Traité du zen et de l’entretien des chats

Louis Catorze went for his booster injections yesterday, and what a drama it was.

Obviously he screamed and screamed in the waiting room as usual although, luckily, the only other presence was Poppet the Airedale terrier, who didn’t care and even appeared to wag her tail in time to the screaming. And her Dog Daddy’s glasses were all steamed up after coming in, so I am hoping that he won’t recognise me if he sees me again.

However, it was a new vet administering the shot and, somehow, she wasn’t able to handle a demonically-possessed Catorze in quite the same way that our usual vet does. Every time he thrashed, hissed or screamed, she would hesitate and back off, and there was a dog going ballistic in the next room, which didn’t help. Catorze made an absolute spectacle of himself although, for once, I couldn’t fully blame him. Like a rogue ouija board, he is absolutely lethal in the wrong hands.

I was about to suggest that we abandon the whole thing and try again next week, but that would have meant going through this pain for a second time. Eventually I told the poor vet to commit to the action and see it through, and to ignore any thrashing, hissing and screaming.

She did as I asked. Job done.

Catorze is now safely home and over his trauma, and is cheering himself up by watching some football with me. However, I don’t suppose he has ruled out exacting some excruciating revenge.

“Haunted bones, I command vous to curse the humans forever.”

Les garçons

At the weekend I had the displeasure of administering Louis Catorze’s spot-on flea treatment. Because he is such a bastard about it, I have never been able to part his fur and apply it to his skin; I tend to just fling the vial in his general direction and, if any micro-droplets happen to splash him, then it’s job done.

I’m joking, of course, but, by the time I’m done, there is so much liquid everywhere (except on him) that I might as well have done as described. It’s a wonder the whole house hasn’t been crawling with fleas, and I consider myself relatively fortunate that they have simply used Catorze as their toilettes and then scarpered.

Anyway, I launched a stealth attack on Le Roi whilst he was asleep, and there was the usual fight to the death before he ran and hid under the bed. I left him to it, feeling like the worst person in the world (again) but, in the time it took me to settle back down in front of the football, he had slipped silently downstairs, into the kitchen and gone to snitch to his papa. And, of course, Cat Daddy couldn’t wait to send me these:

Oh, come ON.
Don’t be fooled by that fake downcast look.

When I went to give Catorze an apology cuddle half an hour or so after the tragic event, he took off outside.

Me: “This is your fault. You’ve turned him against me.”

Cat Daddy: “Why is it my fault? You’re the one who disturbed his nice, peaceful nap. And, anyway, I didn’t turn him against you because …”

Me: “Because what?”

Him: “…”

Me: “You were going to say because he didn’t like me to start with, weren’t you?”

Him: “…”

Cat Daddy spent much of the evening TUC, with me having to skivvy around refilling his wine. (“I can’t turf you off my lap, Louis, can I? Not after the traumatic afternoon you’ve had.”)

So it looks as if I have been relegated from the second to the third favourite human in the house, which is tricky in a house of just two humans, but Catorze has managed to do it. No doubt I’ll be about twelfth by the end of the year, whether or not we gain ten new housemates between now and then.

Des substances qui améliorent la performance

Cat Daddy and I are off on holiday today. At a time when petrol prices are astronomical, what better thing to do than, erm, a two-week road trip?

Earlier this week we took Louis Catorze to the vet for his steroid injection. To be honest he wasn’t desperately in need, but our other options were to wait until we returned home from holiday (nope) or have our chat-sitteur take him to the vet (hell, nope).

Our cleaning lady started vacuuming just before we set off for the appointment, and the sound of the vacuum cleaner turns Catorze into a feral, screaming hell-beast. So that didn’t really help us. However, at least no dogs were waiting in the Dog Area. When that happens, it never goes well.

Once, when I arrived at the surgery, there was an Oscar the dog lookalike in the Dog Area. Although Catorze and I obediently complied with the apartheid system and sat in the Cat Area, the reception is fairly small. So the opposing factions were able to eyeball each other across the room like the Jets and the Sharks in West Side Story, and it was only a matter of time until one of them decided to start the altercation. I imagine it was Catorze, although I can’t remember for sure. My brain appears to have blocked it out, the way that brains do with traumatic events if they know that you won’t be able to cope with them.

“I don’t know why he’s doing this,” the Dog Daddy said, apologetically, of his dog. “He doesn’t usually mind cats.”

More barking from the Oscar dog, more screaming from Catorze and more apologies from the Dog Daddy followed.

“What’s your cat usually like with dogs?”

Jésus, Marie et Joseph, et le petit âne; let’s not even go there. Luckily the Oscar dog was then called into the examination room, so I was spared the horror of having to have that conversation. “He torments the shit out of them” probably wouldn’t have sounded great.

Anyway, the little sod’s dose kicked in the day after this latest appointment and, whilst I was packing, he followed me around, walking across all my clothes, screaming his little guts out. The only thing that shut him up was me picking him up and holding him, so I had to finish packing one-handed.

One of my friends suggested that perhaps Catorze felt sad that we were leaving. I’d say it were drugs, general idiocy or a combination of the two.

Glassy-eyed and ready to cause havoc.

L’élixir blanc

In my last post I mentioned how easy it was to give Louis Catorze his Loxicom, since I just blobbed it onto his fur and he happily groomed it off. So, naturellement, as soon as that went live, he had to stuff it up.

This was the tragic sequence of events that took place the other night:

1. Prepare syringe and lay it on coffee table.

2. Little sod comes in, drenched from the rain, and settles his gross, cold body on me.

3. Casually reach for syringe and gently empty its contents onto right side of royal rump.

4. No reaction from Catorze.

5. Realise that, because he is so wet from the rain, he hasn’t noticed the additional liquid.

6. Poke hopefully at royal rump with syringe tip, to draw his attention to area.

7. Catorze begins sniffing air around me, realising that something is afoot but too thick to see what.

8. Catorze exits lap and starts sniffing around living room carpet.

9. Catorze returns to lap and settles, letting Loxicom air-dry on his body.

10. Decide eventually to apply another dose. Message Cat Daddy to refill syringe, but request that he return it in nonchalant fashion to avoid arousing suspicion.

11. Cat Daddy refills syringe and returns it suitably nonchalantly. Second dose applied to left side of royal rump (Catorze’s, not Cat Daddy’s).

12. Catorze ignores second dose.

13. Cat Daddy sits down next to us.

14. Catorze exits lap and sits on Cat Daddy, left side down, smearing most of second dose on his jeans.

15. Unrepeatable Expletives.

16. Catorze flips over, FINALLY notices remains of second dose and starts to groom it off. Success!

17. Catorze exits Cat Daddy’s lap, discovers dried-on first dose and grooms that off, too, ending up double-dosed.

18. Vet’s words of “Too little is better than too much” ring in my ears for rest of evening.

Mercifully he has now completed his course, so we won’t have to go through this farce again. Until the next time something goes wrong.

Unbelievably, his body felt worse than it looked.

Les causes de la douleur

Louis Catorze has been an utter pest for the last few days, and he has neither the moon (nowhere near full) nor the steroid shot (hasn’t taken place yet) as an excuse this time.

By day he annoys the merde out of Cat Daddy, headbutting his laptop and screaming, and by night he annoys me by walking all over me, settling on my stomach so that I can’t breathe, doing that head shake thing and showering me with spit, and whining like a dying dog. There is nothing whatsoever wrong with him. He’s just being an idiot.

In other news, in today’s episode of Stupid Places That My Cat Chooses To Rest, I give you … a blister pack of painkillers. And this wasn’t an absentminded flop; this was very careful and deliberate placing, with the little sod lowering his body and tucking in his paws in slow motion.

“Et alors?”

Disadvantages:

1. Peculiar, slippy texture of foil

2. Sharp edge

3. Crunches every time he moves

4. Doesn’t even go underneath whole body

5. Just makes no sense whatsoever

Advantages:

1. Erm …

My fluffy-blanketed lap was available at the time. It was declined. (This seems to be becoming a pattern when it comes to Catorze.)

Cat Daddy: “…”

Me: “…”

Please feel free to add to our insightful conclusions as necessary.

Un chat noir qui n’y est pas

It was time to de-flea Louis Catorze the other day and, naturellement, he had disappeared.

Cat Daddy: “Have you done the deed yet?”

Me: “I don’t know where he is.”

Him: “I thought you said he’d gone into the guest room?” [This is his new favourite sleeping spot.]

Me: “He did. But he’s not there now.”

Him: “Maybe he’s in our room, or in the attic?”

Me: “I’ve looked. He’s not. And it’s really annoying because I’ve taken the stopper off the Broadline and, once it’s off, you can’t put it back on again. So I’m going to have to balance it precariously upright until we find him again.”

15 minutes later:

Cat Daddy: “He *is* in the guest room. Go and look again.”

I went to check and, after some effort, discovered Catorze asleep on a pile of Cat Daddy’s just-washed cycling gear, nestled into a black top where I couldn’t see him. LITTLE SOD HAD CATMOUFLAGED HIMSELF.

Où est Le Roi?

Anyway, he was most displeased when I got him, letting out his raspy old man scowl. And, of course, he has now rolled both the Broadline and his own cruddy self onto the cycling clothes, so we are going to have to wash them again. He could do with a bit of a wash himself, too, because nothing is more icky than a freshly-Broadlined Catorze who has tried to roll off the liquid.

I once described the post-Broadline Catorze to a friend as “looking as if a fish has crawled onto his back and died there”. And I think these photos – taken when he tried to also roll the liquid onto the attic bed – confirm it:

Yuck.
Vile.

L’alpha et l’oméga (Plan B Partie 1)

We have starting using Louis Catorze’s beauty oil 2,0 – called Coatex – and it seems to smell very slightly less pungent than the Nutramega, so hopefully this means it will make him smell less pungent, too.

This time the oil inside the capsules is a runny liquid, so I have to be very careful blobbing it onto his body. And Catorze is even less aware of when I’ve blobbed it onto him, so he pads around in confused circles wondering where the smell is coming from. And woe betide me if I apply it just as he’s about to eat, because the dozy muppet thinks it’s his Orijen that somehow smells different and then he doesn’t eat.

Anyway, this is typically how the daily applications go:

1. Pierce capsule with cocktail stick.

2. Sit and wait for Catorze to come and sit on my lap.

3. Catorze decides to go out and fight Donnie / goad foxes / hunt rats instead of spending time with me.

4. Sit for 973 hours next to holey, fishy capsule, waiting for little sod to come back.

5. Catorze returns from his gallivanting and settles on my lap. Take opportunity to grab the capsule, squeeze it and blob oil onto his leg, but forget which end has hole and end up smearing most of it on myself. (The Nutramega very conveniently caved in at the holey end so it was easy to tell, but this one doesn’t.)

6. Clumsily attempt to smear oil from self onto Catorze’s leg. He is not a fan of this.

7. Catorze fails to acknowledge that he has fishy oil on his leg. Am therefore stuck with a fishy, oily cat on my lap.

8. Catorze starts to sniff the air but doesn’t appear to know that the smell is coming from his leg.

9. Catorze grooms every part of his body apart from the fishy, oily leg.

10. Catorze looks at me as if I am the one who smells, most likely because I now do.

Quel cauchemar. And I only have to do this, erm, every single day for the rest of his life.

Wondering what the hell the smell is.

Gratter, c’est gagner

Cat Daddy and I started Dry February this month, so now we can’t turn to alcohol if Catorze’s behaviour drives us to despair. Or perhaps I should say WHEN, not IF: he ruined my online staff meeting on Wednesday by headbutting my laptop and screaming, and on Thursday he slept all morning, went outside at lunchtime but was back at 15:00 on the dot to annoy my Year 11s. YES, THAT SAME CLASS AGAIN.

Luckily he wore himself out and had nothing left to give for online parents’ evening, which is just as well because I really didn’t want THAT turning to merde too. However, instead, the obligatory embarrassment took the form of a scantily-clad lingerie model, who randomly appeared on a pop-up ad when I was sharing my screen with a student and his mum.

Sadly Catorze has started scratching again. He is very sneaky about it and usually does it when we’re not around so, short of ensuring that he is permanently escorted around the premises like a dangerous maximum security inmate, we don’t really stand much chance of stopping him. In the event that we catch him at it – last week I caught him scratching on the tips of my knitting needles which were sticking out of the bag – we can take measures to stop him from accessing that particular thing, but then he just goes and finds new things. Anything with a pointy end or a corner will do.

The other day, the little sod rubbed his face against the corners of Cat Daddy’s vinyl records (younger followers: ask your parents), so I covered the rack with a blanket, being sure to properly tuck in the edges to stop Le Roi from shimmying underneath.

The next day the blanket was in complete disarray, and the irresistible sharp corners of the records were exposed. I was shocked but not surprised.

Cat Daddy took this picture last week of Catorze’s face. Luckily the light makes it look worse than it is, plus it has since improved so there’s no need to feel too sorry for him (especially as he caused it), but Cat Daddy is still threatening to deploy Le Cône “as a circuit-breaker”. Let’s hope that we won’t have to go there, and that the increased dose of two steroid pills a day will suffice.

Silly boy.

Le chat aux yeux kaléidoscopiques

I recently found out that Louis Catorze’s appetite-enhancing pill (Mirtazapine, of which he had one dose in late December) is also used as an anti-depressant. A friend told me that she was prescribed this drug as in her younger days and “lost six months of her life”.

As you are well aware, an anti-depressant is absolutely the last thing in this world that Catorze needs. No wonder he went off the rails and turned into an eating, screaming maniac. What a good thing we only gave him one dose and not two.

Anyway, I have hidden the remaining Mirtazapine just in case Cat Daddy is tempted to give it to Sa Maj just for a laugh. Although, the way online teaching is going, I think I may well need it more than Catorze.

It’s for medicinal reasons, Officer.

Avaler la pilule sans la mâcher

Two days ago, I posted about Louis Catorze happily eating his medication in Pill Pockets. Naturellement, as soon as that post went live – LITERALLY THAT SAME MORNING – he decided he wasn’t going to do it anymore.

Lately he has had some ravenously hungry moments, clearing serving after serving of food and then circling his empty bowl like a hungry shark with its eyes locked on an injured seal. So we were pretty confident that he would continue take his pills with no problems. But: nope.

Me, after the first pill failure: “This isn’t good. His Gabapentin pills need to be taken 12 hours apart, and we’ve stuffed that up now.”

Cat Daddy, without looking up from his laptop: “You’re going to have to Greco* him.”

Me: “But it’s two pills [the Gabapentin and the Prednisolone]. How do I Greco two pills? It’s bad enough Grecoing one.”

Cat Daddy, still not looking up from his laptop: “Yeah, it’s going to be a tough one for you.”

Well, thanks for that helpful input.

*If you are new to Le Blog, this link fully explains what “Greco” means: https://louiscatorze.com/2017/01/07/la-pilule-est-dure-a-avaler/

Worse yet, Le Roi had sloped off to have a nap under our bed. So not only would l have to go through the worst experience known to mankind, TWICE, but I would have to wriggle under the bed on my belly to drag Catorze’s arse out first.

Anyway, the deed was done in one shot. I think the poor little sod was so taken aback at the rude awakening that all he could manage in response was a little quack, like a duck. I flung both pills into his mouth at once, did the throat rubby thing and – merci à Dieu et à tous ses anges – it worked.

And, as soon as it was over, he decided that he WAS hungry after all and headed for his bowl. Luckily, because I know what a bastard he is, I had taken out the first set of pills just minutes beforehand – and what a good thing, too, because a double-pilled Roi on a full moon would just be too much.

Here he is, recovering from the trauma on his favourite lap:

The drugs don’t work. They just make him worse.

L’œil du tigre

It’s my birthday weekend.

Under normal circumstances Cat Daddy would be taking me out to our favourite pub, but we won’t be going anywhere as he’s had a text from the NHS telling him to isolate for two weeks. (He received the text on Wednesday, asking him to stay at home for 14 days starting THE PREVIOUS THURSDAY. Figure that one out if you can.)

I myself don’t have to isolate because Cat Daddy hasn’t tested positive, nor does he have symptoms, but I don’t really feel like going out and partying on my own. So, as well as doing all the errands that Cat Daddy can’t do because he isn’t allowed out, and not welcoming guests because nobody is allowed in either, I will be mostly spending the weekend pilling and ointmenting Louis Catorze.

In short, the males in this household have ruined everything.

After my initial horror and despair at the prospect of having to smear something into Catorze’s eyes whilst he screamed, flailed and slashed at me with his killer claws, I began to faintly recall him having had the same eye ointment before.

Now, most people usually know straight away whether or not their cat has had a particular type of medication before but, over time, Catorze has consumed more drugs than a Colombian mule, so it’s quite hard to remember everything. However, as well as providing the civic service of making everyone feel grateful that they don’t have to live with him, Le Blog also serves the useful purpose of being an accurate medical record for Catorze. A quick search revealed that he’d had the same ointment two years ago, that time when he cut his eye (and stupid Cat Daddy wouldn’t believe me when I said I’d seen blood and kept insisting that it was blackberry juice):

https://louiscatorze.com/2018/09/04/un-medicament-amer-peut-sauver-la-vie/

Unfortunately 2018 Me has not been able to offer any sage advice to 2020 Me as regards how to administer it – Catorze was a bastard then and, if anything, has got worse rather than better – so I am no further forward in terms of how to get the stuff into his eyes without being ripped to shreds. Plus, the last time, it was just one eye. This time it’s both.

Anyway, today is Day 1 and thankfully the course is only five days long. Although I’m sorely tempted to make Cat Daddy do the deed since he’s the one at home.

🎵 … And the last known survivor stalks his prey in the night, and he’s watching us all with the EYE … 🎶”

Je me lève et rien ne me démoralise

Good news: Louis Catorze is now completely off the steroids.

Bad news: this has made absolutely zero difference to the level of psycho in his body, which remains unchanged. One of my friends told me that it took a few days for the effects of the steroids to leave the system. Erm, yeah, I don’t think we can wait that long.

