Gémir comme un chien

Louis Catorze has a new sound.

Oui, Mesdames et Messieurs, his repertoire of sounds is no longer limited to the ones mentioned here: https://louiscatorze.com/2018/11/11/je-gueule-donc-je-suis/. We can now add Le Chien Blessé to the list, and this sound is exactly as one would imagine.

If you have a dog, and your dog has ever been shut in a place that they really, really don’t want to be in, THIS IS THAT SOUND. It’s not far off Le Miaulement à la Bouche Fermée (no.1 on the above link) and I would probably place it in that same family, but there is something altogether more tragic about Le Chien Blessé. This horrendous whining scrapes at one’s eardrums and can be heard from anywhere in the house, irrespective of how quietly Catorze may do it and how far one may be from him.

I often go to bed long before Cat Daddy, who stays up watching television or listening to music. Catorze usually comes to bed with me and lies with me for a while, but then goes back downstairs for Boys’ Club. Occasionally he finds the living room door shut so, unable to access Le Club, he utters that sound to alert Cat Daddy to his predicament.

Unfortunately Cat Daddy is often engrossed in some film or programme, or he has his headphones on or some such thing, so he fails to hear Catorze. So Catorze whines again. And again. And again. At this point the sound wakes me from my deep sleep, and I have to send Cat Daddy a text message saying, “LET HIM IN.”

This sound is the second most annoying thing that there is. The only thing more annoying is the fact that I don’t have it on video. Here is Catorze, smug in the knowledge that I have no proof:

“Who whined? Pas moi.”

Le vieil homme et son chat

The summer solstice is here, the football is back, AND it’s also our wedding anniversary today. We will be celebrating at home, of course, but I know that Cat Daddy misses pubs and would far rather be there. (Remember when there were pubs?)

Not long ago he was recalling one pub, in particular, that he visited for the first time just before lockdown, and our conversation about it went something like this:

Him: “There was a cat in the pub.”

Me: “What kind of cat was it?”

Him: “Quite large, similar to Nimbus [our first cat]. British Blue with white around the mouth. Short-haired. When I asked the barman about her, he said she was a Persian. She didn’t look Persian, though.”

Me: “Oh, right.”

Him: “And there was a dog in the pub, too.”

Me: “What kind of dog was it?”

Him: “I dunno. [Long pause.] Floppy-eared.” [Another long pause, sips wine.]

And there it is.

I am a little better in this respect and I can name a wide range of dog breeds such as Yorkshire terriers (like Oscar), Cockapoos (like Nala), erm … police dogs, Andrex dogs and those stout, meaty ones that look like John Wick’s dog.

However, Cat Daddy’s statement just about sums up most cat people: able to give intricate details of every type of cat on the planet, yet can’t put together more than two words about any dog. For all his protests and name-calling of Louis Catorze (most of them too rude to repeat), Cat Daddy is a cat man and proud of it. And the photo below proves that.

Incidentally, Cat Daddy wasn’t overjoyed about me publishing this photo, but reluctant permission given under duress is still permission, non? And, if you zoom in, you can see one of Le Roi’s perma-fangs, which are always on display even when his mouth is fully closed.

Joyeux Solstice à tous.

Retirement goals.

Une nouvelle brosse royale

My hay fever symptoms started early this year – 20th May rather than the typical 1st June – and, somehow, my regular management methods didn’t seem to be as effective as they were last year.

Then I discovered that I’d had the foresight to write myself a reminder last July in the Notes section of my phone, but not the sense to actually read it. This reminder informed me that there is an extra hay fever supplement that I usually take but, somehow, I had completely forgotten it this year.

Naturellement I did not have enough of a supply to last me through this year’s hay fever season, so I went online to buy some more. And I discovered that the company selling it had a 20% off sale … which had ended the day before I read my note.

Ugh.

In a happy twist to this tragic tale, I bought more product and, as if by magic, they applied the 20% discount anyway! Hurrah! So now I am fully armed, although I am over a month late in taking everything together.

And I have now set myself a reminder to read my reminder next spring. Whatever next: setting reminders to read reminders of reminders? Oh dear. It’s all downhill from here, isn’t it?

