Le silence du Roi

Louis Catorze has a swish, new transportation pod. One of the pictures below is of that very pod. The other shows a pod that is far more appropriate for him given his chequered history when it comes to being transported, but Pets at Home don’t appear to stock it. And I suspect that the armed guards would have cost extra.

Cat Daddy: “He doesn’t need a new transportation pod. The old pod is fine.”
Me: “But I find it hard to carry the old pod, the way he fights and flips.”
Cat Daddy: “He doesn’t fight and flip when I take him. He behaves perfectly well for me.”

Well, that’s delightful news. Thanks.

Anyway, the new pod is super-stylish and considerably more fitting for a Sun King than his old one. It’s not often that we encounter his comrades or adversaries in the vet’s waiting room but, when we do, we want to look the part, n’est-ce pas?

On Friday we decided that it would be a good idea to give Le Roi a preventative steroid shot before going on holiday, as he was starting to get a bit scratchy and we didn’t want his gouvernante française to have problems. The triangular – rather than square/rectangular – profile of the new pod makes it very easy to carry by my side, even with my neck and shoulder problems, so, for the first time ever, I was able to walk to the appointment.

Sadly, the ergonomic shape and Chanel-inspired quilting did nothing to alleviate the screaming. Catorze hollered his lungs out all the way there, and, because we were walking, the screams echoed through the neighbourhood as opposed to being confined to the car. Even the workmen, who were digging up the road, stopped what they were doing to look at us. And, upon arrival, le fichu salaud was so noisy in the waiting room that the two ladies who came in after us, with their nice, quiet cats, decided that they would rather sit in the Dog Area than in the Cat Area with us, completely messing up the vet’s new apartheid system.

We feel a bit bad for our French cat-sitter as the steroid shots usually turn our boy rather manic and psycho, but better that than to have him scratch himself to bleeding point and require a trip to the vet in our absence.

There won’t be any blog posts for a short while, unless we see any cute cats on holiday, or unless we hear that Louis Catorze has done something especially impressive or horrific. Please keep well until our return, and continue to obey your furry overlords at all times.

 

 

Protéger et servir

Cat Daddy and I are going on holiday in a few days’ time, and we have a friend coming all the way from Paris to look after Louis Catorze in our absence. Oui, Mesdames et Messieurs: Le Roi is going to have an ACTUAL French person as his full-time, live-in majordome/esclave.

“Do you speak French to him all the time?” she asked us. “Because I intend to. So, by the time you come back, he won’t take any notice of anything you say.”

Louis Catorze, not following instructions? Whatever next?

Anyway, Cat Daddy and I are currently putting together a set of manuals for her reference. The Château manual was complete some time ago, and contains the following sections:

1. The Sonos multimedia system
2. The kitchen appliances
3. Local places of interest

The Roi manual, which is proving to be rather more of a lengthy task, contains the following sections so far:

1. Food
2. Drink
3. Play
4. Catnip (for medicinal purposes)
5. Nocturnal gadding about
6. Brushing
7. The vet
8. Dog warfare
9. Prey, dead
10. Prey, living
11. Prey, partially-living
12. Lockdown at The Front, and how to manage escapees
13. Health and safety drill for Ocado delivery drivers

“It’ll be fine,” said Cat Daddy. “What’s the worst that could happen …?”

[Silence, tumbleweed, crickets.]

He continued: ” … Apart from us returning home to find the place knee-deep in dead vermin like some post-apocalyptic horror film, and our poor friend crying in the corner?”

Right. Où est ma valise?

You will notice that there is no “Medication” section in the Roi manual, and that wasn’t an oversight: notre cher ami has officially been given the all-clear from his favourite vet, who is back from her travels for a short while. No more Gabapentin! He has had no relapses at all during his tapering-off detox programme and, whilst we will miss the little sod for the next couple of weeks, we know that he will be fine and that our friend will look after him wonderfully.

We just hope that he will be equally considerate in return.

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Vive les vacances

Cat Daddy and I have just returned from a few days away and, as you can see from this plaque on the cottage next door, we didn’t need to go looking for French cats: they found us. And we weren’t even holidaying in France!

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People often ask us how we manage holidays with all the attention that Louis Catorze needs. The short answer used to be: by not going away, ever. It simply wasn’t practical to do so during his tail-munching days, not only because we would have been worried about him but also because we couldn’t unleash a manic, yowling, self-harming kitty onto any of our friends or neighbours, nor any cattery.

