FURminateur 2: Le Dernier Jugement

Good grief. Louis Catorze looks disgusting. It seems that the FURmination a few days ago has stimulated his skin to release some sort of crud, and now he is all speckled and dandruffy. He looks just like he did when I accidentally poured xylitol all over him, and it’s so foul that Cat Daddy is threatening to bathe him. 

He doesn’t appear to me remotely bothered by the speckles but, for obvious reasons, it bothers us. We would all far rather have a non-dandruffy cat than a dandruffy one, wouldn’t we? 

FURminator users: please tell me that this won’t happen EVERY time I FURminate, and that it’s just a little first-time-user glitch?

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Hasta la vista, les poils

MERCI to everyone who sent good wishes to Louis Catorze on his birthday. It was difficult to know what to buy for a cat who already has everything, so we decided to treat him to some jambon de Bayonne (of which he ate two scraps, then looked at the third as if it were poison and walked away) and a FURminator. 

Cat Daddy: “Sorry, what? FURminator? FURRR-minator?”

Cat Daddy again: “And can you not write that WE gave him jambon de Bayonne and a FURminator? [He says the word “FURminator” in his Alan-Rickman-as-the-Sheriff-of-Nottingham voice.] YOU did this. I honestly couldn’t care less.”

If you have ever had a sheddy pet, it’s highly likely that you will know what a FURminator is: a special grooming implement designed to remove pet hair more effectively than a standard brush. It may seem a bizarre choice of gift for a cat who can’t stand being brushed, but the device is supposed to remove so much loose hair upon each brushing that, overall, progressively fewer sessions are required. So, really, it’s a gift to myself as well as to Catorze. 

The FURminator comes in different sizes – we purchased “Smallest Creature Possible”, of course – and in both long- and short-haired variants. I must say I was cynical about how much fur it would remove – a brush is a brush, after all, and I imagined all brushes to be created equal – but the FURminator is in a class of its own. Below is the amount of fur that I would ordinarily have extracted from a whole-body brushing session with the little sod’s old brush, but the FURminator removed this from just an eighth of his body. That said, I can see the device being quite sharp if not used properly, so I would advise you to test it out on your own skin (seriously) to ascertain how much pressure is more like a massage than a scratch, and adjust pressure on kitty accordingly.

As we are fairly certain that there is a link between regular grooming sessions and Sa Maj’s skin condition, it will be interesting to see how his health progresses with regular FURmination. We’ll be back.

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Cent coups de brosse avant d’aller dormir

Today is National Hairball Awareness Day. (I’m deadly serious. Google it if you don’t believe me.) And, ironically, I am writing this after another joyless session of brushing Louis Catorze. Ugh. Bizarrely, he now only fights half-heartedly rather than with the strength of ten angry grizzly bears, yet he still screams like a banshee during our torturous sessions. And, just like the otherworldly Irish harbinger of death, I fear that there may well be some truth in his prophecy because the sound of his screams makes me want to kill either him or myself.

If he hates being brushed, why has he eased up on the struggling? Or, if has grown to tolerate it, why scream? Seeing a cat lying on his back, his body language showing that he is grudgingly accepting the brush but his voice screaming itself stupid, is quite the most absurd sight imaginable. That said, nothing about this strange cat has ever truly made sense, so I don’t suppose it’s about to start now.

Sadly there is no video available because I need three hands to be able to restrain, brush and film at the same time, and Cat Daddy refuses point-blank to help in any way. (“I’m not being part of this nonsense” is a more polite version of what he said.) So, instead, here is a picture of Sa Maj looking uncharacteristically … well … majestic. It’s hard to believe that a beast who can appear so serene in pictures can also suddenly morph in an instant into a screaming psychopath.

La coiffure du Roi

Louis Catorze is in full-on moult mode which, of course, means we have to brush him at least once a day, more if possible. And you know how vile he is when being brushed. 

The screaming is pretty awful but I am now used to it. What’s more daunting is the sheer never-endingness of the task, with handfuls of fur coming out with each session. If I were to carry on forever, at some stage I would have no cat left, just a pair of fangs and a handful of bald, quivering flesh. And yet the fur keeps coming. It defies every law of science that a cat can keep losing fur indefinitely and not run out. 

I have started brushing him the wrong way first (i.e. tail to head) to loosen any crud, before then doing it the right way. This is quite effective but he really doesn’t like it at all, and it makes him look as if he has been tumble-dried. On one recent occasion he kicked free of the Stranglehold of Death and escaped outside, before I had managed the rectifying right-way brush, and he didn’t look anything like a cat nor, indeed, like any creature identifiable by zoology. 

Cat Daddy: “What. Have. You. DONE?”

Sa Maj will be turning 9 at the end of the month. Something tells me that the Birthday Fairy may be delivering him some much-needed fancy new grooming-related apparatus, as I think that trying to tackle the problem with his existing brush is like trying to stem a tsunami with a sheet of blotting paper*. 

