La fête de la décennie

And, in the blink of an eye, Louis Catorze’s birthday weekend was over. But what a party it was.

Cat Daddy, in a deadpan voice: “Oh yeah. It was probably the best cat birthday party I have ever been to.”

This celebration had everything: there was a birthday barbecue with Oscar the dog’s family – each of us in our own garden, of course – with a cat-themed music playlist, a Cat in the Hat recital and a speech in both English and French, all created by Oscar’s very talented human sister. Even Oscar was lured out of his post-meds sulk and joined in the proceedings, although that was more about the burgers than about extending an olive branch to his némésis.

Cat Daddy and I talked afterwards about this most likely being Catorze’s last big birthday, as it’s doubtful that he will make 20 or even 18. But, given that he doesn’t do very much or go very far, we see no reason why he wouldn’t make 14. And surely we should celebrate Catorze turning, erm, quatorze ans? Is it too early to start planning that?

Merci beaucoup to the Dog Family for their company, their impeccable party planning and their splendid gifts. Here is the little sod (below) checking out his stash and, although he loves everything, his favourite items are the handmade card and the beautifully decorated gift box.

Thank you also to Cocoa the babysit cat, his sister, Chanel, and their family for the Lily’s Kitchen treats, which came wrapped in the most sublime gift wrap ever (last photo).

“Pour moi?”
Un, deux, trois cat(s).
Le cœur de notre famille.
Cocoa Chanel.

Le jubilé de 10 ans

JOYEUX ANNIVERSIRE!

Louis Catorze is 10 years old today. And, given that we never imagined all those years ago that such a sickly scrap of a thing would live this long, this is a très big deal indeed.

As a child, pets’ birthdays were very important. Then, as an adult with no pets, I started to think people who celebrated them were a bit lame. I remember once visiting some British friends who lived in France and, on the last night of our stay, they invited a huge bunch of fellow Brits and local Frenchies for dinner. I found myself at the French end of the table and I remember thinking, “My French must be really terrible, because what I’ve managed to understand from this conversation is that our hosts had a big party for their dog’s 10th birthday last year and invited everyone in the village. That’s CLEARLY not what happened.” It later transpired, of course, that this was correct. We laughed about it at the time, but now look at us with our cat blog and our cat guest book. (Cat Daddy: “What do you mean, “our”?”)

We happened to know the actual birthdays of Nimbus and Luther, the first two cats we had as adults, which, somehow, set the precedent for pet birthday celebrations, and now it seems unfair to discriminate against pets whose birthdays are unknown. I don’t imagine Sa Maj was really born on 30th April but, as that’s the day given on his paperwork, that will do for us. And, according to folk legend, anyone born on May Eve – the night before 1st May – is meant to be a bit creepy and weird with otherworldly powers, so that works, too.

Because we are still in lockdown, Catorze’s party won’t be quite the extravaganza for which we had hoped. But, even though it’s just us, we still intend to have a marvellous time and to celebrate everything that we love about the little sod.

Cat Daddy: “I don’t suppose that’ll take long.”

Cat Daddy was bored during lockdown so, one day, a few weeks ago, he and his boy decided to try and recreate the HMV logo together, and this was the result (below). Since Catorze has failed to produce a photo good enough to be his Official 10th Birthday Portrait (no surprise there), this will do for now.

Thank you for supporting the little sod and us.

His Master’s Daemon.

Où est le jambon?

Louis Catorze’s birthday is tomorrow, and we have a bit of a Code Gris situation at Le Château: no jambon de Bayonne. And I don’t suppose the government would regard a trip to the Natoora deli in W4 to buy artisan French cured ham for my cat’s birthday as “essential journeying” (even though I do).

We did manage to order some from Ocado mid-month, but that was two weeks ago and notre cher ami will not eat jambon that has been frozen and thawed. So, although he was able to enjoy that particular jambon at that particular time, it would not have been suitable as The Birthday Jambon.

Tant pis: we have plenty of Crémant for us, and we have a playlist of around thirty songs begun by Cat Daddy and completed by Oscar the dog’s human sister. Highlights include “Dreaming of Mice”, taken from an album of relaxation songs for cats. (I’m not joking. Someone somewhere has actually decided that cats are under too much stress, and that they need to take time out of their daily grind for some meditation and mindfulness.)

