Le dernier repas

It’s all kicking off here in the U.K. and we Brits are the laughing stock of the world. Again.

During lockdown, when we weren’t supposed to be seeing more than one person outdoors, parties took place at the Prime Minister’s residence. The person hosting the parties initially denied that there were parties, and has now admitted it but claims that he thought they were work events. The person originally investigating whether or not there were parties, attended one of the parties. The person who wrote the Covid rules and who decides whether or not they were broken, also attended one of the parties. The newly-appointed person investigating whether or not there were parties, works under the person who hosted the parties.

I know. It couldn’t be more absurd if it tried, although it certainly explains why Louis Catorze behaved so badly during my online lessons and meetings: clearly he thought he was at a party. And, to be fair, there were a couple of occasions when things were completely chaotic and/or I was drinking neat Absolut Vanilla from a tea mug at 3pm, so I can’t really blame him.

Meanwhile, Catorze’s war against mealtimes is waging on. Cat Daddy has weighed Catorze’s food on our new set of precision scales, and it turns out that we are only supposed to be giving him three scoops per day. In actual fact we have been giving him around 978 scoops per day.

Now, I wouldn’t normally advocate overfeeding a cat but, since the vet told us that the little sod needed to chub up, we aren’t in a rush to change the overall quantity of food. We have, however, been reconsidering his feeding times and, instead of feeding Catorze whenever he asks, we decided that would give him set mealtimes, just like normal cats.

Catorze came downstairs from his nap one afternoon at around 4pm, then began to creepy-stare for food.

Cat Daddy: “Look at him, trying to bully us.”

Catorze continued to creepy-stare.

Cat Daddy: “Ignore him.”

Catorze continued to creepy-stare.

Cat Daddy: “In fact, let’s take his bowl away.”

I put Catorze’s empty bowl into his food cupboard.

Then the screaming started.

Mon Dieu: I know I have said this numerous times before, but you really could strip paint with his voice.

Our new tough love regime lasted a whole minute and a half before we reverted back to our previous system, because I just couldn’t stand the screaming. So here we are – again – at the mercy of this shouty, toothy little dictator.

He really is the worst. And we are pathetic beyond belief for allowing it.

“Feed moi.”

Bouillir, servir, manger, recommencer

Bonne Année! Hope you had a wonderful New Year’s Eve.

The dawn of 2021 saw us messing about with Louis Catorze’s food, hand-sifting the golden pellets from the brown ones like sweat shop workers. We are starting 2022 in a similar way but, this time, instead of sifting, we are pouring boiling water over minuscule portions of the little sod’s Orijen. No doubt we will start next year doing something equally stupid with his food, and the year after that, and so on, forever more.

Catorze is a grazer rather than someone with set mealtimes, so he likes to be able to revisit his bowl multiple times throughout the day. Obviously this works perfectly well if dry food is your thing. But if you insist on boiling water poured over your food and will only eat it if it’s freshly-served and piping hot, the whole grazing thing doesn’t really work. Unless you have a set of serving wenches at hand to dish up a new portion every time you stare creepily at them.

Sa Maj has never liked wet food. In fact, his dislike of it was such that it was even mentioned on his notes from the rescue. I was quite keen for him to have it, as I thought it would be a good way of getting enough water into him, but I failed in my efforts to make him eat it. That, however, was seven and a half years ago. Could it be that the little sod’s tastes have changed and that, after a lifetime of refusing wet food, he now wants it?

We hadn’t planned on changing his food anytime soon; we have plenty of Orijen, despite it still being out of stock at Petscorner, plus after all the Yuletide festivities we aren’t quite in the frame of mind to manage a(nother) Grand Changement right now. But it’s hovering ominously in the background like a Dickensian ghost, and I have an awful feeling that we might have to try it out sometime. Not yet, though. He has to have his dental surgery first, plus we need to mentally prepare ourselves and order in plenty of alcohol and Valium.

Wishing you a marvellous 2022, with lots of love from all of us at Le Château.

Bonne Année. Now feed moi.

Les yeux sur nous

A few updates from us at Le Château:

I am still alive. This is good news, although I still think death would have been kinder because I now have to live out my days knowing I have indirectly had cat arse in my mouth. And our holiday apartment hosts have emailed Cat Daddy to thank him for leaving the place clean and tidy, and have said he is welcome to return anytime. This is also good, if surprising, news.

However, Deliveroo, having pocketed the £100 cost of the order that never came, have still not refunded Cat Daddy and have closed the case because he “failed to respond to their emails”. (He DID respond, multiple times.) This is not quite such good news.

And, in even less optimal news, Louis Catorze has taken his food-driven creepy staring to another level. As well as staring from a distance, staring from close up, and the more passive-aggressive sitting by his bowl looking dejected, he has now begun to creepy-stare whilst we watch television in the dark.

Now, having him stare in the dark may not sound that bad, since a black cat in a dark room is technically invisible. However, this is what we’re faced with:

For heaven’s sake.

I know. It’s just not on.

I fear that the little sod may be channelling his big brother Luther, who practically INVENTED food-driven bullying and intimidation. If his pleas for food were ignored and his creepy staring didn’t work, he would take to sliding objects off the table, with his eyes fixed unblinkingly upon mine. If that didn’t work, he would jump up on top of the television and dangle one limb down over the screen, then another limb, then his tail. And if THAT didn’t work, he would pad about on top of the television and find the power button to switch it off.

