side in foetal position on sofa to make himself comfortable.

7. Friend dozes off and wakes up like this:

Cheeky sod.

8. Catorze bullies him into lying flat on the sofa so that he can curl up properly on his lap.

“Now stay put until I say, salope.”

9. Cat Daddy arrives home to find them asleep together.

10. Cat Daddy sits down and chats to friend. Catorze takes a whole ten minutes to exit friend’s lap and go and greet his papa.

11. Cat Daddy and friend open wine at 4:30pm (!) and go outside. Catorze follows and continues to pester friend.

12. I come home to two drunk men and a screaming cat.

13. I tell friend that Catorze fights with most other cats but loves hanging out with unneutered males. Friend spits out wine through laughing so much.

The moral of this story is twofold and takes the form of “Good news, bad news” which is, by now, familiar in Catorzian lore:

– Our cat is a delightfully affectionate little soul, and it makes me so proud when visitors say they’d like to take him home.

– Our cat would be beyond useless during a home invasion and would most likely snuggle the burglars, make them a cup of tea and tell them to take their time.

Le point positif

Merde, merde and thrice merde: Cat Daddy tested positive for Covid yesterday afternoon.

To be fair, he’s done very well indeed to get this far without testing positive. But what a monumentally massive pain in the arse. We have had to cancel Disco the dog’s human sister coming for dinner (Friday), Cat Daddy’s rugby hospitality day out with the blokes from his Friday evening Zoom call (today) AND my mum coming over for Mothers’ Day weekend (all weekend).

So now Cat Daddy is stuck indoors for [nobody in the U.K. has a clue how many as The Rules are so confusing] days.

I am negative (my test result, I mean; this isn’t a general observation on my demeanour, although that still works) so we’re watching television and eating in separate rooms, and we may, at some point, meet outdoors, two metres apart, for the odd chat. This is the sensible and practical thing to do. However, in the event of being TUC, I can bring things to Cat Daddy but he can’t bring things to me. This is more annoying than I ever thought possible.

Louis Catorze won’t be able to sit with us both this weekend, so the little sod will have to make a choice. I don’t suppose this will turn out well for me.

Me: “Would you like to sit with your papa or …” Catorze: “Mon papa.”

20.000 lieues sous le chat

Every cat person, it seems, has a name for the state of being during which you ask others to bring things to you because you cannot possibly move the cat from your lap.

My cousin, for instance, calls it PCP (Pussy Cat Privileges). Cat Daddy and I call it TUC (Trapped Under Cat). However we may name it, it’s the ultimate in feline worship and we cat freaks regard it as bad form both to dislodge the cat and to complain about having to bring things to the person who is TUC.

Cat Daddy is TUC.

When it happens to me, if Cat Daddy is in another room, I text him requesting drink/food/whatever and sign my message “TUC”. My TUC requests tend to be quite straightforward and reasonable: a cup of tea, a refill of my water bottle, that kind of thing. Cat Daddy, however, is more, erm, elaborate, and he has been known to say, “Could you make me a cocktail, please? Two parts rye bourbon to one part Cointreau, with some crushed ice, served in a cocktail coupe?” (I’m not joking. He asked for this just the other day.)

What name do you give to TUC? And what has been your most outlandish request when TUC, or your most extreme action to avoid disturbing a sleeping cat?

Not sure I’d go quite this far. (Picture from Reddit.com.)