The winter solstice is fast approaching and, whilst Louis Catorze is following his natural instincts and burying himself so deeply into his igloo that I fear he might become part of it, Cat Daddy and I are doing the opposite. We have so much to do, including the following:
⁃ Buying, putting up and decorating our main tree, which Cat Daddy put outdoors one year because he didn’t want to disturb his boy’s main sleeping spot (even though he has 849 other sleeping spots) and has remained an outdoor tree ever since: https://louiscatorze.com/2017/12/15/mon-beau-sapin/
⁃ Buying and decorating Catorze’s tree (yes, Sa Maj has his own tree, although I don’t suppose he will agree to be pictured next to it)
⁃ Choosing a charity to receive the donation that we make in lieu of sending cards
⁃ Sending cards to the awkward people who don’t know about or understand the charity donation thing, and who would probably never speak to us again if we didn’t send them a card (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE)
⁃ Organising the festive menu for the day (even though we still don’t exactly know who’s coming and for how long)
It’s all a bit manic and although, at times, we wish we could climb into that igloo with Sa Maj and just wait for it to all be over, we know how lucky we are that we are able to do these things. The people who can’t, for whatever reason, are very much on our minds at this time of year.
We hope that your festive planning is going well, and that it’s bringing you more joy than stress. In the meantime, Sa Maj is still in his igloo, and he won’t be budging anytime soon.
Cat Daddy and I have just spent Christmas Day with Louis Catorze’s Cat Uncle and Cat-Cousin Alfie, and we also met up with Nala the dog and her mamma a few days previously. (Gosh, that was a lot of the word “cat” in one sentence.) Nala is lucky enough to live opposite a lovely dog park and, as a result of her time spent there, she has made more same-species friends in the last two months than Sa Maj has made in his entire life. On Sunday there was even a dogs’ Christmas party in the park, with one of the dog mammas distributing home-made, dog-shaped biscuits to all canine guests.
“How was the party?” I asked Puppy Mamma.
“Oh, y’know: much like an office Christmas party,” she replied. “Too much noise, a couple of fights, that kind of thing.”
This kind of event would NEVER have worked for cat owners. But I do wonder what it might be like if there were such things as cat parks and we were able to meet in the same way that dog people do.
Imagine, if you will, rows of park benches filled with ladies, some with bandaged hands due to pilling incidents that turned bad, all discussing the latest device to remove cat hair from furniture and clothes. There would be empty cat carriers at their feet as all the cats happily gambolled about in the park, chasing bugs and chewing grass. Then, when it was time to go home, the ladies would call their cats back and the cats would ignore them.
Puppy Mamma added that she finally understood what I meant when I talked about my cat friends, as she now has dog friends. She explained how dog owners chat in the park about how their dogs have been, vet visits, the most recent embarrassing escapade etc. and generally bond through their mutual love of dogs. I get it – after all, this is what cat owners do, the only difference being that the internet is our “park”.
“I guess it must be easier to suss people out as you’re meeting them in person and not online,” I said to Puppy Mamma, “but how do you avoid the freaks?”
There have to be SOME freaks in Dogsville, right? The whole world knows, of course, about the 60% or so of cat people who are total weirdos, not always in a good way, and I suppose that, as someone who tells people that my cat is French and has his own visitors’ book, I am one of their merry number.
“Easy,” Puppy Mamma told me. “You get to know what time the undesirable people or the undesirable dogs are going to be in the park, and you just avoid going at that time.”
If only it were that easy in the cat world; how wonderful to be able to avoid one particular attention-seeking, punctuation-dodging nutjob – YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE – simply by refraining from logging on at certain times. That said, what a pity if the human were pleasant but one had to steer clear of them because they had an undesirable dog. This is utterly unheard of in cats. Whatever their issue, however naughty or stroppy or psycho they may be, undesirable cats are simply not a thing.
Cat Daddy: “Really? I can think of one.”
