Aux yeux du père, le fils est beau

The last time I had surgery, I woke from my anaesthetic and announced to the ward, “I’ve just been dreaming about ginger cats! Must’ve been Alfie and George!” (Obviously Alfie and George are actual ginger cats that exist. Which is a relief, because made-up ginger cats might have made me look silly.)

No such morphine-induced excitement this time around but everything went well, although perhaps I shouldn’t have watched so many X Files episodes beforehand as there are startling similarities between a surgical procedure and an alien abduction. There was a brief incident as I left Le Château for the hospital – involving an escape at The Front and gut-wrenching screams that woke the neighbours – but, other than that, Louis Catorze has actually been behaving. I could have done without the 6:15am screaming alarm call the following day, though. And, although he saved me a clean-up job when he licked off the ink that the surgeon had used to mark up my arm, I was really creeped out by it and am now scared to be alone with him.

I have made the following observations since coming home from hospital:

1. Catorze has a “Merde, she’s still alive?” face.

2. His unnerving obsession with his daddy has reached new heights/depths (depending on one’s perception). Or, as Cat Daddy puts it, “He won’t leave me the hell alone.”

It has never been a secret that I am probably not even Catorze’s second favourite human in a household of just two humans. But whereas he used to climb off my lap and onto Cat Daddy’s only on a moderately regular basis, he now does this every time Cat Daddy sits down. And, whereas he used to wait a few minutes before the lap swap, now he does it in under 10 seconds. (Yes, Cat Daddy has actually timed him.)

The screamy little sod has shown me SOME love, although not nearly enough considering I was the one who was knocked out cold and chopped up.

Cat Daddy retires at the end of this month and will be spending a lot more time at home with Catorze than ever before. Will this bromance go from strength to strength, or could this enforced togetherness be too much of a good thing?

L’infirmier devoué

Next week I am due to have surgery on my shoulder, which should hopefully spell the end of a long line of problems. It’s a day procedure, so I won’t need to worry about Louis Catorze causing havoc in my absence (no more than usual, anyway) as I’ll be back that evening, but I am concerned about what he will do when I come home.

I often hear reports of cats being extra loving and affectionate when their humans are ill or convalescing. Sa Maj, on the other hand, does everything in his power to send me back to hospital, no doubt hoping that I will die there. When I came home after spinal surgery the little sod jumped onto my torso, then used it as a launch pad to jump somewhere else. And, when I had abdominal surgery, he did THIS (see below), which not only nearly burst my stitches as I tried to wrestle him out of the room (1st link), but also triggered the long-term avian war that still wages on to this day, having started with the starlings and continuing with the magpies and the angry green parakeets (2nd link):

https://louiscatorze.com/2016/07/16/loiseau/

https://louiscatorze.com/2016/07/20/tel-est-pris-qui-croyait-prendre/

So … can we trust Catorze to be nice/good this time?

Cat Daddy: “You’ve really learned nothing in the last few years, have you?”

Le piège à souris

Another day, another darned mouse, this time delivered to our bedroom, undead and twitching. But, fortunately for me, by the time I had gone to fetch a plastic bag and come back again, Le Bon Dieu had had the grace to take its poor soul to mouse heaven.

Because we had to dash straight out to the eye hospital for Cat Daddy’s painfully early appointment, I didn’t have a chance to dispose of La Pauvre Souris in the park bin across the road. I certainly wasn’t putting it in any of our household bins in case Catorze broke in and caused further havoc, so, on our way out, I just dumped it temporarily on the Roi-inaccessible doorstep at The Front, with the intention of getting rid of it as soon as we returned. We would only be gone for a couple of hours and nobody was due to visit us, so nothing could possibly go wrong. Or so we thought.

As we headed off to the hospital in the car, we caught sight of the postman walking into our street. Merde.

There was no time to return home and dispose of the plastic bag before the postman saw it, although Cat Daddy said it was highly unlikely that any postman would untie a plastic bag that was sitting on a doorstep and peer inside.

That was when I realised that I hadn’t tied it up.

We were at the hospital for quite a lot longer than expected and, whilst I should have been worrying about Cat Daddy, all I could think about was whether the postman would tell all our neighbours that we keep a dead mouse in a John Lewis bag sitting on our front doorstep. (Postmen are PERFECTLY placed to spread gossip, aren’t they, given that they go to every house in the neighbourhood and probably know everyone?)

