La belle et la bête

I don’t often feature other cats in Le Blog – mainly due to the fact that Louis Catorze doesn’t have any friends – but I couldn’t resist a picture of Bella, who lives in Cat Granny’s residential care home. 

We have visited Cat Granny there many times, and I have often said that the one thing the place needed was a cat. Then, suddenly, Bella was there. She is an absolutely delightful addition the home, happily sitting on residents’ laps for cuddles and slow-blinking at people passing by. And the place is big enough so that, should she want time to herself, she can just slip off and have a nap on a chair (as she was doing here when I interrupted her for a photo): 

BEEFFA2A-18BF-41F1-9221-16CA66CA122E

Cat Daddy and I wondered whether Sa Majesté could become one of those officially certified therapy cats who tour hospitals and residential care homes to cheer up sick and/or old people. Cat Daddy remarked that he was “most definitely certifiable”, which means that he agrees, right? In reality, however, because Catorze is such a little sod, I think he would end up being whatever the opposite of a therapy cat is, i.e. people who were fine before meeting him would need therapy afterwards.

That said, he is bold, friendly and great with new people, and the fact that many elderly people are hard of hearing would mean that nobody would care that much about his screaming. Dialling down the volume on the hearing aid would bring instant peace, something for which we at Le Château desperately yearn at times. 

Cat Daddy said we didn’t do enough to support elderly people’s charities and suggested that we make a donation.

Me: “That’s a lovely idea. How much do you want to donate?”

Cat Daddy: “About 3kg of pointless black fur?”

(He was only joking. And, to make up for his unkindness, we have made a donation to the Mayhew, whose therapy animals – unlike Catorze – make people feel better.)

La vieillesse est un art

95BD035A-D0A0-4915-BC4B-5EDF08345C06

You know when people of a certain age raise their eyebrows at anyone who was born after 1989, and wonder how on earth these babies manage to crawl about the planet on their own? Well, it’s exactly the same with cats. When people post pictures online of their cats aged 1 or 2, I think, “Where did all these YOUNG kitties come from?” And it makes me realise that Louis Catorze is no poulet de l’année.

Sa Majesté is 8 today. Even my mum thought he was only celebrating his 6th birthday. People can scarcely believe the truth because of his diminutive stature and baby face; he is a real-life, feline version of Dorian Gray (well, minus the “romancing the ladies” bit), whose youthful, kittenish looks belie his excessive past of syringes, pills and party powder. 

Bon anniversaire, little sod. We love you beyond words.

Louis Catorze doesn’t know it yet, but he will be donating his birthday treat money – including the kind gift from my mum – to Lilly’s Legacy, a voluntary rescue run by one of his favourite people in the world. If you would like to donate to them, too, you can do so here: 

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/annie-perkins

La princesse irlandaise

We returned from our holiday a few days ago to a still-standing Château and – thanks to the love and care of our French friend and Oscar the dog’s folks – a shiny, shouty Louis Catorze. It seems that he was a very good boy during our absence. Apart from an intermittent cramp/limping scare, which will need further investigation, and an uninvited wander into Dog Daddy’s man-cave – clearly if Boys’ Club cannot come to Catorze, then Catorze will seek out Boys’ Club – the two weeks passed without major incident.

Cat ladies are never off duty, not even when they are on holiday, and no holiday would be complete without a (potential) cat intervention. Meet Bri:

Her name sounds like the cheese but, in fact, we named her after Brigid, Ireland’s patron goddess. This sweet, ageless girl, with a meow like a squeaky bicycle wheel, was our companion during our 3 days at the eco-glampsite in County Mayo. I say “ageless” because she was very kittenish in size and demeanour, yet something tells me that such fur colouring – an all-black head with a mottled body – comes from black fur that has changed over time, rather than being true tortoiseshell.

After ascertaining that Bri didn’t have a family – our nearest neighbours were all farming people who tend to see stray cats as vermin – I contacted a local rescue and sent them a picture of her. Sadly we weren’t able to find a suitable transportation pod, catch her and deliver her to the rescue’s designated vet, all within limited bank holiday opening times, but plans are now in place for the rescue to set a trap soon. I have given them the contact details of the site owner and recommended the best place for laying the trap, and I hope beyond hope that we have good news soon.

I wish we could have done more for Bri during our stay, but one thing that I am really, really glad we did was to give her a spot-on flea treatment. (I am not in the habit of carrying flea treatment in my handbag, as my crazy catness has not quite elevated to such a level as yet, but I was lucky enough to find some in the one shop that was open on a bank holiday Sunday.) Dear little Bri sat perfectly still for me and purred all the way through, as if knowing I meant well – and, yes, I am aware of the irony of a feral cat behaving impeccably for flea treatment when my own little sod first tries to kill me, then rolls the liquid off onto all our soft furnishings and clean laundry. Minutes later, a visible cloud of fleas rose from her body, which was satisfying and horrifying in equal measure. Hopefully they will stay away and give her some relief.

