La vengeance de l’écureuil

Merde, merde and thrice merde: it really is kicking off at Le Château right now.

Earlier this week, Cat Daddy found this object (below, with a 5p coin for scale) whilst sweeping up the leaves at The Front. He thought it was a piece of faux fur from someone’s coat, but a few enquiries among my cat freak friends seem to suggest that it’s … a squirrel’s tail.

It’s all going a bit Godfather here in TW8.

Now, although squirrels can apparently lose their tails during combat, I highly doubt that Louis Catorze could ever be fast enough to catch one. But what a coincidence that we found the tail 24 hours after we glimpsed him howling, growling and swishing his puffy tail at an unknown adversary at The Front.

And, on the day of our grim discovery, we noticed that his left eye was looking sore and scratched. Our theories are as follows:

1. He is allergic to the merino wool scarf that I made recently (unlikely as I finished it and gave it to the recipient three weeks ago, plus Catorze was barely even in the HOUSE when I was knitting it, let alone in the room)

2. He has come into contact with some noxious matter outside which has irritated him (highly likely for the reason given above, i .e. he is constantly outdoors)

3. Cat Daddy’s theory: a squirrel took offence at having its tail lopped off by Catorze and punched him in the face (also highly likely, not to mention shameful on many levels)

I gave Sa Maj a steroid pill (left over from his course in the spring) the day we discovered the problem, just in case it was option 1 or option 2, and it seems to be preventing things from deteriorating. I would never normally advocate giving medication without consulting the vet first, of course, but the soonest available appointment is on Monday morning and I know from bitter experience how Catorze’s condition can turn from concerning to utterly catastrophic in an instant. Trust me, had you seen the worst photos from February and March (unpublished on here and unseen by all but a strong-stomached few), you would want to pill him too.

Worse yet, this afternoon I am heading over to the south coast for my annual Halloweekend celebration with my sister, so I won’t be around if things turn bad. I am aghast at Catorze’s timing yet, at the same time, he has previous in this department so it wouldn’t surprise me if he had planned it all just to spite me and to get extra love from Cat Daddy during their lads’ weekend together.

Please keep your fingers crossed that we won’t have to deploy Le dreaded Cône. Not now. Not in the run-up to Full Moon Hallowe’en.

L’armée rousse

Saint Jésus et tous ses apôtres: Cat Daddy has seen three foxes run away from Louis Catorze at The Back.

Je répète: three foxes, each weighing (I imagine) around 7-10kg, have RUN AWAY from our 3kg cat.

The strange thing is that he didn’t even scream or hiss to send them packing; all he did was stick his head through the gap in the fence that separates the Zone Occupé from the Zone Libre. That said, his diminutive stature and vampire fangs mean that he isn’t immediately identifiable as a cat, so perhaps they saw him as some cryptozoological freak of nature and thought it best to steer clear. And, to be fair, it’s not the first time anyone has looked at him and had those thoughts.

Cat Daddy found a big hole dug in our garden not long ago, so clearly the foxes had been gadding about back here again (unless, of course, a bunch of them cornered Catorze and forced him to dig his own grave), which is not what we want. I would be very happy if these three reported back to their foxy friends that a peculiar beast is at large in the Zone Occupé, and that they must avoid the area at all costs.

However, I wouldn’t want Sa Maj to become over-confident and to go sashaying over there thinking there were only three of them, when in fact there are at least eight.

This is a situation which will require ongoing monitoring. But Cat Daddy and I are ready.

“You and whose armée?”

Le décor de la saison

Now that October is well under way, I can officially start filling Le Château with Hallowe’en paraphernalia without looking like a complete freak.

Cat Daddy: “[Unrepeatable expletives]”

I have just discovered a website of fabulous seasonal decorations, and I am having to sit on my hands to stop myself from ordering because I can see it escalating dangerously. The merchandise itself is quite pricey, and the fact that it’s an American site means that the postage will also be ruinously expensive, so, rather like smoking or doing drugs, it’s probably better not to start at all than to start and then try – and fail – to moderate.

If you like Hallowe’en decorations and you have more self-restraint than I do, have a look here: https://www.grandinroad.com/halloween-haven/#1

My friend Lizzi has been shopping a little closer to home – TK Maxx, to be precise – and here is one of her purchases from earlier this year, in preparation for the spooky season:

Reminds me of someone …

I know. I didn’t know what to say, either.

Whoever designed this object has clearly either met Louis Catorze or been astral-visited by him during a nightmare, because this is exactly what he looks like when he screams. I guess at least Lizzi won’t require any kind of protective amulet to ward off demons on full moon Hallowe’en night. Because not even Satan himself would set hoof on a property containing this monstrosity.

Lizzi’s cat Boots also doesn’t know quite what to make of his mamma’s purchase. Just look at his “… the hell is THIS?” expression:

“Put down the debit card and step away from the shop.”

What do your cats think of your seasonal decorations? I know that the answer is likely to be either “Couldn’t give a hoot” or “Ripped them to shreds” but I’d love to hear anyway.

Vents, soufflez à crever vos joues!

