We have some very sad news: last week we said au revoir to the Dog Family, who have moved away. I might add that this was not because of Louis Catorze. Well, that’s what they told us, at least.
Living next door to them was the best thing in the world, and I feel quite bereft without them. We had so much fun together, especially during the first lockdown with our over-the-fence barbecues, and the riotous Full Moon Hallowe’en when they came to our outdoor party dressed as Catorze (yes, all three of them, dressed as Catorze, fangs and all). Luckily they are still local and close enough for us to walk to their new place, but not so close that Catorze could find out where they live and go over to annoy Disco the dog.
Sa Maj will truly miss Dog Sister, who was his best buddy and who would always take his side during altercations with Disco’s predecessor Oscar the dog, even when it was Catorze’s fault (which it always was). He knew her voice and would respond to it before he could even see her; in fact, if she was out in the garden, he would sometimes hop over the fence and have cuddles with her. So that she can keep getting her vampire kitty fix, we have given Dog Sister this – whatever “this” may be – to keep her company:
I know. You’re speechless, right? She was, too.
We wish the Dog Family every happiness in their new home, and hope that we will still continue to be regular visitors to each other. We also hope that their new neighbours have well-behaved pets who mind their own business.
Naturellement the Dog Family are overjoyed to have Disco join them, especially Dog Sister who finally gets to be a BIG sister. We used to tease her about having to respect her elders and do what they say (because Oscar was older). However, she remains younger than Catorze so there is still some mileage in that.
Curiously, the day before Disco’s arrival, it was as if the feline contingent knew something was afoot. Donnie swung by after several days’ absence to make an urgent and loud announcement to Catorze, after which the chats noirs held an emergency COBRA* meeting in Le Jardin.
*Cats On Bumper Red Alert
On Disco Day itself, Sa Maj popped next door to, erm, welcome his new neighbour. We didn’t witness the encounter for ourselves, but we had to stand there squirming with shame whilst the Dog Family – who DID witness it – told us all about it.
Not only were there raised hackles and glaring on Catorze’s part, but there was also a demonic Hallowe’en-cat yowl (not very gentlemanly given that he was the one who was trespassing). Then the Dog Family watched him snake along the fence into our garden and come in through the newly-secured and impinger-impenetrable Sureflap, so I couldn’t even pretend that it might have been Donnie.
I hope that, once Disco has settled in, he and Catorze might eventually become friends. But I fear that Oscar may have left Roi-specific instructions on invisible Post-It notes for his little brother, saying, “Bark first, ask questions later.”
2020 really is the year that keeps on giving, right to the bitter end: our tree was supposed to have been delivered last week but, the day before the scheduled delivery, the supplier called to let us know that their shipment of trees wasn’t up to standard and therefore they were very sorry but they wouldn’t be delivering.
Now, compared to what we’ve already experienced of this cirque de merde of a year, no tree is hardly the end of the world – at least, not for us. But, for the poor tree man, this is just the worst thing ever; as well as his business being royally shafted, he was having to call every customer to let them know that Christmas was ruined, and I can imagine one or two of them being quite bratty and princessy about it.
He sounded so upset and frustrated, and we felt so bad for him, that we told him not to worry about refunding us. And, instead of our usual outdoor tree, we have decorated our bare virginia creeper skeleton with baubles and lights. If you followed Le Blog last year you will know that one of our household traditions is for Louis Catorze to have his own indoor tree, so we have brought in our potted bay tree from The Front for him, just in case you were concerned about him being treeless this year.
Cat Daddy: “Literally nobody was concerned about that.”
So we have our outdoor winter wonderland at The Back, Catorze’s bay tree in the living room, and a stunning wreath made for us by Puppy Mamma at The Front. And, whilst we were putting it all up, somehow the Yuletide spirit seemed to give Sa Maj a much-needed burst of energy after a day or two of slumpy inactivity (most likely powering up for his next bit of mischief) and, throughout the whole process, he pitter-pattered around us, bug-eyed and screaming.
We are so looking forward to the winter solstice and to the lighter days which will, we hope, bring a happier year.
Him: “So why couldn’t you just let her be stupid on her own? Why did you have to be stupid as well?”
[Silence, tumbleweed, crickets]
Anyway, when he saw the photos he laughed. And, as we all know, once laughter takes place it automatically invalidates the right to criticise.
Here are the Nala the dog and Gizzy the [insert name of species] trying out their costumes. Louis Catorze, of course, is smug in the knowledge that he doesn’t need a costume because he’s scary enough as he is.
