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.

Le plus petit félin est un chef d’œuvre

Although mythical monsters aren’t really a Hallowe’en phenomenon, watching shows about them always helps me to get into the Hallowe’en mood (not that I usually require any help in this area). The episode that Louis Catorze and I watched the other day was about a kind of part-buffalo, part-dinosaur creature called a hodag, said to haunt the town of Rhinelander, Wisconsin, and one man claimed to have had evidence of this beast recorded on his phone (quoted word for word):

“However, my cats decided to use my phone as a kick-ball and they shattered it beyond belief, but I did see it [the beast]. It is real. And I’d only had one cocktail.”

Now, under most circumstances I would be cynical of anyone who had “lost” important evidence that could have potentially changed the world. However, I want to give this almost-sober gentleman the benefit of the doubt because I know better than anyone what utter bastards cats can be, and ruining science forever is exactly the sort of thing they would do. I am sure that there are plenty of cancer cures, immortality elixirs and time travel tinctures that naughty cats have knocked off laboratory worktops and lost.

No doubt there is a good reason why Sa Maj ended up being our cat. Granted, things are bad now, but I dread to think what state the world would be in had he been, say, Leonardo da Vinci’s cat, or Marie Curie’s cat.

Here is the little sod doing his best impression of innocent and kittenish, but you can’t escape the evil in his eyes. Ask not whether he be ready for Hallowe’en; ask whether Hallowe’en be ready for him.

“La potion magique for world peace? Oui: I ate it and puked it up.”

Le décor de la saison

Now that October is well under way, I can officially start filling Le Château with Hallowe’en paraphernalia without looking like a complete freak.

Cat Daddy: “[Unrepeatable expletives]”

I have just discovered a website of fabulous seasonal decorations, and I am having to sit on my hands to stop myself from ordering because I can see it escalating dangerously. The merchandise itself is quite pricey, and the fact that it’s an American site means that the postage will also be ruinously expensive, so, rather like smoking or doing drugs, it’s probably better not to start at all than to start and then try – and fail – to moderate.

If you like Hallowe’en decorations and you have more self-restraint than I do, have a look here: https://www.grandinroad.com/halloween-haven/#1

My friend Lizzi has been shopping a little closer to home – TK Maxx, to be precise – and here is one of her purchases from earlier this year, in preparation for the spooky season:

Reminds me of someone …

I know. I didn’t know what to say, either.

Whoever designed this object has clearly either met Louis Catorze or been astral-visited by him during a nightmare, because this is exactly what he looks like when he screams. I guess at least Lizzi won’t require any kind of protective amulet to ward off demons on full moon Hallowe’en night. Because not even Satan himself would set hoof on a property containing this monstrosity.

Lizzi’s cat Boots also doesn’t know quite what to make of his mamma’s purchase. Just look at his “… the hell is THIS?” expression:

“Put down the debit card and step away from the shop.”

What do your cats think of your seasonal decorations? I know that the answer is likely to be either “Couldn’t give a hoot” or “Ripped them to shreds” but I’d love to hear anyway.

Vents, soufflez à crever vos joues!

Anyone who thought Louis Catorze was a complete maniac anyway should see what he’s like when there are high winds. And when I say “should”, what I mean is “really shouldn’t”.

He can be an absolute hell-beast on a windy night, bouncing all over the bed, screaming, whining and thundering around the house. However, on Thursday night, when it also happened to be the first full moon of October AND a raging storm, he decided to thunder around the house WITHOUT A SINGLE UTTERANCE.

Now, this may seem preferable to the screaming, but at least with the screaming I know that it’s him. Voiceless stomping can sound just like a burglar, a poltergeist or some other horror that my mind decides to visualise during fitful half-sleep, and it’s quite an alarming sound to hear over and over again.

I lost count of the number of times the little sod woke me up that night but I estimate it to be around ten to twelve. And, when my alarm went off in the morning, I discovered that he had rolled his wet body all over the clean clothes that I had put out for work. To add insult to injury (and we’re talking considerable injury here, as I regard a sleepless night as akin to being stabbed in the guts), when I came down for my morning cup of tea he crawled into his El Día de los Muertos cold-weather igloo and went to sleep.

Cat Daddy: “He probably brought in a mouse.”

Me: “He didn’t.”

Him: “Maybe we just haven’t found it yet.”

[Silence, tumbleweed, crickets]

Here is Le Roi, most likely telling me that he’s just getting started:

“Shhhhhh. Just sleep. Sweet dreams, salope.”

La lune du chasseur

There’s a full moon tonight. And, mon Dieu, do we know it: Louis Catorze’s screaming has been building up for days and has now reached what we really, really hope is its peak. Although, knowing him, now that I’ve said that, he will probably dig deep and find more from somewhere.

During the day Sa Maj screams for any number of the following reasons:

⁃ Wanting to be let in from The Front (after Cat Daddy kicks him out for a few minutes’ respite)

⁃ Excitement at having Cat Daddy all to himself

⁃ Excitement when visitors come (especially men), leading Cat Daddy to recite his usual spiel of “No, he’s not distressed, that’s just his normal voice …”

⁃ Disapproval of the cleaning lady’s methods

⁃ Disapproval if it’s been more than 0.3 seconds since Cat Daddy last stroked him

⁃ Liking the sound of his own voice

⁃ Just for fun

⁃ Whatever

It would be reasonable to assume that his day-long screamathons wear him out, allowing us a more restful evening and night. Nope: the little sod follows Cat Daddy around, screaming, right through to late afternoon/early evening when I come from work. He then goes out for Night Patrol at both The Back and at The Front – with creepily accurate timekeeping still in operation, bien sûr – and wakes us up at least twice during the night with more screaming/whining/bouncing around.

