Le mannequin de haute-couture

After Louis Catorze’s success in modelling for the Christmas collection, Puppy Mamma decided to use him again as her photographic muse, for the launch of her 2022 autumn collection.

I did warn her that lightning didn’t strike twice where Catorze was concerned – unless, of course, it was the bad kind of lightning. But, having tried her luck once with him, with great results, Puppy Mamma couldn’t resist another go.

On the morning of the shoot, Cat Daddy decided to scatter stinky compost juice all over the garden. I know. I was doing my step workout outdoors at the time, so this wasn’t great timing. And, worse yet, I had the bifold doors open because I was listening out for the postman, and the gut-wrenching stink floated into the house and clung to every surface and every space.

When Puppy Mamma arrived, the whole house still reeked and Catorze, presumably unable to stand the stench, was asleep in the attic bedroom. I suggested that we take the props to him rather than vice versa, mainly because I knew that upstairs would smell better. However, Puppy Mamma had her heart set on photographing Catorze in the hearth and, after arranging the props in an artful fashion, she said, “It would be great if we could get Louis to sit right there, in the middle.”

Hmmm. This would have been impossible even if he were in a good mood. But after being rudely awoken from his slumber and dragged into a room stinking of rot? Non, non and thrice non.

Or so I thought.

Oh. Mon. Dieu. The little sod was flawless, and Puppy Mamma was able to take some of the best pictures I have ever seen of him. As a result I am feeling much more confident of achieving a passable Official 2022 Hallowe’en Portrait (although I may have to ask Puppy Mamma to do it). Cat Daddy is super-proud of his spooky boy, although he would punch himself in both eyes before he ever admitted it.

If you are anything like me and you start thinking about the next Hallowe’en before the pumpkins from the last one have even made it to the compost heap, you will have organised yourself a long time ago. However, if you are a normal person, please have a look here at Puppy Mamma’s handmade seasonal decorations. And below is Le Roi‘s best picture from the photo shoot.

Cat Daddy: “He never poses like this for you. In fact, your photos of him are always the worst.” Thanks for that.

Tip: to make the model more compliant, dust the props liberally with catnip. (I’m not joking. You can even see the bits on the floor.)

L’œil maudit (Partie 3)

October is upon us. And, would you believe, Louis Catorze’s evil eye has vanished into the swirling mists of autumn, as swiftly as it came.

I can’t explain it, but I suspect that what prompted the disappearance was me making an appointment with the vet for Catorze’s steroid shot, and planning to discuss the bald patch at the same time. I have plenty of pictures of it, of course, but they’re not much use to the vet. At least the appointment was relatively straightforward, though. Apart from the heavy rain, the long wait and the other two cats in the waiting room whom Catorze managed to rouse into song.

Here is what’s left of the area where the eye used to be:

I spy, with my little … oh wait, where is it?

Now that the appointment is over, and now that I have mentioned all this online, no doubt it will return, only to disappear again when I make the next vet appointment.

I am relieved because I didn’t want Catorze to start over-grooming the area, plus it was weird as hell. But, at the same time, part of me is disappointed that it won’t be here for Hallowe’en. I was quite looking forward to showing my black vampire cat with an evil eye to the trick-or-treating kids and watching them flee in terror.

Catorze may now look 1% less creepy than he did before, but I’m sure he will make up for that in other ways. I daren’t even think about what these could be.

Oh dear God.

Le long monsieur aux longues jambes

*WARNING: SPIDER IMAGERY AND DISCUSSION*

Summer is over, and spider season is here. And there is a spider in the bathroom whom I have named, erm, Peter Crouch.

Hello, mate.

He lives behind the toilet and usually keeps to himself but, every now and again, he scuttles out when I flush, as if perturbed by the noise. I don’t really mind him being there but I wouldn’t want him hiding in a toilet roll and then being scooped up and shoved somewhere unmentionable.

Louis Catorze eats bugs, which is a wonderful thing. However, he is highly selective about the ones he eats. If it’s one that is far away and minding its own business and, in fact, you didn’t even know it was there, oui. If it’s right in his face, then it’s a firm NON.

