Mon lit, c’est ma drogue

I have unleashed the special party herbs and, although I was warned that the stuff sold with cat beds isn’t usually top-notch gear, Louis Catorze didn’t care.

The good news is that he now knows that his new bed exists.

The bad news is that he still hasn’t slept on it. In fact, he sees it very much as a place to get high, not to sleep. Right now he’s saucer-eyed and manic, and I don’t imagine either of us will be sleeping much tonight.

This is just the start of what happens when you give mood-enhancing drugs to a cat whose mood doesn’t need enhancing:

“Mmm!”
“Ooh!”

La menthe des chats

So … cats and cat mint: who knew?

Well, ok, we all knew, but it’s still very funny to watch.

As you may be aware, Louis Catorze was a regular catnip user during his time at the rescue (for medicinal purposes) and, every now and again, we let him indulge in the dried stuff. In fact, when I cleared out his medicine cupboard – whose contents looked more like police-seized contraband than pet supplies – I discovered TWO containers that I had believed to be empty or near-empty, but which still contained enough gear for a couple of good sessions.

Honestly, Officer, that stuff isn’t mine.

However, I had never seen Catorze with the fresh herb until Cat Daddy, Puppy Mamma and I went to the local flower market and came home with heaps of lovely new plants. Puppy Mamma bought some cat mint as a gift for Sooty and Sweep, her babysit cats, but, when she stopped by at our place for a cup of tea before going home, someone got to the cat mint first.

Cat Daddy and I had also bought some cat mint for Catorze. When presented with his own stash, he chewed it, then rolled around on the patio – not the way you’d imagine a cute little cat roll, but more like the terrifying death roll of a crocodile drowning its prey – eventually returning to Puppy Mamma’s bag, all psycho-eyed and stoned, having decided that forbidden herbs intended for others were more fun than his own.

Below is a photo of said bag invasion, although I wish that I’d videoed it instead of taking a static picture. Catorze’s scrabbling, my laughter and Puppy Mamma’s cries of “Noooo! My Turkish delights are in there!” would have added a certain something to the whole viewing experience.

Not his bag, not his gear.

Compassion pour le diable

Louis Catorze really has surpassed himself this time with his dark arts and sorcery.

It was 6pm and, once again, he had eaten around his pill leaving it untouched in his bowl, so I had no option but to dig it out from inside the Pill Pocket and Greco it to him. I decided to grab him whilst he was on our bed – better a static target than a moving, screaming one – and this was the sequence of events that unfolded that terrifying evening:

1. First Greco attempt: spat out.

2. Second attempt: spat out.

3. Third attempt: little sod not only spat it out but rolled on top of it. And there was no unrolling him.

Yes, I know that he only weighs 3.5kg (or thereabouts). Yes, I know that I weigh considerably more. But this is Catorze we are talking about; if he doesn’t want it to happen, it won’t.

4. Fake-stroking in an effort to make him unroll.

5. Purring but no unrolling.

6. More fake-stroking.

7. Purring but no unrolling.

Eventually I gave up and decided to go back downstairs. At this point Catorze decided to join me and stood up to stretch.

The pill was nowhere to be seen.

I. Looked. Everywhere. It was neither in the folds of the duvet, nor on the floor, nor stuck to Catorze’s fur (and I made sure of this, patting him down like a prison officer searching an inmate for a concealed shank). Rien, nichts, niente, nada.

THE SPOOKY LITTLE FREAK HAD MADE HIS PILL DISAPPEAR. And we still haven’t found it.

I am nowhere near competent enough to take on this kind of devilry. And Catorze knows this perfectly well.

“Pleased to meet you. Hope you guess mon nom.”

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 … 🎶