L’esprit de l’escalier

When I said I hoped “something positive” would come out of this year, my Covid test was not quite what I had in mind. And I am now wondering whether Louis Catorze’s uncharacteristic tenderness towards me throughout my illness was because he knew all along that it was more than just a teacher-cold. Perhaps he is more intuitive than we realise and we should be renting him out as a Covid-detecting cat, like those dogs who can smell cancer.

I am still not 100% well, although I’m a lot better than I was a week ago. He, on the other hand, is on top form: bright, alert and full of energy, to the point where I wonder if his igloo is a secret docking station where he goes to charge up. However, it seems that he no longer wishes to nurse me through my sickness and, instead, wants to finish off the job that Covid started, because he has started hanging out on the stairs, seemingly in an attempt to kill me. As with most forms of psychological torture, it is very difficult to prove this. But, trust me, I KNOW.

Now, if lounging around on the stairs is your cat’s regular habit, annoying though it may be, you know to look out for it. However, if it happens to be a new thing that they suddenly develop after six years of never doing it at all, you don’t know to look out for it because you’ve never had to. Result: a kicked arse for your cat and serious injury for yourself.

So far, I have fallen down the stairs about 532 times. Cat Daddy has only been tripped up once, although I suspect that was a mistake and that I was the real target. And it occurred to me today that, should I die from my injuries, it would be registered as a Covid death because it happened within 28 days of a positive test result. So, provided Catorze kills me before 22nd January, HE WILL GET AWAY WITH IT.

Cat Daddy’s theory is that feeling unwell is causing Sa Maj to act out of character, which may well be true – he has been subdued at times – but attempted murder is perhaps taking things a little too far. And I find it rather objectionable that I have been singled out whereas Cat Daddy has been more or less left alone. If I’m (quite literally) taken down, he’s coming with me.

Here is KramPuss the winter demon, the Grim Reaper himself in feline form, wondering why I haven’t yet hurtled to my death and wishing I’d hurry up about it.

Thank God we’re allowed out tomorrow.

“Not feeling very well” yet well enough to try to kill me and make it look like a Covid death.

L’arrivée du canapé

Our new Sofology sofa and matching footstool* are here. They were supposed to arrive between 12pm and 4pm last Tuesday, in pieces, but, naturellement, they arrived at 7pm, fully assembled, and the delivery people couldn’t get the sofa through the door. So they had to take it apart, bring it indoors and then reassemble it, during which time Louis Catorze escaped out at The Front.

It turned out that the reason they were late was because the original van was involved in an accident – not screeching to a halt to avoid running over a black cat, I might add – and written off, so they’d had to unload all the furniture from one van to another. And, after leaving us at 7:45pm, they still had three more deliveries to do. Mercury Retrograde has a lot to answer for.

We went for the two-and-a-half seater in Dakota Brown. I thought Cat Daddy was joking when he said “two-and-a-half seater” but that’s genuinely what it’s called, and it suits us perfectly because we are a family of two and a half. (Catorze is so small that he only counts as a half.) The three-seater sofa would just about have fitted but, after measuring, Cat Daddy discovered that it would only leave his boy with a narrow thoroughfare to his Sureflap. And, naturellement, we couldn’t have that.

Anyway, both boys are happy, so all is well with the world. And, better yet, if you take out Sofology’s five-year warranty at £157, they will repair or replace the sofa if there is any damage, including cat scratches. That said, this is Catorze we’re talking about. We all know, don’t we, that he will respect the sofa for every single day of the next five years, then slash it to smithereens and dump gross, oozing rodent corpses on it the day after the warranty expires.

Different sofa, same shite.

*Here is the original story of how we purchased our furniture from cat-loving Ish: https://louiscatorze.com/2020/09/05/le-canape-royal/

Huis Clos (Partie 2)

Louis Catorze’s course of eye ointment came to an end on Thursday. (It should have been Wednesday but I did an extra dose to make up for the night when we got drunk and forgot one.)

Although administering it was horrible, towards the end of the course he’d even started coming for post-meds cuddles, although I imagine this is because he’s so thick he forgot he’d just been medicated. It’s hard to know whether he’s healing as he looks ok from some angles and awful from others, but he seems to be in good spirits. He’s been well enough to be out at all hours in yesterday’s storm, and also well enough to dig up our baby chard plants, resulting in unrepeatable expletives OF THE WORST KIND from Cat Daddy. (And, before you say anything, it wasn’t the foxes this time. It was definitely Catorze.)

In other news, the little sod imprisoned us in the house the other day.

Every night we double-lock the front door but leave keys nearby, close enough for us to grab in the event of fire, alien invasion or zombie apocalypse, but not so close that a psycho with a fishing rod and a magnet could reach through the letterbox and grab them.