This chap would be proud of his little brother for following in his foodsteps.

Because Catorze is considerably less bright than Luther, it has taken him seven years to get to this point. But the fact that he’s got this far is alarming (our expectations were pretty low).

I know that the only solution is not to look at him. But, just like those people who can’t tear their eyes away from a horrible car accident whilst passing, we can’t help it.

Qu’il mange de la brioche

Cat Daddy and I are going away later this month, and Blue the Smoke Bengal’s mamma will be on Louis Catorze duty during our absence.

We are feeling both relief at the prospect of getting away from his nonsense for a couple of days, and moderate anxiety in case he plays up on her watch. Blue is a very easy cat to look after, with just dry food and water (plus the odd pigeon but, since he puts them under his mamma’s bed and cat-sitting duties don’t stretch to looking there, it’s her problem and not mine). Catorze is, erm, rather more complicated.

Yesterday Blue’s mamma came over for dinner and for her Roi orientation, and I wasn’t especially looking forward to telling her that she would need to come in 48 times a day, each time dispensing 0.125 scoops of food sprinkled with 6.3ml of water heated to exactly 100 degrees. Luckily, after a few glasses of Crémant, she seemed to take it quite well. At worst, if he refuses to eat for the entire time that we’re away, he can just live off his body fat like a hibernating grizzly bear (but a much smaller one, obviously).

Here he is, having decided to do an Insulate Britain-style sit-down protest this time. I wouldn’t put it past him to have glued himself to the floor:

“Feed moi.”

Arroser le repas royal

After a couple of weeks of happily eating dry Orijen, Louis Catorze has decided that he would like it dampened down again.

I was worried that he was in pain and/or having difficulty eating. However, when he saw the vet for his steroid shot and I asked them to check his teeth just in case, they confirmed that there was nothing wrong with him. So he doesn’t have a medical reason for requiring dampened-down Orijen. He’s just being a shit.

It gets worse: it seems that, this time around, he wants the water chaser to be boiling, and not 70 degrees. (Don’t worry: once the water hits his cold bowl it cools immediately, leaving the food comfortable enough to eat.) And he will only eat it if the boiling water was just poured a couple of seconds previously. Longer than a minute or two beforehand and it’s a firm NON.

No doubt by the time this goes live, he will have changed his mind again about what he wants. That said, he has surely been through every possible permutation of Orijen-in-water and there’s nothing further we can add/change, other than perhaps deciding that the boiling water chaser must be made from “aged ice” (a chunk chipped off a millennia-old Antarctic glacier, flown here in a refrigerated light aircraft, melted down and poured into our kettle).

In not-much-better news, the sittings for his 2021 Official Hallowe’en Portrait have been beyond a joke. Despite the genius idea of placing the pumpkin in Catorze’s prime creepy staring position, we have had mostly grim disasters plus a couple that were passable but nothing special. I think we are going to have to cheat with the final version by Noir-filtering the hell out of a photo that Cat Daddy took earlier this year.

For goodness’ sake.
Pretending to pose but is actually creepy-staring for food.
“Joyeuse Halloween. Now feed moi.”
Artsy in a strange sort of way.
I have no words for this.

Le plat principal

It’s been a good month-and-a-bit since Louis Catorze’s dental surgery, so we no longer have to dampen down his Orijen.

Nobody is happier about this than Cat Daddy, who has well and truly had enough of Catorze‘s highly exacting food standards. (For full details have a look here, but be warned that it’s not pretty reading. Whenever someone tells us that their pet is a fussy eater because they will only eat [insert name of food that is much less expensive than Orijen], Cat Daddy says, “Let me tell you a story about fussy eating …”)

Every so often I would hear unrepeatable expletives coming from the kitchen, followed by “I’ve just thrown away about £20 worth of Orijen because of HIM.”

A couple of days before resuming the completely dry food, we had the following exchange:

[Catorze sits forlornly by his bowl, which is 93% full.]

Me: “Would you mind giving him some more food, please?”

Cat Daddy: “He’s got food.”

Me: “Yes, but it’s old.”

Him: “When I was young, I was told I had to finish what was on my plate. I’m sure you were, too.”

[Silence, tumbleweed, crickets.]

Me: “Please just give him a couple of teaspoonfuls, so that he gets that fresh food smell.”

Him: “I’m not doing it. I’m just going to shake the food tin over his bowl and PRETEND I’m doing it.”

Me: “He isn’t going to fall for that. He’s stupid but not that stupid.”

[Cat Daddy picks up Catorze’s bowl, shakes the still-closed food tin over it and sets it down. Catorze sniffs it and walks away.]

Me: “I told you.”

Cat Daddy: “[Unrepeatable Expletives of the Worst Kind.]”

[Catorze stares creepily/hopefully at me.]

Cat Daddy: “He’s looking at you now. He obviously thinks you’re the weakest link.”

[I can’t stand the creepy staring, so I give in, throw away the uneaten food and serve a fresh helping. Catorze eats it.]

Cat Daddy: “Guess he was right.”

So now everyone is happy: Catorze no longer has inadequately-prepared food, Cat Daddy no longer has to throw away platefuls of Orijen, and I no longer feel bullied by the males in this household. Long may this blissful peace and harmony continue.

Drenched from the rain … and wanting food.

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.”