It has, very occasionally, crossed our minds to take him away with us. But then we consult The Checklist – of which you really need a full house of affirmative answers before you can consider taking your cat on holiday – and we are reminded of what a stupid idea it would be:

– Is your cat good with long journeys?
– Is your cat good with new places?
– Can your cat be trusted to behave, stick close by and not pitter-patter off into oncoming traffic, dark forests or raging seas?
– If you’re going rural, is your cat large enough not to be picked off by a marauding bird of prey? (Cue hysterical laughter from Cat Daddy at the thought of a floppy Catorze dangling undignifiedly from the talons of a huge buzzard, his indignant meows ringing out through the skies.)

Anyway, c’est un grand NON DE PARTOUT for The Checklist. So no mini-breaks for Le Roi.

Because we have now found a fairly foolproof way of getting the Gabapentin into Louis Catorze, we can ask pretty much anyone to come in and feed him in our absence, knowing that no Greco-Romaning is required. And we are lucky enough to have heaps of kind and obliging neighbours, including Cocoa the babysit cat’s folks, Oscar the dog’s folks and, if we can ever muster up the courage to face her again, maybe even the lady who found Louis Catorze screaming in the street the other day.

We are also very lucky that Louis Catorze is happy to see us when we return, whether we’ve been away for a few hours or a few days. I frequently hear horror stories of cats expressing their displeasure at being left, with tactics ranging from passive-aggressive sulking to plain offensive peeing/pooing/puking on things, but we have never experienced anything of the sort from the Sun King. When we arrive home he happily greets us, all shouty and up-tailed and, within minutes, he is flat out on Cat Daddy’s lap. What an easy-going, accepting little boy he is.

Cat Daddy: “He’s not easy-going or accepting: he’s thick. He doesn’t even remember we’ve been away because his brain can only store 3 facts at a time. If you wanted him to remember we’d been away AND plan an act of revenge, you’d have to remove 2 facts first.”

L’état d’urgence

We have a Code Noir at Le Château: Louis Catorze has started refusing his ham-wrapped Trojan Horse pills. Either he has cottoned onto our trick or he is bored of cured ham and, either way, we are well and truly dans la merde because it means that every single dose is now a Greco-Roman one.

Whilst our Greco-Roman technique is improving greatly with all the practice we’re having, it’s still not very nice to have to do it. And, upsettingly, we can see the effect that the increased Greco-Romans are having on Catorze’s demeanour: he is skittish and nervous around us, and yesterday he didn’t even come and greet us when we came home from work, which he usually does without fail. He has also taken to hiding when we get up in the morning and missing that first dose of the day. This means that we sometimes have to give him TWO doses after work – one when we get home and one before bed – and that makes us all even more anxious and stressed.

Well-meaning fellow cat freaks often ask us, “Have you tried hiding the pills in tuna / anchovies / chicken / prawns / cheese / Dreamies / Pill Pockets / [insert name of other irresistible, pill-disguising treat]?” YES, to all of the above. Unfortunately, we are dealing with a cat who doesn’t like food and therefore cannot be incentivised by it; if we never fed him again, EVER, he wouldn’t really care.

I really, really hope he gets past this, otherwise we will have to deploy the big guns: the £21-per-100g Brindisa jamón ibérico de bellota. Qu’est-ce qu’on va devenir? Or, should I say: ¿Qué va y ser de nos?

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Le patient français

It has been 2 days since the X-ray and Louis Catorze is continuing to obsess with his tail, presumably because the claw puncture wound from the other night has irritated him even further.

Watching him interact with it is the most bizarre thing imaginable; he can be unaware of it one moment and, the next, the red mist descends and he just HAS to try and kill it. If we are with him, a cuddle and a gentle warning are usually enough to distract him. But we can almost hear the cogs whirring away as he thinks, “You can’t keep watch over moi forever.”

And, of course, the real problem is when we’re not in the same room with him, or when we’re asleep. That’s when he really goes for it, with a full-on fight punctuated by those awful raspy screams that we have grown to know and hate.

We have decided to try the Zylkene calming supplement, which is a white powder that you sprinkle onto food, to see if it has any effect on Louis Catorze’s tail obsession. Bearing in mind that white powder dusted over dark brown food looks ridiculously obvious, I was fully expecting to be met with the “Go home: you’re embarrassing yourself” look, but, astoundingly, Le Roi did eat a little.

We have also studded the house with Feliway diffusers in the same way that Transylvanians would use crucifixes. They’re everywhere, silently churning out odourless, invisible clouds of happy gas that will make our boy better (we hope).

The vet told us that these new measures would take a few days to kick in, and that any changes would be subtle. But, if the alternative is tail amputation (unfortunately, yes, this has been mentioned), we’re willing to give anything a try.

We will keep you updated and, in the meantime, we wish you a wonderful and peaceful Christmas weekend. Your love and support of the little sod mean the world to us.

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Vive l’indifférence

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It’s been just over a week since my surgery, and what a week it’s been. We’ve had some British Wimbledon wins, a French football failure, and Louis Catorze is still fiercely waging his campaign of apathy towards me.