Anyway, my full hay fever arsenal is as follows:

1. AA Formula https://www.archturus.co.uk/AA-FORMULA-90-p/h0760v.htm

2. Nutri Aller C https://www.yournutritionshop.com/products/3956-nutri-advanced-aller-c/

3. Local honey from Hen Corner https://hen-corner-micro-bakery.myshopify.com/collections/london-honey

4. Air-purifying beeswax candles (we got ours from Hen Corner and from The First Candle Company on Etsy) https://www.etsy.com/shop/FirstEditionCandleCo?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Search_UK_DSA_GGL_Categories_Home_New&utm_ag=Candles&utm_custom1=6e117eef-6f88-48cd-9d35-567a2bc3f656&utm_content=go_9968986279_104634485910_433085796378_dsa-43493190151_m_&utm_custom2=9968986279&gclid=Cj0KCQjwoPL2BRDxARIsAEMm9y9MbdSoBhYfG-De3e4IszGPDEDJd7E-WzZ9CgeOS9AzGZQB4Zj4yjYaArfwEALw_wcB

5. Brushing Louis Catorze regularly to rid his fur of pollen and whatever other indescribable allergenic and non-allergenic shite that he has rolled in

The grooming device that Louis Catorze received from Oscar the dog for his birthday is quite the most amazing thing.

It appears to have some sort of magical static force field that sucks the loose fur from the little sod’s undercoat and holds it between the rubber teeth until I pull it out. I have no idea how it does its job – my limited knowledge of Physics tells me that it shouldn’t work – but it does.

Best of all, Catorze LOVES it. And, because the device is soft and pliable, I don’t need to worry about one careless move slashing his skin, in the way I had to with the FURminator, and I can just brush away with carefree abandon. The little sod purrs happily through our brushing sessions; no screaming, no Greco-Roman death-wrestling, just one happy Roi.

Here he is (below) after an especially intense sitting that yielded three handfuls of fur (pictured), and a further two handfuls came later that day. He looked like a different cat afterwards, and probably lost at least 1/3 of his body weight in the process.

Me: “Look at him! Doesn’t he look smart?”

Cat Daddy: “No. Not one bit. Why do you keep saying that?”

Me: “His fur! Can’t you see that it looks smoother and shinier?”

Cat Daddy: “Oh, right. I thought you meant “smart” as in “intelligent”.”

I hope any hay fever sufferers are managing their symptoms. Don’t forget to wipe/brush down your outdoor pets as part of your routine.

Almost enough fur to build a second Roi. Not that we want a second Roi.

Les ennemis tenaces

Louis Catorze was highly displeased by someone or something outside the other day.

We were in the middle of a play session when he broke off to leap onto the shutters, his huge, inflated tail swinging and thumping. And he made an exhaling sound so bizarre that, initially, I didn’t even realise it was coming from him. (Yes, that noise on the video, sounding rather like someone sweeping gravel outside is, apparently, Catorze.)

Just as I was about to open the shutters, I heard the sound of someone calling their pet/child in their pet/child voice. (Anyone who has either, and anyone who may not have them but works with them, will know exactly what I mean by That Voice.) So, although I did not see the cause of Catorze’s chagrin, I am certain that it must have been a dog.

Now, Catorze has never behaved in this way towards any dog, EVER. Not Bert the dog, not Oscar the dog, not even the psycho fox with the zombie war-cry (who isn’t actually a dog but is close enough).

This, and the incident with Blue the Smoke Bengal during last week’s Clap for our Carers, disproves my theory that Sa Maj likes all other animals and wants to be friends with everyone. In actual fact he’s just like us, i.e. in the same way that not all people like all other people, he likes most animals but there was something about this particular one which offended him. I am now kicking myself for not being quicker to look behind the shutters too see what kind of dog it was. I’m imagining something like Cujo but it could just as easily have been a wispy little chihuahua wearing a pink feather boa and a tiara.

Here he is (see video below) puffing, whining and bristling. Luckily, having the attention span of a gnat served him well on this occasion, because he promptly forgot about this whole experience in a matter of minutes.

I would love to find out how your pets get along with other animals, so please comment below to let me know. Do they like their own species? Other species? Or are they a bit racist like Rocky, the ginger cat down the street who only likes black and tuxedo cats?

Guardian of his Château.

Les chiens ont des maîtres, les chats ont des serviteurs

Not long ago we decided to try a little experiment inspired by this link:

https://honesttopaws.com/dogs-told-theyre-a-good-boy/?bdk=a*undefined&ch=bt

It’s true, Mesdames et Messieurs. Dogs’ faces visibly change when humans say “Good boy” or “Good girl”, because they actually value our opinion. Cats, on the other hand, aren’t even listening to us. And, in the highly unlikely event that they hear what we say, they don’t care.