A few days ago, in the early hours of the morning, I heard the sound of keys downstairs. Sure enough, Catorze had been playing with the emergency set and had kicked/pushed them to some unknown location, possibly under the sofa or between the floorboards. Only he knows where they are, and he ain’t telling.

In short, he had locked us in the house.

Cat Daddy, later that day: “But we have other keys. It’s not as if we had no way of getting out.”

Me: “But that’s not the point. He didn’t know that. His intent was the same.”

Cat Daddy: “…”

Me: “Like when people are convicted for attempted murder instead of actual murder and end up getting a lesser sentence. They still meant to kill, and it was just by chance that the victim got lucky and survived.”

[Silence, tumbleweed, crickets]

Cat Daddy: “I don’t think you’re really comparing like for like.”

Anyway, Catorze naturellement gives zéro shites about causing trouble, and meanwhile we were the ones scrabbling around to find a new place to put our keys (although we still haven’t found the first set).

It’s a scary day when protecting your house from external psychos/demons is easy, yet it’s the psycho/demon WITHIN that poses the greatest challenge.

“Keys? Non. Haven’t seen them.”

Suivez le chemin de briques bleues

One of the joys of WordPress is that I can draft posts and save them for later and, for some time now, I have had an entry sitting in my Drafts folder, waiting for the right photograph to accompany it.

The post is about our new front path and how much nicer Louis Catorze looks rolling on tasteful tiles than on the previous ugly concrete. My intention was to publish a concrete-rolling and a tile-rolling photograph side by side, so that we may compare them and gasp in wonderment at the marked difference. However, despite there having been multiple escapes to The Front since Lee the tiler finished the work months ago, Sa Maj hasn’t rolled on the tiles once.

Cat Daddy: “Well, of course he hasn’t. He probably hates the beautiful tiles and liked the ugly concrete better. I don’t know why you are the slightest bit surprised.”

Anyway, if things continue in this fashion – i.e. Catorze doing the exact opposite of what we want him to do – I might have to resort to the secret weapon suggested by a friend: catnip sprinkled on the path.

On verra. Anyway, here is a pointless photo of the path, sans chat:

Un peu de honte est bientôt passée

We now have two new people to add to our “We Owe You An Apology/Explanation Because Of Louis Catorze” list: Basil who came to install our new front door lock (Embarrassment Rating: Level 4), and Lee the tiler who is doing our front path (Embarrassment Rating: Level 8).

Catorze started screaming from a distance the minute Basil started his work and, when it was finished and Basil was demonstrating how to use the lock, the little sod – still out of sight – ramped up the volume. Basil stopped the demonstration mid-sentence and said, “Sorry, but … what IS that?”

Me: “Oh. Erm, that’s our cat. Sorry about him. He loves visitors so he’s just excited that you’re here.”

At that point Sa Maj pitter-pattered into view, up-tailed, psycho-eyed and screaming. Basil looked at him and said, “Aw, are you excited? That’s nice but, unfortunately, I’m going to have to go soon.”

Catorze: “Owww-mwaaaahhhhhh!”

Basil: “He said “Oh, why?”! Didn’t that sound just like “Oh, why?”?”

It actually did.

Anyway, despite the drama, Sa Maj now has a new friend. And it seems that there was a reason for the screaming other than just to greet Basil: I later discovered that the little sod had brought a mouse (his second of the day) and left it in the place from where his distant screaming had originated. And that place happened to be right in the middle of Lee’s route from The Front to his tile-cutting machine at The Back, so he absolutely had to have seen it.

As if things couldn’t get any worse, after I’d picked up and bagged the mouse, I hung the bag over the outside tap at The Back, out of Catorze’s reach, with the intention of disposing of it in the park bin after Lee had gone. But then I forgot about it. And I hadn’t tied up the bag very well so, in the highly unlikely event of Lee not having noticed the mouse the first time, he certainly would have done so when he took the bag off the tap to hose down the patio.

So, at best, Lee thinks we have a mouse infestation and are too lazy to clean it up. And, at worst, he thinks we put dead mice in bags and hang them around the house for fun.

Cat Daddy: “Or both. It could be both, you know.”

Il n’y a pas que le travail dans la vie

We are having some major work done in our bathroom this weekend, with the whole floor being replaced.

For most households with pets, this would require calming, anti-anxiety measures in the form of Feliway and suchlike. In our case it is the workmen, and not the pets, who will be requiring the calming, anti-anxiety measures, because Louis Catorze can’t seem to take no for an answer when it comes to men and won’t leave them alone. So we have tea ready for them in case Sa Maj is bad, and neat vodka and a cattle prod in case he is really bad. 

