Le Jour de Dracula

Today is Dracula Day, which celebrates the anniversary of the publication of Bram Stoker’s iconic novel. I loved it when I read it years ago, and it remains my favourite book of all time.

Louis Catorze was perfectly placed for an Official Dracula Day Portrait – sitting beneath our Count Dracula decoration – when Cat Daddy tried to encourage him to scream, in an effort to capture the famous fangs. What better way to mark such an auspicious occasion? But the little sod wasn’t playing ball. Even with his mouth open, his jowls concealed the fangs.

(We have noticed that his jowls are less pert than they were when he was younger. In fact, one has sagged lower than the other, sometimes giving the optical illusion of just one fang.)


What are the chances of a black vampire cat, sitting next to a Dracula decoration, opening his mouth and NOT showing his fangs? Only Catorze could be so nonsensical.

Happy Dracula Day to you all. We will be cracking open the Prince of Darkness gin to celebrate.

No fangs.
Still no fangs.

Ne plaisante pas avec mon tutu

After tiring of waking up every morning looking as if my face had been put through a trouser press (younger followers: ask your parents), I recently bought a couple of sets of those satin pillowcases. If you haven’t seen them, they’re a bit 1980s and not the most attractive of objects, but they are supposed to make you, erm, wake up NOT looking as if your face has been put through a trouser press.

Cat Daddy wasn’t convinced, so I showed him a list of the benefits.

Him: “It says here that satin pillowcases reduce the friction between the hair fibre and the pillowcase.”

Me: “I know.”

Him: “And it’s hypoallergenic, breathable, and less absorbent.”

Me: “I know.”

Him: “OH MY GOD.”

Me: “What?”

Him: “You didn’t buy them for yourself at all, did you? You bought them for HIM.”

He’s wrong on this one; the thought of Louis Catorze sharing a pillow with me really isn’t pleasant. But, to be fair, buying special pillowcases for their cat is the kind of thing that most cat freaks probably would do. In fact, I didn’t buy the 100% silk ones because they were ruinously expensive and had complicated care instructions, but I bet some of you would. YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE.

At the same time as buying the pillowcases, I also bought (from a different place, obviously) a cheap, scratchy tutu skirt to wear to a fancy dress party later this month. Which of the two do you think is Catorze’s new favourite sleeping spot? Go on, I bet you’ll never guess …

Le Roi loves to feel pretty. We don’t judge him.
Guess it’s his tutu now.

La grasse matinée annulée

What does freedom mean to you?

Anything but this:

Cat Daddy and I were lying in bed one morning, catching up on Match of the Day. Suddenly, he put down his cup of tea and said, “Nooooo!”

Me: “What’s wrong?”

Him: “Didn’t you hear it?”

Me: “What?”

Him: “The pitter-patter.”

Louis Catorze then jumped onto the bed and started screaming.

Me: “He’ll settle down soon enough.”

He didn’t. He walked up his papa’s body, bug-eyed and psychotic, headbutting Cat Daddy’s hands.

Me: “Just ignore him. He’ll soon settle down.”

Him: “That’s easy for you to say; you’re not the one getting the headbutts. Or the face. Oh God, the face.”

Me: “I’m telling you, he’ll get bored eventually.”

He didn’t.

Cat Daddy then decided that he couldn’t bear it any longer. “I can’t believe this. I’m being bullied out of my own bed!” he huffed, as he flung back the duvet, climbed out of bed and left the room.

Catorze didn’t quite achieve his aim of casting ME out of the bed so that he could have his papa all to himself, but he was still very happy to have warm space made available to him. So he settled in Cat Daddy’s spot, purring, rolling and thoroughly pleased with his efforts.

I’ve said this before and I shall say it again: we are pathetic for letting these felines treat us like dirt. And we’re doubly pathetic for knowing that it’s happening, yet doing nothing to stop it.


Le monde des chats

The thing about Catorzian misdemeanours, other than the fact that they exist, is that there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to document all the stupid things that Louis Catorze does. Sometimes I am forced to post incidents that happened ages ago, under the non-committal, vague banner of “the other day” because, at the time that said incidents actually took place, Le Blog was already full of OTHER Catorzian misdemeanours.

