Le menu du jour

Louis Catorze’s Thrive arrived last week week, three working days after I ordered it on Zooplus (pretty good), and a mere six days after originally ordering it on a “same-day” delivery on Ocado Zoom which never came (pretty poor).

I was about to write “Better late than never” but what a nonsensical phrase this is. If anyone ever says this to you when you’re late, they are just trying to be polite and, in actual fact, your inefficiency has probably made them quite angry. It’s only better late than never if, whilst waiting for you to get you act together, the other person made the time fly by doing something pleasant or useful and didn’t urgently need the thing you were supposed to be delivering. If they are in any way sensible and resourceful and start to make alternative plans to receive the thing you were meant to do, upon realising how shit unreliable you are, and THEN you deliver late, trust me, this is not “better” at all. “Better” would be to be honest and tell them from the outset that it won’t be happening.

(Obviously this is not what I would say to my students, as I don’t want them all saying, “Miss, you know that homework you set? Yeah, sorry but I won’t be doing it.” (In fact, I doubt if most of my lot would even say “Sorry”.)

Anyway, Cat Daddy and I now have a decision to make. We are going to have to introduce the Thrive to our mutual friend at some stage. And, given his love of doing the exact opposite of what we want him to do, we don’t want him to love the Thrive so much that he rejects the Lily’s, leaving us with up to £100 worth of product which was a real ordeal to source. Equally, if we try it when the Lily’s is almost out, he will reject the Thrive and leave us scrabbling and panicking as we were last month.

The ideal scenario would be to for him to happily tick along on a mix of both foods for a short while until the Lily’s runs out, but we know that the little sod won’t make it that easy for us.

Anyway, trying to work that out will be the next task in this fun-packed project. As if I don’t have enough to do, what with recovering from Covid, going back to work, teaching a new timetable to a new set of classes, and so on.

He likes to keep us wondering. Mainly wondering “What the hell …?”

La livraison vitale

The perks of online teaching: last week I met my Year 11 students’ cats and dogs. I loved them all but my favourite was Tobo (“like hobo but with a T, Miss”), a tabby point Birman so enormous and so fluffy that, when he was picked up, his human sibling disappeared in all the fur, and all you could see were his fingertips and the top of his hair.

In other news, I often start my posts with “Merci à Dieu et à tous ses anges” but, today, I mean it more sincerely than ever: LOUIS CATORZE’S LILY’S KITCHEN MARVELLOUSLY MATURE ARRIVED BEFORE WE RAN OUT.

No more will I be bullied and intimidated by a screaming, psycho hell-beast. Nor will I have to spend countless hours sifting … although I must admit I had enjoyed singing “Come on, let’s sift again like we did last summer, yeahhh let’s sift again like we did last year …”

Buying obsolete cat food from an off-grid, Dark Web vendor is just like buying drugs: you can never guarantee that what you’ll get is what you wanted, and there’s not much comeback if it all goes wrong. However, because I know my gear, I was able to spot the little details that didn’t look right and eliminate the dealers suppliers that were clearly shonky. And it turns out that all the checking and cross-referencing was worth it, so a word of warning: there are SEVERAL third party sellers out there who display the wrong photos and/or the wrong product description and/or the wrong ingredients list (or no list at all).

Now, I am not proud of giving my custom to Lily’s Kitchen. I don’t like it that they told me they wouldn’t be changing their recipes, only to do exactly that. But the little sod eats their food, and that has to come first at the moment. And our Dark Web purchase, whilst only a temporary fix, has bought us a little time to figure out how the heck we are going to change the food of a cat who doesn’t like food and whose old food no longer exists.

Cat Daddy: “He’s a f***ing ungrateful ****. Our next cat is going to have Cool Cat Club food from day one. No more of this f***ing b*******.” To be fair, he has a point.

Anyway, Catorze’s uneaten food found a new home with Cocoa the babysit cat and his sister Chanel, ans they love it. Please see below for pictures of them tucking in.

If you have a cat, please check out the Cool Cat Club. We love everything about them: their ingredients, their brilliantly responsive customer service, their ethics, EVERYTHING. The fact that the stupidest cat in the world declined their food should, if anything, be a diamond-standard endorsement equivalent to a Michelin star:

https://thecoolcatclub.com/?r=mvMcQ6JPh50D

It’s a OUI from the other Chat Noir group members.
Nom nom!

Le sac à tricot

Merde, merde and thrice merde: Zooplus have sent me the standard post-Brexit “Due to high volume of orders …” let-down email. So Louis Catorze may receive his Thrive in the next few days, or he may not. This is not good.