Here is the little sod, visualising rays of glorious sunshine with sweet birdsong, a plentiful supply of Fabulous Fish and humans who attend to his every need. Oh no, wait … I’ve just described his ACTUAL LIFE.

If he stares for long enough, maybe the JamBonhomme will appear?

Une chanson pour fêter l’anniversaire de Sa Majesté Louis Catorze, Le Roi Soleil

Now this is a story all about how
My life got flipped, turned upside-down.
And I'd like to take a minute just to let you know.
I'll tell you how I became the Sun King of Le Château.

In north-west London was where I was found.
In fact, NW10 was my stomping ground. 
Chilling out, scratching and making some noise,
Screaming at people, chasing after boys, 
When a very kind lady, who saw I was sick,
Took me to a local rescue really quick.
I had a long, long wait but was picked one day. 
They said, "You're moving to Le Château to be Le Roi Soleil."

I screamed and I hollered at them day after day.
I was so excited when they sent me on my way.
They bade me farewell, told me I was a lucky cat, 
And, as soon as I'd gone, they said, "Well, thank God for that!"

Ooh la la, this is first class,
Drinking water out of a Bordeaux glass!
Is this what the cats in TW8 live like?
Hmmm, this might be all right!

I meowed for a chauffeur and, when he came near,
The licence plate was French and it had cats on the mirror.
If anything, I could say that this cab was slow.
But I thought, "Nah, forget it. Allons au Château!"

I pulled up to Le Château about two or three
And I said to the chauffeur, "Je vous remercie!"
I looked at my home, and what a wonderful thing
To sit on my throne as the rightful Sun King.

La vieillesse est un art

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You know when people of a certain age raise their eyebrows at anyone who was born after 1989, and wonder how on earth these babies manage to crawl about the planet on their own? Well, it’s exactly the same with cats. When people post pictures online of their cats aged 1 or 2, I think, “Where did all these YOUNG kitties come from?” And it makes me realise that Louis Catorze is no poulet de l’année.

Sa Majesté is 8 today. Even my mum thought he was only celebrating his 6th birthday. People can scarcely believe the truth because of his diminutive stature and baby face; he is a real-life, feline version of Dorian Gray (well, minus the “romancing the ladies” bit), whose youthful, kittenish looks belie his excessive past of syringes, pills and party powder. 

Bon anniversaire, little sod. We love you beyond words.

Louis Catorze doesn’t know it yet, but he will be donating his birthday treat money – including the kind gift from my mum – to Lilly’s Legacy, a voluntary rescue run by one of his favourite people in the world. If you would like to donate to them, too, you can do so here: 

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/annie-perkins

On a 7 ans!

Today is Louis Catorze’s birthday, according to his paperwork, although it’s actually the anniversary of the day that he first pitter-pattered into the rescue. The staff there probably tend to celebrate 20th July instead, which is the day that we took him off their hands and ended his reign of money-draining. (He was, and, as far as we know, still remains, their most expensive cat ever.)

At 7 years old he is now officially either Mature or Senior, depending on one’s source. Yet he is still the same tiny, kittenish little scrap of a thing that (we imagine) he was at a year old, which is quite impressive; how many humans could claim to look 1/7 of their actual age?

I had the idea of a huge neighbourhood birthday extravaganza with accordion music, Sun King bunting and party poppers that scatter Dreamies and party powder instead of shredded paper and glitter, but Cat Daddy vetoed it.

“We have had a whole house built and furnished to his specifications,” he sighed. “We have spent, and continue to spend, a fortune on anti-allergy paraphernalia. He has better food and health care than we do. So he can go whistle if he thinks he’s getting a party or presents.”

And that was that.

Don’t feel too bad for the little sod, though. He doesn’t know that it’s his birthday, for a start. And he will have a perfectly pleasant day here at Le Château with us, eating his usual ruinously expensive food imported from Canada and playing with the many lovely toys that pilgrims have kindly given him. And we will be raising a glass to him and thanking the universe for his good health. It will be no different from any other day in his life, but, trust me: this is good.

We hope you are having an equally lovely bank holiday weekend with your furry overlords, and that every day feels like their birthday.

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On a 1 an!

