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.

J’adore harceler les chiens

Now that the Forbidden Greenhouse is no more, it is super-easy for Louis Catorze to shimmy out through the gap in the fence and hang out in the school playground at The Back. Previously he would have to pick his way delicately through the various piled-up bikes and gardening implements, but now he just slips through in an instant. And he loves it.

Unfortunately we have discovered that Catorze pitter-patters the length of the fence that separates the houses from the playground, and Oscar the dog can sense this. Oh yes: it seems that Oscar doesn’t need to see or hear Sa Maj to get angry with him, and that one whiff of his tantalising lime* scent on the other side of the fence is enough to send him into a frenzy. And, of course, he has no way of squeezing through himself to send the little sod packing. So he is left looking like an utter lunatic, appearing to bark at the fence/bugs/thin air, when we know that, yet again, it’s highly likely to be Catorze’s fault.

So now we can add that to the ever-expanding list of increased opportunities for Sa Maj to annoy poor Oscar. We could, of course, block up the hole in the fence, but there are numerous ways of getting through from other neighbours’ gardens. And, should Sa Maj have an unfortunate encounter in the playground with foxes or marauding teenagers, we would rather his route back to Le Château be straightforward. So there is nothing we can do about it. except keep apologising repeatedly to la famille Oscar.

I shall say it again: it’s a good thing we are such good friends with them.

*Yes, Le Roi smells of lime with a hint of flowers. Nobody knows why, but he does. No doubt you will have questions, so please see below (although don’t expect any answers):

Discovery of the lime scent: https://louiscatorze.com/2016/02/17/quelle-est-cette-odeur-agreable/

More lime: https://louiscatorze.com/2016/03/11/dou-vient-ce-citron-vert/

The citrus mystery continues: https://louiscatorze.com/2016/03/19/la-menthe-au-citron-vert/

The hilarity of the failed test: https://louiscatorze.com/2016/06/27/la-creme-de-menthe/

Une pelote de laine emmêlée

Nala the dog’s Puppy Mamma asked me if I would like to join her at a knitting class.

My brain: “What? Are we, like, 103 years old? It’s the dullest old-lady hobby ever, all our friends will laugh at us, and the things we make will look like shite.”

My mouth: “Sure, why not?”

Interestingly, it turns out that I was only 1/3 mistaken: knitting is actually a very therapeutic and relaxing craft. You go into the class feeling enraged as hell with, say, your cat’s latest display of bastard behaviour, and come out feeling utterly unburdened and content.

I was right about people laughing at us, though. (To protect the scoffers’ identity I shall refer to them as “Cat Daddy” and “Puppy Daddy”.) And the things we’re making do look like shite. Well, our other group members’ stuff is fine, but Puppy Mamma and I have each had rows unpicked by the instructor as they weren’t up to standard. And, when we were meant to be knitting a square, Puppy Mamma somehow ended up with a sort of asymmetric pentagon.

We also found out that it was a knitting COURSE, not a single class. And, because each group member is making one small section of a single larger item, and therefore attending just one session would mean letting down the team and not completing our project, we’re now trapped in our woolly prison, doomed to a lifetime of being laughed at and making things that look like shite.

Anyway, between us it seems that our animals have defied tradition somewhat. Everyone knows that it’s cats, not dogs, who play with balls of wool, yet I am delighted to report that it was Nala who caused mayhem. (This is because we have knitting homework every week. No, we didn’t take our pets to the class, but only because we didn’t think of it.)

Here is Nala being a cat, and here is Louis Catorze being, erm, whatever it is that he is. And, yes, I did warn our instructor that Puppy Mamma’s section of our project would have dog spit on it.

Bâtir des châteaux à Londres

Oscar the dog’s folks recently had some work done on their house, and they moved out during the renovation process. Naturellement, the triple draw of workmen + dust in which to roll around + free run of enemy territory meant we didn’t see a great deal of Louis Catorze whilst it was going on. And, when we did, he was usually covered in all manner of building waste but, by the time we picked up a brush, he had pitter-pattered off to roll in more.

Now that it’s all complete and the Dog Family are home again, life should go back to normal. However, we have some concerns: where there was just a roof before, there are now two glass skylights. And, where there was just brick before, there is now a whole wall of glass bifold doors. In short, the renovation has hugely increased Sa Maj’s opportunities to eyeball Oscar, scream at him and whip him into a frenzy. This is not good.

Here is the little sod (pictured before the work was finished) inspecting the quality of the workmanship and figuring out the best vantage points for his bullying. Both Cat Daddy and I would love to think he will have a sudden crise de moralité and behave, but we have a really bad feeling about this.

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.