Le chat aux yeux kaléidoscopiques

I recently found out that Louis Catorze’s appetite-enhancing pill (Mirtazapine, of which he had one dose in late December) is also used as an anti-depressant. A friend told me that she was prescribed this drug as in her younger days and “lost six months of her life”.

As you are well aware, an anti-depressant is absolutely the last thing in this world that Catorze needs. No wonder he went off the rails and turned into an eating, screaming maniac. What a good thing we only gave him one dose and not two.

Anyway, I have hidden the remaining Mirtazapine just in case Cat Daddy is tempted to give it to Sa Maj just for a laugh. Although, the way online teaching is going, I think I may well need it more than Catorze.

It’s for medicinal reasons, Officer.

Bien fourni en stéroïdes

My teacher-cold is taking no prisoners. The last time I had a cold of such severity was in 2015, when I remember trying to soldier on at school and the poor kids looking at my face and visibly flinching.

Louis Catorze is usually a terrible nursemaid with a very low tolerance for sick people; if he hears a sneeze, he meows disdainfully and pitter-patters off, chattering* away. But, on this occasion, most unusually, he has been glued to my lap throughout my illness. I imagine that to mean one of the following:

1. The positive energy of the strengthening sun is finally filtering through to the Sun King, filling every fibre of his being with love and joy.

2. The apocalypse is nigh.

*Yes, he does the bird-chatter sound in response to sneezes. You don’t need to tell me how bloody weird this is, because I know. However, this is Catorze, so anything goes.

He, however, is doing very slightly better. I know, I know, “better” is relative, and he still looks shite compared to most cats, and his recovery seems to be very slow this time around (probably because he’s an old boy now), but I can see that his eyes are looking a little less raw. Something seems to have clicked into place, most likely the copious amounts of drugs.

I received this email (below) a few days ago. Cat Daddy didn’t understand why I found it so funny. However, I thought it was the most hilarious thing in the whole world and, likewise, anyone who went partying in the 1990s will KNOW:

Younger followers: ask your parents. Older followers: ask your kids.

This message prompted me to check Catorze’s supply of gear and, as it happens, he WASN’T sorted for Christmas. I counted his remaining steroid pills and he only had enough to last him until that strange, time-forsaken period between Christmas and New Year, when nobody knows what day it is and when things ordered, and arrangements made, just vanish into the ether. So I thought it prudent to order a further supply, especially as it needs to be tapered down gradually and you can’t just stop dead. Not unlike heroin, in fact.

Anyway, Cat Daddy collected Catorze’s stash from the vet the other day, so we can breathe a sigh of relief. And Sa Maj remains “not very well” yet well enough to annoy the heck out of me. I lost count of the number of times he woke me up the other night, bouncing around and screaming, but I estimate it to be between 742 and 766.

My wake-up view. You don’t want to hear the sound.

De bonnes nouvelles

Thank you for sending your good wishes to Louis Catorze.

The little sod has had a weird leg-kicky tick – the same leg that stopped working on Sunday – for some time now. We’ve never done anything about it because it’s never bothered him. And, a few weeks ago, I happened to catch it on video just by chance.

I sent the video to the vet in advance of our appointment on Monday morning, to see whether it might be linked to Sunday’s events. However, I really, really should have checked the video before sending it, and I didn’t.

20 seconds into the 30-second video, my voice can be heard (in response to Catorze’s screaming) saying, “What’s the matter with you? Meow twice if it’s something urgent, meow once if you’re just being a massive [rude name].”

Oh. Mon. Dieu.

Thank goodness the Apple Gods were on my side: the video was too long to send, and so it never left my Outbox. It was during editing that I realised my error and so was able to send a PG-rated version. PHEW.

Cat Daddy: “Well, if you use that sort of language to talk about him, you’re going to get caught out.” (Says he who isn’t exactly known for his gentlemanly vocabulary, most of it much worse than the word I’d used in the video.)

However, right after I’d planned and scheduled Monday’s blog post (but before our appointment), Catorze’s leg went again, twice. On one of those occasions I was able to film it and, although it was 46 seconds of pure torture watching our poor boy howling in anguish, at least I had something of significance to show the vet.

It seems that his problem is most likely due to his patellar luxation aka dodgy knees (originally diagnosed a few years ago, when his French chat-sitteur saw that he was limping: https://louiscatorze.com/2017/08/20/a-genoux/).

Apparently this was evident in the video because Catorze was able to hold up his leg rather than dragging it behind him. So it’s back to the Gabapentin for a few days, and he has to remain on the higher dose of steroids until he starts looking better. What a huge relief to know that it’s joint-related and not some horrendous neurological disorder requiring trips to TW3 on the animal bus and endless tests.

And a lady who was in the Dog Area of the waiting room with her Border Terrier puppy complimented Catorze on his swish transportation pod, which was very nice indeed.

Anyway, the moral of this story is: always film pets acting out of character, however difficult it may be to remember in the heat of the moment. As well as avoiding the “Well, he looks fine to me” scenario, making you look like a complete idiot when your pet won’t perform at the surgery, video evidence helps the vet and could save a lot of time, money and stress.

The picture below was taken an hour or so before the appointment, when Catorze heard a squirrel outside. And, after coming home from the appointment, he was straight into the Zone Libre to annoy the foxes, then over a 2-metre fence to bid a jaunty bonjour to That Neighbour. So I can see his recovery being, erm, a greater challenge than expected (or wanted).

Dodgy knee? Quel dodgy knee?

Toujours drogué, plein d’énergie

After doing well for a couple of weeks, Louis Catorze isn’t looking so good right now.

We started tapering down his steroids to one a day on 1st November and to alternate days from 8th November. He was fine for that first week but, during the second, his itchiness and bald patches crept back. So he is now back on one pill a day.

We had hoped for him to be drug-free by now, so it’s a little disappointing. And the little sod has been somewhat subdued. However, being unwell hasn’t stopped him from being a massive idiot.

One night he did a real number on Cat Daddy by disappearing at The Front on his watch, although this serves Cat Daddy right for letting him out when he was too drunk to monitor the situation properly.

I went downstairs at 3am to find out why Cat Daddy hadn’t come to bed and why all the lights were on, and I discovered him on the sofa, having dozed off with the window open and then woken up with no idea of whether Catorze was in or out. So he had been sitting there, shivering, for about two hours, waiting for him to come in.

Incidentally, the little sod WAS in, and had been under our bed the whole time.

And, last week, Cat Daddy made the grim discovery of TWO bird corpses in the garden, with much of the flesh eaten away. This kind of thing is not Catorze’s MO but he cannot be fully eliminated from our enquiries; even if he didn’t do the eating, stealing someone else’s tasty morsel, just for fun, is right up his street. We suspect that that’s what he did with the curly-haired rat four years ago (https://louiscatorze.com/2016/08/14/a-bon-chat-bon-rat/) and he would absolutely be stupid/rude enough to creep into the same fox hole and steal their dinner a second time.

Worse yet, when Cat Daddy went to dispose of the evidence in the park bin, he came across That Neighbour. Not only is That Neighbour a prolific local activist who would have regarded this as fly-tipping but we have already bumped into him many times when disposing of Catorze’s kills, and each time we have had to stage elaborate theatrics to hide our actions. So, after exchanging pleasantries for longer than is appropriate when one party is clutching a plastic bag containing decomposing animal parts, Cat Daddy had to divert his route and pretend he was walking to the supermarket, and consequently a one-minute job ended up taking him about half an hour.

Here is Catorze, being his usual self and giving not a single hoot about the trouble he’s causing:

Absolute muppet.

L’œil du tigre

It’s my birthday weekend.

Under normal circumstances Cat Daddy would be taking me out to our favourite pub, but we won’t be going anywhere as he’s had a text from the NHS telling him to isolate for two weeks. (He received the text on Wednesday, asking him to stay at home for 14 days starting THE PREVIOUS THURSDAY. Figure that one out if you can.)

I myself don’t have to isolate because Cat Daddy hasn’t tested positive, nor does he have symptoms, but I don’t really feel like going out and partying on my own. So, as well as doing all the errands that Cat Daddy can’t do because he isn’t allowed out, and not welcoming guests because nobody is allowed in either, I will be mostly spending the weekend pilling and ointmenting Louis Catorze.

In short, the males in this household have ruined everything.

After my initial horror and despair at the prospect of having to smear something into Catorze’s eyes whilst he screamed, flailed and slashed at me with his killer claws, I began to faintly recall him having had the same eye ointment before.