I have been asked a few times whether we would have brought Bri back home with us. Believe me, we wanted to – although Cat Daddy’s condition was that we took her instead of Catorze, not as well as – but it’s not quite as simple as, “See a stray cat, put it in your bag and go home.” Cat Daddy and I tend to regard cats in the same way that we regard fruit and vegetables: best sourced locally. I have mixed feelings about subjecting Bri to a long journey to London when there must be plenty of people in Ireland who would be thrilled to have her. Also, I am not convinced that she would have made a good urban cat: as well as having zero fear of cars – she happily rolled around under ours, even with the engine running – she seemed very content in a rural environment. I think she needs somewhere just like her current place but with a regular person feeding, flea-treating and worming her and not leaving her to the mercy of the elements during the low season.

Nothing would give me more joy than to post here in a few weeks’ time, announcing that Bri has a new home. In the meantime, if you would like to help other cats like her, please support Mayo Animal Welfare, who have quite a task on their hands in terms of changing attitudes to neutering, microchipping and suchlike. You can donate to them here:

https://fundrazr.com/euyT0?fb_ref=share__c5K3Zd

 

Le Roi est reconnaissant: vive Le Roi!

I am constantly in humble awe of the wonderful people who contact me to offer advice on Louis Catorze and his condition. Some people have even been generous enough to send him get-well gifts, and he has received some lovely things in the post recently.

It has been especially appreciated at this time; he seems to have turned a corner now, but I have had some dark moments over the last couple of months during which I have wondered whether my boy were truly having any quality of life, being drugged to the point of appearing dead. I am thrilled to say that he is almost back to his “normal” self now.

We are very grateful to all his supporters, but today we would like to thank the following people in particular:

– Sally and Steve, for PERSONALLY delivering a toy, some organic catnip and a new supply of party powder (because Sa Majesté won’t eat the Nutracalm that the vet recommended)
– Tally, for sending not 1 but 2 Cônes for him and a magnificent French cat poetry book to cheer me up
– Tony Green, for the distance reiki sessions that have given Catorze – and us – some decent nights’ sleep
– Kate, for organising the reiki sessions
– Alissa, for the mysterious gift that is on its way
– Marc from Katzenworld*, who sent Catorze a valerian cushion (which has made him go even MORE glassy-eyed and psycho – see photo – but it takes his mind off the tail) and a whizzy new Cône with a front bit that detaches for eating and drinking

img_8537

*Marc’s fabulous site is well worth a visit: http://www.katzenworld.co.uk

Thank you also to those of you who have kindly offered donations to help with Le Roi’s medical treatment. As you may be aware, he is not insured because he came with such a long list of pre-existing conditions that we didn’t feel it worthwhile, hence Le Royal Sick Fund.

Whilst we are very grateful for the offers, we shan’t accept, mainly because Cat Daddy and I knew what we were getting ourselves into with Louis Catorze. (The 80-page medical record and repeated disclaimers and warnings from the rescue gave us a clue!) Le Royal Sick Fund should be enough to keep us going for the foreseeable future, especially as we now know what’s up with him and therefore no longer need the eye-wateringly expensive MRI scan.

If you still wish to donate on behalf of Louis Catorze, THANK YOU, but please don’t give to us personally. Below are three worthy organisations that would very much appreciate the help:

– Lilly’s Legacy, an organisation which rescues abandoned and stray kitties; their PayPal account name is lillyslegacy@hotmail.com
– Project PI, set up by a South African vet to treat cats with immune disorders; their PayPal account name is admin@easternvet.co.za
– The Mayhew Animal Home, who spared no expense in treating the little sod; you can donate to them at https://themayhew.org/donate/make-a-one-off-donation/

Le Roi progresse: vive Le Roi!

Louis Catorze had his follow-up with the vet on Friday, and she was pleased to see that he has stopped attacking his tail. The tenderness and scabs have gone, and the tail is only looking moderately freakish now.

We are to keep up with the Gabapentin for at least a couple more months – he’s been on 5 pills a day for a week or so, as 4 didn’t quite seem to be keeping the tail-chasing under control – and part of the “aggressive treatment” stipulated by the specialist includes continuing the steroid shots alongside the pills, so Louis Catorze had one of those, too. It seems that a “more is more” approach is preferable and that, if in doubt, we’re to be heavy-handed with the treatment; if symptoms creep back, there is apparently a chance that the sensitivity could spread to other parts of the tail and even up the spine. And we definitely don’t want that.

