Partager, c’est sympa

Good news: Thursday’s Clap for our Carers went without public incident.

Bad news: Catorze bided his time until after the clap to cause discord of a different kind. He took advantage of the fact that Cat Daddy remained outside chatting – and, yes, when I saw Catorze pitter-patter towards the door I did yell at Cat Daddy to shut it, but he was too slow – and he tried to get into That Neighbour’s house. The poor man apparently had quite a time fighting the little sod away from his front door, and Cat Daddy had to intervene. Oh dear.

In happier news, yesterday was Friday, which meant that our usual weekly doorstep food collection took place. To show his deep regret for causing a scene during last week’s clap, Catorze kindly agreed to donate his Lily’s Kitchen Delicious Chicken to the food bank.

He had originally promised it to his buddy Boots, but I am not sure when I will be able to see Boots and, in the meantime, the food was just sitting in the cupboard. Never fear, though: I will be giving Boots and his brother Antoine some alternative treats when I do finally see them. So he needn’t be concerned about missing out on food (although he does appear to worry about this an awful lot).

If you are in a position to donate food or money to your local food bank, I am sure they would be very grateful. Our donations are sent here: https://www.hounslowfoodbox.org.uk

Here is Catorze, despatching his parcel with lots of love:

“Bon voyage! Go make some other kitties happy!”

Le dîner du con

Before lockdown commenced, Cat Daddy and I had a conversation about the May bank holiday, which has always been the first Monday in May but, this year, it has been moved. That conversation went something like this:

Me: “They’ve moved the May bank holiday from Monday 4th to Friday 8th.”

Cat Daddy: “Why have they done that?”

Me, after Googling: “To commemorate 75 years since VE Day.”

Him: “Oh, right.”

Me: “You know what this means, don’t you?”

Him: “No?”

Me: “Louis Catorze’s extended birthday weekend isn’t going to be an extended birthday weekend anymore. It’s just going to be a normal-length birthday weekend.”

[Silence, tumbleweed, crickets]

Him: “So you’re objecting to honouring war veterans and remembering the dead, because it interferes with our cat’s long birthday weekend?”

Me: “I’m not objecting. I’m just saying.”

Cat Daddy: “And besides, you don’t work on Mondays. I don’t work on Mondays, or any days come to think of it. And Louis CERTAINLY doesn’t work on Mondays, or any days.”

Me: “…”

Him: “So whether or not the Monday is a bank holiday makes absolutely no difference.”

To be fair, he had a point.

Now, of course, things are rather different. Not only is a bank holiday of even less consequence, but even the normal week days and the weekends run into one another and we have lost all grasp of time. And our plans for the party of the decade are now shot to hell, which is probably just as well for our friends because I was going to invite them over under some random pretext, then announce that they were here for Louis Catorze’s 10th birthday, by which time they would be trapped and unable to leave.

Anyway, my challenge now is to plan a quarantine birthday party menu whose ingredients can be sourced from places other than the supermarket (too virussy / too many stupid people who won’t respect the 2-metre rule) or Ocado (delivery slots are rather like total solar eclipses, only happening once every 375 years or so).

And Catorze says we can choose any cuisine, as long as it’s French:

“Bring me some of your finest jambon de Bayonne, Monsieur.”

Pourtant on a le même vieux gruau

When we saw the vet last week and discussed changes in the home that could have triggered Louis Catorze’s problem, she suggested that we stop the Delicious Chicken food for a while.

Cat Daddy is rather cross about this as we only bought a brand new pack of Delicious Chicken two days before the vet appointment. But, because he is a huge advocate of cutting down on meat consumption to save the planet, he is also delighted that he and his boy can form a special little pescatarian club together.

Yes, I know: what’s missing in their lives is their own club.

