Décanter la nourriture royale

Anyone who buys large packs of dried pet food will know that repeatedly opening the pack lets in air and makes the contents stale. And, because our mutual friend is extremely fussy and refuses food if it’s been sitting around for a while (plus a multitude of other reasons), this simply will not do.

Until now we have always decanted some of his Orijen from the large pack into a smaller one, after finding out that the original packaging is apparently the best thing for keeping food daisy-fresh. We would refill this small pack from the main one as required, sealing it with one of Cat Daddy’s Edinson Cavani hairbands.

Not much left. Time to decant.

However, the passage of time and all the multiple openings and closings per day took their toll on the small pack, and the metallic foil inner lining started to crack and flake.

We didn’t want to add foil poisoning to the long list of Roi problems, so I sought the advice of members of the Cat Internet to find a suitable decanting vessel. And not only were they prompt in their replies, but it was very interesting to hear about the various cat food accessories that they use. Tins, dispensers, jars, snazzy clip things, fancy brand names that I’d never heard of … it’s all going on with the good folk of the Cat Internet. Only one of their merry band uses the original pack sans accoutrements and doesn’t bother to even close it properly – YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE – but then she has a cat who would happily eat toxic waste and decaying roadkill, so stale food isn’t really an issue.

As a result of the helpful replies, I was inspired to buy this fancy dispenser (below), which is made of food-grade stainless steel. It took a little while to arrive because it came from China, but it’s finally here, and even comes with its own scoop so I will no longer have to use my hands. Although the scoop looks tiny, it serves exactly the right amount for one Catorzian “little and often” portion.

It says “coffee” on top, but luckily Catorze can’t read.

I know. Very fitting for a Sun King, non?

And look how happy Cat Daddy is to finally have his hairband back:

Très chic.

Votre mission, si vous l’acceptez …

Since I broke both Louis Catorze’s vintage French bowl and the replacement, we have had multiple operatives across multiple continents on the lookout for more, in true Mission Impossible style.

Thank you to Sammypuss, who already sent two bowls but has been kind enough to send a third. He also sent this, which reminds me of absolutely nobody in particular:

Doesn’t ring a bell.

And thank you to Darth Vader, Amber, Luna, Lily, Phelps and Finnegan for using their creepy kitty mind control on their human and compelling her to purchase FOUR gifts for Sa Maj (two bowls and two toys). I should mention the lovely Quicksilver, too, who is no longer with them but is still very much part of the family.

There are also doggies present in the household – Cosmo, Xena, Sunny and Stella – but we don’t believe they had any part in it. In fact, they most likely objected but, as we all know, cats couldn’t give a hoot whether or not others object to their behaviour, and certainly not when it’s DOGS.

Luckily Catorze has no cœur so no chance of it being brisé.
L’invasion des chats noirs.

Incidentally, the black cat on the bowl above is a tribute to Aris, a Greek cat who gave his human lots of love:

Look at those rangy limbs!

Cat Daddy: “MORE bowls? Did you put out an international request for bowls, or something? We’re going to need a bigger house to contain all these. His bowl issues are contributing to global warming” (?).

Next time I might actually put some food in it.

Having already broken one Sammypuss bowl, it’s only a matter of time until I break both the back-up and the back-up to the back-up but, as soon as I do, I will be deploying these ones sent by the U.S. field agents. Meanwhile, I will be using them for us.

Merci à tous, but particularly to Darth as he is a black cat and therefore his powers of mind control would have been the strongest of the bunch.

Darth Vader. The force is most definitely with him.

If you’d like to check out Darth and the gang’s fabulous blog, have a look here.

“Miam miam! Ce porridge est parfait!”

Dampening down Louis Catorze’s Orijen is such a pain in the arse. I don’t mind doing it in principle, but I take exception to the unreasonably exacting specifications that we are required to meet.

Food can be rejected for any of the following reasons:

⁃ Too big a portion: NON (goes stale)

⁃ Too small a portion: NON (is eaten quickly and then he frightens us with the creepy staring)

⁃ Too dry: NON

⁃ Too wet: NON

⁃ Too-hot water: NON

⁃ Too-cold water: NON

⁃ Water not sunk in enough: NON (leaves pellets too crunchy)

⁃ Water sunk in too much: NON (leaves pellets too soft)

Cat Daddy despises waste of any sort, yet even he leaves the hot tap running whilst taking the Orijen out of the cupboard, so that it’s at optimum temperature for his boy’s precious food. And, if I am the one feeding the little sod, Cat Daddy reminds me, “Warm water. Don’t forget, warm water on his food. He likes it at about 70 degrees, and by the time it hits his bowl it will have cooled down enough for him to eat it.”

Well, lah-dee-dah.

If you think we’re pathetic for going to such lengths, you would probably be right. That said, I challenge anyone to stand strong against this level of creepy staring, especially from a black vampire cat, in the run-up to Hallowe’en.

Yes, there is food in his bowl. No, it’s not up to standard.

Où est ma bouffe?