I don’t know if this is a near/far-sightedness problem, or whether it’s just him being an arse. Most likely it’s a bit of each.

Last night I tried to encourage him into the bathroom to help me out with Peter. Naturellement he wasn’t playing ball, despite the fact that he has been happy to interrupt me in there at various inappropriate moments when I HAVEN’T wanted his company. Eventually I had to grab him and place him next to Peter, but he couldn’t see him and just randomly sniffed around, whining.

I placed him back there again, this time with his face close to Peter. Nope.

I placed him back there again, this time with his whiskers ACTUALLY TOUCHING ONE OF PETER’S LONG LEGS. Still a nope.

Me: “You’re just not going to do this, are you?”

Catorze: “Mwah!”

I am now going to have to ask Cat Daddy to rehome Peter, which he will do but he will resent it every step of the way as he sees this kind of thing as very much Catorze’s job. He is already piqued at the fact that he has to chase away the squirrels and the parakeets, so this request is not going to go down well.

EDIT: Cat Daddy dealt with Peter but, the next day, there was a startlingly similar spider in the bath. Did Peter come back, or have we cruelly separated a spider couple?

Pretending to be on Bug Watch but, in reality, doing absolutely nothing.

L’œil maudit (Partie 2)

Autumn is here, which means it’s time to swap Louis Catorze’s spring-summer bed for his autumn-winter one. Daughter Next Door very kindly took on this task when she and her family visited the other day – she takes her Catorzian duties very seriously indeed – and, after first sniffing the bed as if it were some alien spacecraft, Louis Catorze is now in:

Elvis is in the building.

Regretfully, this means that I see less of him at night because he likes to spend time in here. But I’m less likely to be woken by purring, screaming and/or stupid gadding about. And it means that his evil eye is hidden from view, which is just as well because – Saint Jésus et tous ses anges – it’s mutating.

I knew this would happen.

There are now the beginnings of a pupil and, even worse, it’s looking at me right now:

Ugh.
Gahhhhh!

Obviously this is wonderful news for our October visitors, of whom there are MANY this year; people are going to be visiting us Catorze every weekend bar one, plus during the half term break. If you’re the sort of person who arranges to visit a black vampire cat in October, having him inexplicably grow an evil eye is a bonus.

However, if you’re the one who has to share a house with him all year round, it’s frightening. And having such a distinguishing mark means that we won’t be able to trot out the “It must have been some other black cat” excuse, the next time he causes trouble in the neighbourhood.

If the eye continues to evolve, crucifixes and holy water won’t be enough; I think we’ll need an exorcist. The only problem is, they all know of Catorze and none of them are prepared to come here, especially during the time of year when his evil powers are in ascendancy …

Cat without a face … although he has an eye on his body so it doesn’t really matter.

Une demeure d’or et de pluie

Cat Daddy: “Where’s that cat when we need him?”

Autumn is coming, and Le Roi is getting fat. Well, not FAT fat, and certainly not as fat as the squirrel above, but he has an especially meaty, furry look about him. He has never been a cat who chubbed up much during the colder months but, maybe, now that he’s a senior gentleman*, he has decided to start.

*Cat Daddy: “He’s a manky old man.” I refrained from mentioning that, if we convert human years to cat years, Catorze is only a year older than him.

Who ate all the Orijen?

The little sod seems not to realise it’s the day of the autumn equinox, and is still firmly in summer mode. He’s constantly out. And not only does he conduct ICB to the east of us, in the direction of where Twiggy the greyhound lives, but he has also been heading westwards to Blue the Smoke Bengal’s place. Sometimes Blue’s mamma chats to him, and he chats back.

As summer gives way to autumn, Catorze continues to live his best life. Here he is, enjoying one of the last few September sunsets from Blue’s shed roof:

Happy Roi.

Les merveilles de la cire

On Monday morning, the beautician came over for a mammoth waxing session. Not the most seemly activity for a day of sombre reflection, perhaps, but quite enough people have lost money due to events being cancelled (bar staff and so on). Monday is the beautician’s day off and our appointments are always on a Monday so, provided she was happy to do battle with the transport, I was happy for her to come.

She was due to arrive at 9:30am. However, because of the travel disruption caused by the funeral, she was forty minutes late. And, as bad luck would have it, she happened to finish waxing my legs and begin on, erm, other areas just as the service started. Had everything run on time, she would have finished and been out of the door well before this point.

Obviously I wasn’t watching the service in the same room; that would have been weird. But I could hear the strains of dour choral music drifting in from the attic bedroom, where Cat Daddy was watching. And it was still weird.

Just as I thought it couldn’t be more awkward, Louis Catorze rocked up. However excruciating a situation, he can always be relied upon to make it worse. I had taken the precaution of closing the door, for fear of this very thing happening. However the beautician, upon hearing him screaming, was excited to see him. So she let him in, and I was too slow to stop her.

“Hello, Lewis!” she said. Catorze mwahhed back. He then jumped onto the bed to oversee the proceedings.

So there I was, on a day of national mourning, having hot wax slapped onto very delicate areas with funeral music accompaniment, whilst a screaming cat watched. Saint Jésus.

After a few minutes, Catorze went upstairs to pester Cat Daddy, jumping onto the bed and pointing his rear end at the funeral cortège on the television screen. Yes, Cat Daddy did take pictures. No, I won’t be sharing them here, despite Cat Daddy daring me to do so.

I am prepared to show this, though: a still from the video that I took for my friend to demonstrate Catorze’s shocking timing, and you will see him utterly entranced by the magic that is the bikini wax. I know. So much wrong in one picture but, trust me, it could be far worse:

Yes, that’s my foot sticking out.

Dans des moments comme ceux-ci

This fine gentleman is Mr Fu:

How do you do, Mr Fu.?

He is friends with Louis Catorze’s frère-from-another-mère, Antoine, and Antoine’s usurper stepbrother, Boots.

Well, I say “friends” but, in actual fact, they’re only friends in the same way that Catorze is friends with Cocoa the babysit cat and his sister, Chanel. It’s the humans who are friends. The cats have never met and I’m pretty sure that, if they did, there would be carnage and bloodshed. But it’s nice to pretend, non?

Most places in England, including vet practices, are closed today for the Queen’s funeral. (No doubt the corgis asked for this; I bet they’re overjoyed that their most hated place in the world is closed.) So, naturellement, Mr Fu thought this would be a good time to go out scrapping and end up with a fight wound that required medical treatment. A lump appeared on his head on Saturday afternoon and had deteriorated by the evening but, luckily, by that time, his humans had managed to bag one of the last available slots on Sunday.

One prescription (Metacam and antibiotics) and one bill later, Mr Fu is doing fine. Pulling a stunt like this when the whole country is closed for the long weekend is beyond evil, yet also utterly typical of cats and what they do. I bet the little sod had been planning this for months.

I wish there were an option for those of us with, erm, untrustworthy cats, which allowed us to book vet appointments for inconvenient times and cancel at the last minute in the unlikely event of the cats behaving themselves. It’s my birthday next month and the whole family are coming over for lunch, and I am giving serious consideration to booking such an appointment for Catorze. He doesn’t need the vet (at the moment). But it would be just like him to do something stupid on that day, leaving us scrabbling around for the last remaining appointment right in the middle of our main course. And, if you don’t believe Catorze would stoop that low, have a look here.

So … do I book the appointment, with the fear that I might forget to cancel 24 hours beforehand and end up being charged and/or blacklisted as an infidel no-show? Or do I leave it and risk Catorze crawling in from the Zone Libre, bleeding from the eyeballs, drooling black vomit and dragging his lifeless back legs behind him, just as we are all leaving for the pub?

I suspect that whatever we do will end up being the wrong thing. Bastard cats.