So, at best, we can expect some mildly irritated but tea-soothed men who manage to get their work done in spite of the screaming. At worst, with all the Roi distractions and the anaesthetising glugs of vodka, a three-day job could end up taking three months to complete. 

Here is the little sod carrying out his pre-work inspection and testing the acoustics of the bathroom. (It turns out that feline screaming magnifies/echoes massively in here, so I think we’re going to need more vodka.) 

D7CC29DF-F976-4E58-B071-04756D3C4FF2

La prise de la Bastille

One of our neighbours popped round a couple of days ago, and not only did he overhear Louis Catorze’s tormenting of Oscar 2 weekends back, but the little sod has, on numerous occasions, broken into his house. Through an UPPER FLOOR window. 

And, on the most recent occasion, a member of his family found him pitter-pattering around their landing, screaming, because said window had been shut and he couldn’t get back out. 

“Mortified” doesn’t even BEGIN to describe how Cat Daddy and I felt upon learning this news. And “mystified” would have been our second adjective of choice, had we not remembered what used to happen in our previous home when we were attempting to train Catorze to use the cat flap. Long story short: he wasn’t having any of it and, instead, chose the Mission Impossible route in and out via next door’s fence, their conservatory roof and our upstairs bathroom window. During one outward (we assume) journey he even managed to get a large bottle of mouthwash stuck in the slats of the Venetian blind. To this day, we have no idea how he did this.

We also recalled that, just like his big brother, Luther, Sa Majesté was a master of going into places where he had no business being. Our next-door neighbour at the time would often text me saying, “There’s a black cat in my house. Is it yours?” And, when the texts stopped, I assumed it meant that Catorze was no longer impinging but, in actual fact, the neighbour had simply got to know him so there was no need to ask me if he were mine. The same lady also once heard scrabbling around under her bed and thought she had mice but, when she looked, it was Catorze.

So now that we know HOW, the only question is WHY the little sod would break into a house that has traces of dog in it, that doesn’t have a supply of food (both of which should make it less attractive to an impinging cat) and that is occupied mainly by ladies (which should make it less attractive to Catorze). And I don’t suppose there’s much we can do to stop him. We are just lucky that we have patient, understanding neighbours who like us. 

Cat Daddy: “For now. Our neighbours like us FOR NOW.”

This photo was taken last month but I love it because it sums up Le Roi’s arrogant and entitled attitude, surveying his Château and all the neighbours’ adjoining Châteaux which, it seems, are also his Châteaux:

L’amitié perdue, l’amitié retrouvée

Last weekend, as Cat Daddy arrived home, a lady in the street stopped and said, “Excuse me: is this the home of Louis Catorze?”

You just couldn’t make this up, could you, Mesdames et Messieurs?

When Cat Daddy shamefacedly confirmed that she had the correct house, she introduced herself: “I’m Ginger Impinger’s mum.”

Actually, “Ginger Impinger’s NEW mum” would have been more accurate: after concerned reports emerged on a local forum of an increasingly thin and unkempt GI appearing at various houses in the neighbourhood, a rescue organisation trapped, chipped and snipped him and treated him for a few minor surface ailments. Sadly, whilst he was under house arrest at the rescue’s veterinary surgery, not a single poster went up locally regarding his whereabouts, indicating that the poor boy didn’t have any people (or, at least, none who cared enough), but the happy news is that he is now in a lovely new home.

The TW8 network of who-knows-whom is tighter than a gnat’s behind, so his new mamma and I have been able to find and message each other. And, because Le Blog documents virtually every one of her boy’s visits to Louis Catorze, she has been able to read all about their exploits together. The large area that he covered came as something of a surprise, but GI’s mamma was also comforted by the fact that, throughout his time on the run, he had a little playmate and a safe haven of sorts at Le Château.

She loved the name “Ginger Impinger”, too, and I think she may even have been half-tempted to keep it, were it not for the fact that, if a place is officially one’s home, strictly speaking one can’t impinge. The name she has chosen for him is Dosti – “friend” in Hindi – which is highly appropriate as he was such a good buddy to Catorze, coming to collect him for little jaunts together, dropping him safely home afterwards and generally showing us all that an unneutered (as he was then) male isn’t always the ubiquitous bullying troublemaker.

The meaning of “Dosti” has a bittersweet tinge when I think that Louis Catorze will be losing his only friend; now that he has a permanent home he is not going to be visiting us anymore and, if he does, I am to let his mamma know immediately because, understandably, she doesn’t want him wandering that far. But we have now gained a new friend in his mamma and, most importantly, dear little Dosti finally has the family he deserves. Here is the lucky boy, relaxing in his new place: