La némésis du quartier

I have read several online posts lately about cats traumatised or hurt by the neighbourhood nemesis cat. There’s always one, isn’t there, and it’s usually black. (Unless your own cat is black, in which case the NN tends to be ginger.)

We have been incredibly lucky with Louis Catorze who, despite being textbook bully fodder – small and rather pathetic-looking – has always been left alone. Well, there was that one time in his secret Fight Club when he ended up with a puncture wound on his forehead, but he barely even noticed it and just went about his normal business. And we later found out that this type of wound is typical of cats on the attack, rather than retreating ones, so Cat Daddy was happy to learn that his boy was standing up for himself and not bringing the royal family name into disrepute. A passive monarch simply won’t do, will it?

So, what can one do if there is a NN on the loose? First thing: get a microchip cat flap. Yes, they are expensive, but things will be a whole lot worse if NN is actually managing to terrorise your poor kitty in your own house. If the fights start because NN is coming in to steal food, you can’t really blame him; if I saw a magical portal leading to free food, I’d go through it, too. An electronic cat flap will be the answer to all your prayers, and the hefty price tag will more than offset the costs of stolen food, vet bills etc.

If NN is a stray, you might need the assistance of a rescue to trap him. (Dosti was trapped, neutered and chipped with the help of the wonderful Hounslow Animal Welfare Society: http://www.haws-animals.org.uk.) Bear in mind that appearance alone can be deceptive: Dosti looked in pristine condition for a long time before anyone realised that he didn’t have a home. And, likewise, a scruffy cat isn’t necessarily a sign of a stray: Louis Catorze looks like utter merde most of the time and, as you all know, he has a family and is very much loved.

If, on the other hand, NN has a home and you are able to find out where he lives, it could be worth approaching the Cat Parents and starting a polite but frank dialogue with them. You just never know: they may not be aware that their cat is being such a voyou, and they might not be able to stop him but you could, at least, mutually agree a strategy. I have told other pet owners in the street that, in the unlikely event of Catorze making a nuisance of himself on their territory, I have no issue with him being shouted at a bit. If that doesn’t work, waving a tampon at him should send him scurrying for the hills. (Oh yes: he will happily take on dogs and invisible Fight Club assailants, but sanitary protection is his kryptonite.)

If you have a NN problem and you follow my tips, it would be great to hear how things go: please comment and let me know!

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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:

Les ballons d’or sont de retour

This week is our lovely vet’s last week at work before she sets off on her travels, so yesterday I went to see her with some gifts: a Louis Catorze t-shirt so that she may remember her most troublesome patient, and a bottle of fizz to help her forget the yowls, hisses and kicks.

I very nearly took him along to bid her farewell, but then decided that he had already put her through quite enough.

We shall miss her tremendously, but she has excellent colleagues whom we know will give Le Roi nothing but the best treatment. We are VERY lucky indeed.

On my way back I bumped into notre cher ami Ginger Impinger, who was sporting a snazzy new collar and striding purposefully down the middle of the road. It was quite a shock to see him as we were a good few minutes’ walk from all the other areas where he has been spotted.

GI always enters and exits Le Jardin from Oscar the dog’s side (our left as you look out), so we imagined he would live that way. Cocoa the babysit cat’s family live in the same direction and GI has been caught napping on their furniture and even sitting on their glass conservatory roof, giving everyone below an uninterrupted eyeful of his ballons d’or. But he has also been spotted around our local pub, which is about 60 houses away from Cocoa’s place, and where I saw him today is another area entirely. (See below for my not-entirely-to-scale map of GI sightings.)

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I am in complete disbelief that he would cover so much ground, let alone keep coming back to Le Château. After all, our cat flap is now inaccessible (not that it stops him from trying – Oscar the dog’s mamma has seen his ginger derrière reversing out after failed entry attempts), and it’s not as if Louis Catorze will be having relations with him anytime soon.

I really, really want to find out where the little sod might live and, somehow, broach the awkward subject of les ballons d’or with his people. But, given the enormous catchment area (that we know of) covered by GI, I have no idea where to begin.

Le sixième sens

I am delighted to report that Louis Catorze only escaped once on Halloween night, and that we all survived (apart from the large mouse that he brought in and terrorised the next day). But, although it’s all over for another year, the scares continue in the form of his creepy kitty sixth sense, disproving our theory that it’s directly proportional to intelligence.

