Toute maladie peut être soignée mais la sottise est incurable

Louis Catorze’s above-eye fur is thinning, and the skin around his eyes is starting to look a little thick and leathery. Given that these signs often indicate a resurgence of all his old problems, this makes me very anxious indeed. I am also somewhat baffled as he has been well for such a long time, and I cannot imagine what could have triggered this. 

We have had the central heating cranked up unusually high lately, and, historically, his issues have been worse in cold weather. But, other than that, there have been no changes whatsoever in anything we have done. He is eating exactly the same food, and everything in his environment is as it has always been.

He is perfectly fine in every other way – eating, drinking, screaming and sprinting around the house with bulging psycho eyes whilst chasing imaginary prey (or at least I hope it’s imaginary) – so I guess he can’t be THAT unwell. But, to be on the safe side, I am turning the heating down when I can, even if this means the rest of us are cold. 

Cat Daddy, shivering in two jumpers and a blanket: “[Unrepeatable mutterings.]”

Please keep your fingers crossed for him – Catorze, I mean, not Cat Daddy – and let’s all hope that it’s nothing rather than something. 

Un rare courage devant la maladie

Cat Daddy and I had a long discussion about the right time to take Louis Catorze to the vet, because investigating the sneezing would require a general anaesthetic and that is not something that we feel should ever be undertaken lightly. 

However, Catorze scared us witless when his usual breathy post-drink wheezing – a bizarre but utterly harmless quirk of his – sounded more like that awful mating fox yelp that sometimes wakes us Londoners in the night. And, when I checked his face again on Tuesday morning, I could see that his right nostril was somehow enlarged and misshapen. We know our cats’ faces like we know our own, don’t we, so we knew then that it was time. 

Cat Daddy took Sa Majesté to the vet that morning and, as luck would have it, he had a sneezing fit in front of her so she was able to see it properly. He was sedated and thoroughly examined, only to discover no blockage whatsoever. It turns out that the little sod is likely to have a viral infection, and the cure is Metacam anti-inflammatory (which, apparently, tastes like chicken) along with … a series of steam sessions to help clear his nasal passages. I’m not joking. “Just turn on the hot taps in the bathroom and shut the door,” is what we were told.

Cat Daddy afterwards: “So it’s cost us £300 to send him on a jolly day out and to find out that he basically has a cold? And now we’ve got to give him tasty meds and a luxury spa treatment? Who does he think he is: royalty?”

Mais bien sûr.

And, to add insult to injury yet again, not only was the little sod super-affectionate and flirtatious with the veterinary staff all day long, but he also stopped sneezing. Since his procedure there hasn’t been so much as a sniff, neither at the veterinary surgery nor here at home. So we have been left feeling hugely relieved but also quite annoyed, and Le Royal Sick Fund is sitting in a corner, crying, after the battering it has received. And Cat Daddy and I may well go and join in.

Here is Le Roi just after he returned home, displaying his macho shaven arm like a tattoo sleeve. Quel. Fichu. Salaud. 

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Ma plus grande faiblesse est ma sensibilité

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We have had a wonderful time in Somerset with Cat Daddy’s hilarious family. (Who else but they would be bonkers enough to wear sombreros and make margaritas on Christmas Day?) But, sadly, our festivities were somewhat marred by the fact that I am still ill, with all-night coughing and sweating. Being ill at Christmas really is the pits, because the next person to be struck down will probably get it in time for New Year’s Eve, and will definitely know that it’s from you (and hate you for it). And now I have come home to a cat who couldn’t care less if he tried, which isn’t helping.

Louis Catorze doesn’t like sick people. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that it’s more than mere “dislike”: it’s pure and unadulterated contempt. On Christmas Eve I happened to sneeze whilst sitting next to him, and the little sod glared at me and let out a nasty meow of utter loathing. He wasn’t even on my lap at the time, but clearly his abhorrence was such that he couldn’t/wouldn’t tolerate my sickness even on the periphery of his cosy little Boys’ Club bubble.

If cats can have a sixth sense for unhelpful things such as paranormal activity and when their humans are coming home from work, why the heck can’t they pick up on the fact that we are sick and show us a little love? Or, at the very least, just not be such cruel and heartless shites?

I am presently curled up at one end of the sofa, sneezing, sniffing and guzzling green tea with mint. Cat Daddy and his boy are cuddled up together at the other end, watching what appears to be every single Mike Tyson fight, back to back, in chronological order. And I have just looked down into my tea and seen a clump of cat hair floating in it. I don’t suppose Cat Daddy will make me any more, because he can’t possibly disturb Sa Majesté.

Perhaps, next Christmas, I should remind Catorze that Santa only visits good kitties who are kind to their mammas?

La loi de l’emmerdement maximum

How to make your cat sick: brag to all your friends about how well he is. Sod’s Law – or, in this case, Little Sod’s Law – decrees that all will turn to merde after that.

