On est de retour!

We British “sit” everything, from pets to houses to plants. And, apparently, the only things that the French “sit” are babies. Yet this hasn’t stopped me from referring to Équipe Une and Équipe Deux as “les chat-sitteurs”, with “chat-sitteur”, rather like “professeur”, being an invariable noun, as “chat-sitteuse” sounds somewhat absurd despite both Équipes being female. (This was the basis of my conversation with Cat Daddy on the flight back from Belfast, until he put on his headphones a few minutes in and pretended to be asleep.)

We are back from holiday and, whilst it didn’t go entirely to plan, with both lost luggage and injuries preventing us from doing all that we wanted to do, it was a relief to escape the heatwave that has only just relinquished its hold on London. And it was nothing short of delightful to be able to sleep in without being jolted awake by screaming, rodent deliveries and suchlike.

That said, we did miss Louis Catorze, although he has had an absolute ball over the last couple of weeks and probably didn’t even notice/care that we had gone. Apart from bringing Équipe Une a rat* on their very first morning, he seems to have been the perfect host.

*Oui, Équipe Une: I may have given the impression that it was a mouse, but only because I didn’t want to scare you with the awful truth. When I saw the long, rangy limbs in your photo, I KNEW. Je suis désolée. Cat Daddy and I are still wondering how on earth Catorze managed to haul a beast half his body weight through the cat flap, and we are just grateful that it didn’t end up on your bed. Erm, see you again next summer? 

So life has resumed as normal. Cat Daddy and I are facing the mammoth task of undoing all the damage caused by eating our weight in potatoes for a fortnight (which will be a challenge, as my leg and his back are still done in). And Le Roi, no doubt, will go back to doing whatever it is that he does, although Cat Daddy’s too-rude-to-publish remark suggests that perhaps the little sod doesn’t contribute an enormous amount to the planet.

This image shows one of the places that we visited, whose name had a certain air of familiarity: 

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Où sont mes drogues?

Forget about the iceberg lettuce shortage: here at Le Château we’re going through the rather more desperate Gabapentin pill drought. There are none whatsoever in the whole of West London, and the vet isn’t sure when they will be able to get hold of any.

I received the bad news by phone whilst in a packed football stadium and never have I been more glad of the noise, because, to a casual eavesdropper, the conversation wouldn’t have sounded great: “No, I’ve never had any problem getting hold of pills before. Yes, I’ve ordered 100, but please may I make it 150 in case there’s a problem next time, too? No, I already have plenty of the powdered version, thank you. Yes, it’s definitely the pills that I want …”

Our situation with Louis Catorze is a bit like that film Speed, where they have to keep driving the bus at a minimum of 50 miles per hour otherwise it will blow up. If we don’t keep Catorze’s medication at a constant level, his symptoms are likely to come back … and there’s no way on earth I want to return to the bad old days of nightly yowling and hissing and a chewed, bleeding tail.

It’s a blessing that we at least have the powder, but administering it isn’t easy. For a start, Sa Majesté won’t eat it in jambon de Bayonne, I assume because, like garlic, its pungency increases when crushed, so he can smell it immediately. It’s too wispy and floaty to just throw into his open mouth, so I have to actually shove my fingers in … and there’s nothing more terrifying than having to touch the jaws and teeth of a snapping, hissing beast who wants me dead. And, although powder is harder to spit out than pills, the unpredictable consistency and the fact that Catorze fights like a brute mean there are far too many variables to be able to measure doses accurately: spillages on clothes, furniture, the floor, my hair and his fur, bits that remain stuck to my fingers, and so on. So I haven’t the faintest idea how much of the powder actually makes it into him.

Not that any of this seems to affect him long-term, though; his tail remains intact and he is continuing to eat, drink and pitter-patter happily about Le Château, unaware of all the stress he is causing us.

Cat Daddy: “He’s aware. Of course he’s aware. He just doesn’t give a shit.”

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La terre se nourrit d’empreintes

Good news: despite our silly cat’s efforts to distract and interrupt the workmen, the patio area is almost done. Bad news: when choosing the colour of the paving slabs, we completely neglected to take into account Louis Catorze’s disgusting paws. See below for an indication of both the problem and Catorze’s level of contrition, summed up perfectly in a single shot. (The photo is actually a still from a video of the cheeky little sod rolling.)

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Le Roi’s footprints have had a curious mind of their own lately, appearing in odd places such as the middle of the bathroom yet with no trail of prints leading up to that point. Of course, those ones can easily be cleaned whereas, sadly, it seems that there’s not much we can do about the patio ones. We went through our options the other day, which appear to be as follows:

1. Ask Cultivate London to take up all the slabs and replace them with darker ones. (Rather princessy and embarrassing, so no.)
2. Spend half an hour a day cleaning the patio. (A pain in the arse, so no.)
3. Ban Catorze from the patio. (He would ignore us and go out there regardless, so no.)
4. Rehome Catorze. (Nobody would have him, so no.)