I checked the ingredients lists of both the Fabulous Fish and the Delicious Chicken at the weekend, and virtually the only differences are, erm, the fish and the chicken. Even the minuscule trace ingredients are more or less consistent between the variants. But, according to the vet, cats can react to the protein in foods, and changing from fish to chicken or vice versa can be sufficient to trigger symptoms. The huge gauntlet of allergy testing that Catorze underwent at the rescue appeared to indicate that his issues were NOT food-related but, since it’s a change that we can deliver with zero effort, we have decided that it has to be worth a try.

So the little sod is back to just one type of food for the moment. But we may allow him a few slivers of jambon de Bayonne on 30th April as a birthday treat.

Picture taken last Tuesday; the more recent ones are not pretty.

Le pré et la marée

When Cat Daddy retired last August I imagined he would start spending time intensifying his fitness regime, learning a new musical instrument and attending language classes, but it seems I underestimated him and he has his mind on much higher things.

He has been threatening for ages to stockpile Louis Catorze’s food in case of a no-deal Brexit. And, when I got home from work one day, he very proudly asked me to check inside the cat food cupboard. So I did … and I saw not one but TWO containers containing Catorze’s Lily’s Kitchen biscuits. I’d rather have found diamonds or champagne but, erm, ok.

Me: “… ? …”

Him: “I bought him some Delicious Chicken as well as Fabulous Fish, and I’ve put them into two separate containers.”

Me: “Ok. That’s great …”

Him: “He does like Delicious Chicken, doesn’t he?”

Me: “I think so, yes.”

Him: “So why haven’t we been giving him both? Why have we only been giving him Fabulous Fish?”

To be honest I didn’t really know the answer to this, and I then had the lecture about whether I would like having to eat the same thing every day. (If having crisps for breakfast counts, then I think that ship has well and truly sailed.)

That evening, I gave Catorze a helping of both foods together.

Cat Daddy, looking disgusted: “What? Both? On the same plate?”

Me: “Erm, yes. Why not?”

Him: “They’re DIFFERENT MEATS.”

Me: “But cats eat bugs and maggot-infested roadkill. I don’t suppose fish and chicken on the same plate will bother him in the slightest.”

Him: “Would YOU eat fish and meat from the same plate?”

Me: “Is that not what “surf and turf” is?”

[Silence, tumbleweed, crickets]

Anyway, Catorze now has two different foods. And, every time I feed the little sod, Cat Daddy yells, “Don’t forget: fish for breakfast, chicken for dinner!”

I’ll be sure to let you know when someone turns this gripping story into a film.

J’ai dégusté ses poils avec des fèves au beurre et un excellent Chianti

On Friday night there was no sign of Louis Catorze, which was rather unusual as he has slept on our bed with us pretty much every night ever since the first day he came to live with us. That said, since the time he hid somewhere in the house (hiding place still unknown) and we made Oscar the dog’s folks go searching in their shed for him in the middle of a storm, we have learned not to panic too much at his disappearances.

When Cat Daddy went downstairs and opened the dining room door the next morning, out shot Catorze, all indignant and screamy. Yes, the little sod had used his Cloak of Invisibility to sneak in and had been shut in there all night.

I heard Cat Daddy say, “Well, it’s your own fault. You should have meowed for help.” Then I heard purring and squeaking, which are the classic signs of Boys’ Club rough play and forgiveness for whatever misdemeanour may have previously occurred.

Luckily Catorze hadn’t turned the dining room into les toilettes, nor had he trashed the place doing parkour trying to get out. However, he had managed to break into the cupboard containing all the good crockery and cutlery and had rolled all over everything. This photo is of one of our napkins:

Now, the cat people that I know fall into one of two camps when it comes to this kind of thing:

1. Disinfect and/or incinerate everything
2. Dust it off and nobody will notice

Dinner guests past and present, you will be relieved to know that Cat Daddy and I are firmly numéro 1. I think it’s safe to say that, given the choice, most people wouldn’t opt to eat from tableware that has been rolled on by a gross cat. And, whilst they wouldn’t necessarily know about it, we would.

The contents of the cupboard are now cleaner than an operating theatre. And, as the festive season approaches, Sa Maj is ready to receive pilgrims, both old and new, for dinner.