If a genie were to grant me three wishes, I would wish for that cat park – yes, even before wishing for a lottery win, world peace or more wishes. And, should you ever see cats pitter-pattering about your local green space and a group of slightly harassed-looking ladies in jaunty scarves, helping themselves from a free Crémant fountain, you will KNOW.
Louis Catorze’s list of winter solstice gift recipients is mercifully short, due to the fact that he doesn’t really have any friends. There are a few characters to whom he likes to spread some festive cheer, although the reality is that he doesn’t mix with most of them or even know them at all. I think anyone who has ever had any kind of social media account can relate to this.
Anyway, Sa Maj’s “friends” are as follows:
Oscar the dog (a Yorkshire terrier and the Flash Gordon to Louis Catorze’s Ming the Merciless)
Cocoa the babysit cat (a larger and rather more photogenic version of Catorze, minus the scary teeth)
Cat-Cousin Alfie (a tabby with a voice like a dog’s squeaky toy)
Cat-Auntie Zelva (a black and white kitty who looks like Mr Potato Head from Toy Story)
Nala the dog (the Cockapoo featured in this year’s Hallowe’en entry of Le Blog)
Noah the dog (a Cavapoo who loves brass bands)
Zoox, my workplace dog (a Hungarian wire-haired Vizsla – no, I had never heard of them before, either – with a knowing, almost-human face)
Cat Daddy: “But, of all these animals, he’s only actually met one. And that one hates him and wants him dead.”
C’est vrai. Zut.
I am the one who takes charge of the buying, because Cat Daddy doesn’t approve of gifts for pets. (“Bloody ridiculous! What the bloody hell is this world coming to?” is, I believe, what he said.) If you are around the same age as me, you will recall that, during our childhood, the only pet gifts available were one generic festive stocking for cats and one for dogs. That was it. Now, of course, things are different. Cat clothing, anyone? Novelty beds? Advent calendars? (I’m not joking: Google them.)
Anyway, as this time of year is all about thinking of others, we will be buying for the little sod’s friends but donating what would have been his gift money to Lilly’s Legacy, one of his favourite rescues. If you would like to do the same, their PayPal address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wishing you all the joys of the winter season, with love from me, Cat Daddy and Louis Catorze.
It has started to feel très festive here at Le Château now that Louis Catorze’s tree is in place. (Yes, you have read that correctly: in addition to our main winter solstice tree, he gets his own mini one.) Decorating it is no mean feat, as the Pine Needles of Death are razor-sharp and, therefore, affixing each bauble is pain. And, yes, I do, indeed, see the tree as a cruel yet accurate metaphor for Catorze’s life, with him sitting atop all smug and loving himself, and me desperately scrambling around trying to adorn it with more and more lovely things, only to have my efforts rewarded with repeated stabbing.
Anyway, now that it’s done, it looks rather splendid. We don’t usually buy him any gifts, though, because he already has so many things – or, as Cat Daddy puts it, “this house is full of his shite”. And, besides, buying a tree AND gifts for a cat might be considered a bit over the top.
We have less than a week to go, and so many things still left to do. Luckily for Catorze, all he has to do is sit around and watch us do it all.
The winter solstice is here, and Cat Daddy got his way with the outdoor tree. I was annoyed with him as we decorated it in the pouring rain and cold, and he was annoyed with me when I forced him to don a hazmat suit and gas mask to clear away what I thought was fox poo on the patio, but which turned out to be a bit of moss. So, by the time we were finished, we were both full of whatever the opposite of Yuletide cheer is.
We also have a mini-tree for Louis Catorze. Well, in reality it was because Cat Daddy preferred to buy a separate tree for the silver decorations than stoop to the vulgar depths of putting silver and gold together on our outdoor tree. But I am telling everyone that he wanted the cat to have his own tree, because it’s funnier … and, so far, nobody has questioned or doubted this.
