Un fromage gras nourrit bien des vers

I am very upset, because I have consumed food from a plate that was licked by Louis Catorze. And, yes, I am fully aware that cats lick their arses. That’s why I am upset.

Ordinarily I would die a thousand deaths before anything licked by a cat touched my mouth. But, on this occasion, I just … FORGOT. I know. It’s embarrassing and pathetic.

I had settled down in the living room with a plate of Woodlands Melbury ewe’s milk cheese, and Catorze was on my lap. After I had finished the cheese, very unusually the little sod went to my plate and licked it from one side to the other, cleaning it of every microscopic crumb. Yes, I know that I only posted a few days ago to say that he didn’t really like cheese other than organic aged Comté. Now, it seems that either he has changed his mind, or the weird space-time fabric warp that took place last Friday is still in effect.

Anyway, after finishing my cheese, I wanted something sweet but couldn’t fetch it myself because I was trapped under Catorze, so I texted Cat Daddy and asked him to bring me some coconut. He brought me a big chunk on a chopping board, with a knife, and obviously I should have cut it up on the chopping board and eaten the bits from there. But I didn’t. I put the bits on the plate, and I only remembered the painful truth about the plate when I had eaten all the pieces but one.

Naturellement I have Googled “Will eating cat saliva kill me?” and it seems that it’s only life-threatening if it enters the blood stream, but the idea of it is so gut-wrenchingly vile that I would actually rather choose death. But I want a quick death. I don’t want the slow one that would come from worms eating me from my mouth downwards. (I am convinced that I can feel cat arse tapeworms slithering around in my mouth, in the same way that, if you talk at length about ants or fleas, eventually you’re sure that your skin is alive with them.)

So here I am, waiting to die. And Catorze is by my side, urging me to hurry up so that he can have Cat Daddy all to himself.

“Merde, she’s still alive.”

Le chat de la fromagerie

Cat Daddy took this picture when he was at the Westcombe Cheddar dairy not long ago.

I would also look this smug if I lived in a dairy.

Now, for most normal cats, living in a place where they make cheese must be the most wonderful thing on earth. I know that dairy isn’t great for cats but, if your cat is generally healthy, I don’t think the occasional sliver does them any harm. And, let’s face it, they will bug us for it whether it’s good for them or not.

However, Louis Catorze has ridiculously stringent standards when it comes to human food, and most cheese doesn’t interest him in the slightest. In many ways this makes our lives easier as we can leave anything lying around and trust him not to eat it. However, it can make bribery very difficult as he won’t accept just any old thing as a pill conduit … and you can be sure that, if he takes to something for a short while, he will inexplicably stop.

Here is a summary of his OUI list:

⁃ Organic aged Comté

⁃ Jambon de Bayonne

⁃ Jamón Ibérico

⁃ Pâté de Bruxelles (although not for long; he soon tires of this)

⁃ Tuna rillettes (ditto)

⁃ Medium-rare fillet steak

And his NON list:

⁃ Cheddar

⁃ Jambon de campagne

⁃ Jamón Serrano

⁃ Any type of pâté or pâté-like product not mentioned abve

⁃ Well-done fillet steak (although I can’t blame him on this one)

I think Catorze would be a very useful dairy employee; he would never attempt to steal the product, plus he has a built-in anti-contaminant alarm due to his skill of bird-chattering at impinging bugs. That said, it will be a cold day in hell before he WORKS for a living.

“Je ne veux pas travailler.”

Le cheval de Troie (Partie 2)

I had my second vaccine a couple of days ago and have been hovering between life and death ever since. (Cat Daddy’s Helpful Comment of the Day: “Just think positive.”) Although the unpleasantness is less severe than that of my first vaccine, it is certainly longer-lasting. Louis Catorze’s response has been to mostly ignore me during the day but to be an utter pest at night, leaping all over me, screaming and whining. In fact, he is probably why the pain is so enduring, but that’s just what he does.

The disappointment continues: a week after tapering him off his pills, he was scratching again and the skin around his eyes started to swell and split. I cannot express how disheartening this is, given that the summer used to be his time of peak health. The one small positive in this situation is that, as ever, his mood is unaffected.

Having been through this many times, we know to deploy the pills as soon as we see the first signs. However, Catorze used to eat Pill Pockets with no problem, and now he doesn’t. We imagine that this is because he loves Orijen so much that he can no longer be bothered with the second best thing on his plate – and, to be fair, I understand where he’s coming from. Who wants moderately acceptable food when they can have great food?

