Louis Catorze’s fur is in a dreadful state due to the non-stop rolling in the workmen’s dust and garden soil. It’s not just surface dust that can be easily brushed away; believe me, we’ve tried. Somehow it has penetrated quite deeply and, whilst he looks ok in photos (apart from this one, clearly), when you stroke him he feels gritty, claggy and vile. He doesn’t appear to be aware that he’s gritty, claggy and vile, but then he’s not aware of much.
Cat Daddy thinks he needs a proper wash with water, which could be true. But, if you have followed Le Blog for a while, I think you can probably anticipate how that will end. There’s also the fact that work in Le Jardin is still ongoing so, if we wash him, he’ll only go straight out and roll around in dirt again. The one thing worse than the prospect of washing such a dangerous, psycho cat is the prospect of having to do it twice.
Yet leaving him with filth-drenched fur is not an appealing thought, especially as he has skin problems, and, if he grooms the gritty, claggy, vile fur, it essentially means he will eat the dirt.
So … what do you think? To wash or not to wash?
Cat Daddy and I have kick-started our garden makeover plans, which fell to the wayside somewhat last summer. Today, some people from Cultivate London – a local social enterprise who train unemployed people to become gardening experts – came to start work on our new patio.
Because Louis Catorze loves strange men, we assumed he would be fine with the workmen. And he was: he greeted them by galloping down the garden, screaming, then he lay across the path, flipping, rolling and getting in their way. The problem, it turns out, was not the workmen, but the cardboard and the dust sheets that were laid down to protect the floors; poor Louis Catorze was utterly freaked out by these and tiptoed gingerly over them as if walking through shards of glass.
Cat Daddy wondered whether he should lock him in a room until the work was done, but Catorze saved him the bother by sneaking into the shed and getting stuck there. Several hours, Cat Daddy – who was working from home – wondered where he was, then followed the sound of the pitiful whining and released the silly sod.
It’s going to be some time before the royal gardens will be fully ready for Le Roi, but we hope he will be as happy in Les Jardins as he is in Le Château. We can’t wait for the warmer weather when we will see him pitter-pattering about, chatting to leaves and generally being a weirdo.
Yet another good-news-bad-news dichotomy, as has become typical of Louis Catorze. The good news is that I’ve found his Secret Sulking Spot. The bad news is that it’s in the grubbiest and most inaccessible corner of the one room we haven’t yet unpacked, amidst the dust sheets that protected our pictures when Tom the decorator was working. The worst bit is that the silly cat hasn’t simply been sleeping ON the dust sheets: he appears to have fashioned himself a sort of Sulking Swiss Roll, with himself as the jam/cream filling and the dust sheets as the sponge. I’m surprised he hasn’t suffocated.
For the love of God, WHY? Why does everything that’s bad for him seem to hold such magnetism, especially as the house is full to the roof with far more comfortable, non-allergic (and bloody expensive) options? The obvious solution is to shut the door to that room until it’s cleared, but I’m concerned that that will only drive him to the forever-accessible Forbidden Greenhouse which is worse. I really do despair of this cat.
His scabby chin is, unsurprisingly, still scabby, and his balding eyes are getting worse. He continues to scratch ferociously and emit his horrible itch-yelp, and I can’t rub his chin to relieve the itching as the silly sod has broken the skin and it’s all weeping and sore. All our efforts seem futile at the moment, yet I know that keeping up with the dust mite mass genocide strategies really cannot do any harm, so keep up I must.
We’ve been here before, and it has passed. That’s what I must keep telling myself, however bleak things may look.
Alas, no, I’m not talking about the moon anymore, but about Louis Catorze’s general temperament: his demeanour is blackening rapidly and, as ever, it appears to be proportional to the deterioration of his allergy (which I’ve not pictured as it’s pretty awful). The fur around his eyes is thinning, and the underside of his chin feels terrible: not just rough, but weepy and positively cavernous with scabs. (Sorry if you’re reading this over dinner.) When he scratches – which is pretty much all the time – he lets out his awful frustrated itch-yelp which is painful to hear. Happily it’s not QUITE as severe a flare-up as the one he had last winter, but it’s still enough to make him a miserable sod.
Although he’s very affectionate when we’re in bed (presumably because he knows we can’t medicate him whilst lying down), we barely see him these days, which is a pity as I’m on my summer holidays so I’m home all day. And, when we do see him, he eyes us with the suspicion reserved for someone who were about to assault him, and he skittishly edges past us and hides. His routine is to get up with us at around 8:30, eat, go out, then come back in and spend the rest of the day in his Secret Sulking Spot that we haven’t yet managed to locate. (I’ve looked in all the usual places – La Cage, the Forbidden Greenhouse, the suitcase, under beds – but to no avail.) Then we don’t see him again until bedtime, when he will reappear and snuggle up with us. That last point reassures me somewhat that he doesn’t totally hate us, but for most of the day it’s as if we don’t have a cat.
The only possible explanation for this recent allergic breakout is Louis Catorze’s illicit forays into the Forbidden Greenhouse; in fact, I am still mystified by the fact that dust didn’t register in either of his allergy tests despite the fact that he relapses EVERY TIME he comes into contact with it. The dust mite controllers are whirring away, the beeswax candles are burning, he’s being Atopicaed and Piritonned regularly (I need to up his Piriton, in fact, from a couple of times a week to twice a DAY, which is going to make me even less popular), yet it’s all a wasted effort if he sneaks past me and into the dustiest places I know.
