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.
I had my second vaccine a couple of days ago and have been hovering between life and death ever since. (Cat Daddy’s Helpful Comment of the Day: “Just think positive.”) Although the unpleasantness is less severe than that of my first vaccine, it is certainly longer-lasting. Louis Catorze’s response has been to mostly ignore me during the day but to be an utter pest at night, leaping all over me, screaming and whining. In fact, he is probably why the pain is so enduring, but that’s just what he does.
The disappointment continues: a week after tapering him off his pills, he was scratching again and the skin around his eyes started to swell and split. I cannot express how disheartening this is, given that the summer used to be his time of peak health. The one small positive in this situation is that, as ever, his mood is unaffected.
Having been through this many times, we know to deploy the pills as soon as we see the first signs. However, Catorze used to eat Pill Pockets with no problem, and now he doesn’t. We imagine that this is because he loves Orijen so much that he can no longer be bothered with the second best thing on his plate – and, to be fair, I understand where he’s coming from. Who wants moderately acceptable food when they can have great food?
So now we have had to resume our quest for a Trojan Horse-style pill conduit. This is our progress to date:
⁃ Jambon de Bayonne: has a very short shelf life and Catorze won’t eat it if it’s been frozen and thawed, so we are paying £3.99 per 70g for something of which he will only eat 10g
⁃ Organic aged Comté: can sometimes work if room temperature, but is rejected if straight from the fridge
⁃ Every other food known to humankind and catkind: rejected
I have had a few lucky strikes with the one weapon left in my arsenal – Reflets de France tuna rillettes – but, knowing Catorze, the moment that this goes live, he will have changed his mind about that, too.
Meanwhile, we are considering reverting back to the less-troublesome steroid injections. We are also slowly coming to terms with the fact that the little sod may have reached the point where he needs medication for life.
Louis Catorze is strutting around Le Château with some swagger. He’s alert, happy and in fine voice. (Non-Brits, “in fine voice” is just an expression. There is nothing fine about his voice.)
He also appears to be gaining weight. And so he should, given that we are feeding him unlimited quantities of a food that is better than anything we’ve ever eaten ourselves and more expensive than gold and crystal meth combined.
Since he loves his food, as opposed to just liking it, feeding him is a completely different experience and is probably starting to resemble what life would be like with a normal cat. Previously, I would serve his food and he would keep his distance as the pellets hit his bowl. Then he would wander over, sniff it, eat a couple of pellets and walk away, saving the rest for later.
This is the experience at present:
⁃ Waking me at a ridiculous time of the morning
⁃ Circling my feet like a hungry shark as I open the Orijen packet
⁃ Rearing up on his hind legs and putting his front paws on my legs as I pour the food into his bowl
⁃ More screaming
⁃ Leaping onto his food the minute I step away, and even sometimes clearing his plate in one sitting
⁃ More screaming and creepy staring at various intervals throughout the day, to request more food
⁃ Late-night screaming at Cat Daddy for more food
The last of the above is so severe that I can hear it from upstairs, and I am starting to wonder whether Catorze deliberately waits until late as Cat Daddy’s portion-measuring is, erm, less accurate after a few wines.
I am just grateful that he’s eating SOMETHING. Cat Daddy, however, is still not over the fact that the little sod chose the most expensive food there is, and the fact he is shovelling it down at such a rate just adds insult to injury.
Here is Le Roi, not really giving a merde about what we think:
It’s official: Louis Catorze is no longer on the steroid pills. And thank goodness for that because, after I came home from hospital, he decided to be extra difficult about eating his Pill Pockets, meaning that every pill has had to be a Greco job. This was how I found his Pill Pocket yesterday, on the floor next to his empty bowl:
He has upped his Greco game, too, having learned (from where?) to do a fake-swallow, spitting out the pill when he’s released. Cat Daddy, incidentally, refuses to Greco, using this defence: “But he loves me! It should be you because he doesn’t like you as much.”
Luckily it’s all over and the little sod is on nothing but Orijen and beauty oil, which makes life much easier.
