La chasse sauvage

The Wild Hunt, according to legend, is a cavalcade of spectral hunters, horses and hounds that glides through the sky. Any unwary folk who are out and about and who happen to catch sight of this spectacle are likely to be swept up by the spirits and carried away.

Here at Le Château we have our own Wild Hunt going on, due to a Code Ambre situation: a fly in the living room. (American followers: I don’t think it was THAT fly, although I’m sure people make that mistake all the time and this one is sick of having to field questions about what Mike Pence’s hair felt like.)

Cat Daddy didn’t even know the fly was there until Louis Catorze started doing the psycho-eyed prowling and the bird-chatter, and he captured the whole saga in this short photo story:

Who hunteth so late through the night dark and drear?
The Sun King it is, brave and strong, without fear …
He hunteth the fly tightly lock’d in his sight …
He eateth it whole, then he biddeth good night.

Sa Majesté des mouches

We have a Code Ambre situation at Le Château: A FLY IN THE LIVING ROOM. Not that I really need to tell you, as you can probably hear the unholy racket from wherever you are in the world.

If you have a cat, you will know what I mean by “that bird-chatter sound”. The best way of describing it is a succession of clipped, otherworldly “eck-eck-eck” notes, daintily sung when the cat sees a bird. (Or you could just YouTube it and hear it for yourself.)

It’s very common for cats to make this noise at birds; however, Louis Catorze also does it to BUGS. Usually this is quite handy: if I hear it from the next room, I know that a fly is at large and I’m prompted to check my food or my cup of tea to make sure that they’re covered. But, right now, we just want to sit and enjoy Movie Afternoon, and the little sod won’t shut up.

(He once did the bird-chatter sound at the pterodactyls from Jurassic World, too. This was nowhere near as useful as the bug alert, but it was much funnier.)

There are a few theories as to why cats make this sound: it’s rumoured to be a sign of frustration that kitty can’t catch said bird/bug/dinosaur, a result of an adrenaline rush as the cat imagines the chase, or, rather more sinisterly, an involuntary reflex sound that escapes from the throat as the cat mimics chomping its jaws around the prey and killing it. But I don’t think anybody really knows for sure. It’s one of those peculiar little cat quirks that can’t be properly explained, but it makes us love them even more simply because it sounds so cute and funny. Unless you want some peace to watch a film. Then it’s really annoying.

I suggested continuing Movie Afternoon in another room, but Cat Daddy said that would be “letting Louis Catorze win.” A win for us, on the other hand, involves being stuck here, struggling to follow the story due to all the buzzing and chattering, and thinking, “Surely victory should feel better than this?” And this will go on and on until the fly escapes or is eaten, or until Cat Daddy finally snaps and swats both the fly and Catorze.

Unlike the film, I can predict exactly how this tale will end.

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