Il a agi seul?

On Wednesday, when Cat Daddy was leaving for work, Louis Catorze bolted outside and took refuge under a car, cheekily taunting his papa from his safe hiding place. Cat Daddy had no option but to leave him there, knowing that Le Roi had beaten him, but he returned at lunchtime to try to herd him back in – if, indeed, one can “herd” just a single creature. 

Catorze was nowhere to be seen, so Cat Daddy decided to go into Le Château and wait. He thought it would only be a matter of time before Catorze pitter-pattered home and heralded his return in the unique, special way that the entire neighbourhood has grown to know and dislike. 

Imagine his surprise to find the little sod IN THE HOUSE, AT THE TOP OF THE STAIRS. 

Now … as we live mid-terrace, he would have had to go to considerable effort to find a way to The Back and let himself in through Le Tunnel. The only options are cutting through an alleyway MANY houses away or going up and over Cocoa the babysit cat’s garage (also some distance), both of which involve scaling multiple fences. And, quite frankly, there isn’t a chance in hell that he would have had the intelligence or the inclination to do any of those things. Cat Daddy even asked our two nearest neighbours whether they had let Catorze in through their houses. They hadn’t. Oscar the dog’s mamma did, however, mention that she’d had a cuddle with Sa Maj out at The Front and that he had sat on their front window sill for a while, staring into their house and rendering Oscar livid beyond belief. 

So the possibilities are: 

  1. Catorze went via one of our nearest neighbours’ windows without the humans’ knowledge (which is a bothersome thought, especially as he has previous in this area).
  2. A different neighbour let him go through their house (which is an even more bothersome thought as he would have gained their attention by screaming and, therefore, he is inconveniencing more people than just us and the small group that we knew about).
  3. Levitation. 
  4. Catorze is cleverer than we thought. 

Cat Daddy: “Well, it’s CLEARLY not number 4. I’m going to go for levitation.”

He’s joking, of course, but I can see that this is really bugging him. The two of them are having a Boys’ Club cuddle right now as I write, and Cat Daddy keeps saying, “How DID you do it, you little shite? This is up there with “Who Killed JFK?”, isn’t it?” 

I have a feeling we will never find out, and that we will simply have to add this to the ever-expanding list of Roi Mysteries.

Nos compagnons à quatre pattes

Cat Daddy and I have just spent Christmas Day with Louis Catorze’s Cat Uncle and Cat-Cousin Alfie, and we also met up with Nala the dog and her mamma a few days previously. (Gosh, that was a lot of the word “cat” in one sentence.) Nala is lucky enough to live opposite a lovely dog park and, as a result of her time spent there, she has made more same-species friends in the last two months than Sa Maj has made in his entire life. On Sunday there was even a dogs’ Christmas party in the park, with one of the dog mammas distributing home-made, dog-shaped biscuits to all canine guests.  

“How was the party?” I asked Puppy Mamma. 

“Oh, y’know: much like an office Christmas party,” she replied. “Too much noise, a couple of fights, that kind of thing.”

Oh dear. 

This kind of event would NEVER have worked for cat owners. But I do wonder what it might be like if there were such things as cat parks and we were able to meet in the same way that dog people do.  

Imagine, if you will, rows of park benches filled with ladies, some with bandaged hands due to pilling incidents that turned bad, all discussing the latest device to remove cat hair from furniture and clothes. There would be empty cat carriers at their feet as all the cats happily gambolled about in the park, chasing bugs and chewing grass. Then, when it was time to go home, the ladies would call their cats back and the cats would ignore them. 

Puppy Mamma added that she finally understood what I meant when I talked about my cat friends, as she now has dog friends. She explained how dog owners chat in the park about how their dogs have been, vet visits, the most recent embarrassing escapade etc. and generally bond through their mutual love of dogs. I get it – after all, this is what cat owners do, the only difference being that the internet is our “park”. 

“I guess it must be easier to suss people out as you’re meeting them in person and not online,” I said to Puppy Mamma, “but how do you avoid the freaks?” 

There have to be SOME freaks in Dogsville, right? The whole world knows, of course, about the 60% or so of cat people who are total weirdos, not always in a good way, and I suppose that, as someone who tells people that my cat is French and has his own visitors’ book, I am one of their merry number.