Orijen claims that their food “mimicks the diet your cat’s ancestors would have hunted and eaten in the wild”. Although there is no doubt that their ingredients read like the tasting menu of a Michelin-starred restaurant, I find it doubtful that most cats would have been able to source them of their own accord. Venison: nope. Wild boar: nope. Bison: HELL, nope.
Catorze is very much a fish gentleman and his food is called “Orijen Six Fish”. I imagine hell would freeze over long before he successfully caught even one fish, let alone six. I chatted a few months ago with one of Catorze’s lovely blog followers about the size of tuna, and the smallest species is twice his size at 7kg, with the largest weighing in at up to 250kg (!). So the more likely scenario would be him falling into the water and the fish grabbing him in its jaws, then promptly spitting him out again after realising that he wasn’t a worthwhile snack (being only just bigger than krill and nowhere near as nutritious).
A true ancestral diet would, surely, have been small birds and rodents, although the idea of buying them freeze-dried in foil somehow doesn’t appeal. I think what’s REALLY going on here is that the good folk at Orijen are just like us, i.e. complete suckers who want the little sods to have the best of everything. And they’ve made up all the stuff about ancestors to shut up those who accuse them of spoiling their pets. “But Alaskan cod, garnished with Saskatoon berries, is what cats have always eaten, ever since the dawn of time!”
Here is Catorze, with his eyes locked on the green parakeets. His chances of catching one are zéro, and the parakeets know this.
Last week, we and the Dog Family fed Blue the Smoke Bengal whilst his mamma was away, and someone – to protect their identity I shall refer to them as “Dog Sister” – accidentally shut Blue’s house keys in the house with a couple of days’ feeding still left to go. Luckily Blue had enough water to last him until the next day – when his Cat Uncle, who had a key, would be stopping by – but no food.
Blue is a scoffer rather than a grazer, so the chances of him pacing himself and making a meal last would have been zéro.
Dog Mamma asked if Louis Catorze would be good enough to let Blue have some of his Orijen and, quite frankly, after the little sod’s persistent meanness to Blue, we thought it was the least he could do. The problem was how to get it to him. After much deliberation, Dog Mamma leaned precariously over the garden fence and lowered a bowl of Orijen into Blue’s garden, using a pair of tongs.
The Dog Family called Blue’s name repeatedly, but without success. He was nowhere to be seen.
We then mooted the idea of, erm, scattering Orijen through the letterbox. Now, please hear me out. Leaving the bowl unattended in the garden would have risked it falling into enemy hands/mouths: Catorze, Donnie, Jaws, Foxy Loxy, the squirrels, to name but a few. Plus, if Blue wasn’t in the habit of being fed outdoors, he could have been waiting indoors by his bowl, unaware of the drama taking place in the garden.
Dog Mamma retrieved the Orijen with the tongs and took it to Blue’s front door to push it through the letterbox, and I went along to watch and laugh offer my support. At first Blue sat at the top of the stairs and stared. Then, when it dawned on him that he wasn’t dreaming and that IT REALLY WAS RAINING FOOD, he couldn’t shovel it down fast enough.
Anyway, Blue had his meal, Catorze did a good turn for his needy neighbour and the rest of us had a good giggle, so all is well in the Cat Province of TW8. However, let’s hope that this (below) won’t be the scene at Maison Blue every time the postman comes:
Louis Catorze has now been eating Orijen Six Fish for a couple of weeks. I haven’t posted much about his daily progress because I haven’t dared to jinx it. But he’s eating it. And, luckily, despite disregarding all advice concerning gradually phasing in the new food, we don’t appear to have had any, erm, undesirable side effects of the digestive kind.
Since Le Grand Changement began, my conversations with Cat Daddy have consisted mainly of whether or not Louis Catorze has eaten and, if so, how much. Sometimes I have even asked Cat Daddy to send me photos of the little sod’s bowl during the day, so that I could compare them to the photos I’d taken earlier and see if he had eaten anything. I know. Truly living the dream.
