Aucune solution, que des problèmes

It’s been almost 2 weeks since Le Mur was constructed on our western border but, unfortunately, it hasn’t turned out to be the peacekeeping tool for which we had hoped.

In terms of obscuring Oscar and Louis Catorze from one another when they are on ground level, it has done its job. However, as we all know, cats have the huge advantage of being able to jump. And, because Le Mur is able to fully support Catorze’s weight (whereas the previous fence wasn’t), it means that the little sod is able to do this:

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In actual fact this shows him chirping sweetly and running to me for cuddles, having heard me open the door to take the picture. However, the unfortunate camera angle doesn’t reflect this and, instead, he looks like a determined, steely killing machine with his eyes locked on his enemy. And I suppose that’s what Oscar sees every time.

Worse yet, we had a brick barbecue built a couple of days later (also pictured), and Le Roi has decided to make use of this as a handy step-up to Le Mur. And, on windy days, when Le Mur is a little shaky and he can’t risk being whipped off his perch and dropped into the danger zone, Louis Catorze balances on the barbecue with his back feet, lifts himself up with his front feet and pokes his head through the trellis, safe in the knowledge that he has a solid base but also ensuring that Oscar will still get maximum annoyance from the sight of his stupid little face.

One day I will get a photo of this, because it’s the funniest thing in the world. I don’t suppose Oscar would agree, though.

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Donald Trump would be so proud of Oscar the dog: not only has he built a wall, but he has managed to get the humans to pay for it.

Except that it’s actually a 5ft fence, not a wall. And its purpose is mainly to keep the Sun King out of sight from Oscar, because of ever-deteriorating relations between the two parties.

Our previous wooden picket fence really wasn’t up to the job of separating the warring factions. Oscar would catch sight of Catorze through the slats and bark like a lunatic; Catorze would run to the fence, stare at him and meow back; this would drive Oscar doubly mad and more barking would ensue; Catorze would meow back again … and the two of them would continue in this fashion like a noisy, furry, 2-part perpetual motion machine until one, the other or both were undignifiedly hauled indoors.

Oscar’s thirst for revenge was eventually such that he began to pummel at the fence, which weakened progressively over many months and eventually gave way. Dog Mamma and Dog Daddy placed a multitude of obstacles and barriers in his way but, having learned and memorised where the weak spot was, Oscar was an unstoppable force. He would choose to strike when his folks were busy doing other things and sometimes actually succeeded in getting through, so I would have to call the Dog Parents and escort their boy off our premises.

And so the opaque fence was born.

Louis Catorze had great fun flirting with the men who put up the fence – they commented that he had kept them company throughout the construction process – but was highly displeased to find that he could no longer survey enemy territory. However, as you can see, he found a solution. Here he is on his new viewing platform – Oscar’s summer house – and, if you zoom in, you can just about make out his cheeky little open mouth, mid-meow. (Oscar is below, out of shot, snapping and circling like a hungry saltwater crocodile.)

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So, as one war ends, another begins. Being the Sun King’s peacekeeping force isn’t easy.

La rampe sanglante est levée

A few days ago Cat Daddy went to put some old boxes in the greenhouse and, when he came back, he pulled a face and said, “Cats CAN jump, you know. Louis Catorze and Luther used to scale 2-metre fences in our previous house.”

“Ok. Erm, so …?”

“So, you didn’t need to build a ramp for Louis Catorze. He’s a cat. He can jump.”

“Pardon? I haven’t built a ramp for Louis Catorze.”

“Well, someone has. If it wasn’t you or me, he must have done it himself.”

I didn’t do it, Cat Daddy claims he didn’t do it, and nobody else has been in our garden, yet someone has, indeed, built a ramp for Louis Catorze. An old, wooden fence post, which we’d never noticed until now but which we’re pretty sure must have been lying flat on the ground before, is now leaning against the fence (and you can see the gross, gravelly bucket at its base in this picture).

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And we’ve since observed that Catorze uses la rampe both as a thoroughfare to gain access into Oscar the dog’s garden, and as a “sommet suffisant” to sit safely and goad poor Oscar into a tumultuous barking frenzy. You know in “The Silence of the Lambs”, when Hannibal Lecter makes his next-door inmate choke to death through psychological torment alone, without laying a finger on him? That’s EXACTLY what goes on here.

Bien sûr we haven’t actually been able to photograph the little sod at it. The minute I hear Oscar snarling and snapping like Stephen King’s Cujo, I dash to the patio doors and, nine times out of ten, there’s Louis Catorze atop la rampe eyeballing poor Oscar, tail pointing arrogantly skywards. Sometimes he’s there for a few seconds, sometimes longer … but, the minute I reach for my phone to take a picture, he climbs down and trots towards me, chirping sweetly.

He may look cute, but it seems that behind his soft kitten face lies a twisted, steely assassin. Would you mess with a creature who can apparently build his own ramp and use it to taunt his foe so chillingly, all the while ensuring that you don’t have a scrap of evidence against him?