Je suis une légende

Colder weather usually brings cuddling kitties, although they’re clearly just using us for our warmth and haven’t suddenly decided that they really like us. Louis Catorze, however, is still spending as much time outside as he did during the summer months, and his Short Man Syndrome has been getting him into trouble with foxes. This is not good. 

Last Tuesday a fox ran through our garden and he thought it would be a good idea to run after it, screaming. He chased as far as the gap under the fence at The Back, all puff-tailed and indignant, watching the intruder disappear into the distance and not budging until he was certain that it had gone. 

And, on Friday night, he had another stand-off with another fox, this time at The Front. As you know, he isn’t allowed out at The Front unsupervised because he can’t be trusted but, when he bolts out unexpectedly when we get back from an evening out and refuses to be caught, we can’t do much apart from keep the window open, watch nervously and hope he will decide to come in. 

We thought Catorze’s screaming was bad, but he has nothing on Monsieur Renard. Everything we thought we knew about fox sounds was blown right out of the water after experiencing this hellish din. Imagine, if you will, a modern horror movie in which the lead zombie – of chillingly superior intelligence compared to the others – throws back his head and emits a piercing war-cry, the signal for his comrades to destroy the last few pathetic humans. THAT is what Monsieur Renard sounded like. And, terrifyingly, not only was he glaring straight through the bars of the park fence at Catorze as he made this unforgettably dreadful sound, but CATORZE WAS GLARING AND SCREAMING BACK. 

“Aw, they want to be friends!” cooed Cat Daddy. “That’s so cute. Let’s leave them to it.”

I really didn’t want to do that, yet Catorze was NOT coming in and repeatedly darted out of my way when I tried to grab him. I have no idea what the neighbours must have thought but, unfortunately, they all know the little sod well enough by now.

Eventually, after more gut-wrenching zombie-hollering from Monsieur Renard, Sa Maj did come in through the window, and a punch-proud Cat Daddy rough-cuddled his boy and commended him for “showing the fox who was in charge at Le Château”. I would far rather he retreat and mind his own business, but nobody in this household seems that concerned with what I think. 

October – and therefore the Season of the Black Cat – started today. And I fear that this means things are only going to get worse. 

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Le plateau royal

Nigel driving the Apple van came bearing all sorts of goodies on Tuesday night, including fresh prosciutto di Parma and jambon de Bayonne, seafood and a variety of soft and hard cheeses. (Yes, I know that cats are said to be lactose-intolerant, but the pills are so minuscule that we really wouldn’t need much cheese to disguise one. Plus Louis Catorze is so full of drugs at the moment that a bit of lactose is the least of his worries.)

Anyway, these were the results of our experiment to ascertain whether Sa Majesté would approve of other pill wrappings:

Sheep’s Wensleydale: non
Roquefort: non
Devon curd cheese: non (well, he licked off the cheese and left the pill, but I’m still counting that as a “non”)
Smoked salmon: non
Prawns: non
Prosciutto di Parma: OUI
Jambon de Bayonne: OUI

Conclusion: it seems that the issue was, indeed, the freshness of the ham. So Louis Catorze, who happily wraps his chops around the rotting carcasses of rats, will not eat cured ham unless it’s a newly-opened pack.

I think we’re going to need a bigger fridge.

J’ai 99 problèmes mais un cône n’en fait pas partie

Louis Catorze has been doing so much better this week.

On Monday morning he managed to escape outside without his Cône – despite the cat flap being both locked and physically barricaded and all windows being shut – and he hid in the cat flap tunnel for 15 minutes whilst a frantic, late-for-work Cat Daddy hunted for him. Whilst this was incredibly annoying, when Louis Catorze behaves like a salaud sournois it usually means he is feeling good.

We have progressively been allowing him more and more extended Cône-free time whilst we’re home, which, in itself, has been massive progress. However, yesterday he had his first full day and night sans Cône, and I am delighted to report that he hasn’t attacked his tail once since Saturday night. This has meant that we’re now able to remove Le Cône completely and allow him free access to the cat flap again.

There are still moments when he eyes his tail distrustfully, as if to say, “Excuse-moi? What ARE you?” and, occasionally, he taps it curiously. But then he loses interest and leaves it alone.

We are due to see the vet on Friday, when we will stop the Gabapentin – as per her instructions – so that we can ascertain whether it’s that or the steroid shot that has brought about his dramatic improvement. I’m terrified of relinquishing a system that seems to be working for him, but I understand why we need to know.

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Peins-la en noir

Cat Daddy and I have spent a disturbing amount of time monitoring Louis Catorze to try and understand his tail-chasing habit. And, yes, this has been just as dull as it sounds, with the exception of the unsettling moment when he actually HISSED at his own tail.

The strange thing is that Catorze doesn’t appear to be going for his tail in response to anything physical. It seems that the SIGHT of the white bony bit – which stands out against his black fur – is what triggers him, perhaps because he thinks something is stuck to his tail, or because he thinks the white blob is a worm or a bug. And this is most odd as he’d surely have had to go for the tail a few times in the first place, in order to thin the fur and expose the white bony bit?

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“Which do you think came first: the tail-chasing or the white bony bit?” I asked Cat Daddy.

“I don’t know,” he replied curtly, not even looking up from his laptop, “but I bet historians and scientists the world over are agonising over it.”

Sigh.

“It’s right up there with all the other ‘Which came first?’ debates: the chicken or the egg, life on earth or a habitable environment …” Cat Daddy’s voice trailed off, his eyes remaining down.

I thanked him for his insightful comment and bade him good day – although I couldn’t resist Googling both the chicken and the egg and the life on earth thing, as soon as I left the room.

The question now is: what do we do about it? Short of colouring the white bony bit with black marker pen – Cat Daddy’s idea, and he wasn’t joking – we can’t think of a single feasible solution.

Are there any historians or scientists out there? A little help, s’il vous plaît?

La fraternité noire

Today is a rather bittersweet day. I look forward to 1st October all year as it signifies the start of the Halloween countdown and the Season of the Black Cat, but this year it also marks the fact that we have now had Louis Catorze for longer than we ever had his big brother, Luther. That makes me a little sad because, when we adopted Luther, we expected to have much more time with him. Nobody adopts a cat and plans to only keep them for 2 years, 2 months and 10 days.

That said, if Luther were still with us, Louis Catorze certainly wouldn’t be. When we discovered him, he’d already been waiting for a home for 15 months; had we not come along at that point, who knows how long he would have continued to wait? (Cat Daddy just read that bit, rolled his eyes and said, “Some other stupid suckers would’ve come along eventually.”)

We were initially drawn to Louis Catorze because, subconsciously, we wanted another Luther. But, in fact they couldn’t be more different: Luther’s face was chiselled and angular whereas Catorze’s is spherical (see pictures); Luther was sleek whereas Catorze is plushy; Luther wandered for miles and we’d often spot him in parts of the neighbourhood where he had no business going, whereas Catorze tends to stay close by; Luther was a healthy, intelligent thoroughbred whereas Catorze, erm, isn’t. But, over the last 2 years, 2 months and 11 days we have really enjoyed discovering these differences, and now we’re rather glad of them.

So, whilst we won’t exactly be celebrating this day, we will be giving Sa Majesté lots of love, thanking the universe for flinging him our way despite the heavy price we paid, and looking forward to the Season of the Black Cat. We hope you have an equally lovely day with your furry overlords of whatever colour.