Cat Daddy and I placed an Ocado order recently and, on the day it was due to arrive, we learned that twenty-eight items would not be delivered. Well, I guess it was really twenty-seven since one of the items was substituted with the same product in a smaller pack size, but I consider that as “not delivered” as nobody wants a small pack of something instead of a large one.

Although twenty-eight items is a LOT to be missing, Cat Daddy and I are determined not to be those people who go into the supermarket and clear the shelves of absolutely everything. However, if a certain someone’s Orijen were to disappear, we would be well and truly dans la merde. As you are already aware from having followed us through the purgatory that was the Grand Changement in all its excruciating forms, Louis Catorze is not one to “make do”. He will happily starve to death rather than consume one crumb of less-than-perfect fare. In fact, he will happily starve to death rather than consume one crumb of perfect fare from a LESS-THAN-PERFECT BOWL.

I asked Cat Daddy whether we should buy an extra few months’ supply of Orijen, and his response was, “Do whatever you think you should do” (which sounds like approval/support but, in fact, is more like a dare). I did it anyway – a reasonable quantity, I might add, not 9,083 packs – and I feel much better for it, especially as Catorze has permanent post-steroid hungries at the moment and is an eating machine. A couple of days ago he had seven dinners, and Cat Daddy gave him an eighth after I had gone to bed.

Here is Sa Maj, listening to irate radio show callers complaining about the lack of fuel and the empty supermarket shelves, smug in the knowledge that he’s all right:

“No need to panique-acheter. Unless it’s Orijen for moi.”

*UPDATE: Five days after I finished writing this, Petscorner emailed me to tell me that Catorze’s regular subscription order of Orijen Six Fish wouldn’t be coming, and the main Orijen website is currently also all out.

Cat Daddy: “You see? I *TOLD* you to get some in. We don’t want him going hungry.”

L’alpha et l’oméga (Plan B Partie 2)

Since that time Louis Catorze came home caked in dust, his fur has been unbelievably soft and beautiful. Even Cat Daddy has noticed and commented.

In seemingly-related but, in fact, completely separate news, we decided, a few weeks ago, to ditch Catorze’s beauty oil.

The reasons for this were as follows:

1. We couldn’t cope with the smell; although the new product was moderately less pungent than the previous one, it was still pretty awful.

2. Because he was so useless at grooming it off, all manner of crud stuck to the residue, making him permanently gross to look at and to touch.

3. The stickiness meant that, when we brushed him, the excess fur wouldn’t come off.

So, all in all, not really enough net gains to make it worthwhile.

It’s a bit of a shame as we had just discovered an improved application technique: piercing the capsule with a cocktail stick, waiting with Satan’s lollipop (see below) within easy reach, then whipping out the stick and pouncing as soon as Catorze approached. The stick served the dual purpose of reminding me where the hole was and also preventing him from smelling it too quickly and then doing a runner.

Mmm … fish!

However, all this is irrelevant now, since we know that we can achieve the desired effect by letting him hang out with builders and roll around in their dust.

In fact, if they were to use him as both the dustpan and the brush at the end of their working day, it could be a win-win for all, non?

He’s a creep. He’s a weirdo.

Le repas à l’eau

Louis Catorze is on liquid Gabapentin for his post-op recovery. I put the first dose on his fur, expecting him to groom it off, but he didn’t; he just let it air-dry on his body, then rubbed it back onto me. The second dose was spat into my face. So … going well so far.

Despite the fact that only 0.3% of his pain relief has been ingested, he is on astonishingly good form and has the energy of a ninja on amphetamines. In fact, we can’t believe he’s just had surgery.

I managed to cut off his bandage at the weekend, after the mother of all Greco-style fights. As it loosened, he appeared to understand that I was trying to help him – it’s only taken him seven years – and he relaxed slightly. When it finally fell away, he purred, rolled and repeatedly headbutted my leg as if he were saying thank you. I know: Catorze, being GRATEFUL! Whatever next? (Armageddon, I imagine.)

Photo taken before the assault with a bladed weapon.

When the bandage came off, I saw that his paw was enormous, twice the size of the others. Luckily it was able to bear weight and, other than giving it a good wash, he wasn’t remotely concerned. And, better yet, the giant paw has now reduced in size.

Not a great photo, but look at that paw!

He is also happily guzzling the dampened-down Orijen. However – and you knew there would be a “however”, didn’t you? – the little sod has started to reject it if it’s TOO damp.

Given that he’s recovering from dental surgery, I’d have imagined too damp to be better than not damp enough. Mais non: if the food has been left to soak up water for too long – even though this is his own fault for not eating it promptly – he will sit at our feet and do the creepy staring thing, the way he does when his plate is empty. As a result I have had to throw away uneaten Orijen, and Cat Daddy is not happy about this at all.

Anyway, this means we can no longer put food into Catorze’s bowl at our convenience, and instead we have to be responsive to when HE wants feeding. As anyone with a cat will know, as ever, it’s all about them.

Les belles assiettes

Poor old Louis Catorze has been gorging himself silly on Orijen, with no mess whatsoever, since I started sprinkling water over to soften the pieces. On the day of writing this he’d had three breakfasts, and he’s just eating his third dinner of Cat Daddy’s drunkenly-served Orijen soup.

