Le cri est bien souvent plus gros que la bête

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Cat Daddy popped out yesterday morning to go to Cocoa the babysit cat’s place. On his way back, he saw from a distance that Oscar the dog’s family had gathered on the pavement outside Le Château … and, as he approached, he heard the unmistakable, fingernails-down-the-blackboard sound of Louis Catorze’s excruciating screaming. 

It turned out that, as usual, the little sod had slipped out unnoticed when Cat Daddy left. And, instead of just waiting for him to come back, he had decided to ambush Oscar’s family as they left the house and accompany them, screaming, to wherever it was that they were going. They were about to knock at the door to ask us to intervene when Cat Daddy approached. 

“He caused complete and utter havoc,” said Cat Daddy, when he later related the story to me. “They really didn’t know what to do.”

“Was the screaming loud?” I asked. 

“Oh yes. GOD, yes.” 

Oh. Well, it’s not as if we have to face them again anytime soon … except, erm, probably tomorrow, then every day forever more, on account of them being our next-door neighbours and good friends. 

Which means that we can expect more of the same, anytime soon. You’re welcome. 

L’homme au masque de fer

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*SPOILER ALERT: THIS BLOG ENTRY REVEALS THE ENDING OF “THE MAN IN THE IRON MASK”*

Someone once told me that my naming of Louis Catorze had “forever ruined French history for her”. So what better way to empathise with her concerns, and to give le royal nod to the recent Oscar winners, than to watch a historically-questionable Hollywood adaptation of an acclaimed Alexandre Dumas novel, giggling like a little child every time Louis XIV is mentioned?

The Sun King is played by a man from Los Angeles, D’Artagnan is from Dublin, and two of the three musketeers are from Illinois and the Isle of Wight. But, as someone who has convinced half the world that my cat from a North London rescue is a French monarch, I practically invented the suspension of disbelief. So this was no problem to me.

The similarities between Louis XIV and Louis Catorze are staggering, the main one being that both are tyrannical despots who live in luxury as the peasants, who are forced to fund their lavish lifestyles, languish in poverty. And the single, minor difference is that Louis XIV, according to musketeer Athos, “is cold and cruel, and cares only for himself” … which is not strictly true of our little sod as he also cares for Cat Daddy and male friends/neighbours/tradesmen/trick or treaters/Ocado delivery drivers.

The end of the film shows the human Louis clapped in irons and locked up in the dankest, most squalid part of the Bastille prison, which is not a million miles from what Cat Daddy has threatened when Louis Catorze has woken us in the night with his whining/scampering/rodent-bringing/bubble-wrap-popping. And the positive and uplifting conclusion of the film, apparently showing the Sun King bringing prosperity and peace to the citizens of France, was actually down to the actions of his (much nicer) impostor twin brother, Philippe.

Cat Daddy: “You see? I think we ended up with the wrong cat. I want to adopt Philippe. There has to be a Philippe out there for us.”

Maybe, but not quite yet … after all, the human Louis reigned for over 72 years.

What’s that in cat years?

Le locataire du Château

Cat Daddy and I have a guest staying with us at Le Château. Now, for most cats, a big deal such as a new housemate would need to be brokered with expert skill and precision; however, because this is Louis Catorze, and because our guest is male, we had a feeling everything would work out fine.

Mind you, I wasn’t prepared for Louis Catorze to love Houseguest Matt more than he loves me, nor for Houseguest Matt to be quite so smug about it.

This is how things have gone so far:

– Seconds after Houseguest Matt’s arrival: Catorze runs to welcome him
– Day 1: snuggly selfies on Houseguest Matt’s bed
– Day 6: Catorze steps over my lap to get to Houseguest Matt’s
– Day 7: Catorze starts sleeping on Houseguest Matt’s bed at night instead of ours [although Houseguest Matt has just read this over my shoulder and he informs me that, in actual fact, this began on Day 3]
– Day 11: The pair of them invent their own meowy language that only they understand
– Day 14: Houseguest Matt and I do that thing where you sit at opposite ends of the room and both call the cat’s name at the same time … and it doesn’t go well for me

I feel partly responsible for this as I should have stomped down on it after Day 1. But I was too laissez-faire, and now it’s probably too late.

And, far from feeling bad about stealing our cat, Houseguest Matt finds it hilarious. His standard response is: “He’s MY cat now! Mwahahahaha!”

The upside of all the treachery, of course, is the fact that we could do a lot worse than a guest who dotes on the little sod and looks after him better than we do; it certainly beats those who are neutral (as a couple have been) and those who take one look at him and run away, screaming (yup, this has happened, too). Le Roi has no idea how much he’s lucked out with Houseguest Matt … but, fortunately, we do.

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Le personnel domestique est de retour

Cat Daddy and I have been away for a few days; this was our first mini-holiday in years, due in part to my inconsistent health but also to the fact that Louis Catorze used to require medication every other day, and we didn’t think it fair to make a neighbour or a cat sitter do battle with him. We returned home on Friday to a strikingly glossy, healthy-looking Roi who was delighted to see his daddy again. (Me, not so much.)