Now, most people usually know straight away whether or not their cat has had a particular type of medication before but, over time, Catorze has consumed more drugs than a Colombian mule, so it’s quite hard to remember everything. However, as well as providing the civic service of making everyone feel grateful that they don’t have to live with him, Le Blog also serves the useful purpose of being an accurate medical record for Catorze. A quick search revealed that he’d had the same ointment two years ago, that time when he cut his eye (and stupid Cat Daddy wouldn’t believe me when I said I’d seen blood and kept insisting that it was blackberry juice):

https://louiscatorze.com/2018/09/04/un-medicament-amer-peut-sauver-la-vie/

Unfortunately 2018 Me has not been able to offer any sage advice to 2020 Me as regards how to administer it – Catorze was a bastard then and, if anything, has got worse rather than better – so I am no further forward in terms of how to get the stuff into his eyes without being ripped to shreds. Plus, the last time, it was just one eye. This time it’s both.

Anyway, today is Day 1 and thankfully the course is only five days long. Although I’m sorely tempted to make Cat Daddy do the deed since he’s the one at home.

🎵 … And the last known survivor stalks his prey in the night, and he’s watching us all with the EYE … 🎶”

Je me lève et rien ne me démoralise

Good news: Louis Catorze is now completely off the steroids.

Bad news: this has made absolutely zero difference to the level of psycho in his body, which remains unchanged. One of my friends told me that it took a few days for the effects of the steroids to leave the system. Erm, yeah, I don’t think we can wait that long.

Today I caught Sa Maj attempting to jump onto the top of the picture to his right (our left, below). No, there is absolutely nowhere to land apart from the 2cm edge of the picture or perhaps the string of autumn leaf fairy lights. But, yes, he was about to try it anyway.

Cat Daddy: “That’s REALLY worrying. You know how it would have ended, don’t you?”

I do: with a ripped piece of art and/or mangled fairy lights, a furious Cat Daddy and a kicked royal arse.

Cat Daddy: “And you know he’s only going to try it again when we’re out of the house, don’t you?”

I do. So what a good thing we’re not really allowed out at the moment. (Or maybe we are. Nobody knows for sure.)

Here is the little sod – who, incidentally, is not allowed to jump on top of the speakers – planning his next attempt:

“Et alors?”

Un peu un phénomène

I couldn’t be more relieved (and grateful) that I did all my stupid stuff back in the 90s when there were no cameras on mobile phones. (Nor were there any mobile phones, come to think of it.)

No such luck for Louis Catorze, whose life is played out on social media for all to see. And, when Cat Daddy was going through old photos on his phone the other day, he discovered one or two of the little sod having an unguarded moment with some, erm, special herbs.

Although Catorze was a regular catnip user whilst at the rescue (for medicinal purposes, I might add) I haven’t given him much since he’s lived here with us, mainly because I don’t really know what to do with it. In this case I stuffed the dried herb into one of Cat Daddy’s socks, which greatly displeased him as they are apparently Special Cycling Socks (?), but it appeared to have the desired effect.

Anyway, here is the least flattering picture of the bunch, with the Special Sock in shot and with visible trails left by his drug-addled eye-shine and his fangs:

🎵 White lines … 🎶

Le tricheur royal

Remember when Louis Catorze liked pâté de Bruxelles? Yeah, well, now he doesn’t. So we’re back to Greco-Romaning him again, and you all know what a cirque de merde that is. One of our friends witnessed it the other day and said, “Oh my God, that was absolutely HORRIBLE!” Erm, no blood was drawn and nobody died, which actually makes that a decent session. Wait till you see one of the bad ones, mon coco!

And I never thought I would use the words “Louis Catorze” and “clever” in the same sentence, but the little sod is finding more and more ingenious ways of avoiding his pill. His latest trick is to pretend he’s swallowed it, press his body against me for a fake cuddle and then silently spit the pill over my shoulder and into my hair.

I have coarse, curly hair so the pill remains stuck there for some time and, because I don’t notice it, I assume it has been swallowed. Obviously it dislodges itself eventually and falls onto the floor, but we didn’t think anything of it because we are quite used to seeing pills strewn about Le Château from failed Greco-Roman attempts. So Catorze has been able to get away with this treachery until now.

