Grâce à l’amour des chats

My sister and her family (husband, boys aged nine and seven, and a girl of ten months) came to visit at the weekend.

Louis Catorze enjoys having visitors but he especially likes children and is very patient with them, allowing them to pick him up and manhandle him. If children stay overnight, Catorze often sleeps at their feet like a little guardian daemon keeping watch, and we have complete confidence leaving him with them (older ones, rather than babies).

Although Sa Maj is the devil himself, his evil seems to be reserved for mind-bending psychological games with me rather than meanness towards children. He has an inner code of conduct decreeing that he shall be as sweet as candy towards guests, particularly kids, and I try to ignore the fact that the main aim of this is to make me look stupid when I complain about how horrid he is.

My baby niece loves cats. She has a special shriek of delight reserved for her own cat, King Ghidorah, and she looks for him around the room when she hears his name. I played her some of the 8,094 cat videos on my phone and, interestingly, whilst she watched and listened, transfixed, to Catorze’s ear-bleeding screaming, she showed a clear preference for the more melodic, dainty meowing of Cocoa the babysit cat.

My sister tactfully suggested that perhaps the painful, grating sound of Catorze’s voice “wasn’t quite as recognisable as that of a cat”. We know. Try living with it.

Sa Maj’s presence was a little more scarce during this most recent visit. He was happy with the boys (see below) and even spent some time hanging out in their room, giving them a real fright then they thought that black lump on the bed was one of their towels.

Reserved but comfortable.

He was a little less sure of the youngest, having not seen a baby in a while:

Sa Maj says, “Bof.”

However, Blue the Smoke Bengal was much more obliging, leaning right in and rubbing his face against her:

Smiles all round.

Here are the kids with their feline brother King Ghidorah:

Happy tail.
Reading time for the boys.
Happy tail once again.

Malade? Moi?

“He can’t be that unwell if he’s managing to do THAT” is set to become the third most common refrain here at Le Château, after “What the hell is WRONG with him?” and “If any neighbours ask, just say it must have been some other cat.”

My sister and her daughter came to visit at the weekend and, as you know, Louis Catorze loves kids. However, rather than showing affection to my niece (aged 4) when she was awake, he decided to visit her after she had been put to bed to stir up trouble.

The grown-ups’ chosen horror film for the evening (which was unbelievably rubbish, but that’s not the point) was repeatedly interrupted by “Loooouis!”, then giggling and thumping, then feline screaming, then more “Loooouis!”, more giggling and so on.

After around 90 minutes of this sleep deprivation torture, my niece was so over-tired that she lost her rag and bawled. Catorze’s work here was done, so he left my sister to mop up the carnage and pitter-pattered out to join Storm Dennis in wreaking neighbourhood havoc.

If you have sent him get-well vibes, merci. We could, however, use a few more behave-yourself vibes.

Party all night!

Sésame, ouvre-toi!

Louis Catorze is spending more time outdoors now that the weather is warmer. He comes and goes freely at The Back but is also showing more interest in The Front, where he is only allowed under supervision, and these supervised sessions usually look like this:

image

Yes, the little sod has FINALLY realised that there is a whole world out there and he happily passes time sitting on the window sill, watching people, dogs and birds go by, whilst we keep an eye on him through the window. When he’s had enough he pops back in again – or, if the window is open at the top rather than the bottom, he meows at the door and we let him in.

Yesterday afternoon a couple of passing kids stopped to talk to him. We couldn’t hear exactly what they were saying because it had rained that morning so the windows were shut, although we did catch the gist of a debate about whether he was a boy or a girl. (Much to Cat Daddy’s chagrin, they appeared to settle on the latter.)

Then, after several minutes of happy cooing and cuddling, there was a knock at the door. My heart froze. My first thought was that Louis Catorze might have scratched one of them, although we hadn’t heard a scream, and such behaviour is VERY unlike him because he’s great with kids. Deep down I knew that this probably wasn’t the case, but I’m a little paranoid about passers-by and cat attacks ever since a couple of Halloweens ago, when our previous street’s resident Ginger Impinger sat on our front window sill, convinced everyone that he was part of our Halloween window display, and ended up scratching one of the trick-or-treaters.

Cat Daddy eventually answered the door. It was one of the kids, who cheerfully informed us that our cat wanted to come in. Then her slightly older sister/buddy chimed in, “She looked as if she’d had enough attention and went to the door, so we thought we’d knock and let her in.”

Cat Daddy thanked them, but was mortified beyond words that passers-by would have to stop and let Louis Catorze into his own house. But, if Larry the Downing Street cat can have a designated duty police officer to open the door for him (that’s why that police officer is employed, right?), then why shouldn’t the Sun King call upon random strangers to do the same thing?

I wanted to say that to the kids. But I’m not sure they would have got it.

La panacée du Roi

“What a pity January is almost over, just as things were getting good,” said absolutely nobody, ever.

It’s a difficult month at the best of times, even when the sharply cold temperatures and bright white frost give a kind of feeling of newness and freshness. But this January, far from being sharply cold or frosty-bright white, has been especially grim: grey, damp, clammy and sluggish. I can’t wait for it to end.

Louis Catorze, however, couldn’t give a hoot either way.

All is going phenomenally well in his little world, which means, at least, that someone has had a positive month. His black cat mojo is bursting at the seams at the moment and he looks magnificent. Cat Daddy usually lets out a snort of contempt when I say this, deriding Catorze’s “drug-addled state” and muttering something about him only appearing attractive if you look from a long way off and squint a bit. But I don’t care how far away you have to stand or how he got this way: I’ll still take it.

Here he is, looking menacing and demonstrating the right hook that (possibly) knocked out his mystery opponent at Le Fight Club:

image

It’s not just his physical appearance that has improved: everything about him just seems easier when he’s well. Even the medication and the Advocate, whilst not exactly fun, aren’t so bad, with the Post-Meds Sulk seemingly a thing of the past; whereas previously he would run away afterwards and hide for hours (or for the whole day, as he did on his first day with us when I crunched his tail under my knee by accident), now he comes back for cuddles.

He’s had a fair few visitors throughout January and he’s been on fine form for them all: sociable, affectionate and even happily allowing 3 kids aged 5 and under to simultaneously manhandle him. Poor Luther would have walked through hellfire to avoid such a thing – in fact, most normal cats would – but we all know, don’t we, that Louis Catorze is not a normal cat?

He’s due at the vet’s for his next steroid shot in a couple of weeks. I really hope this run of good luck holds out until then.