Le lit découvre tous les secrets

Louis Catorze has a Château full of comfortable beds at his disposal, with soft anti-allergy bedding and freshly-laundered duvet covers. So, naturellement, he chooses to sleep in … a grubby Hounslow Council plastics refuse sack, in the equally grubby Forbidden Greenhouse. You couldn’t make this up … and, to prove that I really haven’t, here he is, narrowing his eyes at me with no shame whatsoever: 

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Could he BE any more low-brow and unbecoming of a Sun King? 

Cat Daddy: “If you gave him enough time, probably, yes.”

Le meilleur assaisonnement

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Phase Deux has begun, and I have decided to tip the Lily’s Kitchen Fabulous Fish into the refillable dispenser along with the Acana Pacifica. I am hoping that, rather like putting a vanilla pod or lavender sprig into a pot of sugar, the Lily’s Kitchen will infuse the Acana Pacifica with its irresistible goodness, resulting in a certain fussy little sod eating both. And this would spell the end of my wearisome sessions with the John Lewis stone pestle and mortar. 

So far, it seems to be working.

Cat Daddy: “It’s nothing WHATSOEVER like infusing sugar with vanilla or lavender. What rubbish.”

Me: “Have you ever infused sugar with vanilla or lavender?”

Him: “No.”

Me: “Well, be quiet, then.”

(I didn’t tell him that I have never done it, either.)

Anyway, the ratio of food in the dispenser is probably about 9 parts Acana Pacifica to 1 part Lily’s Kitchen. After a couple of weeks on this, I will buy more Lily’s Kitchen to balance out the ratio a little more (but hopefully not enough to activate the puke switch). And, thereafter, every fortnight or so, I will continue to add more Lily’s Kitchen to ensure as seamless a transition as possible for Louis Catorze.

Cat Daddy again, in his nobody-gives-a-shit voice: “What will the next ratio be? 8 parts Acana Pacifica to 2 parts Lily’s Kitchen? Or will you go for the more gradual transition of 8.5 parts Acana Pacifica to 1.5 parts Lily’s Kitchen? I bet you’ll have the whole of the Cat Internet in suspense over that cliffhanger.”

I am not happy about the sarcasm. But I am glad he has established that there is a Cat Internet. 

La ténacité permet d’atteindre l’excellence

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This darned cat is going to be the death of me. Every morning and evening I am forced to crush up Lily’s Kitchen biscuits in my expensive John Lewis stone pestle and mortar and scatter the resulting gravelly, powdery mess over his Acana Pacifica. If I put them in whole, he cherry-picks only them and leaves the rest.

I should have waited a little longer before starting Phase Une. But the chances of Louis Catorze liking the new food better than his old one – given that he doesn’t really like any food at all, apart from the odd sliver of jambon de Bayonne or organic mountain Comté – were very slim indeed, so the odds really should have been in my favour. But the little sod went out of his way to make sure they weren’t. 

The time spent crushing is also starting to get to me. On Thursday morning, had I not stopped to do it, I would have caught the bus normally. Instead, I had to sprint undignifiedly for it like an idiot, coated in a fine dust of Lily’s Kitchen Fabulous Fish and probably smelling of it, too, falling over my own feet as I got on. This can never, ever happen again.

Cat Daddy: “For crying out loud. Just give him the new food! It’s not as if he’s coming off heroin.” 

No: food waste is food waste, whether it’s human food or cat food. Last week I even walked home from the pub with a little copper pot of coleslaw, because I was too full to eat it but didn’t want it thrown away. Cat Daddy ridiculed me beyond belief … then wanted to share some of the coleslaw for lunch the next day. (I agreed but charged him the pub price.)

I really, really want Le Roi to like the new food without wasting the old one. So I don’t suppose there’s much I can do, except quite literally keep my nose to the grindstone.

Le cri est bien souvent plus gros que la bête

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Cat Daddy popped out yesterday morning to go to Cocoa the babysit cat’s place. On his way back, he saw from a distance that Oscar the dog’s family had gathered on the pavement outside Le Château … and, as he approached, he heard the unmistakable, fingernails-down-the-blackboard sound of Louis Catorze’s excruciating screaming. 

It turned out that, as usual, the little sod had slipped out unnoticed when Cat Daddy left. And, instead of just waiting for him to come back, he had decided to ambush Oscar’s family as they left the house and accompany them, screaming, to wherever it was that they were going. They were about to knock at the door to ask us to intervene when Cat Daddy approached. 