Tomorrow is my birthday, and my family had arranged to come over today for a 2pm birthday lunch at our favourite pub. So, naturellement, Louis Catorze picked 1:30pm to start walking with a limp, shaking his back right foot and swearing at anyone who tried to take a closer look at it.

Whilst I would have been ok with leaving it until the next day given that the little sod was moderately content and not in the worst agony, the vet isn’t open on Sundays. And I didn’t dare leave it until Monday in case it was something awful. So Cat Daddy drew the short straw and agreed to take him to the only available appointment today, which was right in the middle of our lunch.

Usually we are seen on time and are out of the vet’s within 15 minutes. Not today. When Cat Daddy got there there was a dog and a cat in the queue ahead of him, and Louis Catorze managed to rouse the cat into some sort of angry rap battle during the long wait. When that cat was seen, he turned out to be a complicated case and wasn’t out for ages.

The good news is that Louis Catorze only has a minor cut on his foot. The bad news is that Cat Daddy had to pay £80 for the treatment and missed his main course at my birthday lunch. And the even worse news is that we have to give Catorze 2 lots of medication by syringe (an antibiotic and an anti-inflammatory) a total of 3 times a day for a week. This is quite a horrifying thought, not only because he will shred us to pieces but because we haven’t had to assault him with medication for some time now. The trust that had started to build up over the last few months will now be gone in an instant, and he will probably never come near us again.

And oh my goodness: I have just checked the medication, and one of them is a weird powder that has to be transformed into a liquid. So I’ll need to perform some sort of spooky alchemy before I can even give the darned thing to him.

Please wish me luck. I’m really going to need it.

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Il faut qu’on parle de Louis

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Have you read the book – or, if you’re a low-brow pleb like me, seen the film – “We Need To Talk About Kevin”?

The title character is a boy who, throughout his life, is as sweet as a marron glacé to his father but a total monster to his mother, psychologically tormenting her and haunting her nightmares. The book/film culminates in Kevin murdering several of his classmates.

I am still ill. And Louis Catorze still doesn’t give a shit.

HE IS KEVIN.

“I don’t think this is true,” said Cat Daddy, reading this over my shoulder. “Louis can be monstrous with me at times, too.” Ok. That just makes it worse.

We had my cousin and her husband staying with us this weekend and Louis Catorze was all over them, purring, nuzzling and sleeping on their laps. I must admit I was mildly put out, but I thought, “My turn will come later.”

Nope.

When he came to bed with me last night, I thought that perhaps he had finally sprouted a goutte of feeling for his maman malade. But, the minute I sneezed, he meowed in disdain – yes, he actually VOICED his annoyance – and shuffled further down the bed, away from me.

Normally, when guests leave, they joke about me having to check their bags, such is their temptation to take our delightful little cat with them. This time, however, I was hovering awkwardly around my cousin’s Louis Vuitton and wondering how I could shove the little sod IN.

L’esclave est malade

I often read others’ stories about how cats instinctively know when you are sick and respond by snuggling you back to wellness. Louis Catorze instinctively knows, too, but unfortunately he doesn’t give a shit; here he is, displaying his “You’re ill? Pardonne-moi whilst my heart breaks” look.

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I have had a bad couple of days with a headache, sore throat and temperature. Catorze has been “empathising” by repeatedly entering and exiting the bedroom, meowing, walking up and down my body and rubbing cold, wet fur in my face. (How he manages to get wet when it’s not raining outside – pond? river? bucket of water from exasperated neighbour? – is up there with Le Triangle des Bermudes in terms of eternally unsolvable mysteries.) And this didn’t happen just once: we’re talking at least once every hour, over the course of a whole night.

As a result, far from feeling comforted by my nursemaid’s sensitive attentions, I want to kick his selfish little arse.

Naturellement, when HE’S the one who’s unwell, he’s the most miserable sod ever to walk the earth; when his allergy takes hold, he pretty much goes into hiding and we’re not even sure where he goes. This happened a lot when he first came to live with us, including during that initial period of house arrest when you get a new cat, and our reaction was to panic that he’d somehow broken through our maximum security penitentiary blockades and escaped out of the house. I would be phoning neighbours, trawling the streets shaking a pack of cat biscuits (this was before we found out that he didn’t like food, obviously), and all the while the little sod would be holed up in a dark corner somewhere within the house, sulking.

We weren’t thrilled at the thought of having a cat that nobody ever saw, but we accepted it as a consequence of our decision to have a special needs cat. Now, of course, we know that hiding away is not an intrinsic part of his personality but a symptom of his illness (although sometimes I wish he would make himself scarce between 11pm and 7am to allow us some sleep).

I’m presently lying on the sofa under a blanket, surrounded by green tea, tissues and pills. Louis Catorze just came in from outside, yelled, shook water all over me and went back out again.

They really do treat us like dirt sometimes, don’t they? Mind you, we’re the ones at fault because, time and time again, we let them.