Le chat hérite de la Terre

Tonight is the biggest firework night of the year. And, as is the case every year, Le Château will be surrounded by bangs, crashes and whoops of all kinds. Most normal pets will be taking cover somewhere safe. However, if his behaviour last weekend – when a scattering of smaller-scale firework displays took place – is any indication of things to come, Louis Catorze will be more desperate than ever to escape out at The Front. Oh dear.

I was out all day on Sunday and drove home to a chorus of firework explosions. And, the moment I put my key in the door, Catorze launched himself at my feet, head down and tail up like an ankylosaurus* going into battle, and I practically had to kick him indoors as I fought my way in.

*Thanks to Jurassic Park, I expect the tyrannosaurus rex and the velociraptor top most people’s scary dinosaur lists, but don’t underestimate the ankylosaurus with its armoured body and flailing, mace-tipped tail. Living with Catorze on Bonfire Night is EXACTLY like having a very small, psychotic ankylosaurus loose in your house. Thank you to my nephew, aged almost 7, for introducing me to this dinosaur.

Le Roi spent the next few hours prowling suspiciously in the hallway, listening to the fizzles and crackles and waiting for that moment when one of us unsuspectingly opened the door to put something in the recycling. And, when our heightened vigilance prevented him from breaking out, he decided instead to go out and enjoy the fireworks from The Back, most likely sitting on the sedum roof for a better view.

Obviously it’s great that the little sod isn’t a petrified, quivering ball of nerves. But it’s not so great that WE are. Not to mention that this behaviour is utterly freakish and abnormal. Thank goodness this only happens once a year.

Les feux d’artifice

So now we know why The Day of the Dead is so called: in the days after our Halloween festivities, none of us were fit for anything. Including Louis Catorze:

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Sadly we never managed to get the little sod to pose with a pumpkin for his official Halloween portrait. However, Cat Daddy had a chat with his boy before the merriment started, reminding him that it was his time to shine, and it would appear that some of this actually registered in the dim recesses of the royal non-brain. Seemingly oblivious to Marilyn Manson blasting out behind him through enormous speakers, Louis Catorze relaxed on his chaise longue all evening, purring and slow-blinking away, happily let Cat Daddy scoop him up and present our vampire-fanged Halloween kitty to each group of visitors, then pitter-pattered back to his chaise to wait for the next group. We can’t think of many cats who would have gone along with this.

Bonfire Night will be upon us this weekend, which means more chaos and disruption and a flurry of warnings posted on social media by animal behaviourists and veterinary practices. Louis Catorze has already been put to the test by fireworks on all sides of Le Château, every evening since the weekend before Halloween, and his response has been … to tip his head to one side, listen intently, then go about his regular cat business as if nothing were amiss. Sometimes he even goes out to investigate (at The Back, of course: The Front is still on lockdown as I don’t consider the season to be fully stupid-cat-safe yet).

I know: we are INCREDIBLY lucky that he is so accepting of fireworks, and this is one of those moments when a lack of fear/brains has its benefits.

If your cat is the stressy sort, I genuinely feel for you. Easier said than done, I know, but even the stupid ones pick up on our worry, so try as much as you can not to stress on their behalf. I hope that creating a relaxed atmosphere at home – Feliway, catnip for kitty and a hefty glass of bourbon for yourself – will help to ease things.