Le chat parmi les pigeons

As you are already aware, Louis Catorze’s timing is utter merde and we are convinced that he does it on purpose. If we’re home all day with nothing to do, he behaves perfectly normally (well, “normally” by his standards, anyway) but, if we have important, inflexible plans or are in a rush, that’s when he will play up. And Saturday was no exception. 

Cat Uncle was holding a barbecue at his place in south-west London to celebrate England making it to the quarter finals of the World Cup (which, let’s face it, is no regular occurrence). A few minutes before we were due to leave, Sa Majesté decided that that would be a good moment to foam at the mouth and pitter-patter about Le Château, dripping gross, stringy foam as he went. Oh. Saint. Jésus. 

Our options were: crossing our fingers and hoping he would be ok by the time we returned, or taking him to the vet, feeling stupid (again) when they told us that nothing was wrong with him and then being late for the barbecue. Given that the rest of him appeared to be fine (no lethargy, no temperature, no crack addict eyes, no other concerning symptoms), we opted for the former, and I ignored Cat Daddy’s helpful remarks of “Foaming at the mouth? That’s rabies, isn’t it?”

We had a lovely time at the barbecue but started to feel guilty and scared as we made our way home, in case it were something more serious or in case Catorze had morphed into a rabid French werewolf in London during our absence. As I opened the front door I almost didn’t want to see what was behind it … but we were greeted by a perfectly normal and foam-free Roi, pitter-pattering towards us, tail aloft and screaming himself witless. We were relieved beyond words, but will be keeping a close eye on him in case of future foam incidents. 

In other news: it seems that, despite Les Bleus playing in blanc and confusing Louis Catorze somewhat, he won the battle of the Louis/Luis and France have made it through to the demi-finale! And, on this occasion,  la France will be playing la Belgique, so l’Assiette de Prophétie bore a picture of famous Belgian Hercule Poirot and a mini serving of the classic moules-frites. (Yes, I did go to the fish counter and ask for just one mussel. Although I didn’t make just one chip, because that would have been silly.)

  1. There was a LOT of screaming
  2. Louis Catorze ate the jambon de Bayonne 
  3. There was more screaming, then a refusal of the moules-frites

Let’s hope that Les Bleus make it and don’t have to suffer the indignity of playing the third place play-off on 14 juillet. Because, as Hercule Poirot says, “If you’ve lost, you’ve lost.”

Tous ceux qui montrent leurs dents

So Louis Catorze and his Assiette de Prophétie didn’t get the last prediction right. And, somehow, according to Cat Daddy, this is my fault. “It’s because you didn’t give him proper Argentinian beef. I TOLD you to give him proper Argentinian beef.” 

[This is wholly and categorically untrue; he told me nothing of the sort. And, in the unlikely event of me finding any proper Argentinian beef, he would have been the first to complain about it being too good for Catorze.]

Not only did Sa Majesté’s psychic powers desert him during the last match but he, too, deserted us; instead of watching the match with us and mingling with our (predominantly male) guests, he decided to go to … a school fête. On his own. I’m not joking. 

Le Château sits right behind a school and, on Saturday, they held a summer event with loud music, crowds, kids … in short, all the things that cats are supposed to hate. Naturellement, Louis Catorze decided to shimmy under the fence and go there instead of cheering on Les Bleus with us. 

I called out to him at various intervals during the day and, although he didn’t return, he occasionally meowed back to let me know that he was ok. I don’t know how he spent his time but I have been picturing him pitter-pattering between stalls, shedding cat hair on the home-made cupcakes and being stroked by the school kids and their parents, smug in the knowledge that he managed to sneak in without buying a ticket.

Anyway, today is la France’s quarter-final match against l’Uruguay, and, since authentic Uruguayan choripán chorizo is rarer than diamond-studded unicorn horns here in the U.K., I had to settle for Morrisons chorizo. And, because he has the same name as the little sod – and also because we couldn’t think of any other Uruguayans – Luis Suarez represented his country. 

As you can see, we changed the French part to enable us to show two Louis/Luis, both alike in dignity (which, frankly, doesn’t say much), each symbolised by a sun and each famed for his headline-grabbing, extraordinary teeth. 