I have been mulling over Le Blog entries from last December, and I can’t believe how far things have moved on: back then Louis Catorze was in Le Cône and under house arrest, there were more drugs in the cat food cupboard than in Pablo Escobar’s basement and Cat Daddy and I were stressed beyond measure about the tail-chewing. Now he is virtually drug-free (Louis Catorze, I mean, not Cat Daddy), his tail is perfectly healed and he is back to doing what he does best: annoying the pair of us witless.
We are very lucky indeed and we hope that this good fortune is indicative of the general direction of the next 12 months to come. We wish you all a joyous and prosperous year.
Cat Daddy and I bought our Yule tree last weekend. The lovely lady from whom we bought it advised us to keep it outdoors until we were ready to decorate it, but, due to Cat Daddy being away on business and me being unwell, we just haven’t got around to it.
Cat Daddy now wants to make it an outdoor tree. (We will still be able to see it through the patio doors and enjoy its sparkly beauty when we sit on the kitchen sofa.) Despite the fact that we’ve never had an outdoor tree before, he is convinced that we can make it work with a set of proper outdoor lights and some more robust ornaments. But this isn’t because he’s suddenly had a life-changing moment of creativity or tree-consciousness. This is because, if we bring it indoors, we only have one place to put it: the place where Louis Catorze’s chaise longue currently is. And Cat Daddy won’t have Sa Majesté “with no place to sleep”.
It doesn’t matter that the little sod has 2 living room sofas, a kitchen sofa and 3 beds fully kitted out with anti-allergy bedding. Le Roi’s favourite napping place is in front of the living room radiator, right where our tree always used to go during the days pre-chaise, and Cat Daddy would rather buy lights and decorations and move the tree than do the sensible thing and just put the chaise longue somewhere else for a couple of weeks.
Once we purchase the new tree trimmings, I am prepared to bet Le Château on Catorze not using la chaise longue once throughout the entire Yuletide season. Qui est d’accord?
It’s not been such a Bonne Année here at Le Château. In fact, it’s been an awful few days, with last night being especially horrific.
It was bad enough that Louis Catorze’s drugs count read just like The Twelve Days of Christmas: “Two-oo Gaba-pentin, two Zyl-kene, o-one Met-a-cam, and some Broad-line to treat the worms and fleeeeeas!”
However, after being Cône-free for a couple of days and showing mild, playful interest in the tail but nothing concerning, yesterday he lost his shit completely, attacking the tail tip until it bled. The out-of-hours vet – who knew exactly which cat I was talking about even before I gave my name – told us to increase his dose of Gabapentin to 3 a day. This dosage has just been confirmed by her colleague, whom we saw a few hours ago.
It’s looking distinctly possible that Louis Catorze has feline hyperesthesia. No, we hadn’t heard of it, either, and, when I read about it, I really didn’t think he would have it; it usually affects purebred cats (Catorze is as far from that as is felinely possible), plus it’s a brain disorder (still trying to establish the presence of one).
Apparently it’s a rare condition that causes cats to go psycho-eyed and attack the tail as if angry with it. Because treatment is drastic – heavy-duty, warning-carrying drugs for life – it tends to be diagnosed by first eliminating all other possibilities.
So, before feline hyperesthesia can be confirmed, our next steps are as follows:
1. Keep up with the 3 doses of Gabapentin a day
2. Le Cône must remain on whenever Louis Catorze is unsupervised (even if he’s only in the next room or under furniture)
3. Keep pumping Le Château with Feliway diffusers
4. A fun, new party powder called Nutracalm
5. A fungal test to rule out ringworm (done today, results in 2 weeks)
6. A steroid shot on Friday to rule out the possibility of his skin allergy resurfacing on his tail
7. A break from the Metacam as it’s not compatible with the steroid shot
8. An MRI scan, which will obliterate Le Royal Sick Fund like an atomic bomb (Merci à Dieu for Le Back-Up Fund, previously known as Le Holiday Fund)
It’s a good thing we love the little sod so much … and it’s wonderful to know that so many of you do, too. Thank you to everyone who has wished him well.
Here he is, behaving uncharacteristically well during tonight’s appointment: