Entre le chat et son maître, il n’y a que le saut d’une puce

662F11CD-B9E0-4B4F-BF02-343413195030Cat Daddy: “Why don’t you give Louis his flea treatment now?”

Me: “He’s moving around too much. It’ll be easier if I pounce when he’s asleep and unsuspecting.”

Cat Daddy: “Just hold him down.”

Me: “Trust me, he’ll holler and kick and the treatment will go all over me instead of on him.”

Cat Daddy, sighing and doing that “Oh, for crying out loud” face: “Give it to me. I’ll do it.”

Me: “Fine. But you’ll be sorry.”

He was. But at least he will be free of fleas for a month. 

Pity the same can’t be said of Louis Catorze. 

Les caresses de chat donnent des puces

C584A943-212A-47E7-9B98-81566F8D670CMy plan to make Louis Catorze a zero-waste kitty has reached an obstacle: spot-on flea treatment. Not only is the market fairly limited in terms of products – with some well known to be utterly useless – but not a single one is plastic-free. So it won’t be quite as simple as swapping brands, as we did with the little sod’s food. 

Louis Catorze uses Broadline, which has the added benefit of also treating worms and therefore absolving us of the Greco-Roman death-wrestle when we try to get a worming pill into him. Each little vial comes individually wrapped in a plastic tray with a peel-off film cover. Whilst I can see why vets and pet shops would want such packaging for sterility, I wrote to the manufacturer to ask if there may be another option for at-home users.

The response – which, unbelievably, came from a lovely customer services lady named Cat – was that the packaging was needed to keep the product stable and to comply with some fancy-sounding European safety law. 

(When I told others about Cat, very worryingly a couple of friends told me that the name must just be a coincidence, as if I genuinely thought the company might only recruit people with animal names or, worse, that I thought they had an actual cat managing their customer service enquiries.)

I wrote back to Broadline Cat and asked if they were doing anything to find an alternative to plastic. I understood about the product stability – after all, we wouldn’t want rancid chemicals to cause Catorze to mutate and turn into the scary Monsieur Hyde version of himself – but, given the ticking time bomb that is single-use plastic, I hoped that there might be another way. (Cat Daddy remarked that Catorze already IS the scary, mutant Monsieur Hyde version, and that a cocktail of putrid chemicals couldn’t possibly make things worse in that respect.)

Broadline Cat replied as follows: 

“Please rest assured that Boehringer Ingelheim continuously look to make improvements where possible to improve our environmental impact. Whilst there is nothing more we can share currently on this particular area, we will ensure to raise this with global manufacturing and supply chain colleagues working on our environmental programmes.”

I don’t know what the solution is for packaging spot-on flea treatment. But I hope Broadline Cat will be true to her word and that they will continue to look for one. 

Un médicament amer peut sauver la vie

Cat Daddy has been feeling a little sheepish and guilty for the last couple of days. This is not just because he didn’t believe me when I told him that Louis Catorze was bleeding, but also because he is now paranoid that he caused the injury through too-rough rough play.

Although this is highly unlikely, we have started to be a little more gentle with our poor boy. Unfortunately this is not mutual, as Catorze has been fighting like a rabid hell-hound every time I attempt to give him his eye ointment and, quite frankly, it’s a miracle that I haven’t accidentally stabbed him in the eye with the tube and made the injury worse. Being a cream rather than a watery liquid, it’s quite tricky to apply, even when one is not also holding down a writhing, screaming animal with the strength of 10 grizzly bears. If I don’t take off the lid in advance of the application it means I’m fumbling around trying to do it whilst also doing the Greco-Roman death-wrestle, but if I DO take off the lid in advance of the application, the little sod smells the ointment and does a runner. 

Day 1 was not very successful as I was on target with the eye ointment but it splurged all over Catorze’s face as well. There was also the added stress of it being a Broadline day, so I had a total of THREE Greco-Roman death-wrestles to deal with that day. Day 2 was, sadly, much like Day 1. And on Day 3 I tried to reduce the pressure on the tube by 90% but this appeared to reduce the splurge by only about 0.3%. When the little sod came to offer forgiveness cuddles later on, he took me by surprise by approaching with completely noiseless pitter-pattering, and, as he jumped onto my stomach with no warning, my scream of, “JEEESUS, Louis!” sent him scuttling off again, making me feel like an absolute monster.

Tomorrow is Day 5. This really, really cannot end soon enough. 

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Les mûres de la colère

Yesterday evening Cat Daddy and I marked the end of Psychological Summer with some celebratory fizz in the garden, and all was going well until I wiped Louis Catorze’s weepy eyes with some tissue and discovered that one was oozing blood. 

I am generally of the view that, if Catorze is well enough to eat, drink and scream, then he’s fine. But blood is never, ever good. Despite Cat Daddy’s protests that it was “probably just blackberry juice”, I rang the vet in a panic and booked a 6:30 appointment, then rang again and made a 6:50 appointment when the little sod did a runner and I realised that we wouldn’t be able to catch him in time for 6:30.