He seems to be finding it much easier to eat, plus he’s probably experiencing the Post-Steroid Hungries, but either way this is good news as we want him to gain weight.

At around the same time of Catorze’s messy eating, but before I knew that he had a problem with his teeth, I also noticed that he would take a mouthful of food, then stand upright to crunch. So I bought him one of those fancy tilted (and unbreakable) bowls that apparently save poor kitty from having to strain his neck downwards to eat.

Sa Maj is a man of many bowls, including this one.

However, Catorze’s buddy Sammypuss, who sent the little sod the original bowl and the back-up bowl, has very kindly offered him a third, identical one, in the extremely likely event of me smashing the back-up. And Catorze even has his friend Dexter in India scouring the local pottery market for a similar bowl, in the equally likely event of me also smashing the THIRD Sammypuss bowl. So now he has a current bowl, a new tilted bowl still in its packaging, plus half the world’s cats are also busily sourcing bowls for him.

Cat Daddy: “F***ing ridiculous.”

We all know what a cirque de merde it was the last time we changed bowls, so I certainly won’t be deploying the new one until I absolutely have to. So, for the moment, I am handling the current Sammypuss bowl very tenderly indeed, only just stopping short of lining the kitchen sink with bubble wrap before I wash it.

Anyway, Catorze is blissfully unconcerned and gives not a single hoot about his dental condition, about Bowlmageddon, about any of this. Here he is, happily gadding about outside whilst we all run ourselves ragged on his account:

Surveying his royaume (and picking out which foxes to bully first).

Les miettes sur l’assiette

Louis Catorze has been making a God-awful mess during feeding. Recently his mat and bowl have been covered in crunched-up fragments of Orijen, suggesting that the pellets are too big for him when, in actual fact, they’re smaller than those of Lily’s Kitchen and therefore should be easier to manage.

When I took him for his steroid jab I asked the vet to check his teeth, because I wanted to be sure that the little sod wasn’t having difficulty chewing. It turns out that the he has something called feline odontoclastic resorptive lesions or FORL for short, in other words absorbing a tooth back into his gums. Long story short, he will need surgery under a general anaesthetic to fix it, to the tune of £550-£675.

Cat Daddy: “He’s such a ****.”

I feel awful when I think that this may even be the reason why he lost weight, although he was showing no signs of having tooth problems. Perhaps I should have known something was wrong as he has been very clingy towards me lately, and Cat Daddy has a theory that he does this when he’s not feeling well. (Usually, as you know, he couldn’t give a shite whether I live or die.) Anyway, we have made an appointment for 10th September, and Catorze will hop aboard the Animal Bus to the TW3 branch and have the procedure there. We can’t do it any sooner because the surgery has to take place when the steroid jab is beginning to tail off but not worn down to nothing.

Meanwhile, I am dampening his Orijen with water to soften it and wondering what the heck else could possibly go wrong with him, because surely he’s now had every ailment there is? Here is some information about his freakish yet apparently common condition, if you’re interested.

Poor little sod.

L’autre bol royal

I have broken the bowl that Louis Catorze’s friend Sammypuss gave him. I know. I KNOW.

Cat Daddy: “What happened to it?”

Me: “I dropped it in the sink whilst I was washing it.”

Cat Daddy: “Why did you do that?”

Well, I dunno … to see if it would bounce? For goodness’ sake.

Luckily, Sammypuss was kind enough to gift Catorze with two bowls, so I have an identical one as back-up. However, if anything happens to the back-up, we will be royally stuffed; as you know, Catorze would rather starve than eat from an undesirable bowl, even if he used to find said bowl perfectly acceptable in the distant past. And, knowing him, he will probably reject the back-up EVEN THOUGH IT IS EXACTLY THE SAME AS THE ORIGINAL ONE.

The poor little sod was waiting to be fed when the mishap occurred, and the sound of the porcelain smashing sent him scarpering outside. Here he is, tentatively debating whether or not to come back in again:

Not sure …

Les rillettes de thon blanc

I have settled into a rather pleasant summer holiday routine, as follows:

1. Wake up when I want.

2. Bid good morning to Louis Catorze who, more often than not, is lying at my feet.

3. Make a pot of green tea.

4. Fashion a Trojan Horse amuse-bouche consisting of tuna rillettes surrounding a steroid pill, and watch with pure joy as greedy Catorze gobbles it up.

5. Watch horror movies or read books with the little sod on my lap until Cat Daddy wakes up.

Regretfully, Reflets de France tuna rillettes contain three huge baddies: wheat, sugar and butter. I know. However, anyone who has ever tried to Greco a writhing, yowling, hostile shite of a cat will understand. We would happily feed the little sods molten lava and strychnine if it meant they would just eat the pill and not give us any grief.

What’s more, getting one over on Catorze and having him think I’m giving him a treat when, in fact, it’s a pill, brightens my day more than I ever thought possible. Every time he eats one, an angel gets his wings.

Bon appétit, mon Roi.

Maybe I’ll wrap the next pill in grass, for a Cornish Yarg effect.