Meanwhile, Catorze is a rampant screaming machine, and he’s eating faster than I can sift. Thank goodness the second dose of appetite-enhancing medication is optional; if this is his behaviour on just one pill, there’s not a chance in hell he’s getting the other.

After a mammoth mega-sift at the weekend, I have managed to figure out that we have enough of Catorze’s food to last until Wednesday. So, if the Thrive doesn’t come before then, we will be trapped with a starving psycho hell-beast who would think nothing of tripping us down the stairs, then eating us alive, feet first.

So we had to devise an alternative plan … and, much as it hurts me to admit this, we were forced to hunt down the last remaining packs of the obsolete Lily’s Kitchen Marvellously Mature and buy them from an off-grid, Dark Web vendor. We know it was wrong, we were drunk when we did it, and we felt dirty afterwards. But the thought of him not liking the Thrive and us not having a back-up – or, worse, THE THRIVE NOT COMING AT ALL AND US RUNNING OUT OF FOOD ENTIRELY AND HAVING TO GRECO HIM WITH BRANSTON PICKLE – was just too much.

In other news, to cheer myself up from all the cat food chaos, I decided to treat myself to a knitting bag, because my knitting stuff was strewn all over the dining room table and Cat Daddy was starting to complain about it.

Cat Daddy: “What kind of bag did you end up choosing? What does it look like?”

Me: “It’s blue, with skulls on it.”

Him: “Skulls?” [Snorts with laughter]

Me: “What’s wrong with that?”

Him: “Well, it’s just that … knitting is the least goth activity ever.”

Me: “Well, would you rather I’d got one with flower pots on it? Or cartoon bumble bees? Or kittens playing with balls of wool?” [I wasn’t making these up; I had seen all of the above during my quest for something cooler.]

Him: “Evil kittens maybe. Black ones. With fangs.”

Well, this is the closest I was able to get to a knitting bag with a black, fanged devil-kitty on it. And, naturellement, our mutual friend is doing what he does best i.e. exactly the opposite of what we want:

So much is wrong with this photo.

Les jeux de faim

Since the vet gave Louis Catorze an appetite-stimulating pill, he has been perma-hungry and perma-screamy. But, because of Ocado Zoom’s dismal failure to deliver, he has no food. This is not an optimal combination.

So I have spent both the end of 2020 and the start of 2021 hand-sifting through dried cat food pellets and painstakingly separating the small golden ones from the large brown ones, like a downtrodden PA to the stars arranging the M&Ms into colour order for my OCD rock star boss. And it has been every bit as awful as it sounds, especially as I am going to run out very shortly and I don’t know what to do if my next plan doesn’t work.

Worse yet, Catorze has been pacing up and down as I sift, screaming at me to hurry the hell up. Sainte Marie, Mère de Dieu: I thought his normal screaming was bad, but this new medication has turned him utterly demented. The only thing that stops him, of course, is me getting my phone out to video him. Then, when I put down my phone, he starts again, and obviously I can’t film and sift at the same time so you’re just going to have to take my word for it.

Luckily I have had my beloved husband, Cat Daddy, at my side throughout this grim process, supporting me with helpful comments such as “Well, he never asked for his food to be changed in the first place” and “He’s being like this because he’s picking up on the tension from YOU”.

After seriously considering making Catorze eat the New Year’s Eve Branston pickle (see previous post), we continued our search for LITERALLY ANY high-protein fish-only food which would arrive quickly, and this was not as straightforward as it may seem: even Amazon don’t have anything suitable that they can deliver before next week. Eventually we managed to order some Thrive (the same product that Ocado Zoom didn’t deliver) from Zooplus and it will arrive in 1-3 working days but, in the meantime, I shall be sifting.

I have discovered that singing whilst sifting serves the dual purpose of making the task about 0.1% less boring and helping to drown out Catorze’s infernal screaming. And, interestingly, there are many songs that work well if the lyrics are adapted. My personal favourite is “Sifting the night away” (Sam Cooke), apart from the line that goes “Everybody’s feeling great”, because obviously that’s not what’s happening here: Catorze is ravenous and also infuriated at what a slow and inefficient sifter I am, and Cat Daddy and I just want him to shut up.

I hope your 2021 is going better than ours.

Panning for gold.

Une nouvelle année, des nouvelles conneries

2021 is here. And, whilst most Londoners were sitting at home wondering what tier we might be in today, Cat Daddy and I were taking Louis Catorze to the vet. Yes, again.