Antoine: “Stupid humans!”
Boots: “Pathetic humans!”
Catorze: “Whatever. Couldn’t really give a merde.”

L’œil maudit

Nooooooo. Oh. Mon. Dieu.

Wouldn’t you just know it: after the fur initially grew back to the point of almost being normal again, Louis Catorze’s evil eye bald patch is now returning. Just in time for the spooky season.

Black (white?) hole.

At the moment it just looks like a hole. But, no doubt, it will mutate and evolve during the next few weeks, drawing strength from the unseen dark forces of the season. And, by the time Hallowe’en arrives it will be a fully formed eye, following me creepily around the room even when Catorze is asleep.

I am not rushing him to the vet just yet because, at the moment, it doesn’t seem to be bothering the little sod. I hope it won’t get worse, though. The next month is such a busy one for me, and I really could do without having to daub medication onto a cat who doesn’t want to be daubed.

Please send thoughts and prayers. Please also send crucifixes and holy water, if you have them.

Qui Zoom qui?

Cat Daddy has just had a Zoom call with his fellow volunteers at the food bank. It has been a while since lockdown, so we had forgotten what a pain in the arse Louis Catorze is during Zoom calls.

Unfortunately, Catorze had not forgotten.

I was having dinner in the kitchen when I received a frantic WhatsApp SOS from Cat Daddy; saying, “Can you please remove him?” I tiptoed into the front room to find Catorze kneading the blanket next to Cat Daddy, rear end pointing at the laptop, screaming, whilst Cat Daddy desperately tried to Act Normal.

I scooped up Catorze, took him away and shut the door. I then went back to my dinner and, the moment I sat down, Catorze started to scream outside the closed door, wanting to go back to his papa. (Hopefully this will answer any questions about why we don’t shut him out of our bedroom at night.)

Him: “Mwah!”

Me, from the kitchen: “Shush!”

Him: “Mwahhhh!”

Me: “Shush!”

Him: “MWAHHHHHHHHHHH!”

After a few minutes of this, I couldn’t stand it any longer. The little sod was refusing to follow me to another part – LITERALLY ANY PART – of the house, and clearly had no intention of shutting up. I didn’t know what else to do, so I scooped him up again and kicked him out at The Front so that I could eat, and Cat Daddy could talk, in peace.

I know, I know: putting a manic cat out at The Front unsupervised, during Mercury Retrograde (yes, it’s here again), is asking for trouble. But it would only be for a short while, until the end of the call. Hopefully Catorze would tire of being a nuisance and would settle down outside and watch the world go by, as he has on many occasions.

The next WhatsApp SOS messages from Cat Daddy were as follows (just the photos, no words):

Oh dear God.
OH DEAR GOD.

I opened the front door and called Catorze in, but he wasn’t having any of it. And I certainly wasn’t about to scramble around among gravel and plants trying to catch a cat who didn’t want to be caught. So I went back to my dinner.

Cat Daddy later emerged from the front room, cradling his boy in his arms. Apparently Catorze hadn’t left the window the whole time, and had screamed and screamed all the way through the call. And, somehow, it’s all my fault. Oh yes, the boys have bonded over this: Catorze is pretending to be traumatised by his experience at The Front and, like a massive sucker, Cat Daddy is falling for it.

Oh and, after the call came to an end, Catorze was happy to follow my instructions and come with me to wherever I wanted.

The next time Cat Daddy has a Zoom call, he’s on his own. In fact, I’m tempted to fling Catorze in like a grenade, lock the door and leave them to it.

Traverser la tempête

We had a storm a couple of nights ago. I know this not because I heard the rain, but because Louis Catorze woke me at hourly intervals, absolutely drenched, to roll the water off onto the bed, before going back outside to soak up more water and repeat the whole process.

I used to joke about Catorze being like Lieutenant Dan from Forrest Gump (younger followers: ask your parents) during storms, although this was just for dramatic effect and I have never seen him behave in such a way. I have only ever witnessed him excitedly running outside upon hearing the rain, then sitting calmly in a sheltered spot and listening. (That said, his rodent kills often take place during storms, so he must have a touch of the unhinged about him.)