Anyway, here is Oscar the dog:

Before
“Good boy!”

A hint of a smile from Nala the dog:

Before
“Good girl!”

(We did not conduct this experiment with Gizzy as her weird face-fur conceals any type of facial expression. Plus we’re still not sure what she is.)

Noah the dog:

Before
“Good boy!”

And, erm, Louis Catorze:

Before
“Good boy!”

So … does this prove that dogs are loyal, eager-to-please companions and cats are dastardly villains?

Cat Daddy: “Yeah, because we were all racking our brains over that one.”

Thank you to the Oscar’s Dog Parents, Nala’s Puppy Parents and Noah’s Dog Aunty – and to the doggies themselves, of course – for being such good sports.

Que la force soit avec eux

Nala the dog now has a new sister, and my messages to and from Puppy Mamma about their most recent family member went something like this:

Her: “You’re not going to believe what’s happened. Promise you won’t judge?”

Me: “Ok.”

Her: “I’ve got a new puppy!”

Me: “Not meaning to judge, but what the ****?”

Her: “I KNOW! I just blinked and it happened!”

Me: “Send me a picture.”

[She sends a picture.]

Me: “That’s not even a dog.”

[She sends another picture.]

Me: “That’s still not a dog.”

[She sends more pictures .]

Me: “STILL NOT A DOG.”

If you don’t believe me, look for yourselves. This is Gizmo, a.k.a. Gizzy:

Not a dog

No, I have never seen anything like it, either. And, no, I’m still not convinced it’s a dog. In fact, I’m struggling to even articulate what I think it is, although perhaps some sort of Chewbacca-alien hybrid is the closest thing.

Anyway, I now have a second creature to add my list of animals who don’t need costumes at Hallowe’en (the first being Louis Catorze). And the Puppy Parents now have TWO unhinged beasts to deal with. The only thing that could possibly make their household more bonkers would be to add a psycho black cat to the mix and, quite frankly, I wouldn’t put it past them.

If you have any suggestions as to what species Gizzy might be, we would love to hear them. We’re still undecided.

La vérité sur les chats et les chiens

Nala the dog’s Puppy Parents have been talking about getting a feline companion for Nala, as Puppy Daddy always had both dogs and cats whilst growing up. When I asked Puppy Mamma what kind of cat they wanted, she replied, “A small black rescue one, like Louis Catorze.”

Cat Daddy spat his wine all over Puppy Mamma’s sofa at the thought of anyone getting a cat like ours on purpose. “That could definitely be arranged,” he said. He was 50% joking but, now that he has had time to dwell on the idea, and especially since we’re both so broke after Christmas that we’re seriously considering raiding Catorze’s delightfully buoyant sick fund*, that 50% has risen to around 70%.

*I’m not joking. The few quid that I had to last me until my January pay day have now dropped to even fewer thanks to some emergency dental treatment on Friday night. Catorze, on the other hand, will never have to worry about such things, although Cat Daddy says that dental treatment to file down his freakish fangs “wouldn’t do him any harm”.

“Louis loves people,” he said. “We’re doing him a massive disservice, keeping him in a house with one of us going to work most days and the other wanting to go out and do Important Retirement Things. Maybe the reason he screams so much is because he’s unstimulated? Maybe he’d like to go and live with [the Puppy Parents] and to have a permanent canine friend? Plus we’ve had him for seven years. Seven year itch, and all that.”

Me: “Erm, it’s actually only been five and a half years.”

[Silence, tumbleweed, crickets]

Anyway, there is zero evidence whatsoever that Catorze would have a harmonious relationship with a dog, mainly because he tends to be over-keen and the feeling isn’t mutual. He has only met four dogs in his life (that we know of) as follows:

1. Bert the dog (who would frequently yell at Catorze, only gradually stopping over time when he grew too old to notice him)

2. Oscar the dog (who hates him and wants to kill him)

3. Kiki the Elton John dog (ditto) https://louiscatorze.com/2016/11/27/le-samedi-soir-est-bien-pour-se-battre/

4. The psycho fox from the park, who looks dog-like enough to be considered a dog (ditto, plus he has rallied all his foxy friends into also hating and wanting to kill Le Roi) https://louiscatorze.com/2018/09/30/je-suis-une-legende/

Sa Maj hasn’t yet met Nala but my powers of perception have spied a pattern emerging here. I don’t know about you but I get the distinct feeling it wouldn’t go especially well.

