La canicule

When it’s this darned hot in the UK, two types of people emerge:

1. Those who stock up on Ambre Solaire and head straight for the beach, even if it’s a 14-hour drive and they have no air conditioning in their cars

2. Me

It’s horrendous. Just foul beyond belief. Last night was so grim that I came downstairs at 3am to sleep in the kitchen, and Louis Catorze, confused by the change and/or wondering whether I had gone there to die, kept me awake for hours by clambering all over me, screaming. The only saving grace is that I don’t have to go to work in this heat. Except for, erm, today, because it’s exam results day. And, given that assessment and moderation have been completely thrown into disarray by Covid 19, today is going to be more of a cirque de merde than we ever thought possible.

People who live in places hotter than the UK: “You should try living HERE!” No, I really shouldn’t. That’s why I chose here and not there. But thank you. Your comments have been duly noted.

Cats in heatwaves are another matter entirely, and they seem to manage much better than humans. Catorze has been spending his days playing energetically with his catnip toys and sunbathing outside, popping occasionally into his shady spot in the ferns to take a break. Sometimes he joins Cat Daddy at the end of the garden, lying at his feet like a guard dog and scowling at me – an audible scowl, would you believe – should I have the temerity to approach them.

Whilst Cat Daddy and I slow-cook in bed at night, Catorze is either enjoying nocturnal adventures, going exploring as far as Twiggy the greyhound’s house, or napping in his new favourite place: on our laundry basket. I imagine that it has the double benefit of air circulating underneath AND a textured surface on which to squirm and roll. A cooling, massaging/exfoliating spa treatment, if you will.

So it’s all right for him.

But, as any cat owner will understand, it’s all about them. It’s only ever about them.

Here he is on the laundry basket, looking as cute and kittenish as can be. But we know the truth:

“Très confortable, merci for asking.

Sous la chaleur du soleil

It is unbelievably, painfully, brain-vaporisingly hot. And Louis Catorze wants lap cuddles.

But, when he settles on me, it makes him/us even hotter. So he meows disdainfully as if it were all my fault and steps off.

But then he wants lap cuddles again. So he steps onto me and settles down once more. As before, this makes him/us too hot, so he meows disdainfully as if it were all my fault and steps off again.

The little sod has invented possibly the most annoying perpetual motion machine on earth: himself. And it will keep motoring along until one or other of us snaps and loses our shit.

My money is on me being first.

🎵 The heat is on. On my lap … 🎶

La chaleur omniprésente

Boris Johnson is Prime Minister (and yes, non-Brits, he IS an actual person and not some Sacha Baron Cohen-type actor pretending). It’s already too bloody hot and it’s due to hit 38 degrees later. And I am still recovering from my surgery, with my stitches – which Louis Catorze has only kicked once, thankfully – pinching and pulling at my skin especially badly in this heat. So I really don’t have the time, the will or the energy to be dealing with little sods escaping out at The Front and having to find inventive ways of herding them back in again. Yet that is exactly what I’ve been having to do, because the soaring temperatures appear to have triggered Catorze’s “Must Kill Self” switch.

Fortunately I think the heat is sapping him of any mischief-making ability and just making him fall asleep out there, so he’s unlikely to go annoying any neighbours or pitter-pattering into oncoming traffic (we hope). But it’s 793 times hotter outside at The south-facing Front than it is inside. Plus there is no water out there (and, if I take fresh water to him, he won’t drink it). And, worse yet, his go-to shelter from the sun appears to be Oscar the dog’s front garden – too deep into the bushes for me to reach in and pull him out – and we all know that that isn’t going to end well when Oscar finds out.

(Dog Mamma discovered Sa Maj yesterday when she was taking out the recycling, gave him some cuddles and very kindly messaged me to ask if he was ok in the heat, commenting on his sickly-sounding meow. I shamefacedly had to tell her that that was his normal voice.)

Most animals can be trusted in extreme weather conditions to rely on their natural instincts and know what’s best for them. It’s a bit more difficult when your pet appears to be from another planet and goes out of his way to CHOOSE the worst possible course of action.

Below is a picture of the extra water that I left for him in the bedroom during the night, so that he wouldn’t have to go downstairs to drink. (Newcomers to Le Blog: yes, he has always drunk from a glass and would rather go on Thirst Strike than use a bowl.) He did not touch a single drop.

Cat Daddy: “Well, he didn’t ask for it, did he?”

