Les bisous du vampire

People who haven’t experienced the horror joy of meeting Louis Catorze often assume his photos to be fake, because his fangs don’t look as if they should belong on any actual cat (nor, indeed, on any animal known to zoological science).

I’m quite flattered at the assumption that I would be knowledgeable enough to doctor pictures so convincingly but, no, they aren’t altered; those teeth are the work of Mother Nature and her brief dalliance with Satan. The fangs stick out permanently whether his mouth is open or closed, but how much depends on a number of things: the camera angle, the direction in which Catorze is looking, and also his mood. Yes, his mood. If he’s in a psycho, playful mood, for reasons that we cannot fathom, his fangs are more prominent.

In a way this is a good thing, because gives us some warning that things are about to go awry. However, there is nothing we can do to stop it.

Here are some of the many faces of Le Roi, taken over the course of this year, showing how much the visibility of the fangs can vary. That last one may well be recycled as his Official Hallowe’en Portrait for this year, as I don’t imagine he will be remotely compliant when it comes to posing for that later this month.

Invisible fangs.
Just a hint of fangs.
HOLY HELL.

Le coussin du lion

We all know that Louis Catorze opens portals to hell and communes with evil spirits on a daily basis, not just in October but all year round. This isn’t great but there’s not much we can do about it, and the last thing we want to do is have him/them feed on our fear, so we largely ignore it and hope it will go away.

So what better way to show one’s devotion to the Sun King than to, erm, send him a gift that encourages him to do it even more? Lucky Catorze received this fabulous cushion a few months ago, but somehow it seems fitting to feature it now. LOOK AT IT:

He doesn’t need the board or the planchette: he just does this with his MIND.

Me: “Don’t you think this is SO him?”

Cat Daddy, without looking up from his laptop: “That cat’s better-looking.”

Anyway, Catorze absolutely loves his gift although, being the Sun King, he does insist on us gradually moving it across the sofa as the sun moves. And it seems to have become like a docking station from the Underworld, with Catorze sitting there to power up for his next bit of mischief. Not really what we need at the moment but we are powerless to stop it, and I suspect that, if we burned the cushion and buried the ashes in a faraway churchyard, it would only reappear on our sofa the next day, as pristine as the day it was made and with Sa Maj perched atop it.

Here are some pictures (below) of Catorze going from regal to oh-good-grief in a matter of seconds.

Thank you, Cathie, for this lovely gift!

Thou shalt adore the king …
Even when he washes his arse.

Une heure de plus

October is here and, as you are no doubt aware by now, this month fills me with pure and absolute joy. However, any minute now, the black cats of the world will collectively lose their shit. That bit isn’t going to be quite so joyous.

Louis Catorze is glossy-furred, full of energy and READY.

This year we have been blessed with a long Hallowe’en. Thanks to Daylight Saving Time coming to an end and the clocks going back by an hour on Sunday 31st, we have an extra sixty minutes of the big day. Somehow this fits perfectly with the whole idea that, during these periods when the veil between the worlds is thin, time does not function as it should.

Unfortunately it also means we will have an extra hour of Catorze’s nonsense. Not only is he a natural conduit for all things evil, irrespective of the state of the veil, but merely being in his presence appears to make time malfunction; if he is doing something idiotic and we are willing him to stop, time can stand still.

Last year he surprised us all by actually NOT misbehaving, mainly because he was having so much fun attending to Important Full Moon Hallowe’en Cat Business in the Zone Libre that he just forgot.

Let’s hope he’s not planning to make up for it this year.

He’s so ready that he’s even dressed for the occasion with a cobweb bracelet.

La Cape d’Invisibilité est de retour

Cat Daddy and I returned home from the cinema not long ago, to be greeted at the door by Louis Catorze and his raspy screaming. Yes, his voice is different since his surgery; whereas he used to sound like a whiny child whose mummy had just told him that he couldn’t have any ice cream, now I would describe his sound as “chain-smoking drag queen”.