The only solution would have been to post multiple times a day and, really, nobody wants or deserves that.

I recently briefly toyed with the idea of a Throwback Thursday-type feature, then realised that this would make the problem worse. The WordPress Daily Prompt feature has complicated the situation even further, by digging into the recesses of my mind for Catorzian misdemeanours that my brain had carefully chosen to lock away from my consciousness, as an act of self-preservation.

Luckily, Katzenworld has come to my aid and the lovely Marc has allowed me to start writing there. If you like cats and enjoy reading actual useful information about them, as opposed to the nonsense that I churn out, most likely you will know about Katzenworld anyway. But, if not, it’s well worth a look. They also have a shop, which is where I bought Catorze’s très fancy tilted bowl.

I know that it’s not a very responsible or positive life lesson: “If you produce rubbish faster than you can dispose of it, just pass the excess onto someone else”. But then – to keep the same waste disposal analogy – this rapidly-filling Catorzian bin bag was a ticking time bomb. Goodness knows what would have happened had it overfilled and burst.

Please click here for my contemplation of Catorze’s immortality, here for a more sombre reflection of the horror that is vet visits, and here for a general whinge about cats’ food bullshittery and our absurd enabling of it.

If Stephen King had a cat …

Toute chose a une fin, sauf le saucisson qui en a deux

Every now and again, Catorze does something to demonstrate that he can behave himself for a short while. That black mass on the left, on the sofa, is him napping in the living room. And that plate on top of the blue blanket contains sausages which are defrosting in the sun.

Now, with most normal cats, it simply wouldn’t be possible to leave the cat and the sausages in such close proximity. However, this is not the case here at Le Château. Not only can we trust Catorze to leave the sausages alone but, in the event of flies attempting to land on them, we can trust him to catch the flies AND to alert us to their presence with his bird-chatter noise. (Yes, he does the bird-chatter at FLIES. Yes, we know it’s weird.)

No doubt he will be back to his usual self (hunting, screaming, generally being a shite) by the time I finish writing this. So, please, just humour me on this one and allow me these precious few moments of believing that my boy is a good boy.

Guardian of the sausages.

Le masque de l’araignée

One night, at around 3am, I went to the kitchen for a drink of water. I often do this in complete darkness but, for reasons that I cannot fathom, on this occasion I switched on the light. And what a good thing I did, too, because I saw a spider cascading down on its string from the light switch.

Naturellement I had nothing in which to trap the spider, and I didn’t dare leave the room to find a suitable receptacle in case the spider vanished. So I had to tip my herbal sleeping pills out of their jar, then cup the empty jar over him (not an easy task as he was unusually bouncy). Once done, I shuffled the jar millimetre by millimetre downwards, with the last bit done VERY nervously indeed in case the spider came springing out in that brief moment at the bottom between the jar leaving the wall and hitting the floor.

Louis Catorze was nowhere to be seen, presumed out bothering the foxes. What’s the point of living with an adept bug-hunter if the little sod disappears when he’s needed? Merde.

I didn’t want to keep the upended spidery jar in the bedroom all night because the idea gave me the creeps, so I shuffled it along the floor and into the guest room, taking care to avoid the cracks between the floorboards in case it dropped between them. Once there, I knew it would be safe until Cat Daddy disposed of it later.

After fetching my water and going back to bed, any idea of getting to sleep again was well and truly shot. I drifted in and out of a weird, wakeful doze, dreaming of spiders who were running amok beneath the floorboards, then awoke to discover that the scrabbling sound I could hear was real, and that it was Catorze, in a box of Cat Daddy’s cycling gear under the bed.

The little sod had not, as I had imagined, been out in the Zone Libre. He, who is able to spot spiders across a dark room and run to eat them straight off a far wall, had been here the entire time, listening to me rummaging and stressing yet doing nothing to help me.