Because Le Roi has been such a good boy without Le Cône – we even got away with it one day when he gave us both the slip and was unCôned and on the rampage for 12 whole hours – he is now allowed to be without it when we’re with him. But, the minute he’s unsupervised, it’s back on. I have been chided by people in the past for Côning him, on the grounds that it stresses him out, but … Cône stress or a chewed, bleeding tail? Had you seen the latter (photo too ugly to post here) or heard his pitiful cries of pain, believe me, you would choose Le Cône, too.

Although the appointment went well, we came away with one piece of sad news: the vet is leaving the practice to do voluntary work (probably with nicer and more grateful animals) in the Caribbean and to travel around Central America. She has lots of great colleagues who have been wonderful to Louis Catorze, but she knows him best and was our favourite. We have a couple of weeks to plan a leaving present for her; Cat Daddy suggested slipping Catorze into her backpack as a surprise (“There will barely be any extra weight”), but I was thinking more along the lines of some Sun King merchandise. Nothing says “Au revoir et bonne chance” quite like a t-shirt or sweatshirt bearing his face, as a reminder of the yowls, hisses and kicks that the poor vet has endured at the paws of her patient préféré.

The only question now is which of my 1,423 Roi photos to choose. I rather like this one:

img_5232

On a 1 an!

image

Le Blog is a year old today: bon anniversaire à nous! And what better birthday gift than to reach the landmark figure of 100 followers?

Although it may look as if we snared most of them by beaming Le Roi’s sinister face to an unsuspecting theatre audience & creepily commanding them to follow him, in actual fact this picture of him was part of some local school kids’ animal welfare community project. The 100 followers are thanks to all of you lovely people for spreading the word of the Sun King.

Not only is this great news for Louis Catorze’s favourite animal charities – one of whom featured in the kids’ project – as he will double the donation that he made to them on his birthday, but it’s also great news for the little sod himself, as every new reader means he is potentially another step closer to finding a cure for his problems.

MERCI to everyone who has read, signed up or shared: it really does mean a lot to us, and having 100 followers is beyond our wildest dreams. Now, dare we hope for 200? Could there possibly be another 100 people out there who might enjoy reading about a spoilt, itchy French cat who doesn’t do much?

Partageons!

I was looking back through Le Blog yesterday morning and remembering when I started it; I had asked my brother-in-law, a journalist, for advice, worried that I would run out of ideas after a few weeks or months. His reply was, “If you do, that’s a sign that you chose the wrong subject matter.” Another friend later added, “The day you stop writing will be the day Louis stops doing stupid shit. So you should be fine for some time.” Thanks.

This is the third and longest-standing blog I’ve written; the first one fell by the wayside because I just got bored, and I had to stop the second one because l gave away lots of secrets and gossip about my then-workplace, and I would have been fired had anyone from work found out about it. I am still staggered that a plain black cat who doesn’t do a lot has inspired me to write so much over 6 months, and that he has attracted so many followers in various parts of the world. The new year got me thinking about the long-term future of Le Blog and where I wanted it to go, and I wondered this aloud to Cat Daddy. “He’s such an inspirational cat that the prospects are limitless,” said Cat Daddy. “His teachings are so profound and life-enriching; in fact, I see him rather like Gandhi, don’t you?”

“Are you, by any chance, being sarcastic?” I asked.

“We could get your blog made into a BBC drama series, with a spin-off website selling Louis Catorze merchandise,” he continued. “Imagine celebrities wearing “Je gratte, donc je suis” T-shirts. Imagine Louis Catorze on Piers Morgan’s TV show. The world needs to know about this amazing French cat!”

Yup. Sarcastic.

In actual fact, my only wishes for Le Blog have been to help other cats with a similar condition, to provide support to their human slaves, and, maybe one day, to have some medical whizz-person read what I’ve written and contact me with a cure for Louis Catorze. So I felt very hopeful yesterday when 2 people messaged me, saying, “My cat has those symptoms too.” An exchange of photos seemed to confirm this (see below for how the little sod looked this time last  year):

It’s very early days but I’m going to encourage them to follow Le Blog and hope that one of us will soon happen upon a solution that will help the others. I’m also going to shamelessly request that all of Louis Catorze’s followers please share, share, share Le Blog with vets, rescue centres, cat breeders, animal charities, anyone who cares, really. Share until people are sick of you and beg you to stop. You just never know when the right person will get in touch and utter the magic words, “My cat had the same condition and, after trying Magical Elixir X, is now completely fine.”