I even wonder whether the sounds he makes mean different things now, like those people who wake up after an operation or a head injury and are able to speak a new language. My friend Lizzi thinks Catorze is now Russian, and I can’t say I would be remotely surprised if this were true.

Anyway, after his initial bonjour/Привет, the little sod disappeared back upstairs and was gone for ages. It’s unusual for him to be absent at length at that time of the night, so eventually I went to look for him to make sure he hadn’t crawled under a bed and died of some horrific post-surgical complication.

He was nowhere to be found.

Cat Daddy: “He must be there somewhere.”

Me: “Trust me, I’ve looked everywhere. There’s nowhere left to look.”

Cat Daddy: “I suppose as a last resort you could try The Front, but I know he’s not there. I saw him run back upstairs.”

I opened the front door.

There he was. And, no, we have absolutely no idea how he is doing this.

Autumn is only just getting started. And I fear that the same may be said of Catorze.

Be afraid. We certainly are.

À mi-chemin vers l’Halloween

Louis Catorze will be 11 years old on Friday. An 11th birthday doesn’t have quite the same satisfying roundness as a 10th birthday, but nevertheless it’s a big deal.

If 30th April were truly the day that he was born, Catorze would be a Taurus. I don’t believe in star signs, but I still enjoy reading about them and giggling at the disparity between what I am and what I’m supposed to be. I am a Libra, and we are said to be obsessed with physical appearance (nope), adept in social situations (hell, nope) and lovers of high art and intellectualism (I don’t think anyone has ever accused Le Blog of being either of those).

That said, Cat Daddy is a Cancer, which makes him moody and high-maintenance. Ahem.

Anyway, I have a book called “The Enchanted Cat” (https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-enchanted-cat/ellen-dugan/9780738707693) which a friend sent to me years ago. Now, please hear me out. This is what it says about the Taurus cat:

⁃ Laid-back and peaceful: nope and nope

⁃ Shy with strangers: HELL, nope

⁃ Upset by change: depends what it is, e.g. us going on holiday and leaving him with a chat-sitteur for two weeks = not a big deal and actually great fun, whereas a new food bowl = Armageddon

⁃ Loyal and generous: nope and nope

⁃ A hearty appetite: nope

⁃ Has one favoured sleeping spot: nope

However, the Gemini cat is, apparently, as follows:

⁃ Very social: check

⁃ Demands attention and loves being spoken to: check and check

⁃ Kittenish behaviour throughout their life: check

⁃ Very vocal, with quite the repertoire of sounds: HELL, check

⁃ Loves to keep its humans on their toes: no further questions, Your Honour

Assuming this to be correct, and I realise that it’s a bit of a reach, it seems far more likely that Catorze is a Gemini (21st May to 21st June).

That said, 30th April – Beltane Eve – marks the halfway point to Hallowe’en and this date is still historically associated with magic, witches and otherworldly creepiness (see link: https://halloweendailynews.com/2017/04/walpurgis-night-halfway-to-halloween/ ). A 31st October birthday would, perhaps, be more fitting for a black cat with vampire teeth, but the second creepiest date on the calendar happens to be the date given on his paperwork, so it will do nicely.

The dark gatekeeper to the Zone Libre says “Non” to whatever it is that you’re asking.

Une fête magnifique

Full Moon Hallowe’en is over. And this time is the saddest of times, because we have a whole year to wait until the next Hallowe’en and NINETEEN YEARS until the next full moon one.

But what a time was had. (And it’s just as well because, as from 5th November, the axe will be falling on the U.K. and we will be locked down for a month.)

Oscar the dog’s folks have always been astonishingly good sports when it comes to festivities, but on Saturday night they surpassed even their own high standards by coming to our barbecue dressed as Louis Catorze. Oui, Mesdames et Messieurs: all three of them, DRESSED AS CATORZE. Dog Mamma and Dog Sister even had fangs. And the Dog Family also brought a “Pin the Tail on Louis” game, which was a close competition but Cat Daddy just edged me out by a few pesky millimetres, making him the overall winner on the night:

An excellent likeness: chapeau to Dog Sister.