I then had to get out of bed AGAIN to check that I’d shut the guest room door properly because, now that I knew Catorze was at large, I didn’t trust him not to kick over the spidery jar. Catorze, not caring one hoot that he had failed in his duty, settled across my stomach like a living, furry belt, and went to sleep for the whole of the four minutes before my alarm went off and I had to get up for work.

I don’t know how we live with these hideous little critters. And spiders aren’t much fun, either.

Bastard cat.

Êtes-vous contents de ne pas avoir allumé la lumière?

Write about a time when you didn’t take action but wish you had. What would you do differently?

Cat Daddy and I have started having guitar lessons, and we are utterly useless; after just one lesson our backs hurt, our fingers were bloodied, and we can’t imagine how we will possibly learn any actual songs when it takes us four minutes to play just one chord. But our teacher has a cat – a massive, fluffy ginge called Steve – and he makes it all better.

At the end of our first lesson, after cuddles with Steve, Cat Daddy and I left the teacher’s house. As we passed through the hallway I noticed that there was an odd smell, but I did the typical British thing of saying nothing. (Well, what does one say: “Your hallway stinks”? Most Brits would be so affronted by this that they would be forced to take drastic action, such as leaving you off their Christmas card list or – GASP – not offering you the good tea the next time they hosted you.)

As we left, the teacher sniffed and said, “Oh dear, I think Steve might have peed here.” He switched on the hallway light … and that was when we discovered that it wasn’t cat pee, but cat merde. And all three of us had walked through it.

Picture posed by lookalike Fergus, to protect the identity and dignity of the real culprit, Steve.

Oh. Mon. Dieu.

Cat Daddy and I checked our shoes. The left ones were fine, but the right ones had been well and truly merded. The poor teacher was mortified.

Somehow we managed to wash off the excess merde in a huge puddle in the road. Then Cat Daddy drove us home, one-footed (I have no idea how this is even possible in a manual car), whilst I sat in the passenger seat, shaking and sweating, with my right knee pulled up to my chest to avoid placing the merdique shoe on the floor. Even though I was holding my knee up with my arms, my leg was BURNING by the time we arrived home. I’ve been meaning to ramp up the leg-strengthening exercises for some time now, although in a general wellbeing kind of way; not once did I imagine I would need them to help keep my leg elevated during merde incidents.

After hopping indoors, we placed the offending shoes outside at The Back, ready to be catapulted into space and nuked hosed down the next morning. I also washed my trousers because I couldn’t be sure that the hems hadn’t also trailed through the merde. It didn’t LOOK as if they had, however Louis Catorze then began prowling and sniffing around us in a suspicious manner, making me worry that there might be microscopic merde invisible to our pathetic human eyes and noses. We are powerless against the horrors of invisible, insidious, microscopic merde and I fear that, if I think too hard about it, I might die.

I needed two double vodkas to calm my nerves. And Cat Daddy was so traumatised that it put him off drink for a whole twenty-four hours. The only good thing about this was the fact that, had the teacher not mentioned the smell, we would have unknowingly trodden merdique shoes into the car and into Le Château. At least we escaped that.

What would I do differently? I dunno: mention the smell (and risk being excommunicated)? Turn the light on? Not trust cats, no matter how cute? Have three double vodkas instead of two? They’re all contenders for the list, aren’t they?

“You wanna watch your step, salope.”

La couronne triomphale

The king’s coronation takes place today and, if you actually give a shite, you’ll know about this already. If, like us, you don’t, you’ll probably still know about it because the whole world has been hearing about little else for the last few weeks.

That said, it wasn’t us who carried out this act of vandalism (mainly because we didn’t think of it).

Cat Daddy and I will mostly be hiding away and pretending it’s not happening. However, we couldn’t possibly let the weekend pass without this:

Victorious, happy and glorious.

Yes, this is actual bunting that we have put up on our actual house; no Photoshoppery here. We live in quite a pro-monarchy street, but what’s the worst that could happen? Apart from, erm, a Molotov cocktail through the window?

