Les crocs du Roi

Louis Catorze is going to the vet today so, to cheer him up a little, we watched a vampire film called Day Shift at the weekend. As ever, he showed no reaction to the hisses of his bloodsucking counterparts, nor to the pounding rock music accompanying the fight scenes, but he did up and take notice when the vampires were rounding up cats to keep as familiars:

Me: “Was it the cats or the men that caught your attention?” Le Roi: “Oui.”

Catorze has a condition called Feline Odontoclastic Resorptive Lesions (FORL). There is more information about it here but, in essence, it’s the teeth eating themselves. It’s pretty grim. Once it takes hold, it keeps coming back, and sometimes it’s easier to remove lots of teeth at once, rather than subject poor kitty to multiple surgeries removing a few teeth at a time. In the event of the vet recommending a full extraction, I am ready for it. But I really, really hope he will get to keep the famous fangs. (Catorze, I mean. Not the vet.)

Please keep the little sod in your thoughts today. And thank you to everyone who has already sent good wishes.

Maybe he should just sleep through this bit.

Le brouillard

Cat Daddy, Louis Catorze and I recently had one of our legendary vodka and horror movie nights. (We like Swedish vodka. And, when we went to Iceland, thanks to a very generous bartender who gave us a reduced-price sample, we discovered the pure joy that is Icelandic vodka. This is our new favourite and, amazingly, it’s available on Ocado.)

Cat Daddy doesn’t like modern horror films and tends to favour the old classics, so we went for John Carpenter’s The Fog. If you haven’t seen it, and without giving too much away, it’s all about a spooky fog that envelops the land on the anniversary of a tragic event, bringing all sorts of nasties with it.

Part of the story involves the town’s priest reading from his ancestor’s creepy old diary which documents said tragic event. And Cat Daddy and I couldn’t help but shriek with fear when we saw this entry:

Oh. Mon. Dieu.

Oui, Mesdames et Messieurs: this is the date detailed on Catorze’s paperwork as his birthday.

All this time we have celebrated this day, year after year, believing it unlikely to be his actual birthday but going along with it as we didn’t have a viable alternative. However, the fact that it’s Beltane Eve, the second spookiest day in the calendar after Hallowe’en, made us wonder if there may be some truth in it. And, now that we have seen this – especially that last line – not only do we think he almost certainly WAS born on this day, but we would bet Le Château on him having been born between midnight and 1am.

We were scared before. We’re absolutely petrified now.

“Caller, the screams are coming from INSIDE THE HOUSE.”

Vous aimez les films d’horreur?

Merci à Dieu: it’s half term. And the October break would not be complete without horror films.

Here at Le Château we enjoy them all year round, but they are especially pleasurable in the run-up to the best day of the year. Even Cat Daddy can be partial to the odd horror film in October, although he detests violence and gore (therefore not really getting what horror is meant to be about) and prefers to stick to the old classics or “the ones that have a good rating on Squashed Tomatoes” (which is what he thinks Rotten Tomatoes is called).

There are quite a few “Cats watching horror films” videos doing the rounds on social media and, whilst some of them are funny, it does seem a bit mean to deliberately scare cats for the amusement of strangers on the internet. What a good thing, then, that Louis Catorze is utterly unafraid of scary movies, which means I can watch what I like around him.

I have carried out extensive research with Sa Maj over the years to monitor his responses to various sub-genres within the main umbrella of horror, and my findings are listed below (on a scale of 0 to 10, with 0 meaning no reaction whatsoever and 10 indicating that his “Urge To Kill” switch has been activated):

  • Zombies: 0
  • Werewolves: 0
  • Poltergeists: 0
  • Serial killers (including screaming victims): 0
  • Demonic possession and/or exorcism: 0
  • Psycho barking dogs infected with alien pathogen: 0
  • Disfigured, cannibalistic mountain dwellers: 0
  • Creepy children and their even creepier “imaginary” friends: 0
  • Ancient Egyptian ghosts unleashed from their tombs by archaeologists who should have minded their own business: 0
  • Vampires: 2 (purring and slow-blinking, presumably recognising them as his distant ancestors)
  • Crickets chirping on a moonlit night: 10
  • Seagulls (during an episode of X Files set in a coastal town): 10

This is by no means an exhaustive list as, no doubt, there are other sub-genres that I have not yet explored. Somehow it doesn’t seem quite so cruel doing this to a cat who has no idea how to be frightened so, if you have any other suggestions that you would like me to try out on the little sod, please let me know.

Oh. Mon. Dieu.

Je vois une mauvaise lune se lever

My favourite quote is by, erm, some science fiction guy, and it appears at the start of The Houses October Built: “I’m not afraid of werewolves or vampires or haunted hotels. I’m afraid of what real human beings do to other real human beings.”

I couldn’t agree more. Fiction doesn’t scare me in the slightest, but real life evil/weird deeds do. With that in mind, I should have known not to watch The House of Secrets on Netflix late at night, and just one episode of that had me weeping, shuddering and dry-retching with fear. I was then stupid enough to watch a second episode immediately afterwards, and stupider still to be surprised when the same thing happened.

(If you are anything like me, do not watch this show late at night, even if accompanied. I am dying to know what happens in the end, but I have serious doubts about whether watching any more would be a good idea.)

I asked Cat Daddy to come to bed with me straight afterwards because I was too scared to go alone, and he grudgingly agreed even though he wasn’t tired and wanted to stay up. As I sat in bed waiting for him, I heard the pitter-patter of feline feet, then Louis Catorze appeared next to me. I don’t think I have ever been happier to hear his whiny little voice and to give him a cuddle.

However, after a minute or two, I could see the little sod preparing to leave. I tried to hold onto him but he wasn’t having it.

“Don’t go!” I bleated pathetically.

I know. Begging my cat not to leave me is a new low. And the worst part of it was that he went, leaving me alone with my thoughts and my terrifying visions of hanging bodies until Cat Daddy joined me, huffing that I had forced him to bed early and that, if I was scared, I only had myself to blame. (That last bit was true, but at that moment it really didn’t help to hear it.)

Here is Sa Maj, not giving a hoot about me and my nonsense and, instead, being far more interested in full moon madness and getting high on his catnip banana:

“Aww, you’re scared? Whatever, salope.”

Au clair de la lune

Cats and full moons, Mesdames et Messieurs: whatever you’ve heard, it’s all true.

A few nights ago, during the full moon, Louis Catorze’s behaviour was utterly out of control, with relentless hours of racing around, whining, screaming and so on. As usual, Cat Daddy slept through it and he didn’t believe me when I told him how dreadful it was.

Cat Daddy: “I might have heard maybe one meow, but that was it. Wasn’t it?”

No. Not by a long way.

Anyway, the next night we experienced similar chaos, no doubt because the moon remains full for a day or two before waning and therefore the psycho behaviour doesn’t just switch off. This time Cat Daddy DID witness it.

The next morning he said, “He was absolutely manic after you went to bed. Wouldn’t stop screaming. We went outside together and the screaming got worse. In fact, I followed him to the end of the garden, and I swear he was trying to lead me to something.”

Oh. Holy. Hell. At this point I actually felt my soul leave my body.

Just when we all thought Catorze couldn’t get any creepier, THIS?

Cat Daddy’s theories as to what it could have been:

1. Foxes

2. Another cat

3. Some sort of dead prey too bulky to drag through the gap in the fence

My thoughts:

1. Werewolves

2. Demons

3. A vortex leading to a parallel dimension, most likely the one from where Catorze originated in the first place

There is nothing visible at the end of the garden, nor on the other side of the fence, which could have been the source of Catorze’s animated mood. But, frankly, this makes it – and him – all the more terrifying, and I am now scared to be alone with the little sod.

Worse yet, it’s only July. What on earth is he going to be like in October, when his sinister Chat Noir power peaks and when we are set to have not one but TWO full moons?

Follow the black cat.

FrankenRoi ou Le Prométhée Moderne

The other day, when we got back from the shops, Louis Catorze bolted outside the moment the door was opened. We meant to leave him for a few minutes and then haul him in but, with all the unpacking we had to do, we ended up forgetting about him and leaving him alone and on the rampage at The Front. 

