Étranger en terre étrange

Mon Dieu: and who might you be, meaty Chat Noir?

Oof.
OOF.

We recently spotted this large gentleman – easily 6kg, most likely more – making his way across our garden and that of Family Next Door, finally alighting at Blue the Smoke Bengal’s place. Cat Daddy and I have never seen him before, and neither has Blue’s mamma. We haven’t yet asked That Neighbour but we are saving this photo to show him at some future time, when there is Black Cat Trouble and we wish to shift the blame elsewhere.

Cat Daddy: “He’s huge. He would absolutely finish Louis if they ever met.”

Now, this is where we disagree. He may be half the size of the visitor, but I would bet Le Château on Louis Catorze coming out on top. We’ve had too much evidence of his absolute supremacy for this to be in any doubt; he has asserted himself over Blue, Beefy Tabby Tigger, Goliath and some other cat that we haven’t yet identified, all of whom are bigger, and various dogs, plus Cat Daddy has seen foxes run away from him. Catorze may be small, but those who annoy him (and those who mind their own business and steer clear) soon regret it.

I’m hoping that, for his own sake, the new boy won’t come by again, because I would rather not have any trouble. However, Catorze says, “Bring it on, mon gars”.

“Don’t mess with moi.”

Le plancher de la tuerie

The following is a line from Anne Rice’s Interview With The Vampire:

“All I need to find you, Louis, is follow the corpses of rats.”

(Yes, I have quoted word for word and, yes, it really does have “Louis” in it. I didn’t just add that for effect.)

Evil Catorze.

Well, here at Le Château it’s the reverse, because all we need to do to find the corpses of rats is follow Louis Catorze. It’s not very pleasant when we find them, as Cat Daddy did at the weekend*. But it’s even worse when we DON’T find them, and that’s what’s happening at the moment. Some sort of entity is living in our kitchen, and have no idea where it is.

When I come downstairs every morning, before even going to his bowl, Catorze prowls ominously on the floor under our kitchen units, occasionally pouncing at what turns out to be thin air. Sometimes, when I am in the front room drinking my tea, I can hear him – at least I hope it’s him – scrabbling and scratching. Yet, when Cat Daddy is in the vicinity, Catorze is either perfectly silent, sitting prettily with his tail curled around his neat little paws, or screaming for his papa’s attention in the way that people do when they want to deflect attention from the REAL matter at hand.

Since we still see Catorze on Rodent Duty in his new favourite spot under the bird feeder, we fear that there is only one way of our mysterious new housemate becoming known to us, and that will be when the apex predator kills him. It’s only a matter of time before this happens, and before his buddies, eventually, suffer the same fate.

Remember when I was wondering which count Catorze might be? Well, now I know: he’s Body Count.

*Oui, Mesdames et Messieurs: Cat Daddy woke up on the Sunday morning of their lads’ weekend to find a bloodied, headless mouse on the hallway mat. We imagine it was Catorze, rather than the postman, who was responsible. And, no, we still haven’t found the head.

“Papa! Special delivery, in deux parts …”

Louis, avez-vous oublié de prendre vos médicaments?

Louis Catorze was prescribed liquid Gabapentin for pain relief after his dental surgery. The vet told us that we could either put it in his food (nope) or syringe it directly into his mouth (hahahahahaha … NOPE) whenever he looked as if he might be in pain.

Since we haven’t the slightest idea how to know when he is in pain, we decided to blob the liquid onto his body at a random moment that suited us, then wait for him to groom it off. We are still waiting.

Ugh.

Catorze sniffed the area, then sniffed the air around him, then looked at me and at Cat Daddy. And he just sat there. Cat Daddy rubbed the liquid into a long streak down the silly sod’s body, in the hope that this would alert him to the presence of a foreign substance, but to no avail. And why would he care? This is the same individual who comes in from the Zone Libre covered in creatures and matter not even recognised by science, and he doesn’t appear to even NOTICE, let alone give a merde.