If you happen to be one of the throng gathering in Central London today, good luck; you’ll need it, because it’s going to be tipping down with rain all day. We will be holed up here at Le Château, drinking Screaming Roi cocktails, eating French cheese and worshipping the one true king.

“It’s all about MOI.”

Le rendez-vous d’affaires

Now that Louis Catorze is officially a teenager, he is doing what teenagers do and spending most of his time out. I barely see him these days; although he’s beside me when I wake up, as soon as he’s had his breakfast he’s off out again.

Nobody knows where he goes or what he does … or, at least, we didn’t know until Mamma Next Door sent me this photo:

Discussing the security implications of a protracted conflict in Sudan?

Catorze appears to be deeply involved in ICB* with Blue the Smoke Bengal. Relations between them have been, erm, somewhat mixed until now – and, naturellement, this was entirely Catorze’s fault for being a miserable sod – so I am delighted to see them getting along.

*Important Cat Business

I wish I knew what they were talking about. I like to think Catorze was giving Blue some fox-avoidance tips as poor Blue has been the victim of foxy bullying in the past, whereas foxes either ignore Catorze (not a worthwhile snack) or run away from him (no idea what he is).

However, it’s quite possible that Blue was the one passing on advice to Catorze. And, since Blue is a highly prolific hunter with some impressive kills on his rap sheet, this could have disastrous consequences …

La machine à remonter le temps

What topics do you like to discuss?

Feline bad behaviour is what I do. Jackson Galaxy (who, despite the elaborate name, is actually a cat behaviour expert and not a cult leader) would be able to make several feature-length films from the material that Louis Catorze generates.

One of my favourite blogs, the brilliant Bad Cat Chris, has a Throwback Thursday feature, which refers to the past feline adventures/transgressions of Chris and his siblings. I am considering something similar on Le Blog.

This idea is not because I lack Catorzian content – far from it – but to show his newer followers that I have been putting up with Catorze’s evil for years. But I hesitate for a couple of very valid reasons.

Firstly, I already struggle to fit in the little sod’s ongoing misdeeds, and this situation isn’t about to improve unless they invent a 943-day week (not likely) or Catorze starts to calm the heck down and act his age (even less likely). The WordPress daily prompts certainly don’t help, as they manage to turn things into blog posts that I didn’t even think were things. Adding more content to an already-bursting-at-the-seams schedule is going to make the backlog even worse.

Also, in a sort of creepy, invocative kind of way, is referring back to past felonies simply going to manifest more? This really isn’t what I want. In fact, it’s absolutely the last thing I want. Do I risk it, simply because I want to convince internet strangers of my suffering at the paws of this mini-brute? I need to think very hard before I do this.

If we snitch on him, he’s ready to do his worst.

Meanwhile, if you fancy having a chuckle at the antics of Chris and the gang, here is a classic tale with a genius title.

13 est le nombre magique

Thank you, Mum, for this card.

Thank you for all your birthday wishes for Louis Catorze. We could not have asked for more to celebrate the auspicious occasion of his thirteen years. Cards, gifts, visitors, jambon de Bayonne, Crémant and cherry gin cocktails (now named Screaming Roi, thanks to the landslide result of a vote among my cat freak friends), the traditional French feast of, erm, lasagne, an altercation with a parakeet, Kurt Zouma limping off the pitch with an injury (yes, we are STILL going on about that) … Catorze’s birthday weekend had it all.

Surveying his kingdom from his favourite spot.

At the start of the day we were worried about him because he appeared to have lost his voice, with only a weak, breathy squeak struggling from his mouth. Although we knew there was nothing wrong with him, and that he’d probably just overdone the screaming the day before, an almost-silent Roi is an eerie thing indeed. But, by this time his weekend visitor arrived, he had very much found his scream again and “normal” Catorzian service had resumed. And it hasn’t stopped since.

As Catorze is now at the upper end of the “Senior” age spectrum, I do worry a little more about what we may face as he grows older; I don’t have much experience with older cats and feel out of my depth. But he’s pretty good at letting us know what he wants, even if we are too dense to figure it out immediately.