So now we have had to resume our quest for a Trojan Horse-style pill conduit. This is our progress to date:

⁃ Jambon de Bayonne: has a very short shelf life and Catorze won’t eat it if it’s been frozen and thawed, so we are paying £3.99 per 70g for something of which he will only eat 10g

⁃ Organic aged Comté: can sometimes work if room temperature, but is rejected if straight from the fridge

⁃ Every other food known to humankind and catkind: rejected

I have had a few lucky strikes with the one weapon left in my arsenal – Reflets de France tuna rillettes – but, knowing Catorze, the moment that this goes live, he will have changed his mind about that, too.

Meanwhile, we are considering reverting back to the less-troublesome steroid injections. We are also slowly coming to terms with the fact that the little sod may have reached the point where he needs medication for life.

We can’t say they didn’t warn us.

Bit rough around the edges but still loving himself.

Les deux garçons

The males in this household are driving me round the bend.

A couple of nights ago they stayed up late for an extended Boys’ Club, which is a fairly common occurrence here at Le Château. But, when they finally came to bed at 6am (!), instead of slipping silently into the bedroom, they were irritating beyond belief.

It wouldn’t have been so bad had they both been irritating together, getting the irritation over and done with in one go, but it was one of them first (Cat Daddy stomping, talking nonsense and generally being a moron), then the other a little later (Louis Catorze bouncing all over me, purring and screaming). After 45 minutes of trying and failing to get back to sleep, I decided I might as well get up and do some work. At 6:45am. ON A SUNDAY.

Anyway, it turned out that Boys’ Club had not gone on until 6am; in actual fact Cat Daddy had tried to wrap up the session much earlier, but had “fallen asleep whilst switching off the lamp” (?). (The fact that he had consumed 3/4 of a bottle of Limoncello had nothing to do with this … or, rather, it did, but this was apparently my fault because I needed space in the freezer for something. The Limoncello therefore had to come out of the freezer in order to free up said space, forcing Cat Daddy, completely against his will, to drink it.) He had woken up several hours later on the sofa, with Catorze snuggled up beside him, and that was when the two of them decided to come to bed and cause mayhem.

By 3pm that day I was exhausted and so I went back to bed for a nap. Within 5 minutes Catorze was back, leaping all over me and hollering his guts out, and further into my nap I was awoken by Cat Daddy playing loud (and not even very good) music. So, for the second time in a day, the pair of them took several years off my life, and I am now wondering whether I should get out and take my chances with the virus and the beach-thronging stupids rather than put up with their idiotic shite.

Cat Daddy, referring to the 6am incident: “We were only trying to be affectionate and to give you love.”

Me: “…”

Cat Daddy: “Are you saying you don’t want us to be affectionate or to give you love?”

Me: “Not at 6am, no.”

Cat Daddy, in a bit of a huff: “Fine. We won’t do it EVER AGAIN.”

Me: “Good. I’d like that in writing, please.”

[Silence, tumbleweed, crickets]

Cat Daddy: “It was Louis’s idea, anyway.”

[Stonier silence, more tumbleweed, noisier crickets]

Here is the gruesome twosome, utterly unrepentant:

The pair of them can kiss right off.

La ténacité permet d’atteindre l’excellence

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This darned cat is going to be the death of me. Every morning and evening I am forced to crush up Lily’s Kitchen biscuits in my expensive John Lewis stone pestle and mortar and scatter the resulting gravelly, powdery mess over his Acana Pacifica. If I put them in whole, he cherry-picks only them and leaves the rest.

I should have waited a little longer before starting Phase Une. But the chances of Louis Catorze liking the new food better than his old one – given that he doesn’t really like any food at all, apart from the odd sliver of jambon de Bayonne or organic mountain Comté – were very slim indeed, so the odds really should have been in my favour. But the little sod went out of his way to make sure they weren’t. 

The time spent crushing is also starting to get to me. On Thursday morning, had I not stopped to do it, I would have caught the bus normally. Instead, I had to sprint undignifiedly for it like an idiot, coated in a fine dust of Lily’s Kitchen Fabulous Fish and probably smelling of it, too, falling over my own feet as I got on. This can never, ever happen again.

