Le retour de l’hiver

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:

  1. Oscar the dog (a Yorkshire terrier and the Flash Gordon to Louis Catorze’s Ming the Merciless)
  2. Cocoa the babysit cat (a larger and rather more photogenic version of Catorze, minus the scary teeth)
  3. Cat-Cousin Alfie (a tabby with a voice like a dog’s squeaky toy)
  4. Cat-Auntie Zelva (a black and white kitty who looks like Mr Potato Head from Toy Story)
  5. Nala the dog (the Cockapoo featured in this year’s Hallowe’en entry of Le Blog)
  6. Noah the dog (a Cavapoo who loves brass bands)
  7. 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 lillyslegacy@hotmail.com. 

Wishing you all the joys of the winter season, with love from me, Cat Daddy and Louis Catorze. 


C’est le moment le plus merveilleux de l’année

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. 

La saison froide

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.

Mon beau sapin

D390CDED-4684-47BD-AA3A-CABAF75C5154Cat 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?

Les douze jours de Noël

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:

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Le patient français

It has been 2 days since the X-ray and Louis Catorze is continuing to obsess with his tail, presumably because the claw puncture wound from the other night has irritated him even further.

Watching him interact with it is the most bizarre thing imaginable; he can be unaware of it one moment and, the next, the red mist descends and he just HAS to try and kill it. If we are with him, a cuddle and a gentle warning are usually enough to distract him. But we can almost hear the cogs whirring away as he thinks, “You can’t keep watch over moi forever.”

And, of course, the real problem is when we’re not in the same room with him, or when we’re asleep. That’s when he really goes for it, with a full-on fight punctuated by those awful raspy screams that we have grown to know and hate.

We have decided to try the Zylkene calming supplement, which is a white powder that you sprinkle onto food, to see if it has any effect on Louis Catorze’s tail obsession. Bearing in mind that white powder dusted over dark brown food looks ridiculously obvious, I was fully expecting to be met with the “Go home: you’re embarrassing yourself” look, but, astoundingly, Le Roi did eat a little.

We have also studded the house with Feliway diffusers in the same way that Transylvanians would use crucifixes. They’re everywhere, silently churning out odourless, invisible clouds of happy gas that will make our boy better (we hope).

The vet told us that these new measures would take a few days to kick in, and that any changes would be subtle. But, if the alternative is tail amputation (unfortunately, yes, this has been mentioned), we’re willing to give anything a try.

We will keep you updated and, in the meantime, we wish you a wonderful and peaceful Christmas weekend. Your love and support of the little sod mean the world to us.

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KramPuss, le diable d’hiver

One of our much-loved blog followers very kindly sent Louis Catorze a soft collar as a get-well gift. Thank you, Tally! What a thoroughly sweet and and thoughtful gesture, for a spoilt little sod that probably doesn’t deserve it. The collar has been a godsend in terms of allowing him to get comfortable and sleep properly, but the naughty boy has found all sorts of ways of exploiting its, erm, versatility.

On Friday, when we came home from a meal out, he had shoved one arm through it and was wearing it as a sort of off-the-shoulder top/cape, and the next day it was a 50s-style prom skirt. Unfortunately he cannot be trusted without a collar properly in place, and doesn’t even last a second without going for his tail again. So, with deep regret, I decided to put his plastic collar back on again, reserving his soft collar for supervised sleep sessions only.

Could I get it back on? Mais non.

To be fair, Louis Catorze wasn’t THAT uncooperative, although he did yowl and complain all the way through. I was just too stupid to figure out the weird fastenings; after I had finished, there were rough seams rubbing against his ears and bits of plastic sticking up in all directions. So back to the vet I went.

Because both Cat Daddy and Houseguest Matt were out, I had to take Louis Catorze myself. He fought like an absolute fiend as I put him into his box, and continued to struggle and writhe throughout the car journey and as I carried him across the car park. The two ladies in the vet’s waiting room (with their nice, calm cats) looked quite alarmed as I fell through the door, breathless and sweating, hair stuck to my face, just about managing to cling onto a violently-shuddering cat box.

As I waited, with the box continuing to spasm and jerk at my feet and the ladies trying/pretending not to notice, I sent an SOS to Cat Daddy. His helpful reply: “I don’t understand. He’s always fine when I take him to the vet.” Right. Thanks.

The vet showed me how to put the collar on properly, and we’re booked in again on the 22nd so that she can check his tail. This nicely messes up our holiday plans … but, having looked back at my blog entries from this time last year, it seems that that’s Le Roi and that’s what he does.

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