Today I caught Sa Maj attempting to jump onto the top of the picture to his right (our left, below). No, there is absolutely nowhere to land apart from the 2cm edge of the picture or perhaps the string of autumn leaf fairy lights. But, yes, he was about to try it anyway.

Cat Daddy: “That’s REALLY worrying. You know how it would have ended, don’t you?”

I do: with a ripped piece of art and/or mangled fairy lights, a furious Cat Daddy and a kicked royal arse.

Cat Daddy: “And you know he’s only going to try it again when we’re out of the house, don’t you?”

I do. So what a good thing we’re not really allowed out at the moment. (Or maybe we are. Nobody knows for sure.)

Here is the little sod – who, incidentally, is not allowed to jump on top of the speakers – planning his next attempt:

“Et alors?”

La fin du traitement?

The citizens of the United Kingdom have spent the last couple of days taking in the government’s new pandemic advice. Which is as follows: “Go back to work. NOT ON THE TUBE, FOR GOD’S SAKE.”

Meanwhile, Louis Catorze has almost finished his course of steroids. And what a très grand relief this is because, as you know, they have turned him into a fireball of energy and a criminal genius, and we just can’t keep up with him.

Just like Bradley Cooper in that film about the blue pills, it’s as if the steroids allow Catorze to access the parts of his brain that he wasn’t accessing before (and, lets face it, that’s a lot of previously-untouched brain). He has become uncharacteristically cunning and resourceful and, avec Cône, managed to do a number of things that Côned cats should not be able to do, including – but not limited to – the following:

1. Scaling 2-metre fences.

2. Travelling across several gardens, covering more ground than we ever thought possible.

3. Opening doors.

4. Chasing foxes.

5. Losing the detachable part of Le Cône.

6. Losing Le whole Cône.

7. Discovering bizarre new ways of scratching himself, the most notable of which was by using the corners of Cat Daddy’s old vinyl album covers. (Please see below for a picture of Le Roi having just toppled Deep Purple’s Machine Head after being caught in the act.)

Catorze will have been on the pills, in various strengths, for almost twelve weeks in total. Had it been a few weeks longer, we probably could have asked him to join our pub quiz team and he would have nailed that tricky anagrams round. And, after a few months, he may well have become Prime Minister.

Me: “Who would you rather have as Prime Minister? Option 1: Boris Johnson. Option 2 …”

Cat Daddy, interrupting: “OPTION 2.”

So that’s settled, then.

“Rock et roll.”

Les pilules de Catorze

Thank you so much to everyone who wished Louis Catorze a bon anniversaire and who donated to charitable causes in his honour. He had a great day, bouncing around, screaming and full of energy, although the bad weather meant we had to postpone some of the celebrations for this weekend. That said, he doesn’t know what a weekend is and, come to think of it, he doesn’t even know what a birthday is, so tant pis.

Cat Daddy also had a ball, managing to lose his phone after far too much white wine. He later found it in the garden, where he had left it after trying (and failing) to take the perfect Official 10th Birthday Portrait of Sa Maj. Cat Daddy also said lots of rude sweary words whilst watching the government’s daily briefing, then picked up his boy and murmured, “Sorry, Louis, for being angry on your birthday.”

Catorze had the unexpected birthday treat of being double-pilled by accident, receiving his whole day’s dose in one morning. Now, I know you are thinking I would have to be pretty stupid to double-pill a cat by accident. But I was tricked, as follows:

1. I placed the Trojan Horse Pill Pocket on Catorze’s plate but he refused to eat it.

2. I tried to persuade him about 739 times, but he continued to refuse.

3. I gave up and pilled him using the Greco-Roman method, leaving the first pill in his bowl (GROSSE ERREUR).

4. Little sod changed his mind and ate it immediately after being Greco-Romaned, when I wasn’t looking.

Had I been on holiday I most likely would have thought to remove the Trojan Horse from his bowl after pilling him but, because I am working full days from home, I have other things to do and I forgot. So now all pills not for immediate consumption are locked away in the way one would lock away sharp knives or drain unblocker from small children.

We were supposed to have moved well into the tapering phase of Catorze’s medication by now but, because the silly sod scratched himself when we unCôned him, we had to increase his dose for a while. Tomorrow we will be reducing him from two pills to one pill a day but, now that I have told you that, I’m pretty sure he will do something to mess it up again.

This (below) is the kind of behaviour we have been having to deal with, both with and without the pills. At 10 years old he should be trying to slow down, right? Yeah, well, he isn’t.

Might as well JUMP!