Despite not being the brightest star in the galaxy, he is able not only to differentiate his staff’s footsteps from others but also to anticipate our homecoming in advance. He peacefully sleeps through noises made by the neighbours, the postman and random passers-by. But the minute he hears his daddy – or, rather unnervingly, just BEFORE he hears his daddy – he races to the front door so fast that his stupid little feet can’t keep up with themselves, and he skids around on the slippy floorboards like Bambi on ice. Sometimes he goes skidding right past Cat Daddy as he opens the door and ends up outside on the doormat and, to teach him a lesson for being such such a weirdo, Cat Daddy shuts the door on him.

Don’t worry, we always let him in again. (Well, apart from the time we forgot about him, and he ended up out at The Front, unsupervised, on the rampage for an hour.) And, a few weeks ago, when Cat Daddy remembered to let him in, he was greeted by this sight:

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He’s equally perceptive when it comes to my arrival; a few evenings ago I took a while to park the car because I reversed in at the wrong angle and messed it up. When I finally came indoors, Catorze was right at the door – and, apparently, he’d been meowing there for a good minute or two before Cat Daddy had even heard the car.

He’s a scary little freak – living with him is as if Halloween never ended – but we love him.

Le revenant

Last night Cat Daddy, Louis Catorze and I stayed up late and sat outside to watch the Perseid meteor shower.

Whilst Catorze very often sleeps late when we do, on this occasion, unusually, it wasn’t with us, and there was no sign of him when we woke up. Not long after Cat Daddy had left for work, I heard peals of meowing at The Back which I can only describe as joyful; then Louis Catorze appeared, closely followed by his cher copain, Ginger Impinger.

It would appear that the little sods had decided to make a night of it, then my boy had invited his buddy back for a hangover fry-up/croissant and some sugary tea/chocolat chaud. I now know how my mum used to feel when I would say, “Mum, can Tracy stay for dinner?” with Tracy hovering hopefully in front of her, shifting awkwardly from foot to foot and looking at my mum in such a way that she couldn’t really say no.

Whilst there wasn’t much that would change Tracy’s mind about staying, GI saw me and decided that it wasn’t really what he’d signed up for. The photo shows the exact moment when he said, “Aw, dude, your mum’s here! That’s, like, SO not cool!” and even Le Roi appears to be thinking, “Merde – WHY does she have to embarrass me?” So GI was off, and that was that.

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And, for those who are interested, yes, he still has his bits but, curiously, his collar is absent, presumed lost. What a funny, enigmatic kitty he is.

Mon jardin est ton jardin

After a whole morning and a whole afternoon of bending, twisting, swearing, smashing glass and wanting to slash at our own flesh with the broken bits, Cat Daddy and I finally finished assembling the garden furniture. (We were told that it “would bolt together easily”. It did not. Never believe anyone who tells you such rubbish.)

We had a feeling that, before we would have the chance to try it out, a cat would get there first. However, we didn’t expect THIS:

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Cat Daddy’s response was, “At least he did it before we’d put the cushions on.” I say a cheeky sod is a cheeky sod, irrespective of whether his arse is cushioned.

I wonder if there is such a thing as a world record for the greatest sum of money ever spent on a cat tree for someone else’s cat? Ginger Impinger would like to start the bidding at £1199.

Les ballons d’or

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Cat Daddy says he doesn’t believe me when I tell him that Ginger Impinger is not neutered.

There are two very clear pieces of evidence proving my argument, but he thinks I have imagined them. I was a little insulted at his assumption; I know my balls and I know that GI’s are very much present (although maybe I shouldn’t have said it quite like that to him). But, without photo evidence, and without encouraging GI too close for comfort, I can’t prove that I am right.

I think that Cat Daddy, like a lot of men, feels queasy at the idea of neutering and equates it to castration in human males; whenever I raise the subject of GI and his balls, he crosses his legs and changes the subject. But there’s no escaping the fact that every vet on the planet is in favour of neutering, not only because it keeps down the population of stray cats but also because neutered cats are less likely to wander or fight. They may even be less prone to disease, including certain types of cancer, if neutered.

The thing is that, although neutering a cat is the responsible and humane thing to do, it’s not a legal requirement. Telling GI’s folks to neuter him would be akin to telling a parent how to raise their child (although there are many times when I have wanted to do that, too). Yet he shouldn’t really be out and about with his bits still on; even if he doesn’t happen to meet any unneutered females outdoors, I can well imagine him having the culot to break into houses to seek them out.

So my threefold mission is to somehow find out where the little sod lives, befriend his humans and bring about the subject of neutering in a roundabout yet tactful way. Quel travail.