We really couldn’t have wished for a more perfect night: a sumptuous Hallowe’en barbecue cooked by Cat Daddy, great fun with the Dog Family’s quiz and entertainment, all within the confines of The Rules and, unbelievably, no misbehaviour from Catorze. (This was due in part, I’m sure, to the fact that we weren’t repeatedly opening our door to trick-or-treaters and therefore his opportunities to cause trouble at The Front were severely limited.) However, next Hallowe’en is also set to be a special one because it coincides with the end of British Summer Time. So we will have an extra hour of the best day in the world.

And, would you believe, Sa Maj is already fully booked for the whole of the 2021 Hallowe’en weekend, and has been for some time. It’s a sad day when your cat is more popular than you but, at the same time, we’re used to it.

The Dog Family made us this delicious chocolate torte, based on Catorze’s two favourite activities: catching rodents and bringing about the apocalypse.

On doit être un œuvre d’art

The big day is finally upon us. And I am ignoring Cat Daddy’s suggestion of giving Louis Catorze an extra pill tonight “just for a treat”.

Covid has done its utmost to destroy Hallowe’en but, here at Le Château we have A Plan. London moved into Covid Tier 2 a fortnight ago, which means no mixing indoors with other households, but outdoor meeting is still permitted (up to 6 people). So Oscar the dog’s family will be joining us outside for venison sausages cooked on the barbecue, and they plan to dress for warmth rather than for scares but will apparently be wearing, and I quote: “head outfits”. The mind boggles.

Catorze has also done his best to ruin Hallowe’en by becoming ill with his allergy (not that he notices or cares). As a result Cat Daddy and I have had the following conversations at least 463 times in the last few days:

Him: “Don’t we usually have a seasonal bouquet of flowers at Hallowe’en?”

Me: “Yes, but we can’t this year.”

Him: “Because of HIM? [Unrepeatable expletives]”

Him again: “Don’t we usually have black scented candles at Hallowe’en?”

Me: “Yes, but we can’t this year.”

Him: “Because of HIM? [Unrepeatable expletives]”

And so on …

Every year I attempt to persuade Catorze to sit for an official Hallowe’en portrait, and every year I fail because the little sod won’t comply. So, this year, because it was too important for him to stuff up, I decided to take matters into my own hands and implement foolproof emergency measures.

Behold his Official 2020 Hallowe’en Portrait (below), painted by my friend Victoria Watts, whose details are at the bottom of this post. C’est magnifique, non? The best thing is the fact that you can instantly tell that it’s Catorze; there’s no mistaking the deranged eyes, the messed-up whiskers and, of course, the fangs (which are slightly exaggerated here, just as I asked). This proves beyond any doubt that the “All black cats look the same” brigade – of whom Cat Daddy is a vociferous member – don’t know what they’re talking about.

Official.

I adore the portrait. And it’s just as well I had it done, because this was the best result of Catorze’s numerous failed photographic sittings with me:

Unofficial – and I needed the black pen markup tool to colour in his conspicuous pink arse.

On that note, happy Full Moon Hallowe’en to you all.

Please check out Victoria’s Instagram page pet_portraits_vick to see her fabulous work. Prices start at £75 for an A5-sized piece.

Le bal masqué

Cat Daddy: “What were you ordering from Amazon at 7:30 this morning?”

MERDE. I keep forgetting that the order notifications go through to his phone and not mine.

Me: “Erm …”

Him: “???”

Me: “Erm … ahem … Hallowe’en costumes for [Puppy Mamma]’s dogs.”

Him: “[Unrepeatable expletives]”

Me: “…”

Him: “Does she know that you’re buying them?”

Me: “Yes. She was going to buy some anyway.”

Him: “So why couldn’t you just let her be stupid on her own? Why did you have to be stupid as well?”

[Silence, tumbleweed, crickets]

Anyway, when he saw the photos he laughed. And, as we all know, once laughter takes place it automatically invalidates the right to criticise.

Here are the Nala the dog and Gizzy the [insert name of species] trying out their costumes. Louis Catorze, of course, is smug in the knowledge that he doesn’t need a costume because he’s scary enough as he is.