Cat Daddy: “For crying out loud. Just give him the new food! It’s not as if he’s coming off heroin.” 

No: food waste is food waste, whether it’s human food or cat food. Last week I even walked home from the pub with a little copper pot of coleslaw, because I was too full to eat it but didn’t want it thrown away. Cat Daddy ridiculed me beyond belief … then wanted to share some of the coleslaw for lunch the next day. (I agreed but charged him the pub price.)

I really, really want Le Roi to like the new food without wasting the old one. So I don’t suppose there’s much I can do, except quite literally keep my nose to the grindstone.

Le soir des rois, ou Ce que vous voudrez

Someone once told me, “Never eat anything bigger than your head” and, given that I have a head so fat that I can’t wear paper party hats without splitting them, I have been able to abide by this for most of my life without feeling that I am missing out.

Imagine, then, eating something bigger than your entire body. Considerably bigger, in fact. Louis Catorze had the opportunity to do exactly this when Cat Daddy bought a whole leg of jamón serrano for a ham and cheese night with friends. As you know, Catorze doesn’t really like food, but he won’t say non to some cured ham and, if it’s several times his own bodyweight, tant mieux.

Oui, Mesdames et Messieurs: nothing says “good hosting” quite like serving guests the same food that you gave to your cat to make him take his meds.

Cat Daddy: “It isn’t the same food that we gave to our cat to make him take his meds. We gave him the much higher-quality jambon de Bayonne.”

You’re welcome, les invités.

Anyway, unlike most cats, who hide from party guests or have to be shut away to minimise their own stress levels, Louis Catorze attended our gathering, even though he wasn’t invited. And, bien sûr, he conspicuously chose the boys’ corner of the room and mingled like a true socialite. It was like watching Hugh Hefner in the Playboy Mansion: spoilt for choice and not knowing what to do with himself.

And, yes, the little sod did get a few slivers of jamón, too.

Bonne année à tous!

L’état d’urgence

We have a Code Noir at Le Château: Louis Catorze has started refusing his ham-wrapped Trojan Horse pills. Either he has cottoned onto our trick or he is bored of cured ham and, either way, we are well and truly dans la merde because it means that every single dose is now a Greco-Roman one.

Whilst our Greco-Roman technique is improving greatly with all the practice we’re having, it’s still not very nice to have to do it. And, upsettingly, we can see the effect that the increased Greco-Romans are having on Catorze’s demeanour: he is skittish and nervous around us, and yesterday he didn’t even come and greet us when we came home from work, which he usually does without fail. He has also taken to hiding when we get up in the morning and missing that first dose of the day. This means that we sometimes have to give him TWO doses after work – one when we get home and one before bed – and that makes us all even more anxious and stressed.

Well-meaning fellow cat freaks often ask us, “Have you tried hiding the pills in tuna / anchovies / chicken / prawns / cheese / Dreamies / Pill Pockets / [insert name of other irresistible, pill-disguising treat]?” YES, to all of the above. Unfortunately, we are dealing with a cat who doesn’t like food and therefore cannot be incentivised by it; if we never fed him again, EVER, he wouldn’t really care.

I really, really hope he gets past this, otherwise we will have to deploy the big guns: the £21-per-100g Brindisa jamón ibérico de bellota. Qu’est-ce qu’on va devenir? Or, should I say: ¿Qué va y ser de nos?

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Le bouillon de dinde

Cat Granny gave me a cheese-making kit for Christmas, and this weekend I finally got around to using it. You wouldn’t believe how much milk is needed – 4.5 litres for a paltry 1kg of cheese – and the only vessel that was up to the job was our massive stock pot. Of course we couldn’t find it.

Cat Daddy and I hunted EVERYWHERE, with each of us accusing the other of having lent it to someone and not got it back. However, just as I was about to go out and buy another one, the realisation dawned that we had used it to boil up the turkey carcass after Christmas and had put it in the greenhouse as it wouldn’t fit in the fridge.

It was still in the greenhouse.

We trudged outside, fearful of what horrific life forms we would find inside the stock pot after 3 whole months of festering away, although, luckily, it was dark so we couldn’t see much. The idea was to drain off the liquid and then dispose of the solids in the food waste bin but, as Cat Daddy was draining it, the stock pot somehow slipped and the entire grim contents splurged all over the flower bed.

