Le sport des rois

Cat Daddy and I are home. We are very lucky to be able to go on holiday, but I always look forward to coming home. Louis Catorze, however, disagrees. He greeted us by meowing disdainfully, then wriggled free of my hug and pitter-pattered off into the Zone Libre for several hours.

Cat Daddy: “I don’t know why you expected anything different. That’s what cats are like. If you want an animal that gives a shit, get a dog.”

Now the hard work starts for us, because we are on a serious mission to de-podge after our time away. My sports clothes remained largely untouched in my suitcase throughout our holiday, and we chose to party instead of exercising (it can still be a party with just two people, non?), all of which has very much taken its toll. The fact that our televisions are full of strong, lean Olympians makes us feel even worse about our gluttony and sloth, although it doesn’t stop Cat Daddy from shouting helpful comments at the screen, such as “A gold medal just for sitting on a bloody horse?”

Interestingly, I found out this week that Greco-Roman wrestling is an actual Olympic sport. I thought it was just something I did to pill Catorze, and I gave it this name because of the numerous ancient statues depicting the age-old problem (see link – ah, so THAT’S how you embed a link into whatever words you want! – or Google “Hercules pilling his cat”).

I have also learned that Sa Maj is only 1kg heavier than the Olympic discus. (Yes, of course we have visualised throwing him. I challenge you to absorb that fact and NOT visualise throwing him.) We can’t understand how an individual light enough to pick up and throw is also able to beat me in a Greco-Roman wrestle, but nothing about him has ever made any sense.

Anyway, Catorze, it seems, does not approve of our fitness plans.

Firstly, our cardio activities of choice make too much noise; Cat Daddy’s outdoor static bike whirrs loudly, and my aerobics step involves heavy stomping. Secondly, lying on the ground to do sit-ups gives him the creeps, I imagine because we’re not asleep or dead but also not quite acting like normal, living people, either. The little sod informs me of his displeasure by circling me during my sit-ups, screaming bloody murder.

Yes, it’s somewhat ironic that the screamiest, creepiest animal on the planet would resent us for disturbing HIS peace and making HIM feel unnerved, but, once again, that’s Catorze for you.

I managed to capture his welcome-home face here. Doesn’t he look delighted?

“Merde, it’s her. I don’t want her. I want my chat-sitteur.”

Le coach personnel

We are very lucky to have a garden that we have been able to transform into a mini fitness area. Any kind of outside space in London is a precious gift but, at this time, we appreciate it more than ever.

Trying to work out at home with Louis Catorze around has had, shall we say, mixed success. I will start with the positives:

The whirring of Cat Daddy’s stationary bike and my clunking and stomping on the exercise step would scare off most cats, but Catorze happily sits and slow-blinks through it all. So he can be a part of our outdoor exercise experience, which is rather nice (at least in theory). He is mildly curious about the exercise equipment, but not excessively so; he is yet to stick his face into the spokes of the spinning bike wheel and have his whiskers chopped off, and I have only kicked him once whilst doing the step workout.

However – and there just has to be a “however”, doesn’t there? – his creepy, silent staring during our workouts is like having a passive-aggressive personal trainer who has such contempt for us that he can’t even be bothered to shout. Yet, just as I start wondering whether the yelly drill sergeant style might be preferable, Catorze proves his versatility by demonstrating that he can do that, too. When I do my sit-ups he pitter-patters around me, up-tailed and screaming like a fire engine. But, trust me, this is no emergency service coming to my aid: this is a great white shark circling his prey, hoping I will hurry up and die so that he can have Cat Daddy to himself.

Here is the little sod, taking a rest between reps (mine, obviously, not his) on top of my jumper and my resistance band, with his disapproving face on display for all to see:

“Fais cent pompes. Puis meurs.”

Le Roi adore sa grand-mère

image

My mum is staying for a few days and, because she’s broken her ankle, she is in our bedroom and we’re in the attic. (Mind you, being a typical mum and “not wanting to inconvenience us”, she offered to have the attic. Up an extra flight of stairs and on a mattress on the floor? With a bad ankle and crutches? Really, Maman?) Louis Catorze let out a sad yowl of confusion when he couldn’t find us last night but, once we’d called out to him and he understood who was where, all was well in his world once again.