Il faut cultiver notre jardin

The spring equinox is here, which means brighter days and a renewed sense of joie de vivre. And, as if to mark this theme of vitality and optimism, someone or something has puked in our vegetable patch, right on the bit where we plant our salad leaves and kale. 

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Believe me, I thought it, too, and it was also the first thing Cat Daddy said upon discovering it (right after all the swearing). But, disgusting though this is, when you have just one animal who eats pretty much just one thing, you soon get to know what their regurgitated food looks like. This was much too copious and too, erm, orange to have been produced by Louis Catorze. I know his brew like I know my own name and, trust me, this ain’t his. 

So, thoughts? The only other possible culprits are: 

  1. Foxes (highly likely) 
  2. Badgers (unlikely but not impossible)
  3. Other cats (seemingly likely but we never see any in our garden, ever, so I am a little sad at the idea that they don’t come to befriend Catorze yet they make the effort to come here to vomit)

As with most other things that go on at Le Château, I don’t suppose we will ever find out the truth. In the meantime, I shall be praying for rain to wash everything away and buying my salad leaves from the supermarket. 

This picture is of Sa Maj sunning himself and rocking out to the Rolling Stones during Boys’ Club, because, obviously, I wasn’t going to post a photo of the vomit. 

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Il y a une souris dans ma cuisine; qu’est-ce que je vais faire?

1e5e7a40-1d74-4d44-aa3f-eaeb4c01e4e6The curious incident of the herbs in the kitchen has been solved. 

After a thorough search, Cat Daddy discovered that a bag of green lentils had been chewed right through – which we had failed to spot before as the hole was minuscule, perhaps the diameter of a pencil – and the discerning mouse had taken care to discard the unpalatable outer casings. And, whilst green lentils look nothing like dried herbs, their shredded outer casings happen to look EXACTLY like them. 

The mouse had also gnawed through two packets of Cat Daddy’s as-yet-unopened, mega-posh teff flour (nope, me neither; I had to Google it), which were promptly thrown away along with the lentils. We have now moved all the packet food up to the top shelves and the tins and jars to the bottom, and we are desperately hoping that the squeaky little sod can’t climb/jump.  

Technically, because Louis Catorze jumped off my lap and went to investigate before we knew there was a mouse, he did, indeed, solve the mystery before us. He is not, however, completely off the hook. “Well, who do you think brought the mouse in here?” asked Cat Daddy. “It’s all his fault.” 

C’est vrai. As we have said before, the definition of good mousing is not bringing mice to a place where there were none before and then turning them loose to run riot. 

Anyway, we have no idea where the mouse is, and I guess we have no option but to keep an eye on our food packets for unusual spillages, and, of course, to monitor Sa Maj for suspicious sniffing and prowling. And, as the little sod has the revolting habit of bringing dead and partially-dead prey up to our bedroom, no doubt it will be abundantly clear when Project Mini-Mouse concludes.

Don’t worry, I shall share this with you at the earliest opportunity.

You’re welcome. 

Le chat aime le poisson, mais il n’aime pas se mouiller les pattes

Not long ago, Cat Daddy and I decided to have a Fish Week at Le Château, because we love fish – I always choose it in a restaurant – but don’t eat enough of it. Now, most cats would think this were the best thing on earth and would hover around at cooking time, yowling, sniffing and generally being a pest. However, because Louis Catorze can take or leave food, Fish Week passed him by completely unnoticed. 

His big brother Luther would never have let us get off so lightly; Luther loved seafood so much that it was actually listed on his rap sheet at the rescue. I recall wondering at the time why a food preference were important enough to pass onto potential adopters, but I later discovered that they were actually trying to warn us: “Likes prawns” was, in fact, code for “Will kill you to get to them.”

This was proven by The Fish Pie Incident aka HaddockGate, which my sister also witnessed, and about which she can now only talk in a hushed whisper. There were also further incidents, such as the time that I had to leave the house and eat my prawn salad in the car because Luther was harassing me so badly. He had never used a cat flap before but learned in about 0.3 seconds because I stood on the other side, waving a piece of sea bass.