  1. Sa Majesté sniffed the jambon de Bayonne, made a weird kind of “Ow-owww!” noise and pitter-pattered outside, screaming
  2. He continued to scream outside and the noise riled Oscar the dog, who started barking 
  3. Sa Majesté came back later and happily ate the jambon de Bayonne when I fed it to him by hand (but refused the chorizo)

So … does this indicate a ferociously-fought competition throughout with a last-minute winner from an easy assist by les Bleus?

Cat Daddy, rolling his eyes: “No, it doesn’t. And, besides, they both play in blue, so “Les Bleus” is meaningless here.”

La patte de Dieu

Oh, Louis Catorze: how DO you do it? 

La France have played all 3 group matches, and the little sod seems to have been startlingly accurate with his predictions. In case you missed the excitement, here is a brief summary (you’re welcome): 

Match 1 (la France et l’Australie): Sa Majesté refused both pieces of food. Outcome: La France beat l’Australie (but the VAR revealed that one of the French goals should not have been a goal, so technically the referee was wrong but Catorze was right).

Match 2 (la France et le Pérou): Sa Majesté ate the French food. Outcome: La France beat le Pérou. 

Match 3 (la France et le Danemark): Sa Majesté refused both foods, screamed, then ran to hide. Outcome: A dull, goalless draw in which both teams were booed and jeered for their strategic time wasting; clearly Catorze had picked up on the poor, ungentlemanly play and decided that such mediocrity was not fitting for a Sun King. 

Cat Daddy: “This is absolute effing nonsense. People must be getting bored of it. I certainly am.”

So that I can embarrass Cat Daddy even further, we are having a football barbecue later today, with Louis Catorze as the star attraction. This means MORE BOYS COMING TO LE CHATEAU, so, bien sûr, Sa Majesté will be in his element. 

We couldn’t* get hold of any proper grass-fed Argentinian beef, so we had to make do with a sliver of supermarket fillet steak on l’Assiette de Prophétie. And the Argentinian representative was the only living soul who has had more drugs in him than Louis Catorze: Diego Maradona, pictured below with the same look that Catorze has after a steroid shot:

*I wasn’t allowed to

C99D0167-7110-4B70-85DA-BCBCD948988C

This is what happened: 

  1. Sa Majesté licked the beef, then pitter-pattered away with his tail up 
  2. Cat Daddy: “When the octopus did his predictions, just one touch determined the winner. Maybe this means Argentina will win on penalties?”
  3. Cat Daddy again: “Oh my God, I can’t believe I just said that. Don’t put that in your blog!”

Let’s hope that God will be regretting THAT helping hand in 1986, and that he will swing the result Francewards to redress the balance. Allez les Bleus! 

La mort rampante

It’s a football day again! Well, most days are football days at the moment, but we are perfectly happy with that. And Louis Catorze is riding high on the success of his last prediction. The only thing is, having told my friends that he was rubbish and that they should put money on the opposite of whatever he did, a couple of them followed that advice and now aren’t too happy. Oh dear.

Anyway, today’s opponents: le Danemark. Today’s food: Danish bacon (and there was a LONG discussion about whether or not the sample should be cooked or raw, but I ended up keeping it raw to maintain consistency and keep it a fair contest). And today’s Danish representative: Lars Ulrich of Metallica, who is quite an apt choice as Louis Catorze happily spends many late night Boys’ Club hours listening to rock music with his daddy. 

Catorze was brushed to smarten him up for the prediction, and this was the outcome of his most recent Assiette de Prophétie: 

  1. Sa Majesté sniffed first the bacon, then the jambon de Bayonne, then screamed as if alarmed and ran away
  2. I went after him to try one more time, he continued to run, screaming, then he hid in the tiny gap between the shed and the Forbidden Greenhouse, which is impenetrable to humans
  3. I gave up 

Me: “What does this mean?”

Cat Daddy: “It means he doesn’t like raw bacon. Or maybe it means the apocalypse.”

We repeated the experiment again with cooked bacon, just in case a few minutes under the grill was all that stood between us and doomsday. Le Roi sniffed both meats and pitter-pattered off, screaming. 

Conclusion: inconclusive. The end of the world? France and Denmark to draw? A protest against the Putin regime? Any ideas, Mesdames et Messieurs? 

