Les escargots

Some cats catch birds, others catch mice and a few catch rats. Louis Catorze has managed all of the above, and more, but his latest thing is to bring teeny-tiny snails into Le Château.

Cat Daddy is quite embarrassed by it and feels that there is more prestige in rodents, with the manliness of the cat being directly proportional to the size of the rodent caught. “Snails are just a joke!” he declared. “Only he could be so slow that a SNAIL is capable of catching up with him and hitching a ride on his fur. I hope you chucked them out in the park at the front. If you chuck them out in the garden, they’ll eat all the kale.”

Oh. Oops. Luckily I remembered where I’d put them and was able to retrieve them because, being snails, they hadn’t got very far.

Here are two of our boy’s gifts, brought one after the other on the same night, pictured with a 20p coin to get a true sense of their teeny-tininess. It seems you can take Le Chat out of France, but you can’t take France out of Le Chat.

Le vilain petit canard

I didn’t want to say this until I was sure I wasn’t imagining it, but … Louis Catorze has been doing the bird-chatter noise at his tail. I must admit that, from some angles, the shaved bits make it look like the head of a duckling or a baby emu, but surely nobody is THAT daft?

And he has discovered that, if he curls up into a ball, he can reach the tip of his tail to bite it. So the soft Cône, being wider than the plastic one, is back.

Because the little sod managed to wriggle out of it the last time, we have had to become very inventive with our knotting and create something at the more severe end of the knot spectrum. I experimented with the few knots that I could recall from my Girl Guides days until my mum tutted impatiently, snatched Le Cône from my hands and whipped up a hangman’s noose-style Knot of Death that, frankly, terrified me. Had we known about this knot as kids, we would never have played up.

Obviously the danger of Catorze strangling himself is very much on our minds so not only is he under house arrest, but he is also under room arrest and under round-the-clock accidental-suicide watch. Like a dangerous inmate in a maximum security penitentiary, he goes nowhere unaccompanied.

The good thing is that he is much happier with the soft Cône. He would be happier still with no Cône at all but, alas, it’s never going to happen: he has proven, time and time again, that he cannot be trusted during Cône-free breaks, however short. So, although it might not seem that way, it’s easier and kinder to give him the drastic death-knot around the neck and assign him a 24-hour guard.

And, between us, Cat Daddy, Houseguest Matt and I are on it.

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Je suis marrant comment? Je suis un clown?

The birds are back! And they’ve got Louis Catorze! Mon Dieu!

The terrifying thing is that I can’t see them. However, I can HEAR them having a very animated conversation indeed, with Louis Catorze meowing in between, and I swear I can pick out the voice of a psychotic feathered ringleader who is controlling the proceedings. Imagine a bird version of Joe Pesci in Goodfellas and you will know what I mean.

I actually don’t know what to do, given that I have no idea where they are. Le Château backs onto a school and I expect the war council is taking place behind the fence, in the playground, but the fence is impenetrable to humans. I am powerless to help my poor boy.

Update: Catorze has just trotted in showing no signs of injury or distress, although he is covered in some sort of plant seeds which I have had to pick off one by one (a small selection of which is pictured below, along with strands of cat hair – you’re welcome). It is not known whether he rolled in them, or whether he was pelted with them by la mafia aviaire.

This is not going to go away, is it?

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Tel est pris qui croyait prendre

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Meteorological hot snaps and convalescence: not a good combination. However, one very flimsy silver lining is that Cat Daddy and I like to sit outside in the evenings and gaze up at the sunset through the telegraph wires at the back of Le Château, with Louis Catorze pitter-pattering about our feet. We used to find the wires a bit of an eyesore but now, somehow, we have fallen in love with their retro charm, and we adore watching the clouds glide and the colours melt hypnotically through their stark lines.

Not so yesterday. One moment they looked just as they do in this photo, and the next – no more than a second or two later – they were filled with starling-type birds, all eyeing us disdainfully. The whole flock had suddenly risen like a cloud of black vapour from behind the fence and alighted on the wires, then, as quickly as they had appeared and before either of us could reach for our phones, they vanished.