Le Roi’s little plan was finally foiled when Cat Daddy came home right after I’d just Greco-Romaned and cuddled notre cher ami, and he said, “There’s something in your hair.”

Quel. Fichu. Salaud.

So now I have to give my hair a good old shake after pilling time, just to be sure.

If I’m honest, the lies and deceit offend me far more than the non-pill-taking. “It’s a bit of a tragic day,” I said to Cat Daddy, “when the only cuddles you get from your cat are fake ones.”

Cat Daddy, not even glancing up from his laptop: “I wouldn’t know.”

Aïe.

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L’ascension du Roi

Easter weekend at Le Château? Oh, y’know: eating too much chocolate, drinking too much wine, the Sun King going out and then returning home smelling of recreational drugs, that kind of thing …

We could tell that he smelled different as soon as he jumped onto the sofa with us – not lime, nor (thank goodness) that awful catty stench, but a sweetish, herby aroma that we couldn’t quite place. Then, when we finally realised, neither of us wanted to be the one to say it first.

So it seems that either Louis Catorze roams further than we thought … or one of our closer neighbours is naughtier than we realised.

Although I cannot stop myself from eyeing everyone’s houses suspiciously as I walk down the street and wondering if it could be them, I can’t say I’m that bothered about what people do in their own homes. My only concern is that the little sod has been entering people’s houses uninvited, which is rather rude and not how we have raised him to be. And, judging by the smell of his fur, he has definitely been sitting downwind of the smoke at length, so surely the smokers would notice his presence and kick his arse out of their house? Or perhaps they do notice him but each person thinks they are hallucinating, and so nobody mentions the cannabis cat? With his glassy eyes and protruding fangs, Louis Catorze could EASILY be mistaken for the product of someone’s drug-altered mind, rather like a creepier version of the Absinthe fairy.

Anyway, short of actually asking neighbours outright (“Hello! You look like the sort of person who enjoys a smoke …”), I don’t suppose there is anything we can do to find out who the mystery herb user is, nor can we stop mannerless Catorze from breaking and entering. So I guess we can add this to the forever-expanding list of unsolvable Roi mysteries.

Here he is, during his glory days of party powder use. It’s an old photo yet somehow very appropriate …

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Où sont mes drogues?

Forget about the iceberg lettuce shortage: here at Le Château we’re going through the rather more desperate Gabapentin pill drought. There are none whatsoever in the whole of West London, and the vet isn’t sure when they will be able to get hold of any.

I received the bad news by phone whilst in a packed football stadium and never have I been more glad of the noise, because, to a casual eavesdropper, the conversation wouldn’t have sounded great: “No, I’ve never had any problem getting hold of pills before. Yes, I’ve ordered 100, but please may I make it 150 in case there’s a problem next time, too? No, I already have plenty of the powdered version, thank you. Yes, it’s definitely the pills that I want …”

Our situation with Louis Catorze is a bit like that film Speed, where they have to keep driving the bus at a minimum of 50 miles per hour otherwise it will blow up. If we don’t keep Catorze’s medication at a constant level, his symptoms are likely to come back … and there’s no way on earth I want to return to the bad old days of nightly yowling and hissing and a chewed, bleeding tail.

It’s a blessing that we at least have the powder, but administering it isn’t easy. For a start, Sa Majesté won’t eat it in jambon de Bayonne, I assume because, like garlic, its pungency increases when crushed, so he can smell it immediately. It’s too wispy and floaty to just throw into his open mouth, so I have to actually shove my fingers in … and there’s nothing more terrifying than having to touch the jaws and teeth of a snapping, hissing beast who wants me dead. And, although powder is harder to spit out than pills, the unpredictable consistency and the fact that Catorze fights like a brute mean there are far too many variables to be able to measure doses accurately: spillages on clothes, furniture, the floor, my hair and his fur, bits that remain stuck to my fingers, and so on. So I haven’t the faintest idea how much of the powder actually makes it into him.

Not that any of this seems to affect him long-term, though; his tail remains intact and he is continuing to eat, drink and pitter-patter happily about Le Château, unaware of all the stress he is causing us.

Cat Daddy: “He’s aware. Of course he’s aware. He just doesn’t give a shit.”

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