Cat Daddy: “This is what it’s like ALL BLOODY DAY when you’re at work. It’s starting to feel like bullying.”

As I have said many times before, at his age he should be slowing down. But he isn’t. We have no idea from where he is getting this energy, but my guess is that he’s drawing from either the moon, The Mothership* (although some have theorised that the moon and The Mothership are one and the same thing), or – most likely of all – Lucifer himself.

We cannot cope. Please send help.

*The Mothership is the invisible alien vessel that controls all cats by beaming instructions to them via their chips. We cannot see her, but we know she is there.

Message received and understood: when you give le signal, we will attack.”

Attention à la pleine lune

It’s a full moon today.

The next one will be on 2nd September, and the following month we will have not one but TWO full moons, with the first taking place on 1st October and the second on the 31st.

A full moon on Hallowe’en is a rare thing, only occurring once every 19 years or so. There have been a couple of Hallowe’en full moons in my lifetime but, regretfully, I was unaware of them at the time. So, in many ways, this will be the first one for me, and I intend to make the most of it as if it were the only one.

Long before Covid 19, Cat Daddy and I had talked about going away to celebrate, for instance to Mexico for El Día de los Muertos. But, with travel being unpredictable and likely to remain as such for some time, we will be at home this Hallowe’en. And, in many ways, this is the best thing, because how could we not celebrate a full moon Hallowe’en with a black vampire cat?

(Also: had we gone away, our poor, unsuspecting chat-sitteur(s) would have been stuck with Louis Catorze and his stupid shite, and that wouldn’t have been very fair.)

The downside, of course, is Catorze’s psycho behaviour. He is pretty unhinged at the best of times, but he is noticeably worse during the run-up to Hallowe’en and during full moons. So, with both events combining, we are going to need to stockpile our arsenal of defensive weapons: crucifixes, Valium, aluminium foil to cover the windows, the works.

Here is Catorze in a pose which, although terrifying, is a relief to have caught on camera, as people will finally start to believe me when I say how creepy he is. Even though the little sod was all the way outside, his stare was so intense and unnerving that Cat Daddy actually FELT it and called me to come and look.

And I think this is Catorze’s way of saying, “Bring it on.”

He’s he-errre!

Le nombre de la bête

A few weeks ago I posted this photo and comment (below) on social media, in response to a video of a dog rescuing someone from the water. As you can see, there are a lot of people out there who, like me, know that cats are psychopaths who would happily drown us all if they could. And black ones are the worst of the lot.

I couldn’t be more thrilled that, just in time for Hallowe’en, the number of Likes on my comment has reached 666.

Joyeuse Halloween à tous. And, if you have a black cat and also enjoy swimming, don’t take any chances at the time of year when the little sods are at their most powerful.

La menace fantôme

With Hallowe’en just around the corner, Louis Catorze has ramped up the creepy to Expert Level.

He has started opening doors and shutters, and he is remarkably good at it. However, when we wake up to find the wardrobe doors open it can feel very unnerving. Think Sixth-Sense-meets-Poltergeist and you will understand what I mean.

Naturellement, he hasn’t worked out how to shut doors after himself – unless it is to shut himself in a room, and then he decides he can’t be bothered to let himself out and screams for us to do it.

When my sister and her family came to visit, Cat Daddy and I assumed that, if anyone made trouble, it would be the kids. Not so. Catorze prowled around the house all night, opening bedroom doors repeatedly and scaring my sister by projecting strange shadow shapes on the baby monitor. (The moving vertical candy cane shape really foxed her until she finally realised that it was his up-tail with the silly kink at the end.) Once dawn had broken he was clearly bored of scaring everyone quietly, and that was when he came crashing into our room, screaming.

At breakfast that morning we discovered that everyone had a complaint about him, except for my eldest niece (aged 3) who said, “Louis came to look after me in the night! I love him!”

Cat Daddy: “I guess someone has to.”

My sister just about managed to catch him in action in the picture below. As if a black cat with vampire teeth weren’t already sinister enough:

Le pouvoir du vampire

This week I asked some of my students whether they liked dogs or cats. They said cats. This is the correct answer.

The conversation then led to our own cats, past and present, including, of course, Louis Catorze, and at the end of the lesson I showed them a photo of him. They were utterly spellbound and speechless at the sight of his magnificent vampire fangs.

“Miss, he’s REALLY beautiful!” they exclaimed. “Can we see more pictures? Can we just look at cat pictures next lesson instead of doing work?” They will never know how much I wanted to say yes to this. French pluperfect tense grammar rules or cat photos? It’s a no-brainier, oui?

Anyway, the students now appear to be under the impression that people would pay a fortune for a black vampire cat, and they are devising a Dragons’ Den-worthy scheme to get rich by breeding Le Roi and having his hypothetical Reine birth lots of fanged babies. Cat Daddy spat his tea all over his newspaper when I told him this, and said, “Bad, bad idea. One: he has freakish physical and mental abnormalities that are best not passed on. Two: females aren’t his thing. Three: he has no balls and can’t reproduce anyway.”

Good points, well made. But, as the little sod’s big day approaches, I’m with my students on this one. I think that we have been blessed with a very special gift indeed, because who DOESN’T want a vampire cat at Hallowe’en? And it is my civic duty to share this gift with the world.

Cat Daddy again: “No. It’s really not.”