Fish Week would have been all Luther’s dreams come true. No such luck with his petit frère: look at this, quite frankly, FREAKISH non-reaction to a salmon and gruyère fish cake. (The paw, incidentally, was NOT reaching out for the fish cake: Catorze was in this position anyway when I plonked the bowl down in front of him. I even left the room to fetch my cup of tea and, when I returned, both fish cake and cat were as I had left them.) Luther, on the other hand, would have swum through molten lava for this.

We’re not exactly short of evidence that the little sod isn’t normal (reason: #becauseRoi). But this just tops the lot. 

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Je bouffe, donc je suis

After several months of a carefully-orchestrated changeover and regular snippy comments from Cat Daddy about the slowness of it all, Louis Catorze has now fully transitioned from Acana Pacifica to Lily’s Kitchen. So he is well on his way to becoming a zero-waste kitty. (Cat Daddy: “Apart from the waste that comes out of his arse end.”) 

Better yet, he genuinely seems to like the Lily’s Kitchen better, which is quite the accomplishment for a cat who, generally speaking, doesn’t like food. He actually comes running when he hears the biscuits rattling and sometimes clears his plate, neither of which he used to do before, and I feel almost* guilty that we have subjected him to merely satisfactory food until now. 

*Almost, but not quite. Louis Catorze leads a life of luxury and certainly doesn’t need our sympathy. 

Whilst I am delighted that our boy is happy and that he has actively reduced his carbon pawprint, I hope we won’t lose the many advantages of a cat who doesn’t like food. It is an absolute joy to be able to leave human food on the kitchen worktop, knowing that it will be safe. It’s also great to be able to go out for a whole day, having put down 2 meals’ worth of food, and know that the little sod will make it last. His big brother Luther was very much a guzzler rather than a grazer; his inability to pace himself meant that, if we were going out, we would always have to make arrangements for someone to come and feed him. I recall my mum once witnessing his gluttony and saying, “That food was meant to last him until the evening. When you gave it to him, did you not EXPLAIN?” 

Here is Catorze’s custom-made feeding station (created by the builders upon Cat Daddy’s orders), which houses his black kitty feeding mat (gifted by my sister) and his vintage French bowl (gifted by one of his best-loved pilgrims). La vie est belle.

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C’est mieux dehors que dedans

*WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS GRAPHIC REFERENCES TO CAT PUKE*

The puke switch has been activated. I should have known I had spoken too soon in my last post, and no doubt this is because Louis Catorze has been outside chewing grass and not because of the food change, but that doesn’t make it any less foul. And, sadly, the combination of cat puke the same colour as our floorboards plus a tiring day spelled disaster for me when I stepped into it with bare feet. 

Our floorboards are the original ones dating back to when Le Château was built and, when we had it renovated, the builders put some sort of magical expanding stuffing between the floorboards to plug up the gaps. However, this was almost 3 years ago and, over time, in some areas the stuffing has worn away. And, tragically, by stepping on the puke AND in trying to clean it up, I ended up accidentally pushing some of it between the gaps. 

Oui, Mesdames et Messieurs: THERE IS NOW CAT PUKE UNDER OUR FLOORBOARDS. AND I PUT IT THERE.

Cat Daddy is not pleased about this at all. But, as he’s partially-sighted, I can’t imagine he would have spotted it, either. Nor would his clean-up attempts have been much better. 

So now we’re playing a waiting game. And, rather like Edgar Allan Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart but with its stomach-churning stench rather than an ominous drumming, the festering cat puke will slowly alert all comers to its horrifying presence beneath the floorboards. Sadly, as Cat Daddy has firmly vetoed taking up the floorboards (“They’ve been here for over a century and have remained intact through 2 World Wars, so we’re not pulling them up just because of HIM”) there isn’t much we can do, apart from hope that it soon passes.

Here is the little sod showing profound regret at the anguish he has caused: 

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