Un court chemin vers la liberté

No doubt your parents will have warned you about People Off The Internet and how idiotic and untrustworthy they are. Now, I realise that this includes all of you. And me, too. However, this doesn’t make it any less correct. 

“But People In Real Life can be just as idiotic and untrustworthy,” I hear you cry. This is true. But they tend to hold back a little, due to the manners gene (which appears to be deficient in People Off The Internet). There’s nothing like the internet for turning people into judges, psychologists, experts and so on, and, if they don’t like what you are saying, they can just press a button and switch you off in a way that they would never have the courage to do in real life, even if it were a thing.

I have been kicked out of my Feline Hyperesthesia group. My crime? The Group Admin lady disapproved of me weaning Louis Catorze off his medication. Even though I was following professional advice. Even though she herself is not a qualified practitioner. Even though Louis Catorze is flourishing without medication. And, most importantly, even though what I do, or don’t do, for my cat is none of her flamin’ business. 

Cat Daddy: “You’ve been kicked out of an online cat forum?” [He says the words “online cat forum” very slowly and pointedly, in an Alan-Rickman-as-the-Sheriff-of-Nottingham voice, before collapsing in hysterics.]

And who can blame him? Falling out with the Group Admin of an online cat forum (God, now I’m SAYING IT IN MY HEAD in an Alan-Rickman-as-the-Sheriff-of-Nottingham voice) is hardly up there with Nelson Mandela and the Rivonia Trial. In fact, even capitalising the words “Group Admin” is probably giving the title more importance than it deserves. 

Rather than face the backlash from others who were also sick of her and her connerie, the Group Admin lady has since decided to close down the group entirely. I have now joined a Feline Hyperesthesia rebel splinter group founded by a lovely lady who was kicked out alongside me, for similar reasons. So, actually, things have turned out rather well. And, yes, I realise that, the internet being the way it is, my words may well get back to the (now ex-) Group Admin lady. But she can’t kick me out twice. So, just like Ashley Judd in Double Jeopardy, I can cause as much trouble as I like now (although homicide might possibly be a step too far). 

Anyway, to finish on a positive note, here is Louis Catorze, unaware of all the furore that he has caused. And, even if he were aware, he would make exactly the same face.

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La vie est, en quelque sorte, un pèlerinage

It’s been an action-packed few days here at Le Château, with visits galore from pilgrims coming to see Louis Catorze. One visitor was his favourite vet, who is back at the practice for a short while. We are so grateful to her and to her colleagues for all the care that he has received there, and it was lovely to see her under more pleasant circumstances – sitting outside, cuddling a happy, up-tailed Catorze and sipping tea – instead of the ungrateful little sod yelling at her and kicking her in the face.

Our dear friends from Switzerland have had their “furthest-travelled pilgrims” crowns toppled as Le Roi has now received guests from Las Vegas. Naturellement he decided, 20 minutes before their arrival, to roll about in all manner of foul garden waste, then greeted them lying on his back with one leg pointing east and the other west, and stringy plant matter hanging off his whiskers. Cat Daddy told our visitors, apologetically, “Yes. I’m afraid you travelled all the way from America for THIS.”

C’est vrai: our cat’s popularity eclipses our own by quite some margin.

I was once asked, “Do random strangers really contact you and ask if they can visit your cat?” Well, it’s not quite as simple as them inviting themselves and me replying with, “Here’s our address, and I will leave you a key outside.” But, if you are a member of an online pet forum, over time you familiarise yourself with people and all the intricacies of their pets’ lives. And, whilst most of us wouldn’t suggest a meet-up with someone online whom we had only just met, if you have been chatting over many months, or even years, then they’re no longer random strangers.

I have often had this conversation with family and flesh-and blood friends, too:

Them: “So … people off the internet come to your house?”
Me: “Yes.”
Them: “But … you don’t know what they’re going to do!”
Me: “What do you mean? What’s the worst they could do?”
Them [in absolute seriousness]: “They might steal Louis Catorze.”

[Silence, tumbleweed, crickets]

Me: [Hysterical, lung-splitting laughter]

I appreciate that people online can pretend to be someone else, but no more so that one’s neighbour, one’s work colleague or the man in the pub; the only “truth” one is guaranteed from a face-to-face meeting is the absence of the filtered selfie. And, let’s face it, we’re not arms dealers or drug barons: we’re cat freaks. The most dangerous exchanges taking place between us will be catnip and, for the hardcore among us, a few Dreamies. (And, yes, I realise now that “catnip” sounds like marijuana, and “Dreamies” sound like ecstasy.)

I have met some thoroughly lovely people through Louis Catorze and all the stupid things that he does, and I am looking forward to welcoming more pilgrims over the coming years.

Cat Daddy: “They’ll be sorry. You mark my words.”

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*Thank you, Elizabeth, for the wonderful picture of le petit voyou!