“Easy,” Puppy Mamma told me. “You get to know what time the undesirable people or the undesirable dogs are going to be in the park, and you just avoid going at that time.”

If only it were that easy in the cat world; how wonderful to be able to avoid one particular attention-seeking, punctuation-dodging nutjob – YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE – simply by refraining from logging on at certain times. That said, what a pity if the human were pleasant but one had to steer clear of them because they had an undesirable dog. This is utterly unheard of in cats. Whatever their issue, however naughty or stroppy or psycho they may be, undesirable cats are simply not a thing. 

Cat Daddy: “Really? I can think of one.”

If a genie were to grant me three wishes, I would wish for that cat park – yes, even before wishing for a lottery win, world peace or more wishes. And, should you ever see cats pitter-pattering about your local green space and a group of slightly harassed-looking ladies in jaunty scarves, helping themselves from a free Crémant fountain, you will KNOW. 

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. 


Le meilleur ami de l’homme

One of my cat-loving friends has just got a DOG. If you are following Le Blog it’s likely that you are a cat person, so you will understand what an apocalyptically big deal it is for someone to leave our ranks and defect to the Dark Side. That said, given that dogs are loyal and loving and cats are psychopaths who don’t care if we live or die, it’s possible that our side IS the Dark Side and that my friend had to save herself by whatever means possible. 

I knew that she was thinking about getting a dog, because we spent a whole afternoon together Googling “Dogs that smell” and “Dogs that don’t smell” to help her to choose her breed accordingly. (Dog owners: sorry, but your houses can smell doggy. You don’t notice because you have become accustomed to it, and people don’t tell you because they are trying to be polite, but I’m afraid it’s true.) However, I didn’t know she’d actually got the dog until I went round to her place and her partner answered the door holding a trembling, honey-coloured ball of fur half the size of Louis Catorze. 

“Surprise!” my friend trilled. “This is Nala! I didn’t tell you about her because I wasn’t sure you’d want to come round if you knew she was here.”

“Erm, you’re right. I probably wouldn’t,” I replied. 

“I know you’re not a dog person,” she continued, “but she’s about the same size as a small cat, isn’t she? So, erm, maybe you could just PRETEND she’s a cat?” Right. 

Anyway, I spent the afternoon with little Nala and, apart from one pooing incident – fortunately nowhere near my person nor near my possessions – all went well. And, when I returned home, far from being repulsed by me (as he usually is), Catorze sniffed and nuzzled me, rolled all over me and purred like an aeroplane taking off. 

So does this mean that our cat is … part-dog? He certainly has some dog-like qualities (following people around, wagging his tail when happy, being irresistibly drawn to dogs even if they are displaying all the signs of wanting to kill him, etc.). The one area where they differ is their compliance with humiliating Hallowe’en outfits and, luckily, Nala has been able to compensate for Sa Maj’s shortcomings. 

As you can see, she was very obliging and happily dressed up whereas Catorze, despite usually being a lover and not a fighter, would tear my skin to shreds and watch me bleed to death if I attempted to put clothing on him. (Don’t ask me how I know this.) However, he and I did manage to produce a passable official Hallowe’en portrait this year, unlike last year when there was just one moderately decent shot out of about a hundred attempts, produced two months too late for the event.

Happy Hallowe’en from all of us (including Nala), and may your furry overlords of whatever species behave themselves tonight. 

Tous ceux qui montrent leurs dents

So Louis Catorze and his Assiette de Prophétie didn’t get the last prediction right. And, somehow, according to Cat Daddy, this is my fault. “It’s because you didn’t give him proper Argentinian beef. I TOLD you to give him proper Argentinian beef.” 

[This is wholly and categorically untrue; he told me nothing of the sort. And, in the unlikely event of me finding any proper Argentinian beef, he would have been the first to complain about it being too good for Catorze.]

Not only did Sa Majesté’s psychic powers desert him during the last match but he, too, deserted us; instead of watching the match with us and mingling with our (predominantly male) guests, he decided to go to … a school fête. On his own. I’m not joking. 

Le Château sits right behind a school and, on Saturday, they held a summer event with loud music, crowds, kids … in short, all the things that cats are supposed to hate. Naturellement, Louis Catorze decided to shimmy under the fence and go there instead of cheering on Les Bleus with us. 