Naturellement, Louis Catorze – who had followed us, unseen, into the garden – decided to leap straight into the midst of the oily, mouldy, turkey-y mess and have a good old cavort around in it. Then, when we tried to grab him and fish him out, he pitter-pattered into the greenhouse where we couldn’t reach him, but where we were sure that the oily, mouldy, turkey-y mess would act as a glue to stick dirt, cobwebs and dead spiders to his fur.

“We can’t let him back into the house like that,” said Cat Daddy. “His fur is going to be disgusting, and that greasy muck will never come out of the floorboards or furniture. We’re just going to have to leave him outside until he washes, or until the rain rinses it off, whichever comes first.”

One day we will let him back in again, but today isn’t going to be that day. Tomorrow probably won’t be, either.

We’ll let you know if and when it happens.

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Le plateau royal

Nigel driving the Apple van came bearing all sorts of goodies on Tuesday night, including fresh prosciutto di Parma and jambon de Bayonne, seafood and a variety of soft and hard cheeses. (Yes, I know that cats are said to be lactose-intolerant, but the pills are so minuscule that we really wouldn’t need much cheese to disguise one. Plus Louis Catorze is so full of drugs at the moment that a bit of lactose is the least of his worries.)

Anyway, these were the results of our experiment to ascertain whether Sa Majesté would approve of other pill wrappings:

Sheep’s Wensleydale: non
Roquefort: non
Devon curd cheese: non (well, he licked off the cheese and left the pill, but I’m still counting that as a “non”)
Smoked salmon: non
Prawns: non
Prosciutto di Parma: OUI
Jambon de Bayonne: OUI

Conclusion: it seems that the issue was, indeed, the freshness of the ham. So Louis Catorze, who happily wraps his chops around the rotting carcasses of rats, will not eat cured ham unless it’s a newly-opened pack.

I think we’re going to need a bigger fridge.

Le repas de Noël

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One of the best parts of the Yuletide season has been reading online about other pets’ attempts to steal their humans’ festive fare, smug in the knowledge that I never have to worry about this. Firstly, as you know, Louis Catorze doesn’t like food (pictured above, showing conspicuous indifference to the Christmas Day cheese board). And, secondly, he wore himself out so much with his Christmas morning madness that he spent the whole of the afternoon and evening sleeping it off. So Cat Daddy was left to prepare our dinner utterly unbothered and in peace, and, whilst we didn’t leave the turkey to defrost on the floor, we could have done so had we wanted to. JUST BECAUSE WE COULD.

My first childhood cat, Misha, a gigantic pinstripe tuxedo cat the size of a tank, was one of my favourite and most memorable cats. No food was safe from him; everything had to be locked away because he just couldn’t be trusted. One Christmas we let our guard down, and my aunt caught him on the kitchen counter with his face in a huge bowl of her home-made brandy butter. Had this happened recently it would have been an emergency vet situation, but, back then, things were different and I’m not sure whether the out-of-hours vet even existed. My mum carried Misha back to his cat bed, with his limbs flopping drunkenly in all directions, and, after a short nap, he was fine.

My brother-in-law’s family dog, Rufus, once managed to swallow a duck whole, in the time it took for his dad to leave the kitchen and sign for a parcel at the door. When he returned there were no bones, no mess, no sign of Rufus having struggled with the fresh-from-the-oven heat. In fact, there was nothing to say that the duck had even existed, and, had the dog’s face not been covered in sauce, he may well have concluded that he’d dreamed the whole cooking process.

Louis Catorze’s sparring partner, Oscar the dog from next door, is the supplier of yet another incident of food thievery, and made me the funniest person of all my friends when I repeated it. His folks once saw him flash past them with what appeared to be a white frisbee in his mouth, and it turned out that Oscar had stolen the Camembert that they’d taken out of the fridge 2 hours beforehand to bring it to room temperature. One can, of course, always pop to the shops and buy another Camembert, but nothing can erase that fruitless – or rather, cheeseless – 2-hour wait.

The one problem with a pet who doesn’t like food is, of course, what to do with Yuletide leftovers when they’re past their best but too good to throw away; Luther was the perfect food dustbin, but his little brother is useless. Cat Daddy is away at his parents’ place until tomorrow and he’s convinced that the turkey will still be fine upon his return. If in doubt, however, I might just deliver it to Oscar the dog as a peace offering from his cher ami.