La ténacité permet d’atteindre l’excellence

440B3B37-794C-4DB4-8D4B-ED9969DE48FA

This darned cat is going to be the death of me. Every morning and evening I am forced to crush up Lily’s Kitchen biscuits in my expensive John Lewis stone pestle and mortar and scatter the resulting gravelly, powdery mess over his Acana Pacifica. If I put them in whole, he cherry-picks only them and leaves the rest.

I should have waited a little longer before starting Phase Une. But the chances of Louis Catorze liking the new food better than his old one – given that he doesn’t really like any food at all, apart from the odd sliver of jambon de Bayonne or organic mountain Comté – were very slim indeed, so the odds really should have been in my favour. But the little sod went out of his way to make sure they weren’t. 

The time spent crushing is also starting to get to me. On Thursday morning, had I not stopped to do it, I would have caught the bus normally. Instead, I had to sprint undignifiedly for it like an idiot, coated in a fine dust of Lily’s Kitchen Fabulous Fish and probably smelling of it, too, falling over my own feet as I got on. This can never, ever happen again.

Cat Daddy: “For crying out loud. Just give him the new food! It’s not as if he’s coming off heroin.” 

No: food waste is food waste, whether it’s human food or cat food. Last week I even walked home from the pub with a little copper pot of coleslaw, because I was too full to eat it but didn’t want it thrown away. Cat Daddy ridiculed me beyond belief … then wanted to share some of the coleslaw for lunch the next day. (I agreed but charged him the pub price.)

I really, really want Le Roi to like the new food without wasting the old one. So I don’t suppose there’s much I can do, except quite literally keep my nose to the grindstone.

Si on donne du jambon à un roi, il mangera toujours

I had only made one New Year resolution this year, which was to try a wider variety of vodkas instead of just having Absolut Vanilla all the time. But I have now made a second resolution, which is never to get a leg of jamón serrano again.

If you have a dog, or a normal cat, the clearing up from a leg of jamón pretty much does itself. But, if you have a tiny cat who doesn’t really like food, you’re stuck with a ton of meat and a greasy, hammy film all over your house for days afterwards. Louis Catorze is partial to cured ham, but he couldn’t possibly eat it as fast as we could slice it. Come to think of it, neither could we. Hoping for zero remnants from a piece of meat several times the size of our pet was, perhaps, a little optimistic.

So, having gifted some of our neighbours with several months’ supply of jamón each, we were still left with the huge hoofy bone and the gross fatty bits. Quoi faire avec? There is no real way of getting rid of such a thing in the garden without attracting rats, and it wouldn’t fit into the tiny food waste bin supplied by Hounslow Council.

Eventually Cat Daddy took it to work and left it in the area of overgrown scrubland behind his office, which is inhabited by all manner of beasties. The wildlife of TW8 would have had a fine old feast that night. But, unfortunately, this has done nothing to stop Le Château from smelling all hammy.

Cat Daddy, after opening the dining room door and being hit with the smell of jamón once more: “Never again. Next time we’re giving everyone sliced ham from a packet. If we give them enough champagne beforehand they won’t know, and the ones that know won’t care.”

Once again, les invités, you’re welcome.

“Or maybe,” Cat Daddy continued, “we’ll just get a normal cat who actually eats food. New Year, new cat.”

Luckily he said this in English, so Louis Catorze didn’t understand him. Here he is, assuming the “Je ne comprends pas” position.

1C34E9A2-C294-47E5-99D8-ECA95CA9D256

Le soir des rois, ou Ce que vous voudrez

Someone once told me, “Never eat anything bigger than your head” and, given that I have a head so fat that I can’t wear paper party hats without splitting them, I have been able to abide by this for most of my life without feeling that I am missing out.

Imagine, then, eating something bigger than your entire body. Considerably bigger, in fact. Louis Catorze had the opportunity to do exactly this when Cat Daddy bought a whole leg of jamón serrano for a ham and cheese night with friends. As you know, Catorze doesn’t really like food, but he won’t say non to some cured ham and, if it’s several times his own bodyweight, tant mieux.

Oui, Mesdames et Messieurs: nothing says “good hosting” quite like serving guests the same food that you gave to your cat to make him take his meds.

Cat Daddy: “It isn’t the same food that we gave to our cat to make him take his meds. We gave him the much higher-quality jambon de Bayonne.”

You’re welcome, les invités.

Anyway, unlike most cats, who hide from party guests or have to be shut away to minimise their own stress levels, Louis Catorze attended our gathering, even though he wasn’t invited. And, bien sûr, he conspicuously chose the boys’ corner of the room and mingled like a true socialite. It was like watching Hugh Hefner in the Playboy Mansion: spoilt for choice and not knowing what to do with himself.

And, yes, the little sod did get a few slivers of jamón, too.

Bonne année à tous!

Une image vaut mieux que mille mots

If you have a black cat, creating their official Halloween portrait is easy: you just place a pumpkin next to them, take a photo and that’s it, non?

Not so with Louis Catorze. Firstly, he’s not the most photogenic of cats. And, secondly, he doesn’t do as he’s told. The über-cool factor of a black vampire kitty with protruding fangs is utterly lost if we cannot capture this on camera for Halloween. And, alas, it seems that we cannot.

“Oh well,” said my sister, who visited this weekend for our annual Halloweekend tradition. “Maybe you can post those hilarious outtake photos instead?” Erm, those aren’t hilarious outtakes. Those are my best shots to date:

Friends have suggested the following strategies:

1. Place strips of jambon de Bayonne on the pumpkin to get Catorze to linger for longer.
2. Download a photo of a nicely-posed internet cat, paint the fangs on and pass him off as Sa Majesté.
3. Place the pumpkin on the floor and tell him that under no circumstances is he to go near it.

With 31st October gaining on us more quickly than I can say, “Dis ouistiti!” and still no official Halloween portrait in sight, I am starting to feel the pressure …

L’état d’urgence

We have a Code Noir at Le Château: Louis Catorze has started refusing his ham-wrapped Trojan Horse pills. Either he has cottoned onto our trick or he is bored of cured ham and, either way, we are well and truly dans la merde because it means that every single dose is now a Greco-Roman one.

Whilst our Greco-Roman technique is improving greatly with all the practice we’re having, it’s still not very nice to have to do it. And, upsettingly, we can see the effect that the increased Greco-Romans are having on Catorze’s demeanour: he is skittish and nervous around us, and yesterday he didn’t even come and greet us when we came home from work, which he usually does without fail. He has also taken to hiding when we get up in the morning and missing that first dose of the day. This means that we sometimes have to give him TWO doses after work – one when we get home and one before bed – and that makes us all even more anxious and stressed.

Well-meaning fellow cat freaks often ask us, “Have you tried hiding the pills in tuna / anchovies / chicken / prawns / cheese / Dreamies / Pill Pockets / [insert name of other irresistible, pill-disguising treat]?” YES, to all of the above. Unfortunately, we are dealing with a cat who doesn’t like food and therefore cannot be incentivised by it; if we never fed him again, EVER, he wouldn’t really care.

I really, really hope he gets past this, otherwise we will have to deploy the big guns: the £21-per-100g Brindisa jamón ibérico de bellota. Qu’est-ce qu’on va devenir? Or, should I say: ¿Qué va y ser de nos?

IMG_8722

Je pue, donc je suis

IMG_8739Louis Catorze, who used to smell of fresh, zingy lime with a hint of blossom, now smells like a dead sheep that’s been left out in the rain.

I think I preferred him before.

Even Cat Daddy commented, “He’s been smelling really catty lately. Had you noticed?” Yes. It’s pretty hard not to.

It’s not a hygiene problem; Louis Catorze has always been scrupulously clean and, even during his maximum security Côning period, we were usually able to release him for long enough to groom himself properly. It seems to be more of a physiological issue, with the horrible smell emanating from his pores rather than being trapped on the surface of his fur. The only new things that we’ve introduced into his routine in the last few months are, erm, the salty cured meat and the copious amounts of prescription drugs. So it’s probably both of those things.

Whilst perfumed products for cats are generally a no-no, for those suffering from feline hyperesthesia it’s even more important that their environment is kept toxin-free, so there’s no hope of dousing him in something fragrant to get rid of the smell. And, of course, we can’t stop the pills, nor can we stop the red meat as it’s our only hope of him taking the pills, so it looks as if we’re stuck with the stench.

Cat Daddy’s final word on the matter: “He doesn’t know from one day to the next whether he’s going to get prosciutto di Parma, jambon de Bayonne or jamón Serrano. Maybe his digestive system is confused and just doesn’t know what to do with itself anymore.”

The struggle is real, Mesdames et Messieurs.