Le silence des méchants

Louis Catorze scared the merde out of me the other day when I came home from the shops and he didn’t come running to greet me, as he usually does. I went out into the garden and called his name (just “Louis!”, as opposed to his full royal title of “Sa Majesté Louis Catorze, Le Roi Soleil!”) but there was no sign of him. I found him slumped in the flowerbed and, when I prodded him a little, he lifted his head, let out a weak meow and then flopped down again. 

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I texted Cat Daddy and asked if Boys’ Club had overrun the previous night and whether Catorze might just be over-tired. (His body clock is very much determined by what we do: whether we go to bed early or stay up late, he does the same.) Cat Daddy replied that they hadn’t been especially late and suggested that the lifelessness may be down to the heat. I started to panic; if dogs can die in hot cars after just a few minutes, it seemed quite within the realms of possibility that stupid black animals covered in fur could overheat if they lay all afternoon in a garden hotter than the surface of the sun.

Cat Daddy arrived home very shortly after our text exchange … and, as if by magic, the little sod sprang into life just before we heard the key (his creepy kitty sixth sense obviously still bring fully functional) and pitter-pattered to the front door, up-tailed and screaming. Cat Daddy accused me of imagining/exaggerating the whole lethargy episode and shushed at all my protests of, “But this isn’t how he was when I got home”. He then spent the rest of the evening cuddling a bouncy, chatty Catorze whilst I seethed in the corner. 

So Sa Majesté was neither tired nor dead nor suffering from heatstroke, but just being a lazy and mannerless shite. I don’t know why I am even the slightest bit surprised. 

Cat Daddy: “Look on the bright side: at least you found out for yourself. Imagine if the vet had had to tell you that your cat is perfectly well but just can’t be arsed with you.”

*It is unlikely that your pet is as rude as Catorze so, if he or she is limp and unresponsive in the heat, please seek medical help.

L’effet de serre

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During the 30+ degree heat of last week, when most of us were desperately seeking shade, the Sun King, apparently, wasn’t warm enough, and spent much of his time in the greenhouse.

A word of warning if, like us, you happen to have both a greenhouse and an incredibly stupid cat: please be careful. Le fichu con was trapped there for about 3-4 hours one evening – thankfully after the worst of the heat had passed – and, because he is highly adept at slipping unnoticed from one place to another, we are prepared to bet a Roi’s ransom that it will happen again if we don’t watch out.

Catorze had just had a visitor and had been cuddled and spoilt beyond measure, so it would have been easy to assume that he were sleeping off the evening’s excitement somewhere. But it was unusual for him not to join us for Movie Night, so eventually we decided to go out and look for him. After being alerted by the pathetic wailing coming from the greenhouse, we were able to release him – and, fortunately, he was perfectly fine and unharmed, just mildly outraged at the inconvenience of it all. A few cuddles later and he had completely forgotten about his ordeal.

Even if your cat wouldn’t be that stupid/nosey, be prepared for the fact that other neighbourhood cats might. Cats sneak into sheds and outhouses all the time and are usually fine, even after days of entrapment, but greenhouses are like ovens in this weather so the consequences could be disastrous. And, although it may seem illogical for any creature to actively seek shelter in a greenhouse when it’s this hot, trust me, they still do it.

Please, please check carefully before closing up for the day/night, especially if your greenhouse has lots of nooks and crannies in which a silly (or lost) animal could hide. Or, better yet, if you’re in any way unsure, don’t close up completely at all, and leave an escape route for said silly/lost animal to use in an emergency.

 

La chaleur est là

Le Château, its contents and its occupants are melting in the heat. We have dealt with heat before, of course, but, when it’s so hot that packets of salted peanuts in our kitchen cupboards start to ooze oil – which doesn’t sound that bad but, in reality, it’s like the initial signs of a poltergeist haunting and is creepy as hell – it really is the end of days.

But it’s all right for some, who are able to lounge languidly in their cool chaise longues. The glamorous piece of cat furniture that you see was a gift from one of Louis Catorze’s wonderful supporters and, because it’s positioned on the ground floor by the patio doors AND raised off the hot ground, it’s the coolest spot in the house. On sticky nights, when it’s too uncomfortable to snuggle in bed with us, Sa Majesté heads here instead.

Le Roi is also partial to having a freezer-cold bottle of vodka rolled up & down his body when temperatures soar (see photo from the archives), but Cat Daddy has imposed strict conditions on this. “It’s the chaise longue or the cold vodka massage, not both. Let’s not go overboard.”

Exactement. We don’t want the Sun King becoming too pampered.