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Le Blog is a year old today: bon anniversaire à nous! And what better birthday gift than to reach the landmark figure of 100 followers?

Although it may look as if we snared most of them by beaming Le Roi’s sinister face to an unsuspecting theatre audience & creepily commanding them to follow him, in actual fact this picture of him was part of some local school kids’ animal welfare community project. The 100 followers are thanks to all of you lovely people for spreading the word of the Sun King.

Not only is this great news for Louis Catorze’s favourite animal charities – one of whom featured in the kids’ project – as he will double the donation that he made to them on his birthday, but it’s also great news for the little sod himself, as every new reader means he is potentially another step closer to finding a cure for his problems.

MERCI to everyone who has read, signed up or shared: it really does mean a lot to us, and having 100 followers is beyond our wildest dreams. Now, dare we hope for 200? Could there possibly be another 100 people out there who might enjoy reading about a spoilt, itchy French cat who doesn’t do much?

Bon anniversaire, Sa Majesté!

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Today is a very special day for Louis Catorze. Whilst we can’t really call it his birthday – he was found as a stray, so nobody knows when he was born – it’s certainly a landmark day that changed his life. On 30th April 2013, the lady who found him took him to the rescue centre, where he was able to receive the care that he needed, and the rest of his life began from there. 30th April is also very significant for being World Veterinary Day, so we’ve just been to drop off a small gift for our vet and a “Sorry for being such a shit” card on behalf of our ami mutuel.

When we adopted Louis Catorze, we were told that he had racked up treatment in excess of £12,000, making him the most expensive cat in their history. (Cat Daddy explodes with laughter whenever we recall this because, let’s face it, Louis Catorze looks more arse-end than high-end.) We don’t know what it was that made them persist with his care beyond £1,000, then £5,000, then £10,000 and so on, but we are very glad that they did.

To mark Catorze’s special day, he has selflessly decided to sacrifice his treat money to help less fortunate kitties* out there. But, if he can gain just 14 more new followers and make it to that magic figure of 100, he will double his donation. So please share Le Blog with fellow cat lovers – especially those with special needs cats – and convince them that they need a little bit of Sun King in their lives.

*Louis Catorze will be donating to the following organisations:

– Lilly’s Legacy, which is run singlehandedly by a wonderful lady who spends a lot of her own money and resources rescuing stray kitties; their PayPal account name is lillyslegacy@hotmail.com
– Project PI, set up by a South African vet to raise funds for the treatment of cats with immune disorders; their PayPal account name is admin@easternvet.co.za
– The Mayhew Animal Home, who saved the little sod’s life; you can donate to them at https://themayhew.org/donate/make-a-one-off-donation/

J’adore l’extérieur

 Is it possible for someone to be placed under house arrest even if they were never allowed out to begin with? If so, Louis Catorze is that someone. Last night we were about to go out for Cat Daddy’s birthday but couldn’t lock our front door because the builders had decided it would be a good idea to fill the lock with plaster; in the end Cat Daddy had to get a chisel to hack away at it, at which point Louis Catorze took the opportunity to scoot outside and dive into the hedge.

Had this taken place at The Back we wouldn’t have been too upset, as it’s so enclosed that there’s nowhere to go. But The Front, with The Park and The Road, is a firm NON. Calling him was no use whatsoever as he just ignored us and meowed, and grabbing him was impossible as he was buried deep in the shrubbery so, in the end, whilst I called the restaurant to say we’d be 30 minutes late, Cat Daddy and our French guest had to resort to scaring Louis Catorze from the other side of the hedge to make him bolt back indoors.  So he’s stuck indoors whether he likes it or not, and security has been ramped up the way it would be in a maximum security penitentiary following a hostage crisis. Luckily his interest in getting outside is only mild-to-moderate, as opposed to utter desperation, so another week isn’t going to be too horrendous. What’s a little more concerning, however, is that his eye area fur looks as if it’s thinning again, and he has a tiny scab on his chin. I don’t suppose it helps that we have an inordinate amount of dust in the house, which the workmen create faster than we can clean. Louis Catorze’s ex-rescue centre told me that he had a tendency to flare up with a change of environment, so let’s hope it’s just that and not a dust-triggered long-term descent to where he was 18 months ago.