Une demeure d’or et de pluie

Cat Daddy: “Where’s that cat when we need him?”

Autumn is coming, and Le Roi is getting fat. Well, not FAT fat, and certainly not as fat as the squirrel above, but he has an especially meaty, furry look about him. He has never been a cat who chubbed up much during the colder months but, maybe, now that he’s a senior gentleman*, he has decided to start.

*Cat Daddy: “He’s a manky old man.” I refrained from mentioning that, if we convert human years to cat years, Catorze is only a year older than him.

Who ate all the Orijen?

The little sod seems not to realise it’s the day of the autumn equinox, and is still firmly in summer mode. He’s constantly out. And not only does he conduct ICB to the east of us, in the direction of where Twiggy the greyhound lives, but he has also been heading westwards to Blue the Smoke Bengal’s place. Sometimes Blue’s mamma chats to him, and he chats back.

As summer gives way to autumn, Catorze continues to live his best life. Here he is, enjoying one of the last few September sunsets from Blue’s shed roof:

Happy Roi.

Le miracle du printemps

Oh. Mon. Dieu. A spring equinox miracle has taken place at Le Château.

I was somewhat reluctant to mention it for fear of jinxing it, but I’m going to take a chance. What’s the worst that could happen (apart from plunging back into the unending purgatory that had become our existence prior to this day)?

As you know, since Louis Catorze’s first dental surgery in September, we have been adding water to his Orijen to soften it. This was only supposed to be temporary whilst he healed, but the little sod decided that this was how he wanted it forever. Then he didn’t. Then he did again. Then he wanted water heated to 70 degrees. Then he wanted boiling water. You get the idea.

Now that he has had his second dental surgery, I was about to devise a complicated plan for gradually reducing the water by 0.001 millilitre/degree increments when Cat Daddy cheerfully informed me that he had already served Catorze a couple of portions of completely dry food. And, apparently, Catorze had eaten them.

This sounded far too good to be true. But, when I tried it myself, Saint Jésus et tous ses anges: I had the same result.

No more will we have to throw away untold quantities of rejected Orijen when our serving skills haven’t been up to scratch. No more will we have to boil the kettle multiple times a day, only to use a minuscule amount of the water each time. No more will we have to tell non-resident chat-sitteurs to visit 78 times a day and to give him 0.4 teaspoonfuls of food per visit, sprinkled with 4.73ml water heated to 100 degrees. And no more will the silly sod starve himself rather than consume one pellet of unsatisfactorily-watered food. This is all très big news indeed.

As well as feeling elated beyond belief, I also feel guilty because, despite everything, my gut tells me that Catorze was doing this because he was in discomfort. If he were only doing it to be a contrary shite, I’m sure he would have strung it out for a lot longer.

Feeding Sa Maj is now a delight. We dish up the dry food, and he eats it. And, because he’s no longer suffering, he’s eating more.

Cat Daddy: “So we’ve spent £1,000 on surgery so that he can eat more of the most expensive food on the planet. Great. That’s money well spent.”

A spring in his step. And in his appetite.

La saison de la citrouille

It’s autumn! And I swear I can actually feel Louis Catorze’s powers growing with the new season, quite possibly because it’s peak visiting time for pilgrims and his creepy kitty sixth sense knows this. He has one visitor coming all the way from the west coast of Ireland at the weekend, and two more, who have been before, are returning in October. (Cat Daddy: “Really? Most people who’ve seen him once don’t bother coming back.”)

Catorze is at peak energy at the moment, gallivanting all night, chasing squirrels, guzzling down Orijen, screaming (in his new, post-surgery voice – more about that another time) and I don’t suppose it helped that we gave him a steroid shot the night before the full moon, but it’s too late to do anything about that now. His fur is thick and shiny and, for an old boy, he seems in fine form. No doubt part of it is due to the drugs, but at least 83% of it is him being a bit unhinged anyway. I dread to think what he will be like on Hallowe’en.

Speaking of which, this year, against all the odds, our lone pumpkin plant survived. The flower that I photographed in early July was a largeish tennis ball by the time we came back from holiday. Cat Daddy was a little disappointed that it was green and not orange – neither of us realised that pumpkins changed colour – but, towards the end of August, it had begun to turn. I would have been grateful for any pumpkin at all, whatever the colour, but the fact that it’s an orange one makes me very happy indeed.

Now all we have to do between now and 31st October are to nurture it and pray for no unfortunate incidents (doable), and to get Catorze to pose beautifully next to it for this year’s Official Hallowe’en Portrait (somewhat more challenging).

Here are some pictures of its progress (with a 20p coin for scale, which was later removed when I realised it was leaving a mark), plus one of my warm-up photos with Catorze. The final masterpiece really won’t be much better.

Tennis ball.
Smallish football.
Just starting to turn.
Oranger.
Oranger still.
For goodness’ sake.
More orange than not.
Hallowe’en-ready.