Although Catorze’s skin is looking much better, so much so that we have reduced his steroid pills to one a day, his appetite has been down lately. I didn’t call this in sooner because nothing else suggested that he might be unwell: he has been alert, playful and full of energy. The day before the vet appointment, he even broke into the attic crawl space, thrashed around like a psychopath and, somehow, managed to switch on the light. Until then I’d had no idea that this space even had a light.

We have seen Catorze approach his feeding station only to stare at his bowl as if it were some alien life form, then stare at us. Because he’s so odd anyway, it’s hard to know whether something is wrong or whether he’s just being his usual stupid self but, as he’s lost weight, we thought it best to have him checked.

As bad luck would have it, instead of our usual vet, our appointment was with the vet who saw Catorze when I thought he had a tick and it turned out to be just a lump of crud stuck to his fur. He’s perfectly nice, but I was so embarrassed by that incident that I had hoped never to have to see him again. So how typical that the last dregs of accursed 2020 would find us face to face again, after more than two years of avoiding him (and doing a fine job, I might add).

In the waiting room, I chatted to the daddy of a black Labrador called Dexter. Apparently Dexter had been “trying to bark at all the cats coming in but, being just a puppy, he doesn’t have a voice yet” (his daddy’s exact words). One look at Catorze, however, and he found it. It was throaty, deep and deafening. And clearly Dexter’s daddy had seen enough horror movies to know that, if the dog is unhappy with someone or something, that’s a signal to get the hell out.

Anyway, there is nothing whatsoever wrong with Catorze, and his weight loss (from 3.71kg on 23rd November to 3.29kg now) is because he’s gone off his new food. Yes, he ate it happily at first, but this is Sa Maj we’re talking about; nobody knows why he does the stupid things he does. Cat Daddy and I are very disappointed as we love everything about the Cool Cat Club, and we so wanted this to work. Hopefully they will understand that this isn’t a reflection on their product, and that cats are just imbeciles.

By the time we got home, Catorze’s vet-administered appetite-stimulating pill had kicked in. But, once again, he went to his plate and just sniffed and stared. Then, when I sifted through his 30-70 mix of old and new food, giving him the pellets of old food only, he ate them.

So then we had a problem, because his old food has been discontinued.

After frantically panic-Googling high-protein cat food I discovered that Thrive have a dry food product, although none of the sellers were able to deliver anytime soon. The fastest and cheapest delivery was, unbelievably, on Ocado Zoom, a grocery delivery service for disorganised brats who want stuff within the hour. I remember once laughing at a friend for using this service, and no doubt she will giggle when she learns that I, too, joined the throng of disorganised brats.

Unfortunately the pack of Thrive was 50p below the minimum order quantity, so I asked Cat Daddy if we could add anything else to the order. Apparently we needed, erm, Branston pickle. (Non-Brits: ask your British friends.) I was concerned that the driver would wonder what special kind of disorganised brats we must be to need Branston pickle and to need it RIGHT NOW, and I was right to be worried because, when the delivery arrived, it contained Branston pickle and nothing else.

The evening was topped off by Catorze putting his best efforts into screaming his guts out whilst I was on the phone to Ocado Zoom asking what had gone wrong. The poor lady on the phone was saying, “Oh my God, your hungry cat! I can hear him! I feel so bad!”

Whilst the rest of the world reflects, dreams big and sets goals, all we want in 2021 is for our cat to eat the bloody food. Any food. NO, NOT THE OBSOLETE FOOD, FOR GOODNESS’ SAKE.

Bonne Année from the little sod.

Manger comme un Roi

Louis Catorze is now on two sets of pills – Prednisolone and Gabapentin – twice a day. And the little sod is happily eating them in Pill Pockets. He doesn’t seem to be acting any differently although, with this combination being the equivalent of smoking weed and taking amphetamines together, most likely they cancel one another out.

His food changeover is going well. (Well, it’s about time something did, n’est-ce pas?) He loved Lily’s Kitchen Fabulous Fish when we switched him to there from Acana Pacifica, but he loves the Cool Cat Club food even more.

To prevent him from picking it away from the rest of his food, I started to bury the precious nuggets of Cool Cat Club food under a pile of Marvellously Mature. But the little sod was one step ahead of me, and he dug it out like a tiny, toothy truffling pig. So I mixed the foods together in the dispenser, rather like a trail mix type thing, in the hope that this would help the two flavours to combine and that Catorze would be too stupid to know which was which.