I have always found birds creepy, long before seeing THAT Hitchcock film – something about the combination of fluffy bodies and scaly, dinosaur feet makes me feel funny – but this was just too much. And Cat Daddy didn’t help when he remarked that these particular birds looked exactly like the one that Louis Catorze killed recently.

Saint Jésus: we are being hunted. The birds want to avenge the death of their fallen comrade, and they know where we live.

Louis Catorze also observed the feathered army’s sinister vigil and didn’t appear to be in the slightest bit intimidated – but I was. Under normal circumstances I would lay down my life to protect my boy but, faced with the prospect of a 100-strong throng of terrifying, vengeful birds, cowardice has prevailed and I’m more inclined to fling Le Roi in their direction and beg them to take him instead of me. (Well, he is to blame for this, after all.)

What should we do if they come back? What if this encounter was just the beginning of a campaign of terror and intimidation? If Louis Catorze, Cat Daddy and/or I are ever found dead in mysterious circumstances, possibly face-down in a pile of feathers and covered in what look like puncture marks, please show the police this blog entry and tell them that the starlings did it.

L’oiseau

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Yesterday I was having a bit of an off day, mainly due to frustration that my recovery is so slow. Cat Daddy had sent me a text to cheer me up, which read, “You just have to be patient. You have a lovely house in which to recover, summer weather, TV and wifi, a huge bed in which to stretch out and, of course, the most amazing cat in the world.” (I pretended not to notice that that last bit was sarcastic.)

Then it happened: my beautiful little bubble of convalescence was cruelly broken by the sight of Louis Catorze walking casually past me with a dead bird in his mouth. And, before I could stop him, he had trotted under the coffee table and dumped the bird on top of Cat Daddy’s apocalyptically-expensive new wireless headphones. Oh. Mon. Dieu.

Getting a 3.2kg cat to leave a place that he really doesn’t want to leave, when you are not meant to be lifting weights of more than 2kg, is much more of a challenge than one might imagine. But, after a brief skirmish, I managed to separate Sa Majesté from his loot, kick his arse out of the room, ignore his unearthly screams to be let back in again (see photo) and call Cat Daddy to dispose of poor birdy. He was surprisingly good about it, with “That’s what cats do” falling from his lips not just once but several times. Before I could say “Sennheiser Momentum”, the headphones were disinfected and back on his head as he relaxed on the patio with Louis Catorze on his lap.

It later transpired that Cat Daddy had mentally claimed the bird as a gift to him, given that it was left on his headphones, and was actually secretly pleased that his boy had been so thoughtful.

I, however, am starting to see that being the second favourite human has its benefits.

J’adore la pluie

Anyone looking out of the window today would know immediately from the weather that it’s a bank holiday Monday: grey skies, torrential rain and general misery. Most people with any sense will have stayed at home and kept dry. Louis Catorze, on the other hand, is outdoors.

No, we haven’t shut him out, nor is he lost or disorientated and unable to find his way back. The cat flap is accessible, the back door is ajar and there’s nothing in the house which is scaring him away except, perhaps, for me. He has chosen, of his own free will, to sit in the flower bed, blink at the raindrops like a lunatic and get soaked. (No photo available because that would, of course, involve going out there myself, and I’m not going to do that.)

Although I’ve very much accepted that my cat isn’t normal, this behaviour really takes the gâteau. I can see the appeal of freshly-washed laundry, perhaps even cardboard boxes, but getting cold and wet when you don’t have to? WHY? Someone suggested that perhaps the rain was soothing on his sore skin, which is fair enough, but then why not stay out for just long enough to be sufficiently soothed and then come in? Why wait until you’re utterly drenched, come in shouting indignantly about it (even though it was your choice) and then rub your disgusting, wet body and muddy paws all over our bed?

News just in: he’s now run indoors, looked back outside through the glass doors and done the bird-chatter noise at the rain. There isn’t a single bird in sight (probably because even they have the sense to stay out of the rain). This is BEYOND weird.

I guess a normal cat wouldn’t give me nearly as many blogworthy moments. But then, are any of them normal?