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).

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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?

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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.

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.

 

 

Le patient français

It has been 2 days since the X-ray and Louis Catorze is continuing to obsess with his tail, presumably because the claw puncture wound from the other night has irritated him even further.

Watching him interact with it is the most bizarre thing imaginable; he can be unaware of it one moment and, the next, the red mist descends and he just HAS to try and kill it. If we are with him, a cuddle and a gentle warning are usually enough to distract him. But we can almost hear the cogs whirring away as he thinks, “You can’t keep watch over moi forever.”

And, of course, the real problem is when we’re not in the same room with him, or when we’re asleep. That’s when he really goes for it, with a full-on fight punctuated by those awful raspy screams that we have grown to know and hate.

We have decided to try the Zylkene calming supplement, which is a white powder that you sprinkle onto food, to see if it has any effect on Louis Catorze’s tail obsession. Bearing in mind that white powder dusted over dark brown food looks ridiculously obvious, I was fully expecting to be met with the “Go home: you’re embarrassing yourself” look, but, astoundingly, Le Roi did eat a little.

We have also studded the house with Feliway diffusers in the same way that Transylvanians would use crucifixes. They’re everywhere, silently churning out odourless, invisible clouds of happy gas that will make our boy better (we hope).

The vet told us that these new measures would take a few days to kick in, and that any changes would be subtle. But, if the alternative is tail amputation (unfortunately, yes, this has been mentioned), we’re willing to give anything a try.

We will keep you updated and, in the meantime, we wish you a wonderful and peaceful Christmas weekend. Your love and support of the little sod mean the world to us.

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KramPuss, le diable d’hiver

One of our much-loved blog followers very kindly sent Louis Catorze a soft collar as a get-well gift. Thank you, Tally! What a thoroughly sweet and and thoughtful gesture, for a spoilt little sod that probably doesn’t deserve it. The collar has been a godsend in terms of allowing him to get comfortable and sleep properly, but the naughty boy has found all sorts of ways of exploiting its, erm, versatility.

On Friday, when we came home from a meal out, he had shoved one arm through it and was wearing it as a sort of off-the-shoulder top/cape, and the next day it was a 50s-style prom skirt. Unfortunately he cannot be trusted without a collar properly in place, and doesn’t even last a second without going for his tail again. So, with deep regret, I decided to put his plastic collar back on again, reserving his soft collar for supervised sleep sessions only.

Could I get it back on? Mais non.

To be fair, Louis Catorze wasn’t THAT uncooperative, although he did yowl and complain all the way through. I was just too stupid to figure out the weird fastenings; after I had finished, there were rough seams rubbing against his ears and bits of plastic sticking up in all directions. So back to the vet I went.

Because both Cat Daddy and Houseguest Matt were out, I had to take Louis Catorze myself. He fought like an absolute fiend as I put him into his box, and continued to struggle and writhe throughout the car journey and as I carried him across the car park. The two ladies in the vet’s waiting room (with their nice, calm cats) looked quite alarmed as I fell through the door, breathless and sweating, hair stuck to my face, just about managing to cling onto a violently-shuddering cat box.

As I waited, with the box continuing to spasm and jerk at my feet and the ladies trying/pretending not to notice, I sent an SOS to Cat Daddy. His helpful reply: “I don’t understand. He’s always fine when I take him to the vet.” Right. Thanks.

The vet showed me how to put the collar on properly, and we’re booked in again on the 22nd so that she can check his tail. This nicely messes up our holiday plans … but, having looked back at my blog entries from this time last year, it seems that that’s Le Roi and that’s what he does.

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Le personnel domestique est de retour

Cat Daddy and I have been away for a few days; this was our first mini-holiday in years, due in part to my inconsistent health but also to the fact that Louis Catorze used to require medication every other day, and we didn’t think it fair to make a neighbour or a cat sitter do battle with him. We returned home on Friday to a strikingly glossy, healthy-looking Roi who was delighted to see his daddy again. (Me, not so much.)

Oscar the dog’s folks looked after him magnificently well in our absence, and we are super-grateful to them. (They came here to feed him, obviously; he didn’t go and live with them, although part of me thinks it would have been funny to try it.) Not only were we able to go away with peace of mind, knowing that the little sod would be loved, but their kindness also meant I didn’t have to write the embarrassing advert: “Wanted: cat sitter for tiny black cat with annoying voice that could strip paint. Must be prepared to referee turf wars with dogs and dispose of rats, birds, slugs and other assorted wildlife, living, dead or somewhere between the two.”

As you can see, normal service has very much resumed, with both daddy-love and newspaper impingement in progress. And Cat Daddy has come up with a solution to the newspaper problem: take advantage of the lack of binding or staples in a newspaper and separate it as soon as you see the cat approaching. Just make sure you end up with the decent half, and that the cat sits on the boring property bit.

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Le Roi se sauve: vive Le Roi!

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This summer holiday hasn’t quite been as I’d expected. I was so looking forward to 6 glorious weeks at Le Château with Louis Catorze, drinking cocktails in the garden with him at my feet, listening to “Just The Two Of Us” by Bill Withers, that kind of thing. For a very short while, that’s how it was. But as soon as Louis Catorze’s allergy kicked in, I lost my sweet, affectionate little boy to the evil clutches of the Forbidden Greenhouse and Le Rouleau Suisse. (The picture is a month old, taken before his Mega-Sulk started, because his allergy is too unpleasant to photograph.)

I made the decision to close the door to the Forbidden Bedroom containing Le Rouleau, which was tricky as it’s impossible to check whether or not he’s actually in Le Rouleau first. I had many failed attempts whereby I would spy him in the corridor and race him to the Forbidden Bedroom to shut the door, but he would always sense when I was on my marks and beat me to it, bouncing deftly over the boxes and into Le Rouleau before I could even clutch the door handle. Luckily, I’m just as stubborn as he, so I just kept up my attempts until, eventually, I succeeded. And, fortunately, it hasn’t driven him into the Forbidden Greenhouse, as I had feared: his New Sulking Spot of Choice is now under our bed, but I’m happier about this as it’s cleaner and has had a dust mite controller fizzing away for well over a month.

What also hasn’t helped his sulkiness is the fact that I’ve had to increase the frequency of his meds; not only does he déteste being medicated (and what cat doesn’t, apart from that white YouTube cat who happily laps up medicine from the end of the syringe as if it were liquid Dreamies?) but he knows when I’m even THINKING about it and makes himself scarce. He’s also learned to grit his teeth when I administer it, so that it looks set to be a successful session but in fact the liquid rebounds off his teeth and goes all over the floor. If you imagine that prank we all pretend we played as children (but in fact we weren’t clever enough to think of it) – the one where you cover the toilet bowl with taut cling film and wait for some unsuspecting person to pee – that’s EXACTLY what it’s like.

Repeat after me: “This cannot go on indefinitely … This cannot go on indefinitely …”