However, Cat Daddy has just told me that, during the most recent storm, he’d heard Catorze howling outside. Not screaming or whining, but that full-on, guttural cat fight sound. As far as he was aware, it was just one cat’s voice. So either evil Catorze had intimidated the other cat into silence (a bit mean) or he was howling on his own (just plain bizarre).

Me, hopefully: “Could it have been … some other cat?”

Cat Daddy, falteringly: “Well … I suppose I didn’t SEE a cat, so … y’know …”

Sigh. There was no point in trying to kid ourselves. It was him.

Oscar Wilde was right all along:

“At first art imitates life.” Yes, although calling Le Blog “art” is a bit of a reach.

“Then life will imitate art.” This is where we are at the moment.

“Then life will find its very existence from the arts.” I don’t know what this means, but this is the part that scares me the most; the thought of all life starting and ending with Catorze is the exact opposite of what we want/need as a society.

I don’t have photographic evidence of him goading the storm gods, because I have no wish to go out in the rain at 2am with my phone. However, here is a picture of him being all cute and playful with his papa, which shows what a liar and a faker he is:

Nice try, but we don’t believe you.

Le spectacle doit continuer

It was a full moon last night, as well as the start of Mercury Retrograde. And the chaos began in the morning, with an enormous rabbit lolloping through the Zone Libre and Louis Catorze, despite being half its size, trying his luck anyway. The goldfinches at the feeder did not approve of this one bit and screeched up a storm, destroying the neighbours’ hopes for a peaceful start to their weekend. Sorry, people of TW8.

Cat Daddy and I were supposed to have gone to Southampton yesterday, with Puppy Daddy and Cocoa the babysit cat’s daddy, for the football. However, all Premier League matches have been called off in light of recent events in the U.K. – or, rather, ONE in particular. Cat Daddy is the most disappointed of us all and, to prove this, bought two cases of Louis Jadot from Majestic Wine on Friday. I daren’t look to see how many bottles are left.

The one fragment of silver lining is that Catorze is thoroughly enjoying Cat Daddy being home. Whilst other events have been cancelled, It’s business as usual as far as Boys’ Club is concerned. The little sod has been pitter-pattering from Storm Watch to his papa’s lap and back again, stopping only to sip occasionally from his outdoor bar. I had spent the last week wondering why on earth he hadn’t been drinking any water from his glass and debating whether or not a vet visit were required when, in fact, there is nothing wrong with him and he’s just been doing this:

If you knew what our river water was like, you’d do the same.

Here at Le Château everything is as harmonious as ever – well, as harmonious as it can be when one is living with a demon cat who wants to devour our souls – but, the instant we step out into the world, it all feels rather odd. Nobody quite knows what to do or say, especially us non-royalists who aren’t feeling the pain and the grief but also don’t want to be rude. So we just nod sagely when anyone says anything about the Queen. It’s very strange hearing people refer to “the King”, though. For the last eight years, the only king we have known has been our little Sun King.

Here is Catorze, pictured during Storm Watch and right after the Zoom call with Cat Daddy’s boozy pub mates. His glare in the first photo is to remind us that he is the only king we need:

“You will bow down to MOI.”
Just catching up with les gars.

And, if he had to choose a queen to rule alongside him, it would be this one:

Picture from boredpanda.com.

Des affaires importantes

The Queen is no longer with us. However, it’s the same old nonsense here at Le Château as far as the King is concerned.

Cat Daddy and I went out the other day, at around 4:30pm, with the intention of feeding Louis Catorze before leaving. But we completely forgot.

The little sod was sound asleep on the outdoor sofa when we left the house and, when he’s not annoying us, it’s actually quite easy to forget to feed him. We only remembered when we were at the pub and tucking into our own meal but, of course, by then, it was too late to do anything about it.