Catorze happily sat and let the liquid air-dry on his fur. And, when we blobbed on another few drops, this time onto his paws, he did the same thing. So he’s going about the place sporting unsightly, crusty patches of dried Gabapentin on his fur, having ingested absolutely none of it, yet eating, drinking, purring and screaming perfectly happily.

Maybe he doesn’t need the drugs. But I’m starting to feel that maybe I do.

He looks rough as guts but, trust me, there’s nothing wrong with him.

Le beau voyou

Louis Catorze had his dental surgery on Tuesday. He came home that evening sporting some impressive bald patches on his arms, like a prison gang leader with not one but two tattoo sleeves. And, according to Cat Daddy, Catorze lived up to that in the waiting room at check-out time, by making a dog, who had been impeccably behaved up to that point, go absolutely ballistic. Catorze didn’t even make a sound; just being there was enough. The dog’s human was absolutely mortified, but Cat Daddy reassured her that we’d been there many times with many dogs, and that it really wasn’t their fault.

“Soit à table, soit au menu.”

In the end, just one – ONE – small incisor was removed. This is great news because it means that Catorze has been able to keep his famous fangs. But what a drama over one tooth. I spent vast swathes of time, which I will never be able to get back, cutting up his soft food into pieces so minuscule that a baby ant could have swallowed them, and I probably didn’t need to. In fact, now that I think of it, since he was able to hunt, he should have been perfectly capable of chewing a couple of pieces of fish.

The little sod is subdued, and eerily silent; he didn’t utter a sound on the way back from the veterinary practice, and he only managed one feeble wheeze when he arrived. And, despite the fact that Cat Daddy was the one who bundled him into a bag and left him at his least favourite place in the world, he has sat on his papa’s lap but refused to sit on mine. Still, he’s eating and drinking. In fact, now that we have identified his favourite of the Cool Cat Club foods*, we have brought forward our next shipment with a few extra packs of them.

*Catorze especially loves the cod and salmon trays, which have the texture of pâté and which can be guzzled down easily even with hurty and/or no teeth.

Cat Daddy and I had plans to visit my sister and her family this weekend, but we don’t want to leave Sa Maj with a chat-sitteur right after his surgery. So he is in for a double treat: I shall be going away on my own, whilst the gentlemen of the household remain here for a well-deserved, weekend-long Boys’ Club. I have even persuaded Cat Daddy to let Catorze join him in bed, something he usually hates “because it’s like being in bed with a rat” (?).

Thank you again for your good wishes. And, yes, I will be asking Cat Daddy how he knows what it feels like to be in bed with a rat.

Les crocs du Roi

Louis Catorze is going to the vet today so, to cheer him up a little, we watched a vampire film called Day Shift at the weekend. As ever, he showed no reaction to the hisses of his bloodsucking counterparts, nor to the pounding rock music accompanying the fight scenes, but he did up and take notice when the vampires were rounding up cats to keep as familiars:

Me: “Was it the cats or the men that caught your attention?” Le Roi: “Oui.”

Catorze has a condition called Feline Odontoclastic Resorptive Lesions (FORL). There is more information about it here but, in essence, it’s the teeth eating themselves. It’s pretty grim. Once it takes hold, it keeps coming back, and sometimes it’s easier to remove lots of teeth at once, rather than subject poor kitty to multiple surgeries removing a few teeth at a time. In the event of the vet recommending a full extraction, I am ready for it. But I really, really hope he will get to keep the famous fangs. (Catorze, I mean. Not the vet.)

Please keep the little sod in your thoughts today. And thank you to everyone who has already sent good wishes.

Maybe he should just sleep through this bit.

Le sérum magique

Serum: magical hair product of the gods, but woe betide you should you spill any.

Spilling a small amount is bad enough because this stuff, despite being transparent, is like a thick, oily tar that repels water, detergent and cleaning apparatuses (apparati?). It perma-coats every surface that it touches, and no amount of scrubbing will ever get rid of it. However, knocking over a 150ml* bottle without realising that the lid is loose, and giving the insidious drip of doom a head start of several hours before noticing it, is just about as bad as it can be.