After an hour or so he was screaming at the window to be let in again, so Cat Daddy did exactly what any loving cat parent would do: laugh hysterically and take photos. And I must say I couldn’t blame him, because this was the sight that greeted him when he opened the shutters:


What looks like dusty, cobwebby crud on Sa Majesté’s head actually IS dusty, cobwebby crud. And the strange, flesh-coloured, ribbed area on the little little sod’s chest is Cat Daddy’s hand reflected in the glass. Obviously this wasn’t visible to passers-by outside but, to us, poor Catorze looked like a creature from one of the more modern Living Dead movies: an otherworldly, undead hell-beast with his rib cage protruding through his decaying flesh.

Me: “He looks like a zombie cat baying for brains.

Cat Daddy: “Well, I suppose he has to get them from somewhere.”

We did let him in eventually. And we now have some excellent ideas for his Halloween costume this year, even though, as a black cat with vampire teeth, technically he is in TWO costumes all year round. 

La nuit des morts-vivants

The zombie fox is back, and not only has he brought back-up in the form of three equally shouty buddies, but they have been raising absolute hell in our street at night with their part-reanimated corpse, part-Velociraptor shrieking. I have seen/heard them with my own eyes/ears and, a few mornings ago, I found paw prints on our car windscreen which were much too large and too muddy to belong to cats. It seems unlikely that the dog walkers of TW8 would suddenly decide to use parked cars as an obstacle course, so I can only assume that Monsieur Renard and his comrades are to blame. 

Needless to say, this has made our street quite an unnerving place after dark. And, naturellement, it has also made Louis Catorze more desperate than ever before to defy us and go outside at The Front.

As you are aware, he can hear the sound of the front door opening from wherever he is in the house or garden. However, he has recently figured out that putting out the recycling involves opening the front door and, as soon as he sees us gathering up cardboard, glass or tins, his silly little ears prick up and you can almost smell him mentally planning his bolt. Evidently the stupid act was just that: an act, to trick us into lowering our guard and give him licence to run riot. 

Last night I discovered that it is utterly impossible to gather up the recycling in silence. I tried, but the little sod’s head whipped around as soon as he heard the first clunk of aluminium against glass. He followed me to the front door and, when I came back indoors, I knew he was waiting on the other side of the door so I swung it open hard to startle him into retreating. He didn’t. He let out a squeak which sounded shockingly like a whoop of glory, shimmied between my ankles and pitter-pattered out, up-tailed and screaming. 

I was never comfortable with him being out at The Front at night, but I feel even more nervous knowing that the streets are being prowled by four predators who are, most likely, seeking the little upstart who insulted one of their number. And taking refuge on top of a car is evidently not going to work for Catorze, as the foxes will just follow him. Foxes are not known for attacking cats but, if the cat is the one who starts the fight, I don’t suppose I can blame them for retaliating. 

If Le Château was on high alert before, I don’t know what to call our current state. Is there a word for higher than high and redder than red? Anyway, here is Sa Majesté in his observation tower, waiting for nightfall so that his Army of Darkness (which consists of, erm, just himself) can attack: 


Je suis une légende

Colder weather usually brings cuddling kitties, although they’re clearly just using us for our warmth and haven’t suddenly decided that they really like us. Louis Catorze, however, is still spending as much time outside as he did during the summer months, and his Short Man Syndrome has been getting him into trouble with foxes. This is not good. 

Last Tuesday a fox ran through our garden and he thought it would be a good idea to run after it, screaming. He chased as far as the gap under the fence at The Back, all puff-tailed and indignant, watching the intruder disappear into the distance and not budging until he was certain that it had gone. 

And, on Friday night, he had another stand-off with another fox, this time at The Front. As you know, he isn’t allowed out at The Front unsupervised because he can’t be trusted but, when he bolts out unexpectedly when we get back from an evening out and refuses to be caught, we can’t do much apart from keep the window open, watch nervously and hope he will decide to come in. 

We thought Catorze’s screaming was bad, but he has nothing on Monsieur Renard. Everything we thought we knew about fox sounds was blown right out of the water after experiencing this hellish din. Imagine, if you will, a modern horror movie in which the lead zombie – of chillingly superior intelligence compared to the others – throws back his head and emits a piercing war-cry, the signal for his comrades to destroy the last few pathetic humans. THAT is what Monsieur Renard sounded like. And, terrifyingly, not only was he glaring straight through the bars of the park fence at Catorze as he made this unforgettably dreadful sound, but CATORZE WAS GLARING AND SCREAMING BACK. 