Louis Catorze shared his love last night: I told my mum to keep her door shut in case he sat on her bad ankle, but, being the original Crazy Cat Lady whose genes have passed to the rest of us, she ignored me, left the door wide open and welcomed him in for cuddles instead. He sat on her stomach last night as she lay in bed, itched a bit, she nudged him to stop him itching, he itched a bit more, she nudged him again, and this went on until one or other of them fell asleep. Then he came up to join us.

I’m continuing with his morning play (despite the weirdness of sleeping with a toy fish on a string by the bed), although I think it’s going to be a while until I’m able to say that Louis Catorze is truly exercising. Cat Daddy came back from the bathroom mid-session and said, “There must be something wrong with his eyesight. No cat is THAT slow.” Sorry, but ours is. The vet pretty much said said so. I had his eyesight checked the last time we went, because I had exactly the same concerns, and it was fine.

I’ve booked his vaccinations for the 18th, and he will be having his skin scraping allergy test at the same time, to get the full horror over and done with in one go. I’m giving some thought to asking the vet about reconsidering his use of Atopica because, as well as making him grumpy, it’s clearly not serving its main purpose of keeping the allergy away. Also, despite it not being a steroid, nobody is quite sure about its prolonged use and subsequent side effects and, whilst I might take the chance for something that was working well, it seems senseless to risk his long-term health for such inconsistent results. He seems to fare better on plain old Piriton, especially in terms of his mood.

After all this time and money spent on tests and treatment, it would be somewhat ironic if his condition were kept in check with a £5 bottle from the pharmacy, wouldn’t it?

Le Roi est gros: vive Le Roi!


Louis Catorze is chubbing up a bit (although the picture is a week or two old, as his more recent ones look awful). He’s definitely not a fat cat – in fact, he is some way off being even average-sized – but there is clear evidence of chubbing having taken place: his neck is thicker, and his belly is rounder than it was before (so says Cat Daddy, who can’t seem to stop calling him “meaty” these days). Now, I wonder what could possibly be the cause?

  • Too many treats / too-big meals from us: no, because he doesn’t like food
  • Stealing food from other cats: no (see above, plus he hasn’t yet made any friends from whom he can steal)
  • Lack of activity, due to spending all day under the bed and no longer having 2-metre fences to climb as he did at Le Palais: VOILA

So, what to do about it? Well, given that he’s not overweight – in fact, if anything, this extra poundage probably brings him up to a healthy weight – I’m leaning towards doing nothing. But, with Oscar the dog living to our left, and Bert the dog on our right, I suspect Louis Catorze isn’t going to be doing the level of exploring that he did in the dogless realm that was Le Palais, so we’re going to have to ensure that he gets off his lazy arse and does some exercise. This will be tricky as he’s very all-or-nothing when it comes to play, either really annoying me with his relentless demands or just not bothered. (Mainly not bothered, though.)

Medicating him is the perfect activity for making him run, especially as I only have to think about it for him to take off and therefore it requires zero investment from me. But, as others have pointed out in light of his midnight bubble wrap habit, he could be in need of more play to tire him out. So, when he made his evening appearance yesterday I tried my luck with his fish on a stick.

After 15 minutes of trying, I eventually registered 2 minutes of very mild interest before he got fed up and left the room. It certainly wasn’t enough to get him moving. However, I took the fish to bed with me so that it would be on hand quickly after morning cuddles, and that was rather more successful, with Louis Catorze even managing a few leaps. And is it too soon for it to be having an effect? He spent the morning sitting on the flower bed watching the world go by, & he’s just greeted my mum, who’s come to stay for a few days, with a meow and a roll in the dirt. This is progress!

I am determined to do this again and somehow enforce some compulsory fun, just like they do at those team-building days out at work. He WILL join in and he WILL enjoy himself, or else.