*Oui, Mesdames et Messieurs, the standard size of these products is around 50ml but, of course, I had to seek out the monster, maximum-damage bottle.

When I discovered this catastrophe all over the bathroom cabinet and on the floor, naturellement my first instinct was to reach for the toilet paper to wipe it up. However, it simply glanced the surface of the mess and, if anything, spread it around and made it worse. I then called to Cat Daddy to bring me some sturdier kitchen towel and some severe spray cleaner – I was unable to fetch it myself since my hands were greasy – and, although this made some difference, it was a long time before I had even made a slight dent in the viscous, oily puddle that had formed on the bathroom floor.

That evening, as we watched the football on television, we remarked on Louis Catorze’s absence and assumed him to be out in the Zone Libre bothering the local wildlife. However, when bedtime came and there was still no sign of him, we started to wonder what had happened. We even checked out at The Front, but he wasn’t there.

Just before going to bed, Cat Daddy found the little sod in the attic. And, since we’d had the football on at full volume, we hadn’t heard him screaming.

Because it had taken me so much longer than expected to half-clean the hair serum oil slick, Cat Daddy wasn’t able to use the bathroom so he’d had to use the attic en suite instead. Catorze had dutifully followed his papa, using his Cloak of Invisibility, and Cat Daddy, not realising he was there, had shut him in as he’d left.

Catorze recovered from his trauma and, after cuddling me in bed for a short while, was straight out in the Zone Libre. And the moral of this tale of woe is, surely, to trust neither hair serum nor cats.

This is most likely where he hid to evade capture.

Le chat qui meugle (Partie 2)

The last time that Cat Daddy enjoyed a drunken Boys’ Club, he adapted an existing Manchester United football chant to make it about Louis Catorze, and it went as follows:

“Hello, hello, we are the Louis boys. Hello, hello, we are the Louis boys. If you are a doggie fan, surrender or you die. We all follow Catorrrrrze!”

If you happen to be one of the two or three people on the planet who care what the original version was like, substitute “Busby” for “Louis”, “City” for “doggie” and “United” for “Catorze”. (And, yes, I realise that that last one doesn’t fit.) Neither Manchester United nor Manchester City even played on that day, nor does Cat Daddy support either club, so I have no idea why he would have thought to do this.

Cat Daddy: “Are you feeling the love, Louis-boy?”

Catorze: “Mooo!”

[Silence, tumbleweed, crickets.]

Me: “Did he just …?”

He did.

Did we catch it on video?

We did not.

Sadly, unless I were to turn Le Château into the Big Brother house and have cameras on Catorze at all times, the chances of me ever catching the moo on film remain zero. Le moo royal will become like a Cthulhu or a manticore, a thing of myth and legend, retold to future generations but with believers becoming the object of ridicule.

However, we all know the truth, don’t you? We may not have actual evidence, but the eight years spent documenting other Catorzian atrocities/absurdities go SOME way to making me a credible witness, non?

A typical Boys’ Club tail hug.

Nourris-moi, Maman!

Merci à Dieu et à tous ses anges! We have renewed our subscription to the Cool Cat Club, and our order has arrived:

“Finalement!”

We had a brief fallow period of a day and a half before its arrival, after Louis Catorze had finished the last pack in the taster hamper. I had nothing to give him on Monday morning, and Pets at Home didn’t open until 9am. I thought I could stand strong for those couple of hours but little sod was an absolute hell-beast, creepy-staring, screaming, demanding play, thrashing around in the plastics recycling and generally scaring me witless, so I had to hold him off with some Reflets de France tuna rillettes. Obviously, at £3.70 a pop, this was never going to be a permanent solution. But you, too, would do anything to make it stop if you were faced with this look:

Saint Jésus.

I think back to all those cartoons I used to watch as a child, when the pursued would throw a string of sausages at the pack of pursuing beasts to keep them at bay, and now I know that it wasn’t just a dramatic effect for entertainment.