*Younger followers: ask your parents. 

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La brosse infernale

We are usually only obsessively meticulous about brushing Louis Catorze during the warmer months, when he moults and scratches a lot. But, because his skin and fur are generally much healthier when he is brushed regularly, we decided to step up his grooming régime a few weeks ago, at around the same time that we started the hot water steam thing.

The good news is that handfuls of fur come off his body when he is brushed, which surely HAS to make a positive difference to his skin health, yes? The bad news is that he still loathes being brushed, which means I have to grit my teeth and adopt the Stranglehold of Death before I can get the brush anywhere near him. Needless to say, these now-daily sessions of torture leave me drained, pained and bleeding from the eardrums, and I wish we didn’t have to do them.

My mum told a long time ago that, when you brush your cat, you should leave the brushed-out clumps of hair in the garden because birds use them to line their nests. This didn’t seem very likely – after all, my mum also tells me that you can get cancer from plastic water bottles that have been left overnight in the car – but a couple of reliable fellow cat freaks have confirmed that it is, indeed, a thing. So, much to Cat Daddy’s disgust, I have been doing my civic duty by emptying the contents of Catorze’s brush outside, and the very thin silver lining to the dire grooming sessions was that at least the birds would benefit from it all.

Below is a picture of a clump of Catorze’s brushed-out hair from at least two weeks ago. Oui, Mesdames et Messieurs: IT IS STILL IN THE GARDEN. I really thought that there would be a few takers for some warm kitty fur, given that we remain in the depths of winter. But it seems not.

Cat Daddy: “Ha! The birds of TW8 would rather freeze than go near his shitty fur. Not even the rats want it.”

Oh dear. It’s a good thing Sa Maj is utterly unaware of his fur not meeting the exacting standards of the local wildlife. And, even if he were aware, I don’t suppose he would be remotely bothered.

Le maquillage du Roi

Following a few more instances of Louis Catorze thundering through Le Château chasing his tail (and knocking Houseguest Matt’s stuff off his bedside table at 3am – ha), I’ve spent most of the weekend Googling coloured dye for pets. I wish I were joking.

Most of the results of my fact-finding odyssey have been warnings not to dye your pet, and I can’t say I’m surprised; until now I’d have thought it a thoroughly idiotic thing to do. And, had anyone tried to convince me that they needed to do it for medical reasons, I would have kidnapped their pet for its own safety and reported them to animal welfare.

Yet, here I am, declaring to the world that I need to do this to stop my cat from eating himself. Oh dear.

And, should you choose to ignore the warnings and dye your pet regardless, there are a million stipulations to which Louis Catorze would never agree. (Example: “For best results, start with a freshly washed animal.” Non, merci.)

After receiving the vet’s confirmation this morning that a non-toxic dye might be worth a go, and after a good friend and ardent Roi supporter came up with the genius idea of using plant-based, hypo-allergenic mascara, I thought we might have hit upon a cure. Something toxin-free and designed to be splodged around your eyes couldn’t possibly do him any harm, right? Even Cat Daddy is up for this. And, better yet, I already have an organic mascara.

Or, I thought I had. Naturellement, I have no idea where it is, and I fear it might have been lost in the move to Le Château. (I don’t wear mascara often, clearly.) We don’t want to waste time hunting fruitlessly, nor wait for delivery of a new one, nor do we have time during a horrible working week to go out shopping for one.

Merci à Dieu, then, for Houseguest Matt. There aren’t many people who would unflinchingly accept a request of, “Would you mind popping out today and buying an organic black mascara to paint the cat’s tail?”

I’m tempted to ask him to do the painting, too. Is that going too far?

(Le Roi is pictured below on Houseguest Matt’s legs.)

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Le dimanche sanglant

Whilst last Sunday was officially Olympic Sensational Sunday to most British people, to Cat Daddy and me it will always be known as Le Jour du Rat.

This morning we were talking about the psychology behind cats’ offerings and why they bring them even if they’re well-fed. Some of the theories are as follows:

1. It’s part of an involuntary natural instinct
2. They are gifts borne out of love
3. Cats think we are rubbish hunters, so are attempting to show us how it ought to be done
4. Cats are little shits

What’s puzzling us about RatGate – apart from the rat’s curly hair, which appears to be bothering many Roi followers at the moment – is that the rat looked as if it had been dead for a little while. So … had Louis Catorze killed it ages ago, stored it in some unknown place and then artfully plated it up for his papa, like a Masterchef finalist presenting a piece of 21-day hung steak?

Or – and this is more likely – had the fox killed it and saved it for later, and was Catorze passing off the fox’s efforts as his own?

Either way, I remain traumatised by the whole event, replaying it in my mind over and over again. However, something tells me that Cat Daddy may have moved on:

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