Un plat qui se mange froid

Remember Kurt Zouma? Remember what he did? The British public certainly do and, given that he’s now being prosecuted AND he had the ignominy of an own goal against Spurs a few weeks ago, it seems that Lady Karma is doing her thing.

However, we certainly weren’t about to pass up an opportunity when West Ham came to play Brentford on Sunday. Now, I’m not one of those who shouts abuse at sportspeople, no matter what they’ve done. Instead, I decided to take a leaf from the Catorzian Playbook of Unsettling Behaviour and just creepy-stare, with the help of one of these:

Good grief.

These items, unbelievably, are not props from The Purge but part of a kids’ party pack of a dozen animal masks, of which seven are cats (and one is a fox but looks sufficiently cat-like from a distance). There isn’t a fully black cat, as you can see, which upset Cat Daddy far more than he will ever admit, so he picked one of the tuxedo cats, which were plain black on the reverse, and wore it inside out.

I bought two sets of masks and handed them to anyone who would agree to wear them. However, it seems we needn’t have bothered, because the rowdy blokes in the West Stand were on it. Not only did they boo every time the ball went to Zouma, but they blasted him with two new, never-heard-before chants. The first was “R, S, P-C-A, R-S-P-C-A!” to the tune of Oops Upside Your Head (aka Louis Catorze’s Chubbing Up Song). And, when Zouma hobbled off, injured, after twenty-nine minutes, he was hailed with a chorus of “Put him down, put him down, put him down!” to the tune of Stars and Stripes Forever.

I would never wish an injury on anyone, not even Zouma. But there was something about it that felt like a karmic coup de foudre.

At the start of the game, one of the blokes who sits in front of us asked me for my score prediction, and I said, “2-1 to Brentford, with Zouma being sent off.” And that’s so eerily close to what ended up happening that I can’t help wondering whether The Mothership had anything to do with it.

Catorze doesn’t need a lawyer because he knows we can’t prove anything.

Au bord de la rivière

On Saturday, Cat Daddy and I watched our beloved Brentford play Middlesbrough away.

Louis Catorze always sits on his daddy’s lap during football matches (no great surprise there). However, Cat Daddy tends to become very animated and over-excited, and Sa Maj doesn’t approve of this. In fact, he doesn’t even approve of mild animation and excitement. Cat Daddy has to be a statue, and anything else is unacceptable.

This was the sequence of events during the match:

1. Middlesbrough goal just a couple of minutes in. Unrepeatable expletives from Cat Daddy, moderate fidgeting from Catorze.

2. Brentford goal. Cat Daddy shouts “Yesssss!” sending Catorze springing off his lap and darting into a corner, meowing disdainfully.

3. Catorze returns but to my lap this time, not quite trusting Cat Daddy after his outburst. However, this only lasts about 0.3 seconds and he’s soon back in his happy place.

4. Start of second half. Spirited conversation from Cat Daddy. Catorze doesn’t like this and twitches and squirms, all the while glaring contemptuously at his papa.

5. Second Brentford goal. Cat Daddy says “Yes!” in a deliberately muted fashion. Catorze is off again, meowing disdainfully.

6. Cat Daddy: “[Unrepeatable expletives.] I was really careful that time!”

7. Catorze returns, whining like a dog. Cat Daddy picks him up and roughs him up a little, berating him for being such a complainer. In actual fact his complaining voice and his normal voice sound exactly the same.

8. Middlesbrough defender slips on the wet turf – ironic since the home commentators had earlier suggested that we southern wimps wouldn’t be able to cope with the inclement northern weather conditions – resulting in a third Brentford goal. Cat Daddy can’t be bothered to restrain himself on this occasion and goes all out with the cheering. At this point Catorze has had enough and leaves the room, remaining absent for the fourth Brentford goal and the full-time whistle.

9. Catorze returns – freezing cold and damp – in time for Cat Daddy’s post-match FaceTime call with Cocoa the babysit cat’s daddy, clearly unable to resist the allure of another male voice. And, when Cat Daddy says goodbye, he takes Catorze’s tail in his fingers and waves it at the camera.

I have always been mildly offended that Catorze never chooses my lap during football. However, if the price to pay is not being allowed to even speak, I think I’m happy to leave the boys to it.

Hoping The Bees don’t score anytime soon. Or ever.

Un chat sur un maillot

Cat Daddy and I are thrilled that the football is back. Louis Catorze would have preferred it if we were able to invite the boys* round to watch it, bien sûr, but I think even he accepts that compromised football is better than none at all.

*Catorze is, however, still able to get his virtual boy-fix through Cat Daddy’s Friday night Zoom meet with his pub mates. Last week’s topics of conversation were as follows:

1. Moles (at the time I misheard and thought it was “Mould”, but I have since been corrected and I am sure you will all agree that “Moles” is a far more interesting topic)

2. Who slept with whom in their youth (and finding out that they had women in common)

3. Gin

4. Hot TV presenters from the 70s and 80s, and which ones are still hot

5. Hoarding/finding food items in the cupboard with ancient expiry dates

6. Ice Road Truckers, and which ones have haemorrhoids

7. Pensions

8. Simon’s fruit loaf, and whether or not he should ice it

As we aren’t able to attend matches, our beloved Brentford Football Club have offered season ticket holders the chance to have photos of themselves printed onto a giant banner. (Again, an implied presence at Griffin Park is better than none at all.) And I thought it might be rather fun to, erm, PhotoShop Catorze’s face onto my body and submit that, instead of submitting a photo of myself.