Anyway, having been successfully tided over with a combination of tuna rillettes, dampened Orijen and the ONE grain-free, fish-only wet food I could lay my desperate hands on at Pets at Home (which, luckily, he ate), Catorze now has his first choice food, in the following variants:

⁃ Deluxe tuna with shrimp

⁃ Deluxe fish medley

⁃ Ocean fish

⁃ Cod and salmon pâté

The little sod has his mojo back. Let’s hope he will snap back from his dental procedure just as quickly.

Un cadeau pour le roi des rois

What a lucky boy Louis Catorze is. When our friends at the Cool Cat Club* found out about his Orijen predicament, their CEO – a fellow Chat Noir by the name of Morris – instructed his human subordinates to send us a pescatarian hamper full of their delicious fish variants.

Oh. Mon. Dieu! Merci beaucoup!

On the day that the hamper arrived, poor Catorze was in an especially low mood, barely eating and spending much of the day sleeping. I must confess that, since he doesn’t like wet food, nor will he settle for any old food even if hungry/desperate, my expectations were low.

However, in a shock twist to this tale, the little sod actually ate an ocean fish pouch. Not only that but, as I was serving it, he screamed and screamed at me to hurry up.

I know. I’ll just give you a few seconds to absorb that unprecedented news.

That isn’t the end of it: the next morning, he ate half a cod and salmon pâté tray, again screaming impatiently because my serving speed was not up to the required standard. Cat Daddy gave him an accidental bonus tuna and shrimp can when he came home drunk at 1:30am (Cat Daddy came home drunk, I mean, not Catorze) and the report via WhatsApp was, “He’s polished off a whole tin of one of those foods since I got back. He loves it.”

He has now scoffed his way through all the wet food in the hamper.

I cannot describe what an incredible relief this is. Given that the little sod has, in the past, chosen to starve for reasons such as unsatisfactory** food, good food served in an unsatisfactory manner and good food served on an unsatisfactory plate, I was very concerned indeed about what would happen to him in the run-up to his dental surgery and during the recovery time afterwards. Now I don’t need to worry.

**His “unsatisfactory” is not like most people’s “unsatisfactory”. This is, after all, the cat who eats organic, aged Comté from the cheese deli but refuses Marks and Spencer Comté.

Catorze now has a full belly, so he is back to being an annoying shite again. No doubt Morris knew perfectly well that this would happen, and it’s all part of the Chats Noirs’ quest to wear us down so that they can overthrow us.

“Maurice! 3am tomorrow … you know what to do, mon pote.”

*If you would like to try out the Cool Cat Club, have a look here. Catorze highly recommends them for their top-notch food and amazing service. He follows a mainly pescatarian diet, but the Cool Cat Club caters for a wide variety of demands requirements.

Le pire diable chasse le moindre

If it’s true that cats are master actors when it comes to hiding pain, Louis Catorze is giving us the full Day-Lewis (younger followers: ask your parents) at the moment. Somehow, in the midst of all his dental issues, he is continuing to hunt.

Cat Daddy heard him gadding about in the corridor one evening. Now, this is nothing unusual in itself, but something about the sound of the gadding – a short burst of absolutely manic hyperactivity, then chilling silence – made him suspicious, so he went to investigate. There, he was greeted by this:

Nooooo.

Having seen him on Rodent Duty, we know exactly where he is finding the mice. What we still can’t figure out is how an old cat with dodgy teeth is managing to hunt in the middle of winter. Worse yet, Catorze has been prowling ominously in the kitchen, notably under the units where Cat Daddy and I keep our shoes, so we fear that there may be more rodent surprises saved there for later.

If you’ve been feeling sorry for him because he’s not very well (and you wouldn’t be alone in this; even we fell for it for a while), don’t bother. If he can manage this kind of caper, he’s doing all right.

Manger, c’est la vie

It has been a week of food-related drama here at Le Château, caused by the males in the household.

