Le banquet du pêcheur

Lily’s Kitchen have renamed Fabulous Fish as Fisherman’s Feast. I know. I’ll just pause for a minute or two to let that bombshell sink in.

This is such a big deal that even Cat Daddy has an opinion on it.

Cat Daddy: “I like Fabulous Fish much better than Fisherman’s Feast.”

Me: “So do I.”

Him: “I mean, it’s not actually a fisherman’s feast at all, is it?”

Me: “It isn’t.”

Him: “No fisherman would want to eat that.”

Me: “They wouldn’t.”

According to Lily’s Kitchen the formulation remains unchanged, so Louis Catorze should be able to continue to enjoy it as normal. But we are mildly irked by the name change, especially as the dogs’ version of the same food is called Salmon Supper, which is far more accurate and dignified than Fisherman’s Feast.

Luckily Catorze remains unaffected by this life-changing news, plus we decant the food into a dispenser before it reaches him, anyway, so nobody need know. Here is the little sod’s assiette royale, on his spring-summer serving mat, waiting for him to tuck in:

“What a feast!” said no fisherman ever.

L’estomac sensible du Roi

*WARNING: CONTAINS REFERENCES TO CAT PUKE*

I came downstairs on Monday morning to the far-more-familiar-than-I’d-like sound of indignant screaming at The Front. Sure enough, Cat Daddy had dropped the ball again whilst on late-night Louis Catorze duty and the little sod had been shut out all night.

I let him in, hoping that the screaming would stop once he was safely indoors. Nope: he wasn’t done. He circled my feet and continued to scream and scream, all wild-eyed and outraged.

Catorze raced to his water, then to his food. And, because he bolted each one far too fast, within minutes he had projectile-vomited across the living room.

Now, I am not good with puke. I am fine with other bodily secretions – well, not “fine” at all, but you know what I mean – yet something about puke offends me deeply. Most likely it’s the fact that it’s puke.

Our first cat, Nimbus, used to vomit in very convenient, scentless sausage shapes which one could simply lift away. (We did clean underneath, obviously, but we didn’t have to scrub as the solid sausages left no trace, not even on carpet.) Luther only ever puked once – when he ate a snail – so we didn’t have to deal with it habitually, although I did step in the lukewarm, vommed-up snail remains with bare feet which wasn’t very nice. But, whilst Catorze isn’t a frequent vomiter, we barely have any carpet in the entire Château yet he always manages to land on it. I know that he is doing this on purpose. I can’t prove it but I know it.

The plumber arrived when I was mid-clean. He had only ever met and dealt with Cat Daddy until then, and I’m not sure he even knew anyone else lived here, so the poor man must have had an almighty shock when the door was answered by me, hair tied up in a big pineapple shape on top of my head using a pair of knickers as a hair tie, sleeves rolled up and with a bottle of Method cleaning spray in one hand and a puke-encrusted kitchen towel in the other.

And, when he went upstairs to fit the new part to the boiler, Catorze followed to annoy him whilst he worked.

Cat Daddy slept through the whole sorry saga. And he found it very funny that I was the one left to deal with the screaming and the puke when it was his fault for shutting Sa Maj outside in the first place.

It really is a laugh a minute here at Le Château. Unfortunately it’s people laughing at me, not with me.

“You missed a bit, salope.”

La boîte de délices

Cat Daddy and I recently started ordering our fruit and vegetables from Oddbox, who rescue surplus produce: https://www.oddbox.co.uk

It’s not necessarily local, organic produce, nor can you choose the contents – apart from the weekly specials which you can chuck in as add-ons – but we don’t really care about any of that. We rather like the element of surprise and planning our meals around whatever we receive, and we feel good about the fact that we are making use of perfectly good fruit and vegetables that would otherwise have been thrown away.

Our favourite things are the bendy cucumbers, rejected for their bendiness. We also love reading all the ridiculous reasons why items end up being surplus e.g. who knew that pineapples could be rejected if the spiky leaf topping isn’t straight?

Cat Daddy’s most recent email from Oddbox featured photos of customers’ cats sitting in the empty delivery boxes, and I thought it might be nice to send them a picture of Louis Catorze doing the same thing.

Cat Daddy, scrolling through the photos: “Oh. All the other cats are really pretty.”

Me: “Meaning what?”

Him: “Well … you know.” [Long pause.] We can’t very well send them a photo of HIM, can we?”

[Silence, tumbleweed, crickets]

Anyway, the box sat in our living room for ages and, naturellement, the little sod wasn’t interested. I eventually had to deploy the old Reverse Psychology Trap (see writing on box) and BINGO: Catorze fell straight into it.

We will let you know if Oddbox decide to use his photo.

Cat Daddy: “[Indiscernible muttering]”

Can he resist forbidden (surplus) fruit?
GOT YOU ON TOAST, YOU LITTLE SHITE.
Comfortable?

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.