Thank you for all the joy you bring, little sod. May thirteen be a very lucky number for you, although it doesn’t look as if this online source agrees:

“The number 13 has always been an ‘unlucky’ number. The number 13 is the number that represents Satan, evil, wickedness, devils, and everything vile that is connected to them.”

Antigone Books
“Hark! I smell beaucoup de mischief to be had!“

Une chanson pour fêter les 13 ans d’un chat dévisageant

Happy lucky thirteen, little sod. (Thank you, Lizzi, for this lovely card!)
You could never know what I’m like
I might look cute but I’m the Antichrist
And I’ve a loud and piercing scream that sounds like hell
You’ll wind up bleeding from your ears and from your brain as well

And do you really think you’ll ever win
Well, look at me, chasing after men again
I give you lots of grief and you live in fear
And though you need to know why I’m still staring, you have no idea

You know I'm still staring harder than I ever did
Looking like a spooky panther, being just a little weird
And I'm still staring after all this time
Gonna wait till 3am then do some parkour up your spine

I’m still staring, ouais, ouais, ouais
I’m still staring, ouais, ouais, ouais

Once you hoped to have a peaceful life
But now my creepy staring cuts you like a knife
I love to stuff things up and make a scene
And if my life was just a movie it’d be Halloween

You know I’m still staring harder than I ever did
Looking like a chupacabra, scaring you a little bit
And I’m still staring after all this time
Trying hard to decimate your life and make you lose your mind

I’m still staring, ouais, ouais, ouais
I’m still staring, ouais, ouais, ouais

[Instrumental break - please allow your cats to go psycho during this time and burn off some of that energy]

Don’t you know I’m still staring harder than I ever did
Looking like a goofy vampire, being such a little shit
And I’m still staring after all this time
Better find a darkened room and sit and cry and drink some wine

I’m still staring, ouais, ouais, ouais
I’m still staring, ouais, ouais, ouais

[Repeat until Louis Catorze stops creepy-staring or the world comes to an end, whichever happens first.]
Still staring.

Ça, c’est bien les chats

Merde, merde and thrice merde: it seems as if the mischievous fae folk of Beltane have already started working their naughty magic on Louis Catorze. Or maybe he is the one who controls them? That seems much more likely, doesn’t it?

I have just caught the horrid little sod nuzzling my signed – SIGNED – copy of CJ Tudor’s The Drift. It’s almost as if he did this on purpose to avenge his defiled silverware, although it would be very unfair indeed because Cat Daddy is the silverware-defiler, whereas this book belongs to ME, the innocent party in all this.

The edge of the book jacket is now scuffed, and there’s a fang mark on it. And it’s clear how firmly Catorze committed to his mission; the way the fur is all splayed out on his cheek shows that he was really, really going for it:

For goodness’ sake.

Now, before the extreme cat freaks among you – YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE – suggest that the Catorzian stamp will somehow add value or improve the book, come on; this is hardly in the same realm as Banksy shredding Balloon Girl.

The author describes herself on Instagram as a dog lover, and I am starting to think she might have the right idea. Cats are trouble … and black ones with book-ruining fangs, especially so.

Lent et régulier gagne la course

Cat Daddy and I are back from his sister’s birthday extravaganza. During our absence, our chat-sitteurs sent us this photo of Louis Catorze cavorting around on their bed. Yes, they were in the bed at the time. No, Catorze didn’t care:

Utterly shameless.

In other news, it’s that time again: the snail harvest is just beginning and Catorze is proving once again that, whilst you can take Le Roi out of France, you can’t take France out of Le Roi.

I recently found this little blighter crawling up our kitchen sofa:

Oh my.

The only way it could have come in is via Catorze’s fur. Either he is brushing against snail-studded undergrowth and dislodging them, or perhaps he can’t help but oblige when the snail bids him a jaunty bonjour and asks for a lift indoors.

With Catorze spending progressively more time outdoors as the weather brightens, no doubt there will be further extra guests sneaking in. At least I was able to catch this one before it ran amok – and, yes, we must be the only household who has to worry about catching the slowest animal in the world before it runs amok.