But I guess this is all immaterial because, much as she would love Catorze as her pet, Puppy Mamma wouldn’t wrench him away from his home. I wish I could say the same of Cat Daddy, who is sick of the 3am screamathons and has played out Catorze’s house move in his head a zillion times.

Here is the little sod, asleep in a box of stuff bound for the charity shop and utterly unaware of his papa’s dastardly scheme:

Le nombre de la bête

A few weeks ago I posted this photo and comment (below) on social media, in response to a video of a dog rescuing someone from the water. As you can see, there are a lot of people out there who, like me, know that cats are psychopaths who would happily drown us all if they could. And black ones are the worst of the lot.

I couldn’t be more thrilled that, just in time for Hallowe’en, the number of Likes on my comment has reached 666.

Joyeuse Halloween à tous. And, if you have a black cat and also enjoy swimming, don’t take any chances at the time of year when the little sods are at their most powerful.

Chacun tire la couverture à soi

The members of our knitting class are now busily working on new individual assignments, having submitted our group one a few weeks ago. And we have welcomed Wife of That Neighbour as our newest recruit. Well, after making Freddie Mercury’s “I Want To Break Free” jumper she is knitting royalty, so how could she NOT join us?

Puppy Mamma is going to make a jacket for Nala the dog and I have started making a scarf for Cat Daddy in Brentford FC’s colours, but we might tell Cat Daddy and Puppy Daddy that our next assignments will be matching Freddie Mercury-style pink sleeveless jumpers for them, just to see their faces.

Anyway, I am sure you’re desperate to know what our group project was. (Cat Daddy: “NO. BODY. CARES.”) The multi-coloured, spirally squares that we made have all been coordinated and sewn together by our instructor to make a throw, and we have decided to donate it to a local charity shop to be sold or raffled. So, if you live in or around TW7 (which is where the shop is located) and you happen to purchase or win this item, you may wish to pay extra attention to the areas circled as they contain cat and dog spit:

Les services de secours

Yesterday a certain someone had to go for their booster jabs and, because Cat Daddy had the car and Uber won’t accept such short journeys, I had to carry the little sod there and back in his transportation pod.

It’s only a 5-minute walk but Louis Catorze’s screaming makes it highly stressful and embarrassing. And not only did I have to deal with that, but I also had to navigate us around an unacceptably large number of crottes de chien(s?) on the way. Dog walkers of TW8, you should be thoroughly ashamed of yourselves. Clean up your* shit, for goodness’ sake. The rest of us shouldn’t have to swerve around it as if dodging land mines.

*Yes, YOUR shit. Your dog is unable to pick it up, bag it and bin it him/herself, which makes it YOUR responsibility.

Anyway, this time we saw a lovely new vet whom we hadn’t seen before, and she said she’d never seen a cat so “vocal”. This isn’t the first time that the veterinary staff have pointed this out; in fact, I was once told that I needn’t have bothered ringing the bell when I arrived because they could hear Catorze’s screaming from every part of the building.

The vet also said she had checked through his notes before our appointment and “hadn’t expected quite so many of them”. I had almost forgotten about the bad old days when he was at the vet’s so often that I almost took him and a sleeping bag and moved in there, and that awful Christmas when we saw more of the veterinary staff than of our family and friends. So it’s très positive indeed that he hasn’t needed to go there in a while, not counting the time we thought he had a tick and/or Lyme disease when it was just a lump of crud stuck to his fur: https://louiscatorze.com/2018/06/24/le-syndrome-de-munchhausen/

Getting Catorze out of his pod was quite a challenge; he clung onto the inside for all he was worth and refused to let go, so the vet and I had to tug-of-war him out. He was relatively good during the eye and ear check, the thermometer and the weigh-in (although still screamed his lungs out) but totally lost his shit when he had his injection and hissed at both me and the vet. He couldn’t wait to get back into his pod and dived in as soon as I unzipped it.

For the first time ever, Sa Maj has broken the 3.5kg barrier and is now 3.62kg. And it seems that those extra 12g make all the difference, because I pinged my back badly carrying him home. I was worried that I would have to call Oscar the dog’s folks or even That Neighbour to come and carry the pod the rest of the way, but luckily I managed to grit my teeth, soldier on and finish the job. Our neighbours are the most wonderful and patient people and would have helped without hesitation, but I can’t think of anything more awkward than having to approach them and say, “You know that animal who torments you and ruins your peace and quiet? How do you fancy carrying him home so that he can continue doing it?”

Catorze is absolutely fine, having forgotten about his ordeal already. Mine, however, is just beginning.