Photo created by Puppy Mamma – and she couldn’t resist including an evil-looking, fanged Catorze.

Black Cats Matter

Today is National Black Cat Day (U.K.). Of all the cat colours, black ones are the least likely to be adopted, apparently for the following reasons:

1. Black is regarded as a boring colour compared to tabbies, gingers and suchlike.

2. Black cats are apparently less photogenic than other cats.

3. People associate them with witchcraft, satanic worship and/or bad luck.

4. Black cats are psychopaths.

However, there is a small, subversive group of us that knows the truth: black cats are the coolest and the best.

Now, that’s not to say that I don’t like other-coloured cats. Of course I do. However, although they are beautiful in person/cat, I’m not so keen on seeing their images on loads of STUFF. Cute kittens on wall hangings, lampshades and/or cushions are rather too much catness, even for me, and remind me of my grandma’s house. Whereas understated touches of black cat stuff around a house, especially if the cat looks demonic and evil, make me think, “Yes, these are my people.”

Whilst some fight for society to change its views on black cats, in some ways I want them to remain our little secret. I like to think of their so-called unpopularity as the universe’s way of ensuring that they end up in the right homes. So, if you know anyone who would never consider a black cat for the reasons given above, please don’t waste time and energy trying to convert them. They are doing black cats a favour by leaving them available for those of us who truly appreciate their creepy charm. Let those people have their other colours, if that’s what they want. All the more black cats for us!

And how delightful that, during my favourite season of the year, black catness is not just acceptable but positively encouraged. Unfortunately it’s also the time of year when cats go completely apeshit, with black ones being the worst of the lot, but I guess we can’t have it all.

What do you mean, “Black cats look evil”?
No, I still don’t see it.

Le couvre-feu (Partie 4)

Mixed news from Le Château today: we were supposed/hoping to have reduced Louis Catorze’s steroids by now but we have had to increase them instead, because the inner corners of his eyes don’t seem to be healing. And applying his ointment is every bit as frightful as you would imagine.

The good news is that he appears not to give the slightest hoot that he is unwell. He’s still eating, drinking, going out and being stupid. The latest addition to our list of Things He Should Be Frightened Of But Isn’t is the shredder. On Saturday he was all ready to stick his face right into it … and, yes, it was switched on.

He is having an absolute ball doing his After-Dark Business outdoors although, worryingly, he has found a new dog to annoy, and we fear it might be Twiggy the greyhound from down the road. Reaching her house is quite a feat – over fences and across shed roofs – but Catorze is coldly determined, and Cat Daddy has watched him leap up and over with real purpose. We never used to hear Twiggy (or whoever it is) barking but now we do, and this cannot be a coincidence.

Cat Daddy gets along well with Twiggy’s daddy but luckily I don’t think he’s even told him we have a cat. And I think he’ll be keeping that to himself for the foreseeable future.

Apart from that one incident when he played us for complete fools – the full tragic tale is here: https://louiscatorze.com/2020/08/25/le-couvre-feu-partie-3/ – Catorze is continuing to make it home from The Front in time for his curfew.

We have tried testing him by giving him irregular times, e.g. “Please be back by 9:47pm.” Pas de problème.

We have also given him unclear times that we don’t even know ourselves, e.g. “Please be back by the time this TV programme finishes” (with no idea of how many minutes are left). Pas de problème.

On one occasion he came back about 25 minutes early and we thought “He’s misjudged this one by some way”. But he just sat happily on the window sill outside, with his back to us, watching the world go by. Then, a couple of minutes before his time was up, he reared up on his hind legs with his front paws on the window and started screaming to be let in.

Could all this just be by chance? Once, maybe. But we have tested the little sod at least twenty times and he is on time, every time. At worst he’s made his 10pm curfew dead on the hour with just a few seconds to spare, but he is never late.

As we roll steadily towards Hallowe’en, I suspect that his creepily precise timekeeping is a sign that The Mothership has been sharpening up her Chat Noir programming in preparation for their big day. Only twelve days to go …

A bit rough around the edges, but still living his best life.