It worked. He ate both. Then he sat at our feet for the next half hour, alternating between creepy, statue-still, bug-eyed staring and ear-bleedingly excruciating screaming.

Me: “What’s WRONG with him?”

Cat Daddy: “He does this to me all the time when you’re at work.”

Me: “Yes, but what does he want? It surely can’t be more food? He doesn’t like food. He’s never liked food.”

When I got up to move away from him because he was giving me the creeps, he ran to his empty plate. THIS HAS NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE.

In the six years that he has lived with us (Cat Daddy: “Dear God, is that all it it’s been?”) he has been on three different brands of food, each one ditched for various reasons. The Cool Cat Club is the fourth and it certainly seems to be ticking all the boxes so far, so let’s hope it’s the one to stay.

Nothing marvellous or mature about this.

Cool pour les chats

Louis Catorze’s Cool Cat Club sample pack has arrived, and they very kindly upgraded his delivery to Next Day at no extra cost so that he could have it quickly.

The package came accompanied by this lovely note from Paul:

Très cool.

We want to take things slowly with the new food because Catorze is a sensitive little thing and, back in the day, he used to be quite prone to vomiting (although it was quite funny that time he did it all over Cat Daddy’s side of the bed WHILST WE SLEPT, leaving my side completely untouched). Ideally we would change his food in the summer, when his health problems seem to mysteriously disappear, but we don’t have enough of his old food to last that long, nor do we have any chance of getting more as it’s being discontinued. We’re going to have to do it sometime, and it might as well be now.

For the moment, it’s just a light sprinkling of the Cool Cat Club food on top of a normal serving of Lily’s Kitchen Marvellously Mature, with the proportions progressively shifting over the next month or so.

And, happily, so far so good. In fact, so far TOO good: the little sod skilfully plucked the Cool Cat Club pieces from his plate and ate those first, with the Marvellously Mature eaten much later. I would struggle to be this dexterous in the time he had, even with a magnifying glass and a pair tweezers, so God knows how he did it with his gallumping idiot jaws.

Cat Daddy, without looking up from his laptop: “Fascinating. Are you going to blog about that?” (He thought I was joking when I said yes.)

If you fancy trying out the Cool Cat Club yourself, and you use Sa Maj’s referral link to subscribe, you will earn ten food pouches for less fortunate kitties: https://thecoolcatclub.com/?r=mvMcQ6JPh50D

Le club des chats cool

I have been spending some time researching new food for Louis Catorze. Some lines of investigation have proven to be, erm, less successful than others:

Not ready for Catorze? Welcome to my world.

I emailed one promising new brand to ask a question about their food and, to my astonishment, they replied telling me they loved Catorze’s blog. At the time I was a few Crémants down and I thought, “Wow, I must be drunker than I thought, because I don’t even remember telling them about Le Blog.” When I checked back through my email to them, I realised that I hadn’t.

This must mean one of the following:

1. They are the sort of people who Google their customers’ cats’ names (which, frankly, is absolutely great and makes me want to buy from them irrespective of what their food is like).

2. Catorze’s infamy is spreading faster than Covid (which is, erm, not so not great).

Cat Daddy, being a marketer, decided to Google “Louis Catorze”, just out of curiosity. He had expected to only find results relating to the human Sun King, and perhaps a helpful note from the good folk at Google saying, “Did you mean Louis Quatorze?” But, instead, he discovered this:

Cat Daddy: “Oh my God. Louis is the top result of the Google search. People pay millions for this!”

Anyway, now that we can visibly see Sa Maj getting better, we have decided to give this company a chance. They’re called The Cool Cat Club, which is something of an irony as Catorze is about the least cool thing there is, and the Groucho Marxist in me would question any club willing to accept the little sod as a member, but tant pis. The good news is that they appear to have everything that the pre-takeover Lily’s Kitchen used to have – high protein, no grain or nasty fillers, compostable packaging – plus they donate food to cat rescues with every purchase. We’re excited.

Yes, we are excited about cat food. This probably means we ought to get out more, but at least we can use lockdown as an excuse.

If you fancy checking out the potential new suppliers of la cuisine royale, here they are: http://thecoolcatclub.com

L’alimentation royale

So Mercury Renegade (as Cat Daddy thought it was called) is over, and the white supremacist cult leader has been toppled. Not a bad week, and don’t we all deserve it after the cirque de merde that has been 2020 so far?