Anyone who thought Louis Catorze was a complete maniac anyway should see what he’s like when there are high winds. And when I say “should”, what I mean is “really shouldn’t”.

He can be an absolute hell-beast on a windy night, bouncing all over the bed, screaming, whining and thundering around the house. However, on Thursday night, when it also happened to be the first full moon of October AND a raging storm, he decided to thunder around the house WITHOUT A SINGLE UTTERANCE.

Now, this may seem preferable to the screaming, but at least with the screaming I know that it’s him. Voiceless stomping can sound just like a burglar, a poltergeist or some other horror that my mind decides to visualise during fitful half-sleep, and it’s quite an alarming sound to hear over and over again.

I lost count of the number of times the little sod woke me up that night but I estimate it to be around ten to twelve. And, when my alarm went off in the morning, I discovered that he had rolled his wet body all over the clean clothes that I had put out for work. To add insult to injury (and we’re talking considerable injury here, as I regard a sleepless night as akin to being stabbed in the guts), when I came down for my morning cup of tea he crawled into his El Día de los Muertos cold-weather igloo and went to sleep.

Cat Daddy: “He probably brought in a mouse.”

Me: “He didn’t.”

Him: “Maybe we just haven’t found it yet.”

[Silence, tumbleweed, crickets]

Here is Le Roi, most likely telling me that he’s just getting started:

“Shhhhhh. Just sleep. Sweet dreams, salope.”

La lune du chasseur

There’s a full moon tonight. And, mon Dieu, do we know it: Louis Catorze’s screaming has been building up for days and has now reached what we really, really hope is its peak. Although, knowing him, now that I’ve said that, he will probably dig deep and find more from somewhere.

During the day Sa Maj screams for any number of the following reasons:

⁃ Wanting to be let in from The Front (after Cat Daddy kicks him out for a few minutes’ respite)

⁃ Excitement at having Cat Daddy all to himself

⁃ Excitement when visitors come (especially men), leading Cat Daddy to recite his usual spiel of “No, he’s not distressed, that’s just his normal voice …”

⁃ Disapproval of the cleaning lady’s methods

⁃ Disapproval if it’s been more than 0.3 seconds since Cat Daddy last stroked him

⁃ Liking the sound of his own voice

⁃ Just for fun

⁃ Whatever

It would be reasonable to assume that his day-long screamathons wear him out, allowing us a more restful evening and night. Nope: the little sod follows Cat Daddy around, screaming, right through to late afternoon/early evening when I come from work. He then goes out for Night Patrol at both The Back and at The Front – with creepily accurate timekeeping still in operation, bien sûr – and wakes us up at least twice during the night with more screaming/whining/bouncing around.

Cat Daddy: “This is what it’s like ALL BLOODY DAY when you’re at work. It’s starting to feel like bullying.”

As I have said many times before, at his age he should be slowing down. But he isn’t. We have no idea from where he is getting this energy, but my guess is that he’s drawing from either the moon, The Mothership* (although some have theorised that the moon and The Mothership are one and the same thing), or – most likely of all – Lucifer himself.

We cannot cope. Please send help.

*The Mothership is the invisible alien vessel that controls all cats by beaming instructions to them via their chips. We cannot see her, but we know she is there.

Message received and understood: when you give le signal, we will attack.”

Le Roi me casse les oreilles

Cat Daddy and I have just come back from a weekend on the south coast, leaving Louis Catorze in the hands of Oscar the dog’s family. Whenever they take over Roi duties, we always return to find him glossier and more healthy-looking than he was when we left him, so clearly life under their care suits him. (And, yes, we have checked that it’s definitely him.)

In other news, Merci à Dieu et à tous ses anges (or perhaps, as we are leading up to Hallowe’en, it would be more appropriate to say “Merci au Diable et à tous ses démons”): Catorze’s ear fur is growing back.

Nobody knows why it’s coming back. In fact, nobody knows why it went away in the first place. BUT IT’S COMING BACK.

Obviously we would love Catorze whatever his physical appearance (Cat Daddy: “[Indiscernible muttering]”) but we couldn’t be happier that he looks set to be back to his beautiful velvety self (Cat Daddy: “[More indiscernible muttering]”) in time for his big day on 31st October.

Here is a photographic record of his, erm, earvolution (you’re welcome) since the summer:

22nd June: ugly piggy ears.
13th July: a slight improvement.
26th August: much better.
21st September: as normal as he’s ever going to be.

Il y a des chiens qui ont vraiment de la chance

Borrow My Doggy, if you aren’t familiar with it, is exactly as it sounds: people who don’t have dogs walk the dogs of people who have them but aren’t able to do it. A couple of our family members, who like dogs but don’t have their own at the moment, use the service to walk a cute little sausage dog named, erm, Rod Stewart. (And he only responds to his full name; none of this “abbreviating to save face” business.)

As is often the case when dog innovations come along, Cat Daddy and I got talking about whether or not this idea would work for cats.

Cat Daddy: “Is it even possible to borrow someone’s cat?”

Me: “Not really. Cats don’t do fun days out with strangers.”

Him: “So if a catless person wanted to spend time with a cat, what would they do?”

