Elle fait une liste, elle la vérifie deux fois

Lockdown came to an end earlier this week. Cat Daddy, Louis Catorze and I are now in Tier 2*, which is the worst of the lot – yes, even worse than 3 – because it’s not quite normal life, yet not enough is in place to make it worth the bother for our hospitality industry.

*For non-Brits who aren’t familiar with the system, Tier 1 = alcohol, Tier 2 = alcohol but only with a pasty and a side salad, Tier 3 = no alcohol, no pasty, no side salad.

We have been granted five days over the festive season in which we can do what we like (not exactly what’s been instructed, but it’s what will happen) and, as we have seen before, any plan which relies on the common sense of the British public is doomed to fail. So Cat Daddy and I have told our families and friends that we won’t be seeing them. We’ve got this far and we just don’t see the point in chucking it all in now.

I am the one who takes charge of buying the gifts every December. Cat Daddy does so many of the boring chores and errands on a daily basis that it’s only fair I pull my weight just once a year. And, yes, I do realise that the fact that we’re even able to buy gifts makes us very lucky indeed. The other day, Cat Daddy asked me how I was getting along.

Me: “Oh, I’m almost done. I just need to get the animals’ presents.”

Him: “Sorry?”

Me: “Presents for Louis’s friends.”

[Silence, tumbleweed, crickets.]

Whilst it’s something of a stretch to suggest that he has any friends, it’s lovely that we are among like-minded animal lovers who understand animal gifts. That said, each pet has very different requirements so it’s not as simple as one would imagine:

1. Cat-Cousin Zelva: not keen on wet food.

2. Cat-Cousin King Ghidorah: likes Sheba (poultry variants) at the moment, but will have changed his mind by the time this post goes live.

3. Cocoa the babysit cat and his sister Chanel: are used to exotic delicacies such as, erm, squirrel and parakeet, and so nothing we could give them would ever feel like a real treat.

4. Blue the Smoke Bengal: is under strict orders to lose some poundage, so food-based gifts are out.

5. Nala the dog and Gizzy the [insert name of species]: sensitive tummies.

In short, festive shopping for pets is COMPLICATED.

Luckily, Louis Catorze is the simplest of the bunch: we don’t buy him anything. Now, before you feel sorry for him, hear me out. He doesn’t know it’s the festive season and, if he did, he wouldn’t give a hoot.

*EDIT: HOOT VERY MUCH GIVEN. After I drafted this post, Cat Daddy went to investigate a commotion in the dining room and discovered that Catorze had broken into the animals’ gift storage and was chasing Blue the Smoke Bengal’s catnip fish around the room. I don’t imagine Blue will want it now that it’s covered in Roi spit so, since the poor little sod hasn’t been well, we’ve decided to buy something else for Blue and let Catorze keep the fish:

Thou shalt have a fishy.

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?

Le nouvel an

As we say goodbye to a year that has been pretty merdique, and welcome a new year which, surely, cannot be any worse, all of us at Le Château would like to thank you sincerely for your ongoing support of Louis Catorze.

When I started Le Blog I never imagined we would reach in excess of 140 followers – I expected maybe 20 of my friends to follow, with around half of these deciding “Enough of this shit” and unfollowing after a fortnight or two – so to know that you are all still with us is wonderful.

Special thanks to those of you who have kindly sent gifts to Sa Majesté or come to visit him. We hope to see many more of you next year, although he gets booked up early so don’t leave it too long. He already has 3 visitors arranged for January!

Bonne année from us, and may 2017 be a joyous and happy year for you.

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Le bonheur est une drogue dure

Christmas has been and gone, and we have made it to those weird in-between days when nobody quite knows what to do with themselves.

December has been a trying month: we have had to cope with stubborn colds, Cat Daddy’s scary Christmas lights set to “epilepsy mode”, and seeing the vet more often than we have seen all our friends and family put together … and, through it all, Louis Catorze is still chasing his tail.

The Zylkene calming supplement – or “Louis Catorze’s party powder”, as Cat Daddy naughtily calls it, and which can be seen decorating the edges of Le Cône – has made some difference; the little sod has been going for his tail slightly less often, and with slightly less ferocity. But, unfortunately, this difference isn’t significant enough to allow us to permanently dispense with Le Cône.

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We went back to the vet today, and she was surprised at how long it was taking for his wound to heal. A few squeezes and pinches to the tail – and a hiss from Sa Majesté – revealed that there was still a problem there. Rather than going for the steroid shot, which would delay the healing even further, the vet prescribed a neurological painkiller which only exists in tablet form. Oui, Mesdames et Messieurs: we are going to have to pill the little sod twice a day for 2 weeks.

“You could try wrapping the pill in this special paste, to get him to eat it,” the vet suggested, demonstrating how to do it. Louis Catorze stared at the unappetising pellet and gave each of us in turn his “And what the heck is THIS pile of merde?” look.

In the end she had to pill him using the traditional method of brute force and a prayer. It didn’t look pleasant and there is no chance in hell of us succeeding.

I am usually pretty poor at predicting the future, but I can see that my January 2017 will involve tears, anguish and lacerations to the hands.