So we’re powerless to do anything at the moment but take comfort in the fact that it will pass, and that he will snap out of it. I just hope that this will happen soon.
Somebody is banned from the gross, dusty greenhouse, and that somebody’s name starts with “L” and ends with “ouis Catorze”. Can you guess who it is? Little sod’s eyes have been looking leathery and weepy again, so the greenhouse is now officially out of bounds. (I told him this the other day but he ignored me, sneakily bypassing my human blockade and escaping out of the bathroom window via the toilet cistern.) I don’t know where he’s going to go for his daytime mega-nap, but that’s his problem to fix.
Curiously, he wasn’t TOO bad with the dust from all the building work going on, which got me wondering whether inorganic dust from freshly-sanded walls could somehow be more sterile, and therefore more tolerable, than organic dust teeming with stale cobwebs and the remains of dead flies? In fact … don’t cobwebs pretty much come from a spider’s arse? Ugh.
Anyway, it was the perfect time to FINALLY find Louis Catorze’s bioenergetics remedy, which consists of a liquid to drop into his drinking water and a bioenergetics pendant to place in his bedding. He tends to sleep with us at night so I will be putting the pendant in our bed, much to Cat Daddy’s amusement – although, if he and I also emerge from this exercise glossy-haired and smooth-skinned thanks to the pendant’s magical force field, he will be forced to mange his mots.
Whether you believe in alternative medicine or not, something about the pendant is drawing Louis Catorze. I left them both on the bed this morning about 5cm apart, and my boy had his back to the pendant. This is how I found them when I returned:
What a week it’s been at Le Château. We’ve been up every morning for work, and at 7:30 on Saturday mornings before the decorators arrive at 7:45 (although Louis Catorze tends to alert us to their arrival with his indignant “Invaders dans mon château!” meow).
The dust is really starting to get to us, with clouds of it rising from our clothes when we get dressed, and we’re suffering with itchy eyes and sore throats living in it all. Trying to wipe it away only seems to whip up swirling twisters of it and, even if we manage to clean it away one day, it’s back the next.
Louis Catorze, on the other hand, has taken it all in his stride and has got into a steady routine: he sleeps with us every night, then happily (or at least I hope it’s happily, as opposed to with the resignation of a condemned man going to the guillotine) pitter-patters upstairs with me, where I feed him, sort out his litter and water and then shut him in for the day. Then, when the decorators have gone, we release him and he joins us on the sofa. Given what we’ve done to him in the space of 9 days, it’s surprising he hasn’t gone crazy and eaten us whilst we sleep, feet first:
- Change of environment: check
- Change of cat litter brand without warning (not that it would have made a difference had we said, “Nous allons changer ta litière”): check
- Erratic feeding times, due to being unable to locate food: check
- Change of position of food bowl, pint glass and litter tray (many times each): check
- Erratic medication times: check
- Rooms creepily morphing and changing the way they do in horror movies, looking empty one minute then being full and smelling completely different the next: check
- Strangers invading early in the morning, being noisy and moving stuff around all day long: check (although Louis Catorze appears to quite like the company of strange men – not that we’re judging)
The least awful of all the rooms is the attic bedroom, so that’s where we shut him whilst we’re at work, with the windows open a tiny bit and his litter tray in the en suite bathroom (well, he is a king). We keep a dust mite controller whirring away in that room, and I’d also have beeswax candles burning if I didn’t know that the stupid twit would knock them over and burn the place down. The bed in the attic room contains brand new anti-allergy pillows, duvet and mattress cover, so not a pesky feather in sight (see picture above). So far, so good: he’s deteriorated very slightly but he’s not looking TOO bad. I did briefly consider not letting him out of that room at all until the renovations are done, but he loves time with us and enjoys gadding about Le Château looking at things.
I can only put his positive temperament down to the fact that we’re with him, whereas in the past a new home has also meant new people. Let’s hope he’s still as chirpy when training for Le Tunnel starts next week.
Cat Daddy keeps telling me how pointless it is to worry about Louis Catorze’s test results until they’re in. I know he’s right, but wasting time on pointless shit is my speciality. In fact, I sometimes tell others, as a joke, that I was born with a brain abnormality that makes me press on with stupid decisions and acts despite knowing full well how stupid they are, and it’s shocking how many people don’t appear that surprised.
My cat mamma instincts tell me that Louis Catorze is allergic to some, or all, of the following substances, in order of severity and with the most severe first:
- Dust mites
- Pollen of some sort (most likely grass)
- Feathers (from pillows and duvets as opposed to birds – Louis Catorze couldn’t and wouldn’t catch a bird even if you dipped him in bird seed and flung him into an aviary)
- Cheap, highly-scented, mass-produced skincare products
- The paper on which they print tabloid newspapers and tone-lowering gossip magazines
- Himself (in the same way that bodies reject donor organs)
- Food (all types ever created, natural and processed, meat- and plant-based, raw and cooked, feline and human)
Having spent a Roi’s ransom on dust mite murder weapons, I’m kind of hoping for no.1. But, having convinced Cat Daddy that I absolutely have to buy posh, scent-free skincare products “to act as a control and help monitor the flare-ups” I’m also hoping for rank outsider no.7, simply because it will require me to make no changes whatsoever and to continue buying Dermalogica products in the name of being a loving cat mamma. (“Why, yes, Cat Daddy, that price is perfectly normal for such a highly-specialised product. Do you want our boy to get better or not?”)
I am desperate to find out whether one of my 10 suspects will be guilty as charged, or whether the culprit will be something else entirely. I can’t believe that, soon, the wondering and speculating will be over!