Although he is happily eating, now that Catorze has acquired senior status he is becoming fussier and he no longer wishes to eat food that is even 0.001% stale (even though he’s the one who’s been leaving it to go stale in the first place). Refilling Catorze’s bowl little and often seems to resolve this and, since Cat Daddy is home all the time, he doesn’t mind doing it.
Cat Daddy’s Helpful Comment of the Day: “I do mind. I f***ing resent it.”
However, it might pose a problem if we have to go away and leave a chat-sitteur in charge of Sa Maj. My sister suggested an automated dispenser which releases one pellet every hour, and Cat Daddy and I are currently discussing whether it would be cheaper to ask someone to stop by sixteen times a day and serve a teaspoonful of food per visit, or sixteen people to each visit once a day and serve a teaspoonful of food.
Anyway, I am going to take a huge chance and tempt fate now, by bringing Le Grand Changement to a close and concluding that Orijen is Le Roi’s food of choice. “Cat puts humans through arduous food changeover and eventually chooses most spendy option” is a headline that will surprise absolutely nobody.
After several days of stuffing his greedy little face with Orijen Six Fish, Louis Catorze’s appetite faded as soon as I placed an order for a further supply. (Lizzi, if you’re reading this, I know you told me so.)
The order took a couple of attempts to go through, as if the Apple Gods were trying to warn me. But, luckily, the unhungriness was only a temporary blip and he is now back to being an eating, screaming machine, as he was when he had the appetite-enhancing pill.
Cat Daddy’s Helpful Comment of the Day: “F***ing ridiculous. Expensive food and beauty oil [referring to the Omega 3 vol-au-vents]. It’s like living in a fancy spa with Raymond Blanc cooking for him.”
Cat Daddy and I, on the other hand, are existing on stale bread and stagnant rainwater in order to keep Sa Maj supplied with his various dietary and wellbeing paraphernalia. But then it’s never been about us, so tant pis.
We have half a pack of Lily’s Kitchen Marvellously Mature left, and Catorze appears to have forgotten that it ever existed, which is exactly what we want; continuing to give it to him would be rather like continuing to give him heroin despite successfully getting him onto methadone. We have found a new home for it, though: later this month, along with the 1.5kg of Thrive and the 862kg of Canagan, the Marvellously Mature will be making its way to some hungry kitties in SE20 (more about them next time).
Here is the little sod, waving goodbye to his old food and hoping that the recipients enjoy it:
When Louis Catorze decided that he didn’t want to eat Canagan anymore, despite the fact that he’d eaten it perfectly happily for TWO WHOLE WEEKS BEFOREHAND, Cat Daddy and I decided it was time to deploy the Orijen. This was not a decision that we took lightly, given that it would send us spiralling into debt*, but we didn’t know what else to do.
*Here is a comparison, using a dry food pack of around 1.5-1.8kg as a guide:
⁃ Supermarket or commercial brands: approx. £2-3 per kg
⁃ Mid-range but still perfectly decent brands: approx. £7-10 per kg
⁃ Posh brands: approx. £12 per kg
⁃ Orijen Six Fish: £16.66 per kg, +£2 for the Regional Red (red meat) variant, +£4 for the Tundra (game) variant
I could get better value from the massive 5.4kg pack but we don’t have room to store it, and I refuse to buy a bag of cat food that weighs more than my cat. Plus, if anything were to GUARANTEE our mutual friend ceasing to like it, it would be the purchase of a huge pack costing this much:
Anyway … very tentatively, we gave Catorze a dessertspoonful of Orijen without his old food, and we barely drew breath as he approached it.
SAINT JÉSUS: HE ATE IT.
Then he ate another portion. Then he ate two more normal-sized portions. And when Cat Daddy came home from the pub later, Catorze did such a screamy, starey number on him that he drunk-served him a fifth – and most likely enormous – portion.
Cat Daddy’s Helpful Comment of the Day, sent by drunken text that night: “I told you he knew there was better food around. He’s just polished off a whole bowl like some craved [sic] animal who’s never eaten before.”
