Les services de secours

Yesterday a certain someone had to go for their booster jabs and, because Cat Daddy had the car and Uber won’t accept such short journeys, I had to carry the little sod there and back in his transportation pod.

It’s only a 5-minute walk but Louis Catorze’s screaming makes it highly stressful and embarrassing. And not only did I have to deal with that, but I also had to navigate us around an unacceptably large number of crottes de chien(s?) on the way. Dog walkers of TW8, you should be thoroughly ashamed of yourselves. Clean up your* shit, for goodness’ sake. The rest of us shouldn’t have to swerve around it as if dodging land mines.

*Yes, YOUR shit. Your dog is unable to pick it up, bag it and bin it him/herself, which makes it YOUR responsibility.

Anyway, this time we saw a lovely new vet whom we hadn’t seen before, and she said she’d never seen a cat so “vocal”. This isn’t the first time that the veterinary staff have pointed this out; in fact, I was once told that I needn’t have bothered ringing the bell when I arrived because they could hear Catorze’s screaming from every part of the building.

The vet also said she had checked through his notes before our appointment and “hadn’t expected quite so many of them”. I had almost forgotten about the bad old days when he was at the vet’s so often that I almost took him and a sleeping bag and moved in there, and that awful Christmas when we saw more of the veterinary staff than of our family and friends. So it’s très positive indeed that he hasn’t needed to go there in a while, not counting the time we thought he had a tick and/or Lyme disease when it was just a lump of crud stuck to his fur: https://louiscatorze.com/2018/06/24/le-syndrome-de-munchhausen/

Getting Catorze out of his pod was quite a challenge; he clung onto the inside for all he was worth and refused to let go, so the vet and I had to tug-of-war him out. He was relatively good during the eye and ear check, the thermometer and the weigh-in (although still screamed his lungs out) but totally lost his shit when he had his injection and hissed at both me and the vet. He couldn’t wait to get back into his pod and dived in as soon as I unzipped it.

For the first time ever, Sa Maj has broken the 3.5kg barrier and is now 3.62kg. And it seems that those extra 12g make all the difference, because I pinged my back badly carrying him home. I was worried that I would have to call Oscar the dog’s folks or even That Neighbour to come and carry the pod the rest of the way, but luckily I managed to grit my teeth, soldier on and finish the job. Our neighbours are the most wonderful and patient people and would have helped without hesitation, but I can’t think of anything more awkward than having to approach them and say, “You know that animal who torments you and ruins your peace and quiet? How do you fancy carrying him home so that he can continue doing it?”

Catorze is absolutely fine, having forgotten about his ordeal already. Mine, however, is just beginning.

Il faut cultiver notre jardin

The spring equinox is here, which means brighter days and a renewed sense of joie de vivre. And, as if to mark this theme of vitality and optimism, someone or something has puked in our vegetable patch, right on the bit where we plant our salad leaves and kale. 

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Believe me, I thought it, too, and it was also the first thing Cat Daddy said upon discovering it (right after all the swearing). But, disgusting though this is, when you have just one animal who eats pretty much just one thing, you soon get to know what their regurgitated food looks like. This was much too copious and too, erm, orange to have been produced by Louis Catorze. I know his brew like I know my own name and, trust me, this ain’t his. 

So, thoughts? The only other possible culprits are: 

  1. Foxes (highly likely) 
  2. Badgers (unlikely but not impossible)
  3. Other cats (seemingly likely but we never see any in our garden, ever, so I am a little sad at the idea that they don’t come to befriend Catorze yet they make the effort to come here to vomit)

As with most other things that go on at Le Château, I don’t suppose we will ever find out the truth. In the meantime, I shall be praying for rain to wash everything away and buying my salad leaves from the supermarket. 

This picture is of Sa Maj sunning himself and rocking out to the Rolling Stones during Boys’ Club, because, obviously, I wasn’t going to post a photo of the vomit. 

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De l’eau pour tous

After a suggestion from one of my lovely blog followers, I have been putting a bowl of hot water in each of the rooms most frequented by Sa Maj in the hope that the extra moisture in the air might help his eyes. 

When we first adopted him we were told that he only drank from glasses, and that under no circumstances would he drink from a bowl. “I’m sure he’ll use a bowl eventually, when he gets thirsty enough,” I replied cheerfully. He didn’t. So we had no option but to provide him with his own special glass. (Well, it was either that or have him randomly drink from any receptacle that he came across, which is asking for trouble.)

Naturellement, after a lifetime of refusing to drink from a bowl, the sudden presence of bowls from which we DON’T want him to drink has made him decide that he might be interested after all. And the only thing that stops him from doing it – apart from me taking my phone from my pocket to catch him in the act – is using hot water straight from the kettle which, despite being the best for adding moisture to the air, comes with its own, obvious problems. (Don’t worry: we are fully aware that Sa Maj is stupid enough to scald himself, so we ensure that we are around to keep him under Suicide Watch. Once the water has cooled and he is no longer under surveillance, no doubt he has a good old slurp and renders this experiment a complete waste of time.)

Cat Daddy has also kicked and/or threatened to kick more bowls of water than I can count. So, between the two of them, the men of the household are doing their best to make sure that this whole thing fails dismally. 

Me: “We could always buy him a plug-in air humidifier?”

Cat Daddy: “[Hysterical laughter followed by unrepeatable comments peppered with rude words.]”

Fortunately Catorze continues to remain in good spirits and is utterly unbothered by his condition. In the meantime, we shall keep topping up the boiling water in the hope that it does him good. 

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Toute maladie peut être soignée mais la sottise est incurable

Louis Catorze’s above-eye fur is thinning, and the skin around his eyes is starting to look a little thick and leathery. Given that these signs often indicate a resurgence of all his old problems, this makes me very anxious indeed. I am also somewhat baffled as he has been well for such a long time, and I cannot imagine what could have triggered this. 

We have had the central heating cranked up unusually high lately, and, historically, his issues have been worse in cold weather. But, other than that, there have been no changes whatsoever in anything we have done. He is eating exactly the same food, and everything in his environment is as it has always been.

He is perfectly fine in every other way – eating, drinking, screaming and sprinting around the house with bulging psycho eyes whilst chasing imaginary prey (or at least I hope it’s imaginary) – so I guess he can’t be THAT unwell. But, to be on the safe side, I am turning the heating down when I can, even if this means the rest of us are cold. 

Cat Daddy, shivering in two jumpers and a blanket: “[Unrepeatable mutterings.]”

Please keep your fingers crossed for him – Catorze, I mean, not Cat Daddy – and let’s all hope that it’s nothing rather than something. 

Un rare courage devant la maladie

Cat Daddy and I had a long discussion about the right time to take Louis Catorze to the vet, because investigating the sneezing would require a general anaesthetic and that is not something that we feel should ever be undertaken lightly. 

However, Catorze scared us witless when his usual breathy post-drink wheezing – a bizarre but utterly harmless quirk of his – sounded more like that awful mating fox yelp that sometimes wakes us Londoners in the night. And, when I checked his face again on Tuesday morning, I could see that his right nostril was somehow enlarged and misshapen. We know our cats’ faces like we know our own, don’t we, so we knew then that it was time. 

Cat Daddy took Sa Majesté to the vet that morning and, as luck would have it, he had a sneezing fit in front of her so she was able to see it properly. He was sedated and thoroughly examined, only to discover no blockage whatsoever. It turns out that the little sod is likely to have a viral infection, and the cure is Metacam anti-inflammatory (which, apparently, tastes like chicken) along with … a series of steam sessions to help clear his nasal passages. I’m not joking. “Just turn on the hot taps in the bathroom and shut the door,” is what we were told.

Cat Daddy afterwards: “So it’s cost us £300 to send him on a jolly day out and to find out that he basically has a cold? And now we’ve got to give him tasty meds and a luxury spa treatment? Who does he think he is: royalty?”

Mais bien sûr.

And, to add insult to injury yet again, not only was the little sod super-affectionate and flirtatious with the veterinary staff all day long, but he also stopped sneezing. Since his procedure there hasn’t been so much as a sniff, neither at the veterinary surgery nor here at home. So we have been left feeling hugely relieved but also quite annoyed, and Le Royal Sick Fund is sitting in a corner, crying, after the battering it has received. And Cat Daddy and I may well go and join in.

Here is Le Roi just after he returned home, displaying his macho shaven arm like a tattoo sleeve. Quel. Fichu. Salaud. 

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En (presque) parfaite santé

imageIt’s been a month and 2 days since Louis Catorze’s last steroid shot. Each shot is designed to last 3-4 weeks, but I have good news: it looks as if we may be able to stretch this one out for a little longer. His eye puffiness is minimal, he has barely any scabbiness on his chin and, best of all, the Greta Garbo mood doesn’t seem to have taken hold this time. Le Roi is still happy, dynamic, bothering the local urban wildlife and scenting the air with sweet, tangy lime wherever he goes.

So we have a few days’ reprieve until the next trip to the vet, and Louis Catorze will be spending this time mostly sleeping, chirping and meeting new pilgrims. He is very much looking forward to seeing tomorrow’s guests, who read about him online and thought, “An unphotogenic, itchy, stupid cat who does nothing? Yup, sounds worth a visit.”

Je suis en bonne santé!

Louis Catorze has been high on the attention from his visitors since the weekend, racing about, constantly demanding attention and generally being a pain in the arse. However, yesterday he was brought rapidly back down to earth with a trip to the vet, for the vaccinations that he was unable to have the last time.

I wasn’t able to take him so he went with Cat Daddy instead. After the previous shockers that we’ve had, I had expected something like the apocalypse, only worse … but I’m happy to report that all went well. Apart from a minor waiting room débâcle in which he roused his other feline comrades into some sort of mass sing-song/protest session, the whole experience was without incident.

The vaccinations took place smoothly, his temperature and weight were fine (he’s put on another 150g and now tips the scales at a portly 3.6kg), and overall the vet was delighted at his improvement. In fact, she told Cat Daddy, “Is this really Louis? As in, skin problem Louis? I can’t believe how much better he looks!” Better yet, there was no Post-Vet Sulk upon getting home; in fact, he was all over Cat Daddy, who was working from home yesterday, and annoyed the crap out of him all afternoon. Here he is having a rest from it all:

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How lovely to have some good news for a change. We couldn’t be more thrilled.