Des jonquilles aux derniers lilas

The spring equinox is here.

Last spring, we had the most beautiful daffodils in the world and everyone admired them. Although I’ve always loved a cheering display of these heralds of spring, I have never thought individual daffodils to be truly beautiful until I saw these ones that Cat Daddy had planted the previous autumn. Whilst they were recognisable as daffodils, the ragged edges gave them an untamed oomph, like the kind of daffodils one would more likely stumble across in Faeryland than on earth.

I loved our first spring with them. Sadly it was our ONLY spring with them because, as soon as they had withered, Cat Daddy pulled them all up again (although a few somehow escaped the cull, and we are still debating what to do with those). This was partly because daffodils are toxic to cats – and maybe we should have known this before, but the list of cat-incompatible plants is so long that it would be impossible to memorise everything – but also because that late winter/early spring was when Louis Catorze’s health took an especially bad turn. I don’t think we will ever know what caused him to deteriorate, but introducing a new thing known for its toxicity probably wasn’t smart.

So now the daffodils have gone to a new home with my mum, whose cat has no health issues and steers well clear of flowers. I hope my mum enjoys them as much as we did for that one brief season.

Here is one of our daffodils, photographed last year:

Fun while it lasted.

And here is the reason why we can’t have nice plants:

It’s all his fault.

Les araignées de la nuit

*WARNING: CONTAINS POTENTIALLY TRIGGERING SPIDER REFERENCES AND A (PRETTY RUBBISH) DRAWING OF ONE*

The autumn equinox is here, and this time of year always fills me with deep, deep joy. The one thing I don’t like about it, however, is the fact that it’s spider season.

I know, I know, they help us out by catching flies. But still … *shudder* …

Despite living opposite a park, we don’t seem to have encountered too many of the little critters as yet. I can’t help hoping that the summer heatwave dried them all to a crisp but, in reality, it’s probably because it’s uncharacteristically warm. So they must still think it’s summer and just haven’t thought to creep into our houses as yet.

Although I spent much of my childhood and early adulthood with crippling arachnophobia, these days I don’t mind sharing my space with a spider. Given the choice, I would obviously rather not. But I can cope, as long as it’s small and it stays the hell away from me. Plus we have a cat who kills and eats creepy crawlies. So, all is good, oui?

Not quite.

Of course this is Louis Catorze we’re talking about, so there’s a little twist to the tale.

Catorze is the Happy Gilmore of spider hunters. In case you haven’t seen the film, it’s about a baseball-player-turned-golfer who can manage a hole in one from miles away, but not a short, easy putt of a few centimetres. This is the perfect analogy for Catorze and spiders. He is great at spotting faraway spiders who are just minding their own business at the other end of the room, and he will happily leap off laps to eat said beasties straight off the wall or the floor, even in the dark. But a spider that is right in front of him: nope. If I place him next to a spider he just looks straight through it, then looks gormlessly at me and pitter-patters off.

I hope that the spider population will keep a respectable distance this autumn. And, if not, I hope that I will have some success with my arachno-tutelage of Catorze. The picture below shows my ingenious scientific spider-eating training in action, and naturellement it takes into account the cat’s innate predisposition towards doing the opposite of whatever is expected or wanted:

Yes, those big spider eyes are cat biscuits.

*EDIT: I’ve just been told that Happy Gilmore played baseball, not golf. Serves me right for getting drunk during the film!

Toujours autant de pluie chez moi

Autumn is here! And that, invariably, means rain, but it doesn’t stop it from being my favourite time of the year.

Now, we all know that Louis Catorze doesn’t respond to anything in the way that a normal cat would, but his love of the rain is something that I find especially freakish. He loves it so much that he doesn’t simply linger outside if caught in a downpour: he will actually run FROM INDOORS TO OUTDOORS when he hears it. Imagine Lieutenant Dan from Forrest Gump when he’s on the boat, and that will give you a startlingly accurate image of what Catorze is like during a storm. Normal pets are usually hiding under the bed and praying for it to be over. Catorze, erm, isn’t.

If he’s not hunting – which he often is, as there is something about the rain that either flushes animals out of their hiding places, or flips Catorze’s “Urge To Kill” switch, or both – he will just shelter under our outdoor table and watch the rain, like this. (See video below, at the end of which you can just about catch Cat Daddy’s “Ugh!”) Sometimes Catorze will sit like this for hours.

Do any of your cats do this?

[Silence, tumbleweed, crickets]

Anyone?

Il faut cultiver notre jardin

The spring equinox is here, which means brighter days and a renewed sense of joie de vivre. And, as if to mark this theme of vitality and optimism, someone or something has puked in our vegetable patch, right on the bit where we plant our salad leaves and kale. 