Cat Daddy, when I suggested the idea: “…”

I don’t have the skills to do such a thing but, luckily, Cocoa the babysit cat’s daddy does. So I sent him a photo of myself in my Brentford shirt, plus a selection of Catorze head shots, and let him work his magic. And this is what he created:

“Allez les Abeilles!”

Cat Daddy, when he saw the above image: “…”

The only possible glitch that I can foresee is that the club supplied a humanoid-shaped template into which supporters have to somehow make our photos fit, and of course this doesn’t allow for Sa Maj’s ears. So, in the very unlikely event of him slipping past the censors, his image will probably be earless. This will make the end result creepier but also much, much funnier.

Here is Catorze in the template:

“Où sont mes oreilles?”

So now we wait. The possible outcomes are as follows:

A. Brentford Football Club accept the photo and Catorze is shown on TV, with or without ears.

B. They send me a politely-worded rejection email.

C. We never find out whether I have been accepted or rejected.

Obviously option C would be very disappointing indeed, and I hope beyond hope that it’s option A. But I’d settle for the moderate comedy value of option B.

Thank you so much to Cocoa and Chanel’s Cat Daddy for his magnificent work.

Écharpe 2,0

I have finally finished knitting Cat Daddy’s Brentford FC scarf, just in time for today’s match against Huddersfield. The knitting experience has taught me a number of things:

1. Drink-knitting is a thing and, like drink-driving, it should be avoided at all costs.

2. No matter how many times you unpick and redo the bits that you drink-knitted, it will still look shite.

The sober-knitted and drink-knitted parts of the scarf are so utterly distinct that anyone can spot the difference, even from far away. This scarf is not just a garment for winter warmth and an emblem of our beloved football team; its stitches tell a tale of resolute concentration followed by “Oh, sod this” followed by more concentration followed by more “Oh, sod this” and so on, from end to end.

I have started knitting another scarf, this time for someone else, and I was feeling a little bad that, having now learned all the pitfalls, the second scarf would be much nicer than the one I made for Cat Daddy.

Cat Daddy: “Well, mine is the original, and you can never beat an original. Plus, no offence, but I think it’s highly likely you’ll mess up the second one, too.”

Great. Thanks.

Anyway, Louis Catorze approves, even though he is a Sunderland fan. Here he is, giving his final quality control check – and, yes, it seems that the tongue is a crucial part of this:

J’adore mon château


They say that moving house is the most stressful experience the human body can endure without actually losing consciousness, or something like that, but they – whoever “they” are – have clearly never moved with Louis Catorze. After The Vet Incident, of which the poor veterinary staff now only speak in hushed whispers, I had expected nothing short of Armageddon for something as drastic as a house move: skies darkening, ravens circling, the lot. However, on the morning of the move, Louis Catorze was perfectly relaxed and happy, treating the cardboard boxes as his new gym rather than something to be feared. And, when the removal men turned out to be Crazy Cat Men, that was just about the glaçage on the gâteau.

They couldn’t have been nicer to Louis Catorze, cuddling him and having him purr and nuzzle them, after which he seemed to think, “Now that we’re friends, I don’t mind what you do in ma maison.” So they were able to stomp and make noise with reckless abandon, and he was absolutely fine with it all: no upset, no yowling, nothing. These guys don’t advertise themselves as a cat-friendly service – although they probably should – but, if you’re moving to or from the TW8 area and you want to make sure your cat is ok, look up Goddard’s of Brentford and ask for Dave and Matt to move you.

My no.1 piece of advice to anyone moving a cat would be to move them into a house that’s finished. Le Château-sur-Tamise isn’t even close to being ready so there was a lot of shunting Louis Catorze from room to room to create access for builders and, whilst he didn’t mind the builders themselves nor their noise, I think he could have done without the shunting around. His demeanour changed considerably at this point and out came the sad meows, the mega-sulks and the refusal to move from La Cage. Luckily he cheered up immensely by the evening and, after spending the night snuggled up at our feet and then waking us at 7am by puking on the floor, normal service had very much resumed.

Unfortunately the work will be going on for a good couple of weeks, so we’re going to have to shut Louis Catorze in one room when we go to work and release him when the builders have packed up for the day. Not ideal, but there’s nothing whatsoever we can do about it – and it beats the alternative, which is Louis Catorze absconding through an opening somewhere and heading across the park and towards the main road.

As a cat who has had a few different homes, I’m not sure whether Louis Catorze will respond to all this by thinking, “Oh merde, not this again,” or “I’ve done this before, and it was fine” (assuming he remembers, of course). I really hope it will be the latter, and that he will settle into his new Château quickly.