Vive les vacances

Cat Daddy and I have just returned from a few days away and, as you can see from this plaque on the cottage next door, we didn’t need to go looking for French cats: they found us. And we weren’t even holidaying in France!

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People often ask us how we manage holidays with all the attention that Louis Catorze needs. The short answer used to be: by not going away, ever. It simply wasn’t practical to do so during his tail-munching days, not only because we would have been worried about him but also because we couldn’t unleash a manic, yowling, self-harming kitty onto any of our friends or neighbours, nor any cattery.

It has, very occasionally, crossed our minds to take him away with us. But then we consult The Checklist – of which you really need a full house of affirmative answers before you can consider taking your cat on holiday – and we are reminded of what a stupid idea it would be:

– Is your cat good with long journeys?
– Is your cat good with new places?
– Can your cat be trusted to behave, stick close by and not pitter-patter off into oncoming traffic, dark forests or raging seas?
– If you’re going rural, is your cat large enough not to be picked off by a marauding bird of prey? (Cue hysterical laughter from Cat Daddy at the thought of a floppy Catorze dangling undignifiedly from the talons of a huge buzzard, his indignant meows ringing out through the skies.)

Anyway, c’est un grand NON DE PARTOUT for The Checklist. So no mini-breaks for Le Roi.

Because we have now found a fairly foolproof way of getting the Gabapentin into Louis Catorze, we can ask pretty much anyone to come in and feed him in our absence, knowing that no Greco-Romaning is required. And we are lucky enough to have heaps of kind and obliging neighbours, including Cocoa the babysit cat’s folks, Oscar the dog’s folks and, if we can ever muster up the courage to face her again, maybe even the lady who found Louis Catorze screaming in the street the other day.

We are also very lucky that Louis Catorze is happy to see us when we return, whether we’ve been away for a few hours or a few days. I frequently hear horror stories of cats expressing their displeasure at being left, with tactics ranging from passive-aggressive sulking to plain offensive peeing/pooing/puking on things, but we have never experienced anything of the sort from the Sun King. When we arrive home he happily greets us, all shouty and up-tailed and, within minutes, he is flat out on Cat Daddy’s lap. What an easy-going, accepting little boy he is.

Cat Daddy: “He’s not easy-going or accepting: he’s thick. He doesn’t even remember we’ve been away because his brain can only store 3 facts at a time. If you wanted him to remember we’d been away AND plan an act of revenge, you’d have to remove 2 facts first.”

Le personnel domestique est de retour

Cat Daddy and I have been away for a few days; this was our first mini-holiday in years, due in part to my inconsistent health but also to the fact that Louis Catorze used to require medication every other day, and we didn’t think it fair to make a neighbour or a cat sitter do battle with him. We returned home on Friday to a strikingly glossy, healthy-looking Roi who was delighted to see his daddy again. (Me, not so much.)

Oscar the dog’s folks looked after him magnificently well in our absence, and we are super-grateful to them. (They came here to feed him, obviously; he didn’t go and live with them, although part of me thinks it would have been funny to try it.) Not only were we able to go away with peace of mind, knowing that the little sod would be loved, but their kindness also meant I didn’t have to write the embarrassing advert: “Wanted: cat sitter for tiny black cat with annoying voice that could strip paint. Must be prepared to referee turf wars with dogs and dispose of rats, birds, slugs and other assorted wildlife, living, dead or somewhere between the two.”

As you can see, normal service has very much resumed, with both daddy-love and newspaper impingement in progress. And Cat Daddy has come up with a solution to the newspaper problem: take advantage of the lack of binding or staples in a newspaper and separate it as soon as you see the cat approaching. Just make sure you end up with the decent half, and that the cat sits on the boring property bit.

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