Oscar the dog’s folks looked after him magnificently well in our absence, and we are super-grateful to them. (They came here to feed him, obviously; he didn’t go and live with them, although part of me thinks it would have been funny to try it.) Not only were we able to go away with peace of mind, knowing that the little sod would be loved, but their kindness also meant I didn’t have to write the embarrassing advert: “Wanted: cat sitter for tiny black cat with annoying voice that could strip paint. Must be prepared to referee turf wars with dogs and dispose of rats, birds, slugs and other assorted wildlife, living, dead or somewhere between the two.”

As you can see, normal service has very much resumed, with both daddy-love and newspaper impingement in progress. And Cat Daddy has come up with a solution to the newspaper problem: take advantage of the lack of binding or staples in a newspaper and separate it as soon as you see the cat approaching. Just make sure you end up with the decent half, and that the cat sits on the boring property bit.

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Le dimanche sanglant

Whilst last Sunday was officially Olympic Sensational Sunday to most British people, to Cat Daddy and me it will always be known as Le Jour du Rat.

This morning we were talking about the psychology behind cats’ offerings and why they bring them even if they’re well-fed. Some of the theories are as follows:

1. It’s part of an involuntary natural instinct
2. They are gifts borne out of love
3. Cats think we are rubbish hunters, so are attempting to show us how it ought to be done
4. Cats are little shits

What’s puzzling us about RatGate – apart from the rat’s curly hair, which appears to be bothering many Roi followers at the moment – is that the rat looked as if it had been dead for a little while. So … had Louis Catorze killed it ages ago, stored it in some unknown place and then artfully plated it up for his papa, like a Masterchef finalist presenting a piece of 21-day hung steak?

Or – and this is more likely – had the fox killed it and saved it for later, and was Catorze passing off the fox’s efforts as his own?

Either way, I remain traumatised by the whole event, replaying it in my mind over and over again. However, something tells me that Cat Daddy may have moved on:

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Je crie, donc je suis

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A couple of nights ago, Cat Daddy and I decided to go to our lovely local pub for dinner. It’s only at the end of our street – a short, 3-minute walk – so well within my diminished physical capabilities. Naturellement, as soon as we opened the front door to leave, Louis Catorze shot out like a speeding bullet and refused to be caught.

“Never mind,” I said. “We’ll only be an hour or two. He’ll just have to sit at The Front until we come back.”

Mais non: Louis Catorze had decided not only that he was coming with us, but that he would announce this fact very loudly to all within earshot.

“Oh dear,” I said, as we continued walking. “I’m sure he’ll shut up and go home in a minute.”

Mais non: the little sod continued to follow us, tail up, his screams ringing out embarrassingly through the street.

“Oh God,” said Cat Daddy. “He’d better not follow us all the way to the pub.”

Luckily, he didn’t: at that point, he decided to duck into a neighbour’s garden and carry on screaming.

Now, had that neighbour been an unknown person, we would have just left Sa Majesté to it, pretended we were nothing to do with him and kept walking, then picked him up on the way home. But, unfortunately, he happened to choose the house of someone whom we know quite well and who knows Catorze by sight. So, had they come out of their house to investigate the diabolical racket, it would have been shameful beyond words.

“We’re going to have to catch him and take him home, aren’t we?” said Cat Daddy. “And, seeing as you’re still not meant to be lifting things, I suppose I’m going to have to do it?”

Mais oui.

So Cat Daddy marched back down the street to where Louis Catorze still sat screaming, scooped him up with one hand like a fairground claw machine grabbing a soft toy, and carried him home. Not much is funnier than the sight of a highly annoyed man striding purposefully down the street, cradling a tiny, floppy, screaming cat.

We know quite a few of our neighbours and are on good terms with them (so far). Thank goodness none of them witnessed this.

Le tabouret du Roi

Cat Daddy recently bought a brand new scratching post. Now, it wasn’t because he wanted to do something nice for Louis Catorze: it was because he wanted to park in Pets at Home’s customers-only car park but didn’t want to be that despicable person who parks there without buying anything.

When he brought the scratching post home, Louis Catorze rushed immediately towards it, scratched happily away (see photo), and all was well with the world … for a whole 24 hours.

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The next day, Cat Daddy’s heart-stoppingly expensive footstool arrived, from the same company that supplied the swish drinks trolley (yes, THAT drinks trolley: https://jesuisleroisoleil.wordpress.com/2016/02/20/papa-est-decu/). Through some cruel ironie du sort, Louis Catorze now thinks the footstool is his scratching post. And to say that Cat Daddy is displeased about this could not be a bigger understatement.

He has tried to protect the footstool when not in use by leaning cushions against it, but the little sod just pulls them away. We have put the scratching post in front of the footstool, but Catorze just sidesteps it. Shouting “No!” at him when he starts to scratch usually works, but of course it doesn’t stop him from scratching when we’re not around.

Bits of the stitching and fabric are already starting to come away from the footstool, and we’ve only had it for a few days. Meanwhile, the scratching post is still as pristine as it was on the day it was made.

Although I hope that Louis Catorze will miraculously just stop scratching one day, deep down I know that the only solution is to get rid of the offending item.

Cat Daddy just read this over my shoulder and huffed, “I couldn’t have put it better myself – but who the hell would be stupid enough to have him?”

Actually, I meant … oh, never mind.