As we journeyed back from our evening out, we chuckled wryly at the prospect of being greeted by an indignant, screaming cat. However, we opened the door to silence and emptiness. Cat Daddy went outside to look for Catorze but there was no sign of him.

This was very unusual, especially as he hadn’t been fed. We were convinced that he would show up soon, bellowing at us for neglecting our duties, but he didn’t. When he still hadn’t returned in the time it had taken us to make some tea, I went out with my torch and searched the garden.

Once again, he was nowhere to be found. Even Cat Daddy had started to worry by this point, and he feared that a red kite, whom he has seen hovering around lately, had managed to have Catorze as an amuse-bouche. As for me, I went to bed mentally planning Catorze’s WANTED poster and feeling a bit sick.

I woke up the next morning, a few minutes before my alarm, to an outraged Catorze, and a message on my phone from Cat Daddy, sent at 00:03, saying that the little sod had just rolled in. I have since found out that, upon finally making an appearance, he scoffed down three scoops of Orijen (his allowance for the WHOLE DAY), sat purring on Cat Daddy’s lap for ten minutes and then went back out “on high alert, as if something were still outside”.

So he wasn’t hungry. And the screaming, the wide-eyes and the circling of his empty bowl like a hungry great white shark, were all lies.

Whatever ICB it was, so pressing that he disappeared all evening and only managed ten minutes of Boys’ Club, appears to be ongoing. Here he is, off again:

En route to Twiggy the greyhound’s place.

The Queen is dead; long live the King.

La limace (Partie 2)

Oh. Mon. Dieu. There is a huge orange slug on our garden path, all mangled and mashed with its innards leaking out. And Louis Catorze has licked it.

We have no idea how it came to be in such a state. Cat Daddy accused me of stepping on it, but I know I didn’t: the soles of my shoes are free from slug juice and, more importantly, there’s no way I would fail to see a huge orange slug. His shoes are also dry (Cat Daddy’s, I mean, not the slug’s). And, curiously, there are no juicy footprints leading away from the oozing corpse. But we can be certain that Catorze licked it. I saw him with my own eyes.

Yes, we have Googled “Is slug juice toxic to cats?” And, yes, we now wish we hadn’t. The worst thing is that we can’t trust Catorze not to do it again, since he has previous when it comes to undesirable encounters with slugs and a general propensity for doing exactly the opposite of what we want.

Meanwhile, the little sod is happily pitter-pattering around, appearing to be perfectly well. If he’s about to drop dead from slug juice poisoning, he doesn’t know (or care).

We know where that tongue has been.

Les banderoles royales

I am very disappointed to report that my alternative “God save the king” royal bunting didn’t work out.

Alas, despite paying a premium for express delivery so that it would make Le Château the talk of the street during the jubilee, it didn’t arrive on time. When it did arrive, three days late, we weren’t home (because, obviously, we hadn’t planned for it to arrive on that day) and so we had to make the perilous, Dariénesque journey to the sorting office in Hounslow to collect it.

When we collected it, Catorze’s face looked like this:

What the hell?

And, when they reworked it and – eventually, three weeks later, after some quite odd emails from them which read as if written by a semi-literate bot – sent me a digital proof to approve, it looked like this:

WHAT THE HELL?

Is it THAT difficult for someone to centre a picture? Well, ok, obviously it is.

At that point I told them not to bother, so I asked for a full refund, and they happily obliged. Yes, happily. They seemed quite chipper about the fact that they’d given me shambolic service and a shambolic product.

It’s such a shame as it would have been perfect not only for the jubilee but also for today, which is the birthday of the human Louis XIV. But, luckily, the little sod wouldn’t know whether or not we put up bunting and, if he did, he wouldn’t care.

This was what I originally had in mind when I started my search for jubilee bunting:

Hilariously, in the run-up to the jubilee these were all sold out.

And somehow I feel that, even at the height of their naughtiness, the Sex Pistols (younger followers: ask your grandparents’ cooler friends) would have been less troublesome than Le Roi.

Typical noblesse, sitting on their thrones and living a life of luxury whilst we peasants languish.