I called out to him at various intervals during the day and, although he didn’t return, he occasionally meowed back to let me know that he was ok. I don’t know how he spent his time but I have been picturing him pitter-pattering between stalls, shedding cat hair on the home-made cupcakes and being stroked by the school kids and their parents, smug in the knowledge that he managed to sneak in without buying a ticket.

Anyway, today is la France’s quarter-final match against l’Uruguay, and, since authentic Uruguayan choripán chorizo is rarer than diamond-studded unicorn horns here in the U.K., I had to settle for Morrisons chorizo. And, because he has the same name as the little sod – and also because we couldn’t think of any other Uruguayans – Luis Suarez represented his country. 

As you can see, we changed the French part to enable us to show two Louis/Luis, both alike in dignity (which, frankly, doesn’t say much), each symbolised by a sun and each famed for his headline-grabbing, extraordinary teeth. 

  1. Sa Majesté sniffed the jambon de Bayonne, made a weird kind of “Ow-owww!” noise and pitter-pattered outside, screaming
  2. He continued to scream outside and the noise riled Oscar the dog, who started barking 
  3. Sa Majesté came back later and happily ate the jambon de Bayonne when I fed it to him by hand (but refused the chorizo)

So … does this indicate a ferociously-fought competition throughout with a last-minute winner from an easy assist by les Bleus?

Cat Daddy, rolling his eyes: “No, it doesn’t. And, besides, they both play in blue, so “Les Bleus” is meaningless here.”

L’Année du Chien

Chinese New Year officially begins today and it’s the Year of the Dog, which will be rather displeasing to many of our feline overlords. However, Louis Catorze, being quite cordial towards dogs even if the feeling isn’t mutual, has both accepted this with good grace AND chosen to make a peace offering to his sparring partner next door:

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Whilst I am not a great believer in the western zodiac, nor in the characteristics attributed according to one’s date of birth, Chinese New Year made me curious about Louis Catorze’s corresponding Chinese horoscope animal. And, being born in 2010, it turns out that he is likely to be … a Tiger. No joke. (Cat Daddy spat his tea all over his laptop when I told him.)

This is what l’internet says about those born in the Year of the Tiger:

– Brave [Catorze takes on larger animals of any kind, without hesitation, so OUI]
– Competitive [although this rather depends on the nature of the competition; if it’s “Who can be the biggest and most annoying crotte de merde in the land?” then OUI]
– Self-confident [OUI]
– Charming [OUI]
– Well-liked by others [provided we don’t count dogs or Ocado delivery drivers among the “others”, then OUI]
– Impetuous [see “Brave” above: OUI]
– Over-indulged [I suppose having a house built and furnished to his specifications, food flown in from Canada and a savings account for his healthcare could possibly, by some people’s interpretation, be seen as “over-indulged”, so OUI]

Louis Catorze wishes everyone, especially all dogs, a joyous and prosperous year ahead. And he would love to know all about your feline overlords’ Chinese horoscope animals and whether the characteristics are a good match!

Lancer un pavé dans la mare

If you have never seen those “Photos taken seconds before disaster struck” picture gallery things, this interpretation should be self-explanatory:

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I took this photo mainly because I never imagined Louis Catorze would take on an enormous beast of a wood pigeon the same size as him. And, in the unlikely event of him trying, I thought he would be far too slow to actually succeed. C’était faux: not long afterwards, despite le pigeon distancing itself by settling on a different part of the furniture, le petit voyou charged down the garden path and managed to get his paws to it.

Cat Daddy raced outside and grabbed a broom to try and separate the pair of them. He managed to poke le pigeon out of evil Catorze’s grasp, but the poor, traumatised bird flapped its way into a corner from where there was no escape … and Catorze, despite being thicker than a concrete milkshake, knew this, and circled like a hungry shark. I then had to go out to try and catch him but he refused to be caught, forever dancing tantalisingly out of my reach, but luckily this gave Cat Daddy enough time to trap le pigeon in a cardboard box and place it in the safety of the park opposite.

My best friend, who was over for lunch at the time, hooted with laughter at the whole spectacle. (She is a dog person, and this confirmed why.)

Cat Daddy and I may need to be more consistent in our approach to dealing with the little sod. Our mixed messages are probably WHY he’s such a little sod.

Me: “Bad kitty. That poor bird.”
Cat Daddy: “Call yourself a hunter? That was the most pathetic effort ever.”