(The last 2 were Cat Daddy’s idea.)

Cat Daddy spent half the weekend on the Wickes website, looking for some sort of high-pressure water jet thing “to hose down that unsightly, God-awful mess”.

I hope he was talking about the paw prints.

Les mains sales

The nice gentlemen from Cultivate London have been working at Le Château for several days now, although I’m surprised they’re getting anything done at all, what with Louis Catorze’s work-halting flirting and rolling. Despite the fact that they’ve had to drag concrete, soil and plant matter through the house to dispose of it, there’s not been a speck of dirt anywhere; every day they leave the place so whistle-clean that we could eat our dinner off the floor if we wanted to. (Luckily we don’t.)

Louis Catorze, however, has had other ideas. Today, we came home from work to find this mess on the arm of the sofa:

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There were further grubby paw prints all over the floor, yet no traces of human footprints anywhere in the house. So it looks as if one of the following things has happened:

1. The workmen cleaned their own footprints but inexplicably decided to leave the paw prints intact.
2. Louis Catorze waited until they had scrubbed the place down and THEN did this.

Quel salaud.

Une seule rose peut être mon jardin

Cat Daddy and I have kick-started our garden makeover plans, which fell to the wayside somewhat last summer. Today, some people from Cultivate London – a local social enterprise who train unemployed people to become gardening experts – came to start work on our new patio.

Because Louis Catorze loves strange men, we assumed he would be fine with the workmen. And he was: he greeted them by galloping down the garden, screaming, then he lay across the path, flipping, rolling and getting in their way. The problem, it turns out, was not the workmen, but the cardboard and the dust sheets that were laid down to protect the floors; poor Louis Catorze was utterly freaked out by these and tiptoed gingerly over them as if walking through shards of glass.

Cat Daddy wondered whether he should lock him in a room until the work was done, but Catorze saved him the bother by sneaking into the shed and getting stuck there. Several hours, Cat Daddy – who was working from home – wondered where he was, then followed the sound of the pitiful whining and released the silly sod.

It’s going to be some time before the royal gardens will be fully ready for Le Roi, but we hope he will be as happy in Les Jardins as he is in Le Château. We can’t wait for the warmer weather when we will see him pitter-pattering about, chatting to leaves and generally being a weirdo.

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J’adore mes invités

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This weekend Louis Catorze had another visit from one of his many internet admirers. Cat Daddy rolled his eyes when I told him of this lady’s impending arrival. “Not because I mind people coming,” he said, “but because it must be such a massive anti-climax for them when they see Louis.”

Excuse-moi?

“They’re probably too polite to say, ‘We came all the way here for THIS?'” he continued. “And I don’t suppose it’s possible for them to post a message on the forum warning others not to bother coming, without you reading it too. So there’s going to be a perpetual stream of people coming, feeling disappointed and then leaving. Like being trapped in an eternal cycle of samsara without ever reaching nirvana.”

At this point I had to Google what the heck he was on about, hoping to catch him out by saying, “Actually, samsara is Hindu but nirvana is Buddhist” or some such thing but, annoyingly, he appeared to have got it right.

I told Cat Daddy that everyone who had visited Louis Catorze thus far had found him nothing but delightful (although this is probably because, when he’s feeling unwell and anti-social, I don’t have people round). “In that case, we should give everyone something to make their pilgrimage worthwhile,” Cat Daddy said. “Like those rosaries and trinkets that they sell at Lourdes. I think it would be hilarious to arm all the cat freaks in London with Louis Catorze stuff.”

Ok, so … you think people would be disappointed by our cat so, to compensate them, you wish to give them a keepsake of said disappointing cat? A keepsake in the style of a SAINTLY RELIC? There is no logic whatsoever in that, yet I do agree that it would be funny. A little creepy, and the kind of thing that some sort of subversive cult leader would do, but also funny.

So I shall happily take suggestions from Le Roi’s followers: what sort of merchandise would make you feel adequately recompensed for an “anti-climactic” trip to TW8? Fridge magnets? Key rings? Prayer candles? Do please reply and let us know. And, if you have already visited him, don’t worry: retrospective gifts can be sent to you so that you don’t miss out, even if you have come from overseas.

Oh my. So one day Louis Catorze is washing his arse and puking on the floor, and the next he’s being deified. No doubt this would seem weird to most but, when it comes to him and his ridiculous life, tout est possible.