He’s not unhappy, nor is he descending into his allergic state (quite the opposite, in fact: it’s been over 2 months since his last steroid shot and he’s still riding high on it). He and I have the odd moment at bedtime when he naps at my feet but, during the day, he steers clear of me. Then, when Cat Daddy comes home, he races to the door to greet him, as if to say, “Merci à Dieu!”

A friend mentioned the fact that he might object to my hospitally smell, in the same way that some cats reject their kittens/buddies when they return from the vet and smell vetty. But, surely, even with my mess of Medusa-like tendrils of hospital hair, he can see that it’s me and not some impostor?

Another friend suggested that Louis Catorze might be so intelligent that he’d figured out that I can’t pick him up or bend to stroke him, so he was thoughtfully saving me the strain of trying by avoiding me. Believe me, it’s not that.

Cat Daddy’s response, when I complained about Catorze’s treachery: “But he’s always liked me better. He isn’t doing anything different now and therefore, technically, hasn’t betrayed you.”

Silence, tumbleweed, crickets. I get the feeling that will be the theme of the next few weeks.

J’adore l’extérieur

 Is it possible for someone to be placed under house arrest even if they were never allowed out to begin with? If so, Louis Catorze is that someone. Last night we were about to go out for Cat Daddy’s birthday but couldn’t lock our front door because the builders had decided it would be a good idea to fill the lock with plaster; in the end Cat Daddy had to get a chisel to hack away at it, at which point Louis Catorze took the opportunity to scoot outside and dive into the hedge.

Had this taken place at The Back we wouldn’t have been too upset, as it’s so enclosed that there’s nowhere to go. But The Front, with The Park and The Road, is a firm NON. Calling him was no use whatsoever as he just ignored us and meowed, and grabbing him was impossible as he was buried deep in the shrubbery so, in the end, whilst I called the restaurant to say we’d be 30 minutes late, Cat Daddy and our French guest had to resort to scaring Louis Catorze from the other side of the hedge to make him bolt back indoors.  So he’s stuck indoors whether he likes it or not, and security has been ramped up the way it would be in a maximum security penitentiary following a hostage crisis. Luckily his interest in getting outside is only mild-to-moderate, as opposed to utter desperation, so another week isn’t going to be too horrendous. What’s a little more concerning, however, is that his eye area fur looks as if it’s thinning again, and he has a tiny scab on his chin. I don’t suppose it helps that we have an inordinate amount of dust in the house, which the workmen create faster than we can clean. Louis Catorze’s ex-rescue centre told me that he had a tendency to flare up with a change of environment, so let’s hope it’s just that and not a dust-triggered long-term descent to where he was 18 months ago.

J’adore faire la moue

In the almost-11 months that Louis Catorze has lived with us, I have experienced the Post-Meds Sulk. I have also been on the receiving end of the Post-Meds Mega-Sulk. I once even thought I was being shown a Post-Meds Mega-Sulk With Hunger Strike but, in actual fact, Louis Catorze is both stupid and unmotivated by food, so it’s likely he just forgot to eat. However, yesterday he introduced me to a whole new phenomenon: the Selective Sulk.

The SS is so insidious that you barely know it’s happening; or rather, the Sulk is very much present but the Selective element sneaks up on you somewhat. After medicating him and subsequently being ignored during what I believed to be a PMS, Cat Daddy came home from work and I vented my dissatisfaction about Louis Catorze’s miserableness. Seconds later, the little sod slinked out of La Cage and was on his daddy’s lap for their nightly Club Des Garçons cuddle session.

Not long after that, my friend came round and we sat outside with some drinks. Again, not long after I complained about my grumpy sod of a cat and told her not to expect to see him that evening, he meowed for her attention and trotted up to her with his tail up, purring and nuzzling. Sigh.

This must be what it’s like to have a kid who is sweet-as-candy to everyone else but is a total arse when you’re home alone. As well as this not being very nice, it makes you come across as a fantasist or a liar when you bleat about his objectionable behaviour. “What do you mean, he misbehaves/sulks/treats you like dirt? Look at him! He’s so cuddly and sweet!” Yeah, because I really have the time and the inclination to make this shit up.

At worst, rather than simply disbelieving you, they actually blame you. “Maybe it’s because you smother him,” Cat Daddy helpfully said recently. Ok, so when our only Louis-compatible duvet needed cleaning and we were forced to use an allergy-triggering feather one, who paid for an expensive same-day clean because they thought Louis Catorze “looked sad” shut out on the landing? Not moi.

I could buy the most amazing shoes with the money I’m spending on an allergy test for this ungrateful boy of mine. In fact, I’ve already seen some that I want …