Our only hope was that maybe we wouldn’t have any letters today, so perhaps the postman would have had no need to come to our door. When we got home, however, we found not only that we had had more post than ever before in our lives, but also that the wind had somehow blown the bag open and its grim contents could be seen from the street.

Then one of the neighbours, who was passing by, stopped for a chat on the doorstep, and Cat Daddy was forced to maintain cheerful conversation whilst, at the same time, striking a bizarre pose to obscure La Pauvre Souris with his foot. (He later reported that it was VERY difficult to get that fine balance of hiding the body without stepping on it and having it burst underfoot.)

Now … would you forgive this contrite face?

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Renaissant des cendres

Cat Daddy and I drove past the vet surgery today.

We both remarked on how strange it was to pass it and not stop by, given that, not so long ago, we were there so often that we’d thought about taking Louis Catorze and our sleeping bags and just living there. Then Cat Daddy said, “Maybe they think Louis has gone to cat heaven.”

Seigneur Dieu!

“Well, we haven’t been in for 3 months. Surely this must have occurred to you?” he continued.

Not once. Not for a minute. But, now that I think about it, I guess that’s exactly what they might have thought. And I don’t suppose it’s common practice for vets to phone and ask after pets that they haven’t seen in a while, mainly because they’re too busy but also just in case they HAVE passed away and the conversation takes an awkward or upsetting turn.

So the first thing I did when we got back was to email the vet and explain that Louis Catorze was very much alive and well. And now she knows that her days of being shouted at and kicked in the face by him are not over by any means.

I bet that has brightened her day no end. And here he is, wearing his best “Je reviendrai” face:

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Vive l’indifférence

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It’s been just over a week since my surgery, and what a week it’s been. We’ve had some British Wimbledon wins, a French football failure, and Louis Catorze is still fiercely waging his campaign of apathy towards me.

He’s not unhappy, nor is he descending into his allergic state (quite the opposite, in fact: it’s been over 2 months since his last steroid shot and he’s still riding high on it). He and I have the odd moment at bedtime when he naps at my feet but, during the day, he steers clear of me. Then, when Cat Daddy comes home, he races to the door to greet him, as if to say, “Merci à Dieu!”

A friend mentioned the fact that he might object to my hospitally smell, in the same way that some cats reject their kittens/buddies when they return from the vet and smell vetty. But, surely, even with my mess of Medusa-like tendrils of hospital hair, he can see that it’s me and not some impostor?

Another friend suggested that Louis Catorze might be so intelligent that he’d figured out that I can’t pick him up or bend to stroke him, so he was thoughtfully saving me the strain of trying by avoiding me. Believe me, it’s not that.

Cat Daddy’s response, when I complained about Catorze’s treachery: “But he’s always liked me better. He isn’t doing anything different now and therefore, technically, hasn’t betrayed you.”

Silence, tumbleweed, crickets. I get the feeling that will be the theme of the next few weeks.

Ce n’est qu’un au revoir

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On Tuesday I’m going into hospital for a (common and minor) operation, and my first thought on the matter was, “Will Louis Catorze be ok?” I briefly toyed with the idea of smuggling him in with me in my wash bag – yes, he is small enough – but then had terrifying visions of him escaping and going on the rampage through the hospital. I can just see him accidentally hooking his stupid periscope tail through a patient’s drip and ripping the needle bit out of their forearm, tripping up staff as they carry hazardous chemicals or, even worse, pitter-pattering into Intensive Care, nuzzling a plug socket and inadvertently switching off someone’s life support.

“He probably wouldn’t want to come to the hospital anyway,” said Cat Daddy, “because his favourite person is me, not you.” He is right. Who am I kidding: far from missing me, the little sod will be elated to get rid of me and have 3 uninterrupted days of Boys’ Club avec son papa.

So there will be a few days’ respite from the idiocy of the Sun King, although no doubt said idiocy will restart again the minute I get back. When I had spinal surgery 2 years ago, he welcomed me home by jumping onto my torso, then using it as a launch pad for a further jump, so I can’t wait to see what delights await me this time around.

See you all on the other side. A plus tard!