Les envahisseurs doivent mourir

Good news: Louis Catorze has something new to take his mind off his health woes.

Bad news: WE HAVE A MOUSE IN OUR LIVING ROOM.

The phrases “This is the last thing we need” and “You couldn’t make this shit up” were INVENTED for this household. And this is probably my punishment for laughing at Puppy Mamma that time when she was taking garden refuse to the tip and a mouse jumped out of the sack of wisteria trimmings and ran riot in her car.

Now, how on earth a Côned cat – who is only allowed outdoors under supervision – could possibly bring in a mouse is beyond me. I imagine it’s more likely that this mouse just randomly wandered in but, all the same, I wouldn’t put anything past Catorze.

Anyway, this is how the farcical events unfolded from around 7am on Monday:

1. I catch sight of the invader beast not long after Catorze’s morning feed.

2. I attempt to draw Catorze’s attention to the invader beast. Catorze, who is half-Côned and washing his arse, is utterly oblivious.

3. I debate whether to unCône Catorze or to wake Cat Daddy, and I finally decide upon the latter. Cat Daddy is highly displeased but comes to my aid armed with, erm, a beer tankard and a chopping board.

4. Cat Daddy pulls out furniture and boxes and lifts things (mainly cat toys) off the floor but, each time, the wily mouse darts elsewhere and evades capture.

5. Catorze finally stops washing his arse and spots the mouse. Cat Daddy suggests unCôning him to see if he will catch it. Cône comes off.

6. Catorze immediately starts scratching. Cône goes back on.

7. Cat Daddy eventually manages to corner the mouse among the wires under the television unit.

8. Catorze takes a flying leap across the floor and under the unit, Cône and all, and lands squarely on top of the wires, dislodging Cat Daddy’s hands and allowing the mouse to run free once again.

9. Cat Daddy declares that “it’s all too much: first Boris Johnson, then Coronavirus and now this” and goes back to bed.

Our living room remains in disarray, with furniture all over the place, and the mouse is still at large. And, despite not being very well, Catorze is dutifully keeping watch. You have to admire his tenacity, even though I can’t think of a less efficient rodent sentinel than a Côned cat.

This is going to be a long week.

“À gauche, Papa! Non, à droite!”

L’épée tue beaucoup de monde, mais le chat tue d’avantage

Louis Catorze’s hours and hours spent outside, presumably on Rodent Duty, have finally paid off: the little sod delivered a mouse to me at 4:30 yesterday morning. I awoke to the sound of pitter-pattering and squeaking, then turned on the light just in time to see my sweet boy not only deliver the killer blow but also, erm, lick the dead mouse thoroughly and meticulously from head to tail. Then he flipped it over onto its back and licked the other side from head to tail, too.

I would never have believed this had I not seen it myself. The little sod’s prey is often wet and I have always assumed this to be because of the rain – and it happened to be raining on this occasion, too – but now I know that it’s MAINLY because he takes great pains to lick it thoroughly after killing it.

So … reasons for this peculiar behaviour?

1. All cats do it?

2. A last-ditch attempt to extract the tasty mousey flavour before the dead beast is confiscated?

3. Some sort of elaborate death ritual, like the Ancient Egyptians used to do? (Not that they used to lick their dead. You know what I mean.)

4. Some sort of creepy serial killer calling card?

Cat Daddy (who slept through the whole thing) when I told him: “He did what? Ewww! Just like a serial killer!”

Oh dear. Numéro 4 it is, then. And, yes, after Googling “Why does my cat lick its prey after killing?” (which yielded zero results) I also Googled “Serial killer calling cards”. It turns out that, whilst people do some highly disturbing things, no murderer in criminal history has ever done anything as freakish as licking their dead victim from head to toe, then flipping them over and licking the other side.

Cat Daddy: “Don’t worry, it’s not as if he’s going to do this to us. Mind you, that’s probably only because he’s not big enough or we’re not small enough.”

Il y a une souris dans ma cuisine; qu’est-ce que je vais faire?

1e5e7a40-1d74-4d44-aa3f-eaeb4c01e4e6The curious incident of the herbs in the kitchen has been solved. 

After a thorough search, Cat Daddy discovered that a bag of green lentils had been chewed right through – which we had failed to spot before as the hole was minuscule, perhaps the diameter of a pencil – and the discerning mouse had taken care to discard the unpalatable outer casings. And, whilst green lentils look nothing like dried herbs, their shredded outer casings happen to look EXACTLY like them. 

The mouse had also gnawed through two packets of Cat Daddy’s as-yet-unopened, mega-posh teff flour (nope, me neither; I had to Google it), which were promptly thrown away along with the lentils. We have now moved all the packet food up to the top shelves and the tins and jars to the bottom, and we are desperately hoping that the squeaky little sod can’t climb/jump.  

Technically, because Louis Catorze jumped off my lap and went to investigate before we knew there was a mouse, he did, indeed, solve the mystery before us. He is not, however, completely off the hook. “Well, who do you think brought the mouse in here?” asked Cat Daddy. “It’s all his fault.” 

C’est vrai. As we have said before, the definition of good mousing is not bringing mice to a place where there were none before and then turning them loose to run riot. 

Anyway, we have no idea where the mouse is, and I guess we have no option but to keep an eye on our food packets for unusual spillages, and, of course, to monitor Sa Maj for suspicious sniffing and prowling. And, as the little sod has the revolting habit of bringing dead and partially-dead prey up to our bedroom, no doubt it will be abundantly clear when Project Mini-Mouse concludes.

Don’t worry, I shall share this with you at the earliest opportunity.

You’re welcome. 

L’herbe est plus verte ailleurs

cdb3257b-d34c-4791-9af0-bdc56d45ddb9Last weekend I opened one of our kitchen cupboards to find some sort of dried herb, oregano or suchlike, scattered at the bottom. I accused Cat Daddy of having spilled it, he accused me, and in the end we both cleaned it up together. But it was only after cleaning that it dawned on us that there was no such packet of herbs in that cupboard. In fact, we have no such packet of herbs in ANY cupboard: all our dried herbs are in screw-top jars and are unspillable unless someone were to make a conscious choice to open the jars and disperse the contents. 

Yesterday morning, during my usual Roi-cuddling session, the little sod first pricked up his ears, then sprang off my lap and headed straight for that cupboard. He remained in this position (see photo above) for a good 20 minutes and, when I opened the cupboard, there was more green herb scattered everywhere, as before. You can just make out the light dusting that had spilled out and onto the floor, in the area circled. 

My first thought was a rodent of some sort, most likely brought in and deposited by Louis Catorze. But rodents, being the opportunistic users that they are, tend to help themselves to anything we may have, as opposed to bringing in new matter and scattering it everywhere. And, since sniffing the herb, we have discovered that it is not, in fact, oregano. It is virtually scentless and we have not yet been able to identify it. 

So … is a mouse smuggling strange herbs into Le Château bit by bit, the way Andy Dufresne from The Shawshank Redemption tunnelled out but in reverse? Or did Catorze bring them in for some curious purpose that only he understands, and perhaps a mouse has discovered his stash and decided to tuck in? 

We have no idea what is going on, but Sa Maj is on it. Assuming he is not the one responsible for the mystery, I have a feeling he will solve it long before we do. 

Le soldat

Summer is fast approaching, which means that Louis Catorze spends the vast majority of his time sitting to attention, carefully monitoring the gap between the Forbidden Greenhouse and the shed (first picture). Very occasionally he relaxes his pose and sits at ease, but his