Je bouffe, donc je suis

After several months of a carefully-orchestrated changeover and regular snippy comments from Cat Daddy about the slowness of it all, Louis Catorze has now fully transitioned from Acana Pacifica to Lily’s Kitchen. So he is well on his way to becoming a zero-waste kitty. (Cat Daddy: “Apart from the waste that comes out of his arse end.”) 

Better yet, he genuinely seems to like the Lily’s Kitchen better, which is quite the accomplishment for a cat who, generally speaking, doesn’t like food. He actually comes running when he hears the biscuits rattling and sometimes clears his plate, neither of which he used to do before, and I feel almost* guilty that we have subjected him to merely satisfactory food until now. 

*Almost, but not quite. Louis Catorze leads a life of luxury and certainly doesn’t need our sympathy. 

Whilst I am delighted that our boy is happy and that he has actively reduced his carbon pawprint, I hope we won’t lose the many advantages of a cat who doesn’t like food. It is an absolute joy to be able to leave human food on the kitchen worktop, knowing that it will be safe. It’s also great to be able to go out for a whole day, having put down 2 meals’ worth of food, and know that the little sod will make it last. His big brother Luther was very much a guzzler rather than a grazer; his inability to pace himself meant that, if we were going out, we would always have to make arrangements for someone to come and feed him. I recall my mum once witnessing his gluttony and saying, “That food was meant to last him until the evening. When you gave it to him, did you not EXPLAIN?” 

Here is Catorze’s custom-made feeding station (created by the builders upon Cat Daddy’s orders), which houses his black kitty feeding mat (gifted by my sister) and his vintage French bowl (gifted by one of his best-loved pilgrims). La vie est belle.

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Le chat vit pour manger

Someone appears to have stolen Louis Catorze – quite why anyone would do this is beyond me – and replaced him with a similar-looking changeling cat who actually likes food.

For the first time EVER, this morning he pulled the Second Breakfast trick on Cat Daddy, who fell for it completely. When I got home I was berated for “forgetting” to feed Catorze before going to work when I knew full well that I had done it, and it was then that the little sod was rumbled.

This has never happened before. Quite the opposite, in fact: Le Roi’s plate is usually never empty.

His big brother, Luther, was different. When it came to the Second Dinner trick, he would have beaten Leonardo di Caprio to that Best Actor Oscar, without a doubt; too often I would be scrabbling through bins, accompanied by the sound of Luther’s “I’m starving to death” song, counting the empty food cans to work out whether I’d fed him 20 minutes previously or whether I’d dreamt the whole episode. And he once did such a number on Cat Daddy that he said, in all seriousness, “Maybe we didn’t feed him after all. Maybe we just THINK we did.”

Luther’s pièce de résistance was this:

1. Luther refuses the food that Cat Daddy puts down
2. Cat Daddy puts down another variant on the same plate (the single action that proved to be his undoing)
3. Luther eats Variant 2
4. After Cat Daddy leaves for work, Luther also eats Variant 1
5. Cat Daddy returns home, sees the empty plate and assumes I must have thrown away the uneaten food

We have no idea how many times he did this. It could have been hundreds.

I can’t see Louis Catorze suddenly sprouting a brain and being as wily as his brother, but, to be honest, given that November is usually the month that his health hits the skids, we’re delighted that he’s eating firsts, never mind seconds.

And the lime scent is back with a vengeance, affirming Cat Daddy’s belief that it’s “just a healthy cat smell”. Again, it could be so much worse, so we’re just going to enjoy it.

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Le repas de Noël

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One of the best parts of the Yuletide season has been reading online about other pets’ attempts to steal their humans’ festive fare, smug in the knowledge that I never have to worry about this. Firstly, as you know, Louis Catorze doesn’t like food (pictured above, showing conspicuous indifference to the Christmas Day cheese board). And, secondly, he wore himself out so much with his Christmas morning madness that he spent the whole of the afternoon and evening sleeping it off. So Cat Daddy was left to prepare our dinner utterly unbothered and in peace, and, whilst we didn’t leave the turkey to defrost on the floor, we could have done so had we wanted to. JUST BECAUSE WE COULD.

My first childhood cat, Misha, a gigantic pinstripe tuxedo cat the size of a tank, was one of my favourite and most memorable cats. No food was safe from him; everything had to be locked away because he just couldn’t be trusted. One Christmas we let our guard down, and my aunt caught him on the kitchen counter with his face in a huge bowl of her home-made brandy butter. Had this happened recently it would have been an emergency vet situation, but, back then, things were different and I’m not sure whether the out-of-hours vet even existed. My mum carried Misha back to his cat bed, with his limbs flopping drunkenly in all directions, and, after a short nap, he was fine.

My brother-in-law’s family dog, Rufus, once managed to swallow a duck whole, in the time it took for his dad to leave the kitchen and sign for a parcel at the door. When he returned there were no bones, no mess, no sign of Rufus having struggled with the fresh-from-the-oven heat. In fact, there was nothing to say that the duck had even existed, and, had the dog’s face not been covered in sauce, he may well have concluded that he’d dreamed the whole cooking process.

Louis Catorze’s sparring partner, Oscar the dog from next door, is the supplier of yet another incident of food thievery, and made me the funniest person of all my friends when I repeated it. His folks once saw him flash past them with what appeared to be a white frisbee in his mouth, and it turned out that Oscar had stolen the Camembert that they’d taken out of the fridge 2 hours beforehand to bring it to room temperature. One can, of course, always pop to the shops and buy another Camembert, but nothing can erase that fruitless – or rather, cheeseless – 2-hour wait.

The one problem with a pet who doesn’t like food is, of course, what to do with Yuletide leftovers when they’re past their best but too good to throw away; Luther was the perfect food dustbin, but his little brother is useless. Cat Daddy is away at his parents’ place until tomorrow and he’s convinced that the turkey will still be fine upon his return. If in doubt, however, I might just deliver it to Oscar the dog as a peace offering from his cher ami.