Le repas du chien

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:

Yum.

You’re welcome.

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:

“It wasn’t moi.”

Il y a des chiens qui ont vraiment de la chance

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.

Do ya think he’s sexy?

L’ami fidèle

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:

https://louiscatorze.com/2016/05/22/le-diner-chez-oscar/

https://louiscatorze.com/2016/05/28/la-deuxieme-prise-du-chateau/

https://louiscatorze.com/2016/07/24/lenvahisseur/

https://louiscatorze.com/2017/05/14/le-mur/

https://louiscatorze.com/2019/06/03/vieux-chien-fait-bonne-chasse/

https://louiscatorze.com/2019/08/27/jadore-harceler-les-chiens/

Au revoir, dear Oscar. We will miss you. Have fun barking away to your heart’s content in doggy heaven.

Keep smiling, boy.
Picture posed by (very similar) lookalikes … but this was, without a doubt, the reason behind their feud.

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: