Aucun séjour à Paris

Cat Daddy and I had planned a short break in Paris to celebrate his retirement, and we should be there right now. But, because I have wrecked my bad shoulder whilst attempting to restrain Louis Catorze for his spot-on flea treatment, we have had to cancel.

Now, I don’t suppose I can fully blame Catorze for this as it was probably too soon after my surgery to book a holiday anyway; I am still struggling to do most of the things required/desired during a city break (walking, carrying a bag, taking public transport, sitting at a table to eat, etc.). Plus we know how awful Catorze is when given medication, so I should have asked Cat Daddy to do it instead of doing it myself. I suppose there are worse places to spend time than Le Château, but it’s annoying beyond belief to see how remorseless Sa Maj is for his part in making things worse: after the incident he pitter-pattered to his bowl, had a light amuse-bouche of Lily’s Kitchen, then napped in the flowerbed all afternoon (facing away from us rather than towards us, with the spot-on stain very much visible on the back of his neck as if to taunt us).

Luckily for me Cat Daddy has been very understanding indeed, and he has assured me that he is happy for us to relax at home this week. He even made me chateaubriand* with smoked Stilton and creamy mushroom sauce to cheer me up (and I told him that it half-worked so he’s making it again tonight). Catorze, on the other hand, couldn’t care less what we do. Here he is in what is now his own private garden on the sedum roof, like some evil warlord planning his next missile strike:

*With the â or without? I have agonised over this and spent countless hours researching, yet the internet appears to be telling me that both are possible. Which, frankly, is as lame as a competition in which “everybody wins”.

On est de retour!

We British “sit” everything, from pets to houses to plants. And, apparently, the only things that the French “sit” are babies. Yet this hasn’t stopped me from referring to Équipe Une and Équipe Deux as “les chat-sitteurs”, with “chat-sitteur”, rather like “professeur”, being an invariable noun, as “chat-sitteuse” sounds somewhat absurd despite both Équipes being female. (This was the basis of my conversation with Cat Daddy on the flight back from Belfast, until he put on his headphones a few minutes in and pretended to be asleep.)

We are back from holiday and, whilst it didn’t go entirely to plan, with both lost luggage and injuries preventing us from doing all that we wanted to do, it was a relief to escape the heatwave that has only just relinquished its hold on London. And it was nothing short of delightful to be able to sleep in without being jolted awake by screaming, rodent deliveries and suchlike.

That said, we did miss Louis Catorze, although he has had an absolute ball over the last couple of weeks and probably didn’t even notice/care that we had gone. Apart from bringing Équipe Une a rat* on their very first morning, he seems to have been the perfect host.

*Oui, Équipe Une: I may have given the impression that it was a mouse, but only because I didn’t want to scare you with the awful truth. When I saw the long, rangy limbs in your photo, I KNEW. Je suis désolée. Cat Daddy and I are still wondering how on earth Catorze managed to haul a beast half his body weight through the cat flap, and we are just grateful that it didn’t end up on your bed. Erm, see you again next summer? 

So life has resumed as normal. Cat Daddy and I are facing the mammoth task of undoing all the damage caused by eating our weight in potatoes for a fortnight (which will be a challenge, as my leg and his back are still done in). And Le Roi, no doubt, will go back to doing whatever it is that he does, although Cat Daddy’s too-rude-to-publish remark suggests that perhaps the little sod doesn’t contribute an enormous amount to the planet.

This image shows one of the places that we visited, whose name had a certain air of familiarity: 

F29D9722-33E8-4737-ADEA-040DC44ADA15

Ce n’est qu’un au revoir, Mon Roi

Cat Daddy and I are going on holiday today, so Le Blog will be taking a bit of a break. And, naturellement, we will be leaving Louis Catorze in very capable hands during our absence. 

Équipe Une, who will be living with Sa Majesté during the first half of our break, will be the same French friend who took care of the little sod last year (and who, inexplicably, is happy to come back). Équipe Deux, for the second half, will be another friend who is an excellent, experienced cat-sitter but who has occasionally been run ragged by her charges with hunting incidents, veterinary emergencies, cheeky feral impingers who sneak in and pretend to be part of the household, and suchlike. So we are hoping and praying that Le Roi will behave and not add himself to her blacklist of problem cats. 

And, yes: the moment I typed those words, I suddenly had a feeling of dread. Darkening skies, circling ravens, the distant rumble of thunder, and so on. 

He will be good, won’t he? 

Qui a peur du Roi Soleil?

My friend, with whom I stayed last weekend: “Our cats never give us the cold shoulder when we get back from holiday. They’re really good.”
Me: “Yes, Louis Catorze is the same.”

What a pile of merde. This was our welcome back from Sa Majesté on Sunday:

16h00: Ear-splitting screaming
16h10: Little sod goes out to sit by himself in the rain (and, odd though this is, frankly we are relieved)
16h30: Little sod comes in when I go upstairs for a shower and rolls his gross, wet body all over Cat Daddy (ha!)
16h50: Little sod goes out again the minute I return from my shower
17h10: Little sod comes back in when Cat Daddy’s (male) friend stops by, and screams incessantly at the pair of them
17h15: I go and hide in the living room, and the screaming continues
17h30: I shout from the living room, “What the hell is wrong with him?” but nobody can hear me because of the screaming
18h00: Cat Daddy sees his friend out, then comes to hide with me in the living room and complain about the screaming
18h01: Little sod finds us
18h05: Boys’ Club – and silence – for the rest of the evening

Cat Daddy is already planning our next weekend away, to get some peace. But not before we invest in some sedatives (for us as well as for Catorze).

14CCCEFC-3E44-483D-8377-97F2755F6C7D

En vacances, l’esprit libre

Whilst Cat Daddy and I struggle with the drudgery that is January, Louis Catorze has been dealing with it by being as annoying as is felinely possible. I don’t know where he finds the energy – after all, we certainly can’t – but his psycho levels appear to have spiked lately, and we can’t keep up with his nonsense.

This is a small selection of the undesirable behaviour that we have had to endure:

1. Nocturnal scampering and whining (which doesn’t sound that bad, but trying to teach teenagers on a night of interrupted sleep is the worst pain there is)
2. Sitting statue-still and creepily staring at us (and, yes, we do wish he’d do this at night and the scampering and whining during the day)
3. Following us around the house trilling, chirping and trying to trip us up
4. Screaming at the party wall surveyor and drowning out his attempts to make audio notes on his dictaphone
5. Knocking all my students’ assessments onto the floor and rolling on them

Here he is, having just done numéro 5. The deranged stare and toothy gawp don’t really say “Remorse”, do they?

1439AFA9-E749-4A5F-BA9A-4223B4730E47

Cat Daddy: “We should just pack our bags and leave. Let him become someone else’s problem for a change.”

So we did. We have just had a lovely weekend with some great friends and their more photogenic, better-behaved cats, and are on our way back right now. No doubt Sa Majesté will have been impeccably good for those taking care of him, as always. And, whilst the brief break from his bad behaviour has done us some good, I am sure it will resume again the minute we set foot across the Château threshold.

Cat Daddy will never admit this, but I think he is secretly looking forward to seeing his boy again. And I, too, can’t wait to scoop him up in my arms and have him yowl, kick and struggle to get free.

La princesse irlandaise

We returned from our holiday a few days ago to a still-standing Château and – thanks to the love and care of our French friend and Oscar the dog’s folks – a shiny, shouty Louis Catorze. It seems that he was a very good boy during our absence. Apart from an intermittent cramp/limping scare, which will need further investigation, and an uninvited wander into Dog Daddy’s man-cave – clearly if Boys’ Club cannot come to Catorze, then Catorze will seek out Boys’ Club – the two weeks passed without major incident.

Cat ladies are never off duty, not even when they are on holiday, and no holiday would be complete without a (potential) cat intervention. Meet Bri:

Her name sounds like the cheese but, in fact, we named her after Brigid, Ireland’s patron goddess. This sweet, ageless girl, with a meow like a squeaky bicycle wheel, was our companion during our 3 days at the eco-glampsite in County Mayo. I say “ageless” because she was very kittenish in size and demeanour, yet something tells me that such fur colouring – an all-black head with a mottled body – comes from black fur that has changed over time, rather than being true tortoiseshell.

After ascertaining that Bri didn’t have a family – our nearest neighbours were all farming people who tend to see stray cats as vermin – I contacted a local rescue and sent them a picture of her. Sadly we weren’t able to find a suitable transportation pod, catch her and deliver her to the rescue’s designated vet, all within limited bank holiday opening times, but plans are now in place for the rescue to set a trap soon. I have given them the contact details of the site owner and recommended the best place for laying the trap, and I hope beyond hope that we have good news soon.

I wish we could have done more for Bri during our stay, but one thing that I am really, really glad we did was to give her a spot-on flea treatment. (I am not in the habit of carrying flea treatment in my handbag, as my crazy catness has not quite elevated to such a level as yet, but I was lucky enough to find some in the one shop that was open on a bank holiday Sunday.) Dear little Bri sat perfectly still for me and purred all the way through, as if knowing I meant well – and, yes, I am aware of the irony of a feral cat behaving impeccably for flea treatment when my own little sod first tries to kill me, then rolls the liquid off onto all our soft furnishings and clean laundry. Minutes later, a visible cloud of fleas rose from her body, which was satisfying and horrifying in equal measure. Hopefully they will stay away and give her some relief.

I have been asked a few times whether we would have brought Bri back home with us. Believe me, we wanted to – although Cat Daddy’s condition was that we took her instead of Catorze, not as well as – but it’s not quite as simple as, “See a stray cat, put it in your bag and go home.” Cat Daddy and I tend to regard cats in the same way that we regard fruit and vegetables: best sourced locally. I have mixed feelings about subjecting Bri to a long journey to London when there must be plenty of people in Ireland who would be thrilled to have her. Also, I am not convinced that she would have made a good urban cat: as well as having zero fear of cars – she happily rolled around under ours, even with the engine running – she seemed very content in a rural environment. I think she needs somewhere just like her current place but with a regular person feeding, flea-treating and worming her and not leaving her to the mercy of the elements during the low season.

Nothing would give me more joy than to post here in a few weeks’ time, announcing that Bri has a new home. In the meantime, if you would like to help other cats like her, please support Mayo Animal Welfare, who have quite a task on their hands in terms of changing attitudes to neutering, microchipping and suchlike. You can donate to them here:

https://fundrazr.com/euyT0?fb_ref=share__c5K3Zd

 

Le silence du Roi

Louis Catorze has a swish, new transportation pod. One of the pictures below is of that very pod. The other shows a pod that is far more appropriate for him given his chequered history when it comes to being transported, but Pets at Home don’t appear to stock it. And I suspect that the armed guards would have cost extra.

Cat Daddy: “He doesn’t need a new transportation pod. The old pod is fine.”
Me: “But I find it hard to carry the old pod, the way he fights and flips.”
Cat Daddy: “He doesn’t fight and flip when I take him. He behaves perfectly well for me.”

Well, that’s delightful news. Thanks.

Anyway, the new pod is super-stylish and considerably more fitting for a Sun King than his old one. It’s not often that we encounter his comrades or adversaries in the vet’s waiting room but, when we do, we want to look the part, n’est-ce pas?

On Friday we decided that it would be a good idea to give Le Roi a preventative steroid shot before going on holiday, as he was starting to get a bit scratchy and we didn’t want his gouvernante française to have problems. The triangular – rather than square/rectangular – profile of the new pod makes it very easy to carry by my side, even with my neck and shoulder problems, so, for the first time ever, I was able to walk to the appointment.

Sadly, the ergonomic shape and Chanel-inspired quilting did nothing to alleviate the screaming. Catorze hollered his lungs out all the way there, and, because we were walking, the screams echoed through the neighbourhood as opposed to being confined to the car. Even the workmen, who were digging up the road, stopped what they were doing to look at us. And, upon arrival, le fichu salaud was so noisy in the waiting room that the two ladies who came in after us, with their nice, quiet cats, decided that they would rather sit in the Dog Area than in the Cat Area with us, completely messing up the vet’s new apartheid system.

We feel a bit bad for our French cat-sitter as the steroid shots usually turn our boy rather manic and psycho, but better that than to have him scratch himself to bleeding point and require a trip to the vet in our absence.

There won’t be any blog posts for a short while, unless we see any cute cats on holiday, or unless we hear that Louis Catorze has done something especially impressive or horrific. Please keep well until our return, and continue to obey your furry overlords at all times.