Be warned, Chat Noir owners: their power is growing. We thought it only happened in October, but it’s started early. Until now, never would I have believed in mind control so intense that it could compel me to buy the most expensive cat food in existence, to pray for said Chat Noir to love it AND to feel pure joy when he did. Catorze is Charles Manson in feline form.
Mind you, by that point I was so worn down by this whole sorry saga that I would have been grateful if he’d eaten asbestos and drain unblocker. And they would have been cheaper.
Thank you to everyone who kindly sent birthday wishes to Louis Catorze. He had a marvellous day. I even broke my 3-month dryness to partake in a Louis XIV cocktail*, but I am now back to teetotal ways to see if I can manage another month.
In other, shocking news, the little sod has eaten a piece of the Reflets de France tuna rillettes that I dropped onto the floor, after spending several minutes going CRAZY wondering where the appetising smell was coming from. And, when I gave him another tiny scraping to see if the first time had been an accident/a fluke/a figment of my imagination, he ate that, too.
Oui, Mesdames et Messieurs: the cat who doesn’t like food has consumed food. I wish it could have been his own food, rather than MY food, but tant pis. And I have offered Sa Maj actual tuna in the past, which has been promptly rejected, yet it seems he’s happy to eat it in Frenchified form, proving that you can take the Sun King out of France, but you can’t take France out of the Sun King.
Cat Daddy’s Helpful Comment of the Day: “You shouldn’t have done that. Now he won’t eat ANY OTHER FOOD, EVER AGAIN.” Erm, I think that ship has very much left the port, but your comment has been noted.
Anyway, since tuna rillettes have been rarer than golden goose eggs since Brexit stuffed things up, i am down to my last few jars and I have no idea when I will be able to reorder. So I don’t especially want to share at the moment, especially not with this ungrateful, entitled little sod, not even on his birthday weekend.
Le Grand Changement’s twists and turns are more dramatic than an episode of Line of Duty, and I cannot believe I am having to write this.
After a thoroughly successful Grand Changement (or so I stupidly thought), Louis Catorze has decided that he no longer wants to eat Canagan. And, naturellement, he made this decision AFTER we subscribed to six-weekly deliveries of Canagan at £35 a pop, the first of which is already here.
We initially put this down to temporary Summer Unhungries, but then he did the same thing again the following day. And, at the end of that second day, when I finally gave into the screaming and served a portion of his old food, he ate it.
This is worse than having the opposition score a 94th-minute winner in football. This is more like having them score long after the full-time whistle and the referee deciding to allow it.
Whilst it probably sounds comical that he’s so contrary, the reality of a cat who chooses starvation over new food is hugely stressful. We are utterly dismayed and mystified by this/him. We did not deviate from the instructions in the slightest – apart from using just one bowl when we saw how much the little sod was perturbed by two bowls, and apart from that one time early into the programme when Cat Daddy drunk-fed him Canagan on its own, WHICH HE ATE. So we can’t understand why this hasn’t worked.
Cat Daddy’s Helpful Comment of the Day: “Maybe he knows you’ve got more expensive food [the Plan C Orijen] for him, and he’s holding out for that?”
Me: “Sorry … what?”
Cat Daddy: “Maybe he’s just sensing it from you. Maybe you’re giving off vibes.”
Me: “Giving off … BETTER FOOD VIBES?”
Cat Daddy: “Yes. I mean, wouldn’t you do the same thing? Wouldn’t you stop eating boring old cod roe if you knew someone was hoarding caviar?”
[Silence, tumbleweed, crickets.]
We have no option but to unleash the money-vaporising, poverty-trapping weapon of mass destruction that is Orijen. And we are giving serious consideration to serving it alone, without the Lily’s Kitchen; it seems to be that, if Catorze can still see and smell his old food in the bowl, he will eat whatever is with it … but when the old food is taken away, however snail-slow the transition, he’s no longer interested. So we may bin the gradual changeover and find a food that he likes enough to eat on its own.
This defies all advice out there, due to the risk of puking and stomach upsets. But, let’s face it: dutifully following advice to the letter has achieved nothing so far.