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Believe me, I thought it, too, and it was also the first thing Cat Daddy said upon discovering it (right after all the swearing). But, disgusting though this is, when you have just one animal who eats pretty much just one thing, you soon get to know what their regurgitated food looks like. This was much too copious and too, erm, orange to have been produced by Louis Catorze. I know his brew like I know my own name and, trust me, this ain’t his. 

So, thoughts? The only other possible culprits are: 

  1. Foxes (highly likely) 
  2. Badgers (unlikely but not impossible)
  3. Other cats (seemingly likely but we never see any in our garden, ever, so I am a little sad at the idea that they don’t come to befriend Catorze yet they make the effort to come here to vomit)

As with most other things that go on at Le Château, I don’t suppose we will ever find out the truth. In the meantime, I shall be praying for rain to wash everything away and buying my salad leaves from the supermarket. 

This picture is of Sa Maj sunning himself and rocking out to the Rolling Stones during Boys’ Club, because, obviously, I wasn’t going to post a photo of the vomit. 

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La joie de l’automne

Today is the autumn equinox, which signifies the start of my favourite time of the year. Normally I would mark this by lighting a scented candle but, because of a certain sneezing little sod, this is now off limits. (He actually hasn’t sneezed in a while, but we are being cautious as we really don’t want another trip to the vet.)

And, if my memory serves me correctly, this time last year I had also hoped to treat myself to a relaxing spa bath but the same little sod ruined it by battering at the bathroom door and screaming himself senseless. So I guess that is also off limits … unless, of course, I invite him in to make use of the steam to clear les narines royales.

Instead, Cat Daddy and I will be celebrating with Louis Catorze cuddles – which, despite everything, are always a treat – and fillet steak when we get home from our autumn walk. And, yes, Catorze will be getting a little sliver of steak with his dinner. (His preference is medium-rare. Thank you for asking.) 

Happy autumn to you all. Here is Sa Maj, resplendent among the Japanese anemones, heralding the new season in the only way he knows how: 

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La première pluie de l’automne

I adore the autumn equinox: a deeply mystical, spiritual time of year during which we reflect upon the year to date and give thanks for our blessings. As I had the day off work today, my plan was to relax and immerse myself in the magic of this beautiful season; however, the reality was this petite crotte de merde battering at the bathroom door and screaming like an air raid siren, destroying my dreams of a de-stressing spa morning.

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The battering and screaming started as soon as I got into the bath, and I thought, “I plan to stay in here for at least half an hour. He can’t possibly keep this up for THAT long.”

He did. And, naturellement, when I finally opened the door to leave the bathroom after 30 minutes of eardrum assault, he no longer wanted to come in.

Part of the essence of the autumn equinox is deciding what to relinquish in order to grow and prosper. Right now, the only thing on my list is 3.46kg of noisy black fur.

Joyeux printemps

Happy spring equinox from all at Le Château. From now, the light will officially overtake the darkness, bringing warmth, new life and sunny evenings on the patio with kitties pitter-pattering sweetly around us.

I hope you like Louis Catorze’s official spring equinox portrait. Photographing him frolicking gaily among the spring flowers took some doing, non seulement because we only have a grand total of about 4 flowers but also because, every time I went outside to take the picture, he would stop his gay frolicking and come running to me, all squeaky and up-tailed, to nuzzle my ankles. I did wonder why, if he likes me so much, he didn’t just stay indoors with me in the first place, but that’s Roi Logic for you.

Anyway, I finally got him by sitting in wait on the cold ground by the grape hyacinth with my camera at the ready. And it was worth the wait:

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Je lutte, donc je suis

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Happy autumn equinox to all pagans and pagan-sympathisers! This is usually one of my favourite days of the year because it means that the whole of the glorious season of autumn, and the countdown to Halloween – the ultimate celebration of the black cat – are ahead of me and still to be enjoyed. However, on this occasion I’m a bit ticked off because a certain little sod has an infected wound and has had to go to the vet.

Cat Daddy was working from home today and noticed that Louis Catorze wouldn’t stop licking and scratching the top of his head. Then, when he sent me a photo (too disgusting to feature here, hence why I’ve used a pretty autumnal flower instead), I knew he would need an antibiotic shot, so off to the vet they went. To his shock, Cat Daddy was told that the shape and position of the wound made it very likely to be a fight injury.

I almost fell over when he broke the news to me. Fighting is just so … well … VULGAIRE. I thought I’d raised my boy better than this. What’s more concerning is that, although our neighbours have reported seeing Louis Catorze in their garden “having a stand-off with a very pretty tabby”, we’ve only ever seen one other cat in our garden on one occasion during our first couple of weeks at Le Château, and not a single cat since. With whom is he fighting? Where? And how on earth can I do anything about it if I don’t see it?

Luckily Louis Catorze remains utterly unbothered both by the vet visit and the wound (and, presumably, the fight) but I’m going to have to keep an eye on him. Clearly my theory about him being too stupid to get into trouble is wildly inaccurate.