Sa Majesté des mouches

We have a Code Ambre situation at Le Château: A FLY IN THE LIVING ROOM. Not that I really need to tell you, as you can probably hear the unholy racket from wherever you are in the world.

If you have a cat, you will know what I mean by “that bird-chatter sound”. The best way of describing it is a succession of clipped, otherworldly “eck-eck-eck” notes, daintily sung when the cat sees a bird. (Or you could just YouTube it and hear it for yourself.)

It’s very common for cats to make this noise at birds; however, Louis Catorze also does it to BUGS. Usually this is quite handy: if I hear it from the next room, I know that a fly is at large and I’m prompted to check my food or my cup of tea to make sure that they’re covered. But, right now, we just want to sit and enjoy Movie Afternoon, and the little sod won’t shut up.

(He once did the bird-chatter sound at the pterodactyls from Jurassic World, too. This was nowhere near as useful as the bug alert, but it was much funnier.)

There are a few theories as to why cats make this sound: it’s rumoured to be a sign of frustration that kitty can’t catch said bird/bug/dinosaur, a result of an adrenaline rush as the cat imagines the chase, or, rather more sinisterly, an involuntary reflex sound that escapes from the throat as the cat mimics chomping its jaws around the prey and killing it. But I don’t think anybody really knows for sure. It’s one of those peculiar little cat quirks that can’t be properly explained, but it makes us love them even more simply because it sounds so cute and funny. Unless you want some peace to watch a film. Then it’s really annoying.

I suggested continuing Movie Afternoon in another room, but Cat Daddy said that would be “letting Louis Catorze win.” A win for us, on the other hand, involves being stuck here, struggling to follow the story due to all the buzzing and chattering, and thinking, “Surely victory should feel better than this?” And this will go on and on until the fly escapes or is eaten, or until Cat Daddy finally snaps and swats both the fly and Catorze.

Unlike the film, I can predict exactly how this tale will end.


Faites vos dévotions à moi!


It’s been another eventful weekend at Le Château. First of all, the onset of autumn has meant a glut of daddy long legs(es?), so Louis Catorze has been busy catching and eating them. Despite being a bit dim in most areas of life, he is surprisingly adept as an insect- and arachnid-hunter and has even been known to leap from laps, shoot across the room in semi-darkness and gulp down some hapless creature that was minding its own business on the opposite wall. And, just as wildlife photographers don’t interfere when a Thomson’s gazelle meets its end at the hands of a predator in the Serengeti, I stay out of it and let nature take its course.

Louis Catorze also had a visit from another of his loyal subjects, who had read about him online and wanted to experience the warmth of the Sun King first-hand. These visits are starting to become a regular thing, which is most delightful for all of us at Le Château, and they have even been likened to pilgrimages, with reverent followers coming from near and far to bestow blessings in the form of cuddles and toys.

Cat Daddy snorted with laughter at the idea of our boy becoming a sort of latter-day Notre Dame/Seigneur de Lourdes, and said, “He’s a scraggy, black runt! What POSSIBLE benefit could anyone reap from coming to see him?” Well, the fact is they continue to come; we have 2 more visits lined up next month, and I daresay there will be more after that. If people can be so inspired by an unremarkable-looking, special needs black cat, I see that as a major coup in the battle against black cat prejudice which currently sees them as the least popular and last-picked of all cats.

Health-wise, Louis Catorze is continuing to remain allergy-free, although both Cat Daddy and I sense that this run of good fortune is soon to end. That’s just the way it goes with our boy, with good and bad episodes coming and going in cycles, but I’m always on the lookout for the next thing that could help him. A very kind friend and Roi-enthusiast recently recommended rooibos and chamomile as possible soothers of irritated skin and, with Cat Daddy and I both being tea lovers, we have heaps of both in our kitchen. So, whenever it may be that things start to go bad again, we’re ready with a new weapon of choice.