L’amitié perdue, l’amitié retrouvée

Last weekend, as Cat Daddy arrived home, a lady in the street stopped and said, “Excuse me: is this the home of Louis Catorze?”

You just couldn’t make this up, could you, Mesdames et Messieurs?

When Cat Daddy shamefacedly confirmed that she had the correct house, she introduced herself: “I’m Ginger Impinger’s mum.”

Actually, “Ginger Impinger’s NEW mum” would have been more accurate: after concerned reports emerged on a local forum of an increasingly thin and unkempt GI appearing at various houses in the neighbourhood, a rescue organisation trapped, chipped and snipped him and treated him for a few minor surface ailments. Sadly, whilst he was under house arrest at the rescue’s veterinary surgery, not a single poster went up locally regarding his whereabouts, indicating that the poor boy didn’t have any people (or, at least, none who cared enough), but the happy news is that he is now in a lovely new home.

The TW8 network of who-knows-whom is tighter than a gnat’s behind, so his new mamma and I have been able to find and message each other. And, because Le Blog documents virtually every one of her boy’s visits to Louis Catorze, she has been able to read all about their exploits together. The large area that he covered came as something of a surprise, but GI’s mamma was also comforted by the fact that, throughout his time on the run, he had a little playmate and a safe haven of sorts at Le Château.

She loved the name “Ginger Impinger”, too, and I think she may even have been half-tempted to keep it, were it not for the fact that, if a place is officially one’s home, strictly speaking one can’t impinge. The name she has chosen for him is Dosti – “friend” in Hindi – which is highly appropriate as he was such a good buddy to Catorze, coming to collect him for little jaunts together, dropping him safely home afterwards and generally showing us all that an unneutered (as he was then) male isn’t always the ubiquitous bullying troublemaker.

The meaning of “Dosti” has a bittersweet tinge when I think that Louis Catorze will be losing his only friend; now that he has a permanent home he is not going to be visiting us anymore and, if he does, I am to let his mamma know immediately because, understandably, she doesn’t want him wandering that far. But we have now gained a new friend in his mamma and, most importantly, dear little Dosti finally has the family he deserves. Here is the lucky boy, relaxing in his new place:

Une amitié?

imageGinger Impinger is back!

This time Louis Catorze chased him around the clothes horse a few times, then flopped onto his back and rolled. GI appeared to lose interest and walk away at this point, and that was the end of that.

Yes, that peculiar black shape on the ground is Catorze. And, no, we don’t know which end is which, either.

Is he relaxed and comfortable, or is he doing that grizzly bear thing of fearfully making himself look as large/long as possible to intimidate his foe? Is this pose an offer of friendship or humiliating submission? I’m leaning towards the former, because I imagine submission looking more like Louis Catorze running away, but I would love to hear what you think.

Felina non grata

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Does your cat have friends outside of your own household? And should I be concerned that Louis Catorze has none whatsoever?

When we lived at Le Palais he had heaps of buddies popping over. Some cats were positively welcomed (such as the delightful Cookie, aka The Chubby Siamese or Chubs, pictured here), others were merely tolerated, yet nobody was rejected outright, leading me to the conclusion that Louis Catorze is one of those cats who gets on well with other cats. This sounds like it ought to be inevitable but, trust me, there are some cats who don’t like any other cats at all. Our first cat, Nimbus, didn’t even like her own biological mother or siblings, and she used to hide round corners and jump out at them (in an “I want to kill you” type of way, not for fun).

But, since we moved to Le Château, and, despite us seeing a few cats during our visits when the renovation work was going on, Catorze has had something of a manque d’amitié. Obviously we’re glad that no unwelcome intruders are giving him hassle (apart from his mysterious adversary at Le Fight Club), but it’s peculiar to think that, in a street full of cats*, nobody seems to want to be Catorze’s copain. Luckily, because he’s thick, he doesn’t know this.

*Our neighbours include:
– Pensioner Pickles, a remarkably well-preserved calico cat in her 20s, who hates all other cats (including Louis Catorze)
– Titus the Biggest Cat in the World, an orange Maine Coon the size of an ox
– Catus Interruptus, a grey tabby who rudely barges between people trying to talk in the street and demands attention
– Rocky the Racist Ginge, who only gets along with all-black and tuxedo cats and who beats the crap out of other-coloured ones (including Titus)

Interestingly, when trying to explain to others what Louis Catorze’s skin condition looks like, Cat Daddy has always – completely unintentionally – pronounced it as “pariah-sis” instead of psoriasis. C’est une coïncidence?

J’ai besoin d’un secrétaire

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What an insanely busy weekend it’s been at Le Château, and what a crazy amount we packed into 2 days: as well as being my birthday, we’ve spent time with members of Louis Catorze’s fan club whom we didn’t know before. Cat Daddy has shifted from finding these visits slightly eccentric to accepting them as part of normal life. In fact, when the alarm goes off in the morning, his first words to me are: “So … who is it today, then?”

We often used to talk about downloading one of those diary-sharing apps to avoid double-booking our own arrangements, yet we never got around to doing it. However, now that Louis Catorze has his own social engagements going on, we’re at the point where we’re struggling to keep it all together. I am yet to have to tell a friend, “Sorry, I can’t make Saturday night after all because some strangers who’ve read about my cat on the internet are coming to visit him”, but it’s only a matter of time.

This weekend we had 2 fabulous days with 2 sets of Catorze fans, and the funny thing was that we had so much more in common with them than just cats. Each time felt like welcoming good friends into our home, and Louis Catorze, who is great with new people, happily greeted his public with snuggles and dived headlong into the fabulous toys they had brought for him.

We’re pretty exhausted right now but profoundly grateful for the fact that our itchy black cat has brought us new friends. And Louis Catorze is now taking bookings for décembre …

Les Jeux de Chatière recommencent

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It was my birthday yesterday. Louis Catorze’s gifts to me were to knock all the bottles off my bedside table at 5am, and to continue using the cat flap to go out but inexplicably cease using it to come in.

CatFlapGate actually began the previous evening: when I came home, Louis Catorze was yowling outside and clawing at the patio door. “He’s been doing that for ages but, whenever I go to open the door, he runs away,” said Cat Daddy, who had arrived home before me. “I don’t know whether something’s wrong with the cat flap or he’s just being a stupid arse.”

The former isn’t wholly out of the question, especially as the cat flap has started buzzing recently. But, if I were a betting woman, I’d put money on the latter. Cat Daddy, however, didn’t agree. “He wouldn’t keep it up for this long unless something were really wrong,” he insisted. “And look at his face: he looks stressed. I really think we should have a look at the cat flap. Maybe it’s jammed. Or maybe there’s a snake or something stuck in it and Louis is too scared to go through.”

Right.

I gave the cat flap a good clean in case the dirt was putting him off (unlikely, as he happily drinks from cruddy buckets in the garden and rolls around in century-old cobwebs). I wanted to change the batteries but we didn’t have any new ones, so I switched the setting to manual by taking out the old batteries and taping down the latch thing. It made no difference. The little sod continued to shriek like a lunatic outside, rearing up on his hind legs, his eyes saucer-wide with anguish.

Then, when we gave up and went to the living room to watch TV, he came in. Sigh.

What on earth would make him suddenly decide to play this game? It’s not as if any other cats’ behaviour could have influenced him (he doesn’t have any friends). So why, then?

Maybe some of his fan club, two of whom are visiting this weekend, will be able to shed some light on this?