Me: “I don’t know. If they knew where it lived, I guess they’d just go to its house?”

Him: “So the owner would have to host random people who wanted to visit their cat? That’s just stupid. Who would do that?”

[Silence, tumbleweed, crickets]

Anyway, Borrow My Doggy appears to be a win-win for all. But what would happen if relations with your partner-dog were less than harmonious?

I imagine if there were an actual incident, you could just say to the owner, “I’m afraid your dog bit a small child / pulled so hard on the lead that he dislocated my shoulder / barked at an old lady and sent her into cardiac arrest” (or whatever it was) and the owner would take him back and say, “Oh dear, I’m sorry about that. No hard feelings. I hope the next dog works out better.” But what if you just DIDN’T LIKE THE DOG? Breaking up with an animal seems pretty low, and ignoring it and not returning its calls is even lower. And as for continuing to spend time with it because you’re too cowardly to do the honest thing and find a better animal … well …

Cat Daddy: “You get used to it. Trust me on this.”

Here is Rod Stewart (below) having a little rest after the excitement of a long walk with his chien-sitteurs. And Louis Catorze is available here for anyone who wishes to start a Borrow My Kitty group. I’ll take a seat in case I’m in for a long wait.

Do ya think he’s sexy?

Le fief du Roi

Cat Daddy just called the patio “the catio” by accident. He claims that he yawned in the middle of saying the word, which caused it to come out the way it did. Whatever.

The thing is, I don’t think he knows what a catio is or is even aware that it’s an actual thing. (For others like him: a catio is a kind of wire mesh outdoor conservatory attached to one’s house, so that cats think they’re outside but remain secured and out of mischief.) My belief is that, rather than having this particular structure in mind, Cat Daddy’s subconscious intention was to rename our outside space as something that belongs, and has always belonged, to Louis Catorze.

I think his version is better.

Here is Catorze, relaxing in/on his catio, and he certainly looks as if he owns the place:

He loves his space almost as much as he loves himself.

Les araignées de la nuit

*WARNING: CONTAINS POTENTIALLY TRIGGERING SPIDER REFERENCES AND A (PRETTY RUBBISH) DRAWING OF ONE*

The autumn equinox is here, and this time of year always fills me with deep, deep joy. The one thing I don’t like about it, however, is the fact that it’s spider season.

I know, I know, they help us out by catching flies. But still … *shudder* …

Despite living opposite a park, we don’t seem to have encountered too many of the little critters as yet. I can’t help hoping that the summer heatwave dried them all to a crisp but, in reality, it’s probably because it’s uncharacteristically warm. So they must still think it’s summer and just haven’t thought to creep into our houses as yet.

Although I spent much of my childhood and early adulthood with crippling arachnophobia, these days I don’t mind sharing my space with a spider. Given the choice, I would obviously rather not. But I can cope, as long as it’s small and it stays the hell away from me. Plus we have a cat who kills and eats creepy crawlies. So, all is good, oui?

Not quite.

Of course this is Louis Catorze we’re talking about, so there’s a little twist to the tale.

Catorze is the Happy Gilmore of spider hunters. In case you haven’t seen the film, it’s about a baseball-player-turned-golfer who can manage a hole in one from miles away, but not a short, easy putt of a few centimetres. This is the perfect analogy for Catorze and spiders. He is great at spotting faraway spiders who are just minding their own business at the other end of the room, and he will happily leap off laps to eat said beasties straight off the wall or the floor, even in the dark. But a spider that is right in front of him: nope. If I place him next to a spider he just looks straight through it, then looks gormlessly at me and pitter-patters off.

I hope that the spider population will keep a respectable distance this autumn. And, if not, I hope that I will have some success with my arachno-tutelage of Catorze. The picture below shows my ingenious scientific spider-eating training in action, and naturellement it takes into account the cat’s innate predisposition towards doing the opposite of whatever is expected or wanted:

Yes, those big spider eyes are cat biscuits.

*EDIT: I’ve just been told that Happy Gilmore played baseball, not golf. Serves me right for getting drunk during the film!

Le banquet du pêcheur

Lily’s Kitchen have renamed Fabulous Fish as Fisherman’s Feast. I know. I’ll just pause for a minute or two to let that bombshell sink in.

This is such a big deal that even Cat Daddy has an opinion on it.

Cat Daddy: “I like Fabulous Fish much better than Fisherman’s Feast.”

Me: “So do I.”

Him: “I mean, it’s not actually a fisherman’s feast at all, is it?”

Me: “It isn’t.”

Him: “No fisherman would want to eat that.”

Me: “They wouldn’t.”

According to Lily’s Kitchen the formulation remains unchanged, so Louis Catorze should be able to continue to enjoy it as normal. But we are mildly irked by the name change, especially as the dogs’ version of the same food is called Salmon Supper, which is far more accurate and dignified than Fisherman’s Feast.

Luckily Catorze remains unaffected by this life-changing news, plus we decant the food into a dispenser before it reaches him, anyway, so nobody need know. Here is the little sod’s assiette royale, on his spring-summer serving mat, waiting for him to tuck in:

“What a feast!” said no fisherman ever.