When I started planning my blog posts for October, I decided that I’d like to write about my horror movie nights with Louis Catorze. This was supposed to be that very post. Sitting in the living room and watching horror movies together is something that we both find great fun. However, instead, it’s a post about this:
Oui, Mesdames et Messieurs: someone has broken into a store of dog food, brought some back here and dumped it on the outdoor sofa in our garden.
Now, my prime suspect was originally Foxy Loxy. I was so sure that I didn’t even consider any other culprits. However, as Cat Daddy has since pointed out, and having now thought about it, we have neither seen nor heard him/them for some time, plus I can’t imagine it being his/their style to leave food behind. Quite the opposite, in fact: foxes eat anything, and I could tell you toe-curling stories of vile, medical-waste-grade stuff that they’ve eaten from our bins over the years.
Catorze is an unlikely suspect but he should not be eliminated from our enquiries, as he is more than capable of pulling a stunt like this. That time that Cat Daddy found a desiccated, curly-haired rat in EXACTLY THIS SAME SPOT was startlingly similar: https://louiscatorze.com/2016/08/14/a-bon-chat-bon-rat/
Our initial thoughts were that someone in our neighbourhood must have an outdoor store of dog food, but then Sa Maj is more than adept at breaking into people’s houses using teleportation and/or his Cloak of Invisibility: That Neighbour has found him screaming on his landing at least once (that I know of), and our previous neighbour from W13 once thought she had mice but, when she investigated the scrabbling sound under her bed, she discovered that it was Catorze.
When I told the good folk of TW8 (via social media) to pay greater attention to their stores of dog food, the general consensus of those that know him was that Catorze could well have done this. I try to tell them that it can’t possibly be him because he doesn’t like food that much and he’s not well, but I wonder if I sound like some deluded fool who is just trying to convince myself.
Here is the little sod, not at his best health-wise but apparently well enough to break into other people’s property and steal a dog’s food just for fun:
Borrow My Doggy, if you aren’t familiar with it, is exactly as it sounds: people who don’t have dogs walk the dogs of people who have them but aren’t able to do it. A couple of our family members, who like dogs but don’t have their own at the moment, use the service to walk a cute little sausage dog named, erm, Rod Stewart. (And he only responds to his full name; none of this “abbreviating to save face” business.)
As is often the case when dog innovations come along, Cat Daddy and I got talking about whether or not this idea would work for cats.
Cat Daddy: “Is it even possible to borrow someone’s cat?”
Me: “Not really. Cats don’t do fun days out with strangers.”
Him: “So if a catless person wanted to spend time with a cat, what would they do?”
Me: “I don’t know. If they knew where it lived, I guess they’d just go to its house?”
Him: “So the owner would have to host random people who wanted to visit their cat? That’s just stupid. Who would do that?”
[Silence, tumbleweed, crickets]
Anyway, Borrow My Doggy appears to be a win-win for all. But what would happen if relations with your partner-dog were less than harmonious?
I imagine if there were an actual incident, you could just say to the owner, “I’m afraid your dog bit a small child / pulled so hard on the lead that he dislocated my shoulder / barked at an old lady and sent her into cardiac arrest” (or whatever it was) and the owner would take him back and say, “Oh dear, I’m sorry about that. No hard feelings. I hope the next dog works out better.” But what if you just DIDN’T LIKE THE DOG? Breaking up with an animal seems pretty low, and ignoring it and not returning its calls is even lower. And as for continuing to spend time with it because you’re too cowardly to do the honest thing and find a better animal … well …
Cat Daddy: “You get used to it. Trust me on this.”
Here is Rod Stewart (below) having a little rest after the excitement of a long walk with his chien-sitteurs. And Louis Catorze is available here for anyone who wishes to start a Borrow My Kitty group. I’ll take a seat in case I’m in for a long wait.
We had some sad news at Le Château during the week: Louis Catorze’s sparring partner Oscar the dog, aka the Flash Gordon to Catorze’s Ming the Merciless, is no longer with us, following a sudden inoperable illness. He was 13 and three-quarters, or in his 70s in dog years.
Cat Daddy and I adored Oscar and have been quite tearful about this. And, despite their turbulent relationship, I am certain that Sa Maj also had a fondness for his canine adversary, and that he detected our sadness on the night that Oscar departed. He kindly gifted me with a cheer-up mouse the next morning although, as he was still unable/refusing to come in through the Sureflap at that point, how he brought it into the house is another one to add to the list of Roi mysteries.
For the last five years, Oscar and Catorze’s comedic partnership has made us smile more times than you can imagine. If you have been following Le Blog at length you will, no doubt, be aware of their ridiculous capers. But, if not, here are some of their best moments:
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:
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.”
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.
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.
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?
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.