After barricading the cat flap so that he couldn’t escape back out again, cornering him and stuffing him into his pod, we took him, screaming, to the vet. Whilst Cat Daddy rolled his eyes and continued to mutter things about blackberry juice, the vet first tested for eye ulcers by dropping a scary fluorescent green liquid into Catorze’s eyes – to the sound of Cat Daddy’s giggles and daft questions about whether it would make Catorze glow in the dark – and then peered under his upper eyelids where she discovered that he had cut himself. I prayed that we wouldn’t have to do the Greco-Roman death-wrestle to shove medication down his throat, only to be told the horrifying news that we would have to shove it into his EYE instead. Twice a day, for 5 days. Oh. Seigneur. Dieu. 

“Do you know how he might have cut his eye?” I asked. 

“It could have been any number of things,” the vet replied. “Scratching himself, or catching it on something. Possibly a plant.”

Cat Daddy: “Could it have been a blackberry plant?”

[Silence, tumbleweed, crickets.]

Anyway, a few minutes and £44 later, we were back at Le Château finishing our fizz and Catorze was happily pitter-pattering around us. The only indication that we had been to the vet was Cat Daddy complaining about the almighty cost for such a tiny injury and still insisting that it was blackberry juice and not blood. 

And, to make matters worse, I had a stressful evening and a fitful night’s sleep because Catorze later disappeared, which is unlike him; he now tends to forgive us quite quickly for vet visits and his days of Le Grand Mega-Sulk are long gone. I was terrified that he had reacted to the fluorescent green stuff and gone somewhere quiet to die, but I discovered this morning that we had forgotten to unbarricade the cat flap and so the poor little sod had been stuck outside all night. As I write this, I am giving him guilt-cuddles on the sofa whilst I drink my morning teapigs tea, feeling like the second-worst human being ever (with Cat Daddy being the worst, for his refusal to believe me when I said I’d seen blood) and wondering how the flip I am going to hold him still and get this medication into his eye. 

To prove a point to Cat Daddy: one of the pictures below is of what I wiped from Catorze’s eye, and the other is blackberry juice. Spot la différence?

Croisons les doigts …

5EF3EADF-1D92-4DCF-9CFF-6045FAB00153At the weekend, whilst we were lying in bed giving him cuddles, Louis Catorze chased his tail again.

We let him do it, just to see how long it would go on (happily it was no more than a few seconds) and to see if we could ascertain whether it was playful or something more sinister, but we couldn’t tell. In fact, we didn’t even really know what we were looking out for; I had this idea that sharp pounces were playful and that smoother, more seamless chasing were sinister but there’s no science in that.

Catorze has been Gabapentin-free and doing well for 2 months now, so it would be devastating beyond belief for him to start displaying symptoms again. Please send the little sod your good wishes: not so much “get well” but “don’t you DARE get sick again.”

A genoux

We are so grateful to our eagle-eyed French friend who, during our absence, reported cramp-like symptoms in Louis Catorze’s back left foot, causing him to limp and whine a little.

Because this only happened a total of 3 times during our 2-week holiday, and never for more than a minute each time, we didn’t ask her to bundle Louis Catorze into his pod and take him to the vet. But, when I witnessed it twice the day after our return, I decided to take him myself. And, fortunately, I also took the precaution of filming the limping, because I knew that the little sod would refuse to demonstrate it to the vet when it really mattered.

I had been quite upset the night before the appointment, wondering whether he was on some sort of painful, nerve-related, post-Gabapentin comedown, so it was actually a relief to be told that he had dislocated his knee. Apparently there are 4 levels of severity when it comes to dislocated joints, and Catorze’s is the lowest level due to the fact that it pops easily back into place each time, enabling him to walk normally again immediately afterwards. But there’s nothing we can do about it other than give him Metacam for pain relief and monitor him to make sure that it doesn’t deteriorate.

The vet also told us not to allow Louis Catorze to become overweight, as excess chub would put stress on the knee joint. I assured him that, because Catorze doesn’t like food of any kind, this would be no problem whatsoever.

Cat Daddy, later: “Another defect to add to his list of defects. I guess it’s all part of being the runt of the litter.”

Actually, given that Cat Daddy himself has knee problems, and that my neck pain sometimes requires me to have steroid injections, it would appear that Louis Catorze is … turning into his parents.

Here he is, treating his dislocated knee with the sensible caution that it deserves:

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Le Roi est content: vive Le Roi!

This week we seem to have been disproportionately busy with pointless things. Firstly, I excitedly took delivery of a mystery parcel, only to discover that it was the beeswax candles that I had ordered to combat the hay fever that Louis Catorze doesn’t have.

And, secondly, after a whole day spent trying to capture the sneezing and wheezing on video so that the vet could see it, I have had the embarrassment of telling them to ignore said video on account of the fact that Catorze wasn’t unwell: he had just snorted a blade of grass.

The good news, however, is that the little sod’s Gabapentin taper is going brilliantly, and he has managed to defy the odds and get down to 1 x 25mg every other day. The vet is surprised and delighted that we have managed to keep it under control with such a low dose, which isn’t typical of the other cats on his feline hyperesthesia forum. And he is continuing to eat Pill Pockets, so the Greco-Roman combat is well and truly a thing of the past. So, if this positive snap continues, hopefully the meds will be completely gone by August and he will be able to have a nice, substance-free summer (apart from the steroid jabs).

Here is a very rare shot of Catorze snuggling ME, rather than his daddy, on our outdoor sofa, the day after l’extraction de l’herbe. I like to think of this as his way of saying, “Merci, Maman.”

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