“Aw, they want to be friends!” cooed Cat Daddy. “That’s so cute. Let’s leave them to it.”

I really didn’t want to do that, yet Catorze was NOT coming in and repeatedly darted out of my way when I tried to grab him. I have no idea what the neighbours must have thought but, unfortunately, they all know the little sod well enough by now.

Eventually, after more gut-wrenching zombie-hollering from Monsieur Renard, Sa Maj did come in through the window, and a punch-proud Cat Daddy rough-cuddled his boy and commended him for “showing the fox who was in charge at Le Château”. I would far rather he retreat and mind his own business, but nobody in this household seems that concerned with what I think. 

October – and therefore the Season of the Black Cat – started today. And I fear that this means things are only going to get worse. 


Le cinéma, c’est vraiment magique

Les grandes vacances sont ici! And this means that Movie Night at Le Château, which often falls by the wayside during a normal working week, will happen more often.

Our Movie Night preparation always consists of the same ritual: lighting a relaxing soy candle (Louis Catorze can’t get enough of Scent Trail candles – http://www.scent-trail.co.uk/ourshop/ – and even tries to nuzzle them through the packaging), gathering an assortment of snacks and dragging Catorze’s arse from wherever he is for some enforced togetherness.

I realise how selfish that sounds, and that others would probably leave their poor cat in peace and let them decide if and when they wanted to partake in Movie Night. But the thing is that we know the little sod better than he knows himself: he WANTS to join us, but he just doesn’t realise it.

Louis Catorze is only capable of dealing with what’s in front of him and he needs constant reminders to do everything, from eating to drinking to going outside to cuddling, because he seems to lack the natural instinct and the brain power to think of doing these things himself. And, once reminded, even if it’s not the thing he intended to do at the time, he’s perfectly happy about it.

This is proven by the fact that, when Cat Daddy drags Louis Catorze in to join us for Movie Night, despite the indignity of being scooped up in one hand and poured onto the sofa, HE STAYS. It’s as if a switch flips in his brain and he recalls how much fun it is. And he remains with us, purring away, until I go to bed, when he pitter-patters upstairs with me, snuggles me until I fall asleep, then pitter-patters back downstairs to join his daddy for Boys’ Club.

And, if anyone is wondering about Louis Catorze’s preferred viewing genre, he’s partial to a bit of horror. Would we throw him to the zombies to save ourselves? Probably … although I suspect that, on account of the lack of brains, they would throw him back.


Ça fait 1 an! 

Louis Catorze has been with us for exactly a year! (The picture above was taken the day after he arrived – I love it because it shows his gorgeous squashed boxer’s nose.) We’d only lost Luther a month beforehand and it seemed very soon to be getting another cat, but being catless was making us sad. I don’t think there is a right or wrong time to get another cat after losing one, but my advice would be, “If in doubt, do it anyway.” At worst, you will be giving a cat a home and freeing up a rescue centre place for another one who needs it. And, at best, you will have a cat!

(Cat Daddy has just read the above over my shoulder and said, “What about the cat hair everywhere? And the muddy paw prints? And being woken up at 3am just for a chat? And being completely bled dry financially because he needs special this and special that?” Oh yeah. There’s that, too.)

I’ll be honest: we were initially drawn to Louis Catorze because he looked so much like Luther in his photos. And when I called his foster mamma to arrange to meet him and she warned me about his protruding vampire teeth, being a bit of a black cat / horror movie / Halloween fiend, that just made me want him even more. At that point we knew we would adopt him even though we hadn’t met him, and there really wasn’t a lot he could have done at that first meeting to change my mind (although gnawing off my fingers might have been a bit offputting) so, on the first Sunday of my summer holidays, we brought him home.

Luther had settled in fully within 3 days, so we had an expectation that Louis Catorze would do the same thing. He didn’t. Although he was affectionate, for the first few months he spent 23.5 hours a day asleep and Cat Daddy even wondered whether we should return him to the rescue centre as he clearly wasn’t happy with us. But he got there in the end, just more slowly than most. In fact, that pretty much sums up his approach to everything in life.

We plan to mark this special day by giving him love and cuddles and letting him do what he wants. (So, erm, totally different from a normal day, then.) We are so happy to have this sweet, itchy little soul in our lives, and we really hope that, despite not being the brightest, he realises that.