Cent coups de brosse avant d’aller dormir

Today is National Hairball Awareness Day. (I’m deadly serious. Google it if you don’t believe me.) And, ironically, I am writing this after another joyless session of brushing Louis Catorze. Ugh. Bizarrely, he now only fights half-heartedly rather than with the strength of ten angry grizzly bears, yet he still screams like a banshee during our torturous sessions. And, just like the otherworldly Irish harbinger of death, I fear that there may well be some truth in his prophecy because the sound of his screams makes me want to kill either him or myself.

If he hates being brushed, why has he eased up on the struggling? Or, if has grown to tolerate it, why scream? Seeing a cat lying on his back, his body language showing that he is grudgingly accepting the brush but his voice screaming itself stupid, is quite the most absurd sight imaginable. That said, nothing about this strange cat has ever truly made sense, so I don’t suppose it’s about to start now.

Sadly there is no video available because I need three hands to be able to restrain, brush and film at the same time, and Cat Daddy refuses point-blank to help in any way. (“I’m not being part of this nonsense” is a more polite version of what he said.) So, instead, here is a picture of Sa Maj looking uncharacteristically … well … majestic. It’s hard to believe that a beast who can appear so serene in pictures can also suddenly morph in an instant into a screaming psychopath.

La brosse infernale

We are usually only obsessively meticulous about brushing Louis Catorze during the warmer months, when he moults and scratches a lot. But, because his skin and fur are generally much healthier when he is brushed regularly, we decided to step up his grooming régime a few weeks ago, at around the same time that we started the hot water steam thing.

The good news is that handfuls of fur come off his body when he is brushed, which surely HAS to make a positive difference to his skin health, yes? The bad news is that he still loathes being brushed, which means I have to grit my teeth and adopt the Stranglehold of Death before I can get the brush anywhere near him. Needless to say, these now-daily sessions of torture leave me drained, pained and bleeding from the eardrums, and I wish we didn’t have to do them.

My mum told a long time ago that, when you brush your cat, you should leave the brushed-out clumps of hair in the garden because birds use them to line their nests. This didn’t seem very likely – after all, my mum also tells me that you can get cancer from plastic water bottles that have been left overnight in the car – but a couple of reliable fellow cat freaks have confirmed that it is, indeed, a thing. So, much to Cat Daddy’s disgust, I have been doing my civic duty by emptying the contents of Catorze’s brush outside, and the very thin silver lining to the dire grooming sessions was that at least the birds would benefit from it all.

Below is a picture of a clump of Catorze’s brushed-out hair from at least two weeks ago. Oui, Mesdames et Messieurs: IT IS STILL IN THE GARDEN. I really thought that there would be a few takers for some warm kitty fur, given that we remain in the depths of winter. But it seems not.

Cat Daddy: “Ha! The birds of TW8 would rather freeze than go near his shitty fur. Not even the rats want it.”

Oh dear. It’s a good thing Sa Maj is utterly unaware of his fur not meeting the exacting standards of the local wildlife. And, even if he were aware, I don’t suppose he would be remotely bothered.

Les poils d’enfer

image

Forget about the Rio Olympics, and forget about chasing Pokemon(s). (Do you add an “s” or is there one noun for both singular and plural, like fish and sheep?)

Here at Le Château we have had our own challenge of physical and mental endeavour: daily brushing of a certain someone who had been looking a bit scruffy and ragged at the start of the summer. (Cat Daddy has just read this and said, “You’d better put that it’s Louis Catorze, in case everyone thinks it’s me.”)

We were spoilt with Luther because, being a Bombay, he didn’t shed. So we never had to brush him, ever. Not so with Le Roi; he moults like crazy, and brushing him is the second most miserable experience imaginable (the first being giving him pills).

Brushing Louis Catorze tests all these components in a way that no Olympic sport ever could:

– Speed, as I try to catch the little sod
– Strength, as I grab hold of the little sod
– Endurance, as I attempt to keep hold of the little sod whilst also trying to brush him
– Super-sharp reflexes, as I dodge the kicks and the Freddy Krueger slasher claws

Of course, when Cat Daddy brushes him, the scenario is rather different:

– One or two unremarkable squeaks
– Cuddles for daddy afterwards

It’s just not fair, is it?

“Maybe he just doesn’t like the way you brush him,” suggested Cat Daddy, helpfully. “He never misbehaves when I do it.”

Très bien pour lui. What does he want: a medal?

(He didn’t get one. But what he did get is the permanent role of Gardien de la Brosse Royale; if he’s so darned good, he can show the rest of us how it’s done.)