J’ai dégusté ses poils avec des fèves au beurre et un excellent Chianti

On Friday night there was no sign of Louis Catorze, which was rather unusual as he has slept on our bed with us pretty much every night ever since the first day he came to live with us. That said, since the time he hid somewhere in the house (hiding place still unknown) and we made Oscar the dog’s folks go searching in their shed for him in the middle of a storm, we have learned not to panic too much at his disappearances.

When Cat Daddy went downstairs and opened the dining room door the next morning, out shot Catorze, all indignant and screamy. Yes, the little sod had used his Cloak of Invisibility to sneak in and had been shut in there all night.

I heard Cat Daddy say, “Well, it’s your own fault. You should have meowed for help.” Then I heard purring and squeaking, which are the classic signs of Boys’ Club rough play and forgiveness for whatever misdemeanour may have previously occurred.

Luckily Catorze hadn’t turned the dining room into les toilettes, nor had he trashed the place doing parkour trying to get out. However, he had managed to break into the cupboard containing all the good crockery and cutlery and had rolled all over everything. This photo is of one of our napkins:

Now, the cat people that I know fall into one of two camps when it comes to this kind of thing:

1. Disinfect and/or incinerate everything
2. Dust it off and nobody will notice

Dinner guests past and present, you will be relieved to know that Cat Daddy and I are firmly numéro 1. I think it’s safe to say that, given the choice, most people wouldn’t opt to eat from tableware that has been rolled on by a gross cat. And, whilst they wouldn’t necessarily know about it, we would.

The contents of the cupboard are now cleaner than an operating theatre. And, as the festive season approaches, Sa Maj is ready to receive pilgrims, both old and new, for dinner.

Je bouffe, donc je suis

After several months of a carefully-orchestrated changeover and regular snippy comments from Cat Daddy about the slowness of it all, Louis Catorze has now fully transitioned from Acana Pacifica to Lily’s Kitchen. So he is well on his way to becoming a zero-waste kitty. (Cat Daddy: “Apart from the waste that comes out of his arse end.”) 

Better yet, he genuinely seems to like the Lily’s Kitchen better, which is quite the accomplishment for a cat who, generally speaking, doesn’t like food. He actually comes running when he hears the biscuits rattling and sometimes clears his plate, neither of which he used to do before, and I feel almost* guilty that we have subjected him to merely satisfactory food until now. 

*Almost, but not quite. Louis Catorze leads a life of luxury and certainly doesn’t need our sympathy. 

Whilst I am delighted that our boy is happy and that he has actively reduced his carbon pawprint, I hope we won’t lose the many advantages of a cat who doesn’t like food. It is an absolute joy to be able to leave human food on the kitchen worktop, knowing that it will be safe. It’s also great to be able to go out for a whole day, having put down 2 meals’ worth of food, and know that the little sod will make it last. His big brother Luther was very much a guzzler rather than a grazer; his inability to pace himself meant that, if we were going out, we would always have to make arrangements for someone to come and feed him. I recall my mum once witnessing his gluttony and saying, “That food was meant to last him until the evening. When you gave it to him, did you not EXPLAIN?” 

Here is Catorze’s custom-made feeding station (created by the builders upon Cat Daddy’s orders), which houses his black kitty feeding mat (gifted by my sister) and his vintage French bowl (gifted by one of his best-loved pilgrims). La vie est belle.

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Le chat vit pour manger

Someone appears to have stolen Louis Catorze – quite why anyone would do this is beyond me – and replaced him with a similar-looking changeling cat who actually likes food.

For the first time EVER, this morning he pulled the Second Breakfast trick on Cat Daddy, who fell for it completely. When I got home I was berated for “forgetting” to feed Catorze before going to work when I knew full well that I had done it, and it was then that the little sod was rumbled.

This has never happened before. Quite the opposite, in fact: Le Roi’s plate is usually never empty.

His big brother, Luther, was different. When it came to the Second Dinner trick, he would have beaten Leonardo di Caprio to that Best Actor Oscar, without a doubt; too often I would be scrabbling through bins, accompanied by the sound of Luther’s “I’m starving to death” song, counting the empty food cans to work out whether I’d fed him 20 minutes previously or whether I’d dreamt the whole episode. And he once did such a number on Cat Daddy that he said, in all seriousness, “Maybe we didn’t feed him after all. Maybe we just THINK we did.”

Luther’s pièce de résistance was this:

1. Luther refuses the food that Cat Daddy puts down
2. Cat Daddy puts down another variant on the same plate (the single action that proved to be his undoing)
3. Luther eats Variant 2
4. After Cat Daddy leaves for work, Luther also eats Variant 1
5. Cat Daddy returns home, sees the empty plate and assumes I must have thrown away the uneaten food

We have no idea how many times he did this. It could have been hundreds.