“He caused complete and utter havoc,” said Cat Daddy, when he later related the story to me. “They really didn’t know what to do.”

“Was the screaming loud?” I asked. 

“Oh yes. GOD, yes.” 

Oh. Well, it’s not as if we have to face them again anytime soon … except, erm, probably tomorrow, then every day forever more, on account of them being our next-door neighbours and good friends. 

Which means that we can expect more of the same, anytime soon. You’re welcome. 

La nourriture des rois: Phase Une

Phase Une of Opération G-T-L-S-O-N-F-W-H-N – which involves giving Louis Catorze a serving of his old Acana Pacifica topped with a scant garnish of the new Lily’s Kitchen Fabulous Fish – began on Sunday. It was most satisfying to tear the top strip from the packet of Lily’s Kitchen and put it straight into the compost. The excuse that others give for not using compostable packaging is that it’s not robust enough to protect the food but, let’s face it: cats are pretty gross. They happily chow down on maggot-infested road kill and suchlike, so I’d imagine that the possibility of their wholesome, natural biscuits becoming exposed to air/dirt/bugs is the least of their worries. 

The Lily’s Kitchen biscuits (the golden-coloured triangular bits) are different in shape and colour from the Acana Pacifica. This was not going to help in my mission to combine them invisibly. And, given Louis Catorze’s abysmal track record for doing what I want him to do when I want him to do it, I was nervous. 

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And I was right to be nervous, because, to my utter dismay, the little sod delicately picked off the Lily’s Kitchen garnish but left the Acana Pacifica. Quel fichu salaud.

Cat Daddy: “So he likes the new food? That’s good, isn’t it? Just give him that. No need to do this slow phasing.”

I told him that I would NOT be wasting the huge amount of Acana Pacifica that we still had left, nor would I be responsible for any, erm, digestive episodes that took place as a result of a too-rapid change in food. (We did this when Catorze first came to live with us, before we knew that slow phasing was a thing, and he was a prolific puker back then. Luckily, it was usually on the floor rather than on the carpet. And, on the only occasion that he projectile-vomited on our bed whilst we slept, it was all on Cat Daddy’s side.)

Cat Daddy again: “So now we’re going to have to force him to eat food that we want him to eventually stop eating?”

It would appear that way, yes.

Anyway, I tried hiding some of the Lily’s Kitchen under the Acana Pacifica, but, like a truffling pig, Catorze still managed to unearth it, leaving the rest untouched. Then I hit upon the idea of crushing up some of the Lily’s Kitchen and scattering it over so that everything tasted of it. A seasoning rather than a garnish, if you will. 

And … BINGO. 

I will not be outsmarted by a cat, and a stupid one at that.

(That wasn’t supposed to rhyme.)

Un court chemin vers la liberté

No doubt your parents will have warned you about People Off The Internet and how idiotic and untrustworthy they are. Now, I realise that this includes all of you. And me, too. However, this doesn’t make it any less correct. 

“But People In Real Life can be just as idiotic and untrustworthy,” I hear you cry. This is true. But they tend to hold back a little, due to the manners gene (which appears to be deficient in People Off The Internet). There’s nothing like the internet for turning people into judges, psychologists, experts and so on, and, if they don’t like what you are saying, they can just press a button and switch you off in a way that they would never have the courage to do in real life, even if it were a thing.

I have been kicked out of my Feline Hyperesthesia group. My crime? The Group Admin lady disapproved of me weaning Louis Catorze off his medication. Even though I was following professional advice. Even though she herself is not a qualified practitioner. Even though Louis Catorze is flourishing without medication. And, most importantly, even though what I do, or don’t do, for my cat is none of her flamin’ business. 

Cat Daddy: “You’ve been kicked out of an online cat forum?” [He says the words “online cat forum” very slowly and pointedly, in an Alan-Rickman-as-the-Sheriff-of-Nottingham voice, before collapsing in hysterics.]

And who can blame him? Falling out with the Group Admin of an online cat forum (God, now I’m SAYING IT IN MY HEAD in an Alan-Rickman-as-the-Sheriff-of-Nottingham voice) is hardly up there with Nelson Mandela and the Rivonia Trial. In fact, even capitalising the words “Group Admin” is probably giving the title more importance than it deserves. 