Meanwhile, here at Le Château, it’s all about the monarchy and a certain someone’s food. Not long after Lily’s Kitchen were taken over by Nestlé Purina, I wrote to them to ask whether the acquisition would result in any changes their ingredients or formulations.

A lady called Kat (I’m not joking) replied with the following words:

“Please let me assure you that Lily’s Kitchen remains a stand-alone business with the same fantastic team and purpose. We won’t be making any changes to the high-quality ingredients we use or the way we do things – the support we now have from Nestlé Purina means we can continue to grow, and ensure as many pets as possible around the world can enjoy our proper food.”

Now, had I been talking to one of my wily students, I would have said, “Nice try, but you’ve not fully answered the question.” But it didn’t occur to me to think that someone from lovely Lily’s Kitchen would try to double-cross me.

When I opened a pack of Fisherman‘s Feast (formerly Fabulous Fish) for the first time, I noticed the completely different colour (dark brown new formula versus yellow old):

No changes, my arse.

I wrote back to Lily’s Kitchen regarding the colour change, all the while continuing to feed it to Catorze as I had nothing else. This time it was Kate who replied to tell me that the recipe now includes chicken stock – a change that was in the pipeline pre-takeover, so they say – which accounts for the darker colour.

This was not good news. I realise that it won’t seem like a big deal if you own a normal, healthy cat, but now isn’t the time to be messing with Catorze’s food. Especially as the vet once told us that a change in protein (from, say, fish to chicken) could be enough to trigger an allergic reaction.

And I know, I know: it’s my responsibility to check the ingredients panels. But, after reading that first message from Kat, I didn’t think I would need to. Now, of course, I am kicking myself for being so stupid. I can imagine my wily students in this situation, smirking at me and saying, “But we didn’t actually lie as such.” YOU DIDN’T TELL ME THE WHOLE TRUTH, EITHER.

Cat Daddy and I then made an emergency dash to Pets at Home to see if they had any old Fabulous Fish left. They didn’t … but we were able to find some old stock of Marvellously Mature for older cats, which is poultry-free (but not for long: be warned that the new formulation, called Senior Recipe, contains turkey). In a blind panic, we bought the entire stock to tide us over whilst we decide what to do next. Do we want to wait until Catorze is well again, and gradually phase in the new Fisherman’s Feast with the old Marvellously Mature? Or should we cut our losses and find a supplier whom we can actually trust?

Anyway, the twofold moral of this story is as follows:

⁃ Read the small print.

⁃ Do not trust anyone, even if their name contains some form of the word “cat”.

Le repas du chien

When I started planning my blog posts for October, I decided that I’d like to write about my horror movie nights with Louis Catorze. This was supposed to be that very post. Sitting in the living room and watching horror movies together is something that we both find great fun. However, instead, it’s a post about this:

Yum.

You’re welcome.

Oui, Mesdames et Messieurs: someone has broken into a store of dog food, brought some back here and dumped it on the outdoor sofa in our garden.

Now, my prime suspect was originally Foxy Loxy. I was so sure that I didn’t even consider any other culprits. However, as Cat Daddy has since pointed out, and having now thought about it, we have neither seen nor heard him/them for some time, plus I can’t imagine it being his/their style to leave food behind. Quite the opposite, in fact: foxes eat anything, and I could tell you toe-curling stories of vile, medical-waste-grade stuff that they’ve eaten from our bins over the years.

Catorze is an unlikely suspect but he should not be eliminated from our enquiries, as he is more than capable of pulling a stunt like this. That time that Cat Daddy found a desiccated, curly-haired rat in EXACTLY THIS SAME SPOT was startlingly similar: https://louiscatorze.com/2016/08/14/a-bon-chat-bon-rat/

Our initial thoughts were that someone in our neighbourhood must have an outdoor store of dog food, but then Sa Maj is more than adept at breaking into people’s houses using teleportation and/or his Cloak of Invisibility: That Neighbour has found him screaming on his landing at least once (that I know of), and our previous neighbour from W13 once thought she had mice but, when she investigated the scrabbling sound under her bed, she discovered that it was Catorze.

When I told the good folk of TW8 (via social media) to pay greater attention to their stores of dog food, the general consensus of those that know him was that Catorze could well have done this. I try to tell them that it can’t possibly be him because he doesn’t like food that much and he’s not well, but I wonder if I sound like some deluded fool who is just trying to convince myself.

Here is the little sod, not at his best health-wise but apparently well enough to break into other people’s property and steal a dog’s food just for fun:

“It wasn’t moi.”