I can’t see Louis Catorze suddenly sprouting a brain and being as wily as his brother, but, to be honest, given that November is usually the month that his health hits the skids, we’re delighted that he’s eating firsts, never mind seconds.

And the lime scent is back with a vengeance, affirming Cat Daddy’s belief that it’s “just a healthy cat smell”. Again, it could be so much worse, so we’re just going to enjoy it.

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Je crie, donc je suis

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A couple of nights ago, Cat Daddy and I decided to go to our lovely local pub for dinner. It’s only at the end of our street – a short, 3-minute walk – so well within my diminished physical capabilities. Naturellement, as soon as we opened the front door to leave, Louis Catorze shot out like a speeding bullet and refused to be caught.

“Never mind,” I said. “We’ll only be an hour or two. He’ll just have to sit at The Front until we come back.”

Mais non: Louis Catorze had decided not only that he was coming with us, but that he would announce this fact very loudly to all within earshot.

“Oh dear,” I said, as we continued walking. “I’m sure he’ll shut up and go home in a minute.”

Mais non: the little sod continued to follow us, tail up, his screams ringing out embarrassingly through the street.

“Oh God,” said Cat Daddy. “He’d better not follow us all the way to the pub.”

Luckily, he didn’t: at that point, he decided to duck into a neighbour’s garden and carry on screaming.

Now, had that neighbour been an unknown person, we would have just left Sa Majesté to it, pretended we were nothing to do with him and kept walking, then picked him up on the way home. But, unfortunately, he happened to choose the house of someone whom we know quite well and who knows Catorze by sight. So, had they come out of their house to investigate the diabolical racket, it would have been shameful beyond words.

“We’re going to have to catch him and take him home, aren’t we?” said Cat Daddy. “And, seeing as you’re still not meant to be lifting things, I suppose I’m going to have to do it?”

Mais oui.

So Cat Daddy marched back down the street to where Louis Catorze still sat screaming, scooped him up with one hand like a fairground claw machine grabbing a soft toy, and carried him home. Not much is funnier than the sight of a highly annoyed man striding purposefully down the street, cradling a tiny, floppy, screaming cat.

We know quite a few of our neighbours and are on good terms with them (so far). Thank goodness none of them witnessed this.

Le dîner chez Oscar

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This weekend we were invited to dinner by Oscar the dog’s folks.

When we lived at Le Palais, Louis Catorze used to take a “Ta maison est ma maison” approach: if we were invited to dinner by neighbours he would hop over the fence and join us. (Yes, he would actually come INTO the house and have a good old explore as we dined.) We were curious to see what would happen if our hosts had a pet, and suspected it would go one way or the other. In this case it was the other.

This is how the first part of our evening panned out:

19:50 – Arrive
19:51 – Drinks in garden
19:52 – Oscar spots Louis Catorze through the fence and the barking starts
19:54 – Louis Catorze spots us, has a brief ” … the hell are you doing THERE?” moment, then continues to stare at Oscar, who continues to bark
19:55 – Dog Daddy hauls Oscar’s arse into the house
20:00 – Louis Catorze seizes his chance and crosses the border
20:01 to 20:15 – Lots of meowing, rolling and nuzzling as Louis Catorze can’t quite believe his luck: not only has he taken control of enemy territory and banished his foe, but he has succeeded in getting his foe’s humans to stroke him
20:16 – Louis Catorze climbs onto the roof of Oscar’s folks’ summer house
20:17 – With Catorze safely out of reach, Dog Mamma and Dog Daddy let Oscar back out again
20:18 to 20:23 – 5 minutes of Oscar frantically searching every inch of the garden like a truffling pig, utterly flummoxed as to how he could smell a cat yet not see it, whilst Louis Catorze observes him from his lofty perch (see photo)
20:24 – Idiot Catorze meows and gives away his hiding place
20:24 plus 1 second – Upon hearing the meow, Oscar’s head whips round like one of the velociraptors from Jurassic Park
20:24 plus 2 seconds – All hell breaks loose with Oscar, now white-hot with rage, bouncing up and down in an attempt to reach Le Roi
20:25 – Dog Daddy hauls Oscar’s arse back into the house and, at the same time, the mighty Sun King, ruler of nations and commander of armies, realises he can’t get down from the roof, so he is plucked to safety by Cat Daddy and tossed undignifiedly back over the fence to his rightful side of the border
20:26 – Peace

It did get better after the separation of the warring factions. But the jury is still out as to whether we will be invited back.

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.