Rather than face the backlash from others who were also sick of her and her connerie, the Group Admin lady has since decided to close down the group entirely. I have now joined a Feline Hyperesthesia rebel splinter group founded by a lovely lady who was kicked out alongside me, for similar reasons. So, actually, things have turned out rather well. And, yes, I realise that, the internet being the way it is, my words may well get back to the (now ex-) Group Admin lady. But she can’t kick me out twice. So, just like Ashley Judd in Double Jeopardy, I can cause as much trouble as I like now (although homicide might possibly be a step too far). 

Anyway, to finish on a positive note, here is Louis Catorze, unaware of all the furore that he has caused. And, even if he were aware, he would make exactly the same face.

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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

Le petit prince

Louis Catorze isn’t that interested in human babies. In fact, he isn’t interested in much. However, he was delighted to hear that the new royal baby has been named after him. He is confident in his belief that the newborn prince is no threat to his monarchy – despite the little upstart weighing over 1lb more than Sa Majesté – and he concurs that Louis is a good, strong name. 

However, he was more concerned upon learning that some might pronounce it “Lewis”. This is his “SERIOUSLY, Mesdames et Messieurs?” face. 

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Catorze might just about forgive the beautician for her mispronunciation, on account of her fearing for her life an’ all, but, as far as he’s concerned, the rest of us have no excuse. 

I am sure you will need no reminder that he was here first. Nor will he need to reiterate that a king trumps a prince. 

Bienvenue en prison

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After first sticking his back leg in my tea and then kicking it all over me, Louis Catorze settled down with me to watch one of those maximum security prison documentaries. (We’re more low-brow than one would imagine – it’s not all Balzac and Baudelaire here at Le Château.) And it seems that, in Indiana State maximum security prison, they have a cat adoption scheme. 

I initially had mixed feelings about the idea. My first thought was the safety of the animals: if you’ve killed a human in cold blood and are quite casual and blasé about it, you’re unlikely to have much compassion or empathy for an animal, right? But the cats look happy, glossy and well-fed, pitter-pattering freely between cells but mainly sticking to their one Cat Daddy, whom they clearly love. Even if he happens to be a serial torturer or murderer. 

My second thought: if you’ve killed a human in cold blood and are quite casual and blasé about it, you don’t deserve the pleasure of a cute cat for company. Whilst I don’t think prison conditions ought to be made utterly horrendous just for the sake of it, I don’t think we should fall over ourselves to make them fun, either. However, given the hugely unbalanced ratio of inmates to staff, and given the high pressure nature of working conditions even when things AREN’T kicking off, wouldn’t it be worth a go? If a cat can lower an inmate’s stress levels, reducing the chances of violence, it would make life easier for staff and keep them safe.

I think Louis Catorze would LOVE to be a prison cat, with all those men to play with. And if anyone did anything really, really bad, he would be a most excellent deterrent. The prospect of a week’s solitary confinement with him, having to endure the screaming as well as being forced to pill him, would, surely, be enough to make even the most hardened troublemaker keep his head down and do as he’s told?

Cat Daddy: “Welcome to my world. Except it’s a life sentence without chance of parole, not just a week in solitary.”

Thank you, Jane, for the photo! 

Un oiseau en main

I don’t know whether I feel less alone, or more appalled, to learn that other cats ruin things, too. 

The occasion was Cat Granny’s 90th birthday party, held at Cat Auntie and Cat Uncle’s beautiful house in Somerset, and the culprit was this attractive, slightly boss-eyed chap.

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I spotted him in the garden, called him over for a cuddle and he happily obliged, shouting himself silly throughout. When the rest of the party guests joined us outside, he pitter-pattered off to explore other parts of the huge, sprawling garden. 

Moments later there was a huge commotion and we saw the little sod leaping and pouncing at a flock of angry, shrieking blackbirds. Cat Auntie went to investigate, then announced that he had managed to catch one of the birds and asked for a volunteer to do the honourable deed. I think that, at this point, I might have looked down into my cup of tea and muttered something about it being a man’s job but, before any of the men had a chance to intervene, the poor bird flutter-limped to its nest deep inside a thick, impenetrable shrub where nobody could reach it. 

Cat Granny continued to enjoy her champagne and remained happily oblivious to what was going on. And Cat Daddy, whilst a bit cross with me for encouraging the cat with cuddles, was relieved that, for once, it was someone else’s cat and not ours that had made an embarrassing spectacle of himself. 

That said, we have a number of social events planned at Le Château over the next few weeks and months. So, if Catorze decides he fancies creating havoc and showing us up in front of our friends, there’s still time.