Le Roi brûlé

Oh my goodness: Louis Catorze has burnt himself.

I have no idea where – I checked him over to the best of my ability, dodging the kicks like an Olympic Tae Kwon Do champion, to find no singed fur or skin – but he came indoors a couple of nights ago in a cloud of that unmistakable, gut-wrenching, burnt hair stench. He wasn’t the slightest bit bothered – in fact, he didn’t even seem to be aware of it – but, unsurprisingly, the thought of him rolling about in flames doesn’t fill me with joy.

So, one word: how? Autumn, the season of garden bonfires, may well be here, but only just. Most gardens are still clinging onto the last remains of summer; we even have tomatoes in ours, and you can’t get summerier than that. None of our neighbours have had bonfires lately, and it’s definitely not from cigarette ash because he doesn’t smell smoky, just burnt. So I can only imagine he has sneaked into someone’s house and pitter-pattered headlong into a candle flame. This is not good.

I asked some of our neighbours whether Louis Catorze had ever tried to get into their houses, and 3 of our 4 closest ones confirmed that he had, on more than one occasion. (And the only reason why the 4th neighbour didn’t give the same response is because they weren’t home when I went to ask.) Bert the dog’s folks, rather alarmingly, informed me that they regularly had to fight to keep Catorze out, and that he would persist in trying to get past their door even with Bert growling away on the other side. Oh dear.

Now … do I let them know that at least one of their barricades has failed? Or is this yet another of those moments where an anonymous neighbourhood poster would be more appropriate? “Warning: combustible French cat on the rampage. Watch out when lighting hobs, bonfires and candles.” That should work, oui?

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Je m’occupe de Maman

Can cats feel love? If they could speak, I doubt very much that they would be able to agree on what love is – after all, humans don’t. But Louis Catorze, who is usually a confirmed non-giver of shits, shocked me senseless this weekend by showing a sweet side of him that I have never seen before. (Cat Daddy says he sees it all the time, when they have Boys’ Club together after I’ve gone to bed. Good for him/them.)

Yesterday morning I slipped and fell on the stairs. (Mum, if you’re reading this, don’t worry: I AM FINE.) To my utter astonishment, the first person on the scene was Louis Catorze, who came hurtling through the cat flap upon hearing my scream and hovered around me, sniffing and nuzzling. He then pitter-pattered upstairs to his daddy, and my first thought was, “Typical: even in my hour of need, he’d rather be with his favourite human.”

But it turned out that the little sausage had actually gone to get help. Cat Daddy had been awakened by my yelp but later told me that Louis Catorze had been bouncing around the bed, seeming agitated. This photo shows nothing more than an incidental yawn, but I like to think Louis Catorze is screaming, “Papaaaaaa! Au secooooooours!”

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“How weird that he heard you from outside, and that he came to fetch me,” Cat Daddy said.

And not only that but, having successfully alerted his daddy, he also pitter-pattered back downstairs and hung around to see how I was.

So, whilst I don’t know whether cats can feel love, it seems that even thick ones are capable of thinking, “You may only be my second favourite human, but I still want you to be ok.”