Cat Daddy came home drunk the other night after going to the rugby, and he refused the pasta I was making on the basis that he was “not sober enough to appreciate it”. I stopped preparing it and put everything away, only to have him then say, “Where’s the pasta you promised me?” So I dragged the pasta paraphernalia out again, continued where I had left off and, three minutes before it was ready, Cat Daddy announced that he would rather have cheese on toast instead. At that point I lost patience with him and said, “I AM MAKING PASTA. YOU WILL EAT IT. AND YOU WILL SAY THANK YOU FOR IT.”

Meanwhile, Louis Catorze has been making a dreadful mess with his food again, and licking his lips excessively after eating. When I gave him a fresh serving of food last week, he ate about two pellets and creepy-stared at me. I then sprinkled some hot water onto his food, and he wolfed down the lot.

Merde.

If you weren’t around the last time this happened, it means that something is very likely to be wrong with his teeth.

And if you WERE around the last time this happened, you will know that Catorze only eats the watered food if it’s daisy-fresh. If it’s too cold, too dry, too damp, too stale or [insert other bizarre and/or unfathomable reason for rejecting top-notch, expensive food], he won’t eat it and, instead, creepy-stares for a new portion. I daren’t even think about how much we have thrown away because it hasn’t met his stratospherically high expectations. It’s been maddening for us but, as always, this hasn’t dented his spirit in the slightest; Catorze has still been well enough to annoy the absolute merde out of a (male, of course) visitor to Le Château who happens to be allergic to cats. Apparently the screaming and bullying were so bad that Cat Daddy was forced to apologise.

Le Roi is booked in for X-rays and (possibly) dental surgery the week after next. I know. I can’t believe we are back here again, either.

Please get better, little sod.

Aimer jusqu’à la déchirure

When you are looking for a place to sleep, and none of your existing 9,062 beds will do – why does this sound like déjà vu? – what better place to choose than, erm, a pile of papers waiting to be shredded?

Before you start to panic, don’t worry: the shredder wasn’t plugged in. So there was no chance of Louis Catorze mincing his feet to a mush in the event of him climbing into the shredder, which he did just before settling on the pile of paper. But what on earth possessed him to do this? Why would anyone do this? What even IS this?

Look at the fangy little sod’s face, all proud of his efforts and loving himself. What an absolute clown.

For goodness’ sake.

Une famille de rongeurs

It’s not often that we catch Louis Catorze doing sensible things but, every now and again, it happens. And luckily I have photographic proof, otherwise I don’t think anyone would believe me.

Cat Daddy spotted him the other day at a new Rodent Duty station: underneath the bird feeder, staring intently at the spot where the bits fall. This makes absolute sense as a place, and it has answered our questions about how on earth he is finding all these mice/voles/shrews/moles/whatever.

The day after taking this picture, we saw him leap headlong into the sage, with his tail thrashing furiously. He didn’t emerge with a prize on that occasion, but it’s only a matter of time, n’est-ce pas?

Is it cruel for us to (indirectly) lure creatures to their death like this? Or is Catorze performing a vital civic duty?

Softly softly, catchee mousey.

Le sommeil aux yeux sombres

Legend has it that, if you go to bed early because have something important to do the next morning, a black vampire cat will appear in the dead of night and raise merry hell.

And that is exactly what happened the night before my first day back at school.

Going back to work in January after the end of the festive season is the most hellish thing there is … not because anything particularly bad happens, but because it just IS. And having to go through it on no sleep, because a certain bastard cat was misbehaving the night before, is excruciating. And, no, we can’t shut him out of the bedroom, because he would only scream, whine and scratch at the door. I had bitter experience of this many years ago, when I shut the bathroom door so that I could have a relaxing bath in peace.

I barely slept on Monday night because of all the purring, whining, rolling, pitter-pattering and parkour. And, when my alarm went off the next morning, I found a rubber band in the bed, which he had sourced from some unknown location and with which he’d messed around all through the night.

The next night I didn’t hear a thing from him, which, obviously, was great as I needed the sleep. However, it’s also annoying because it proves that he can pick and choose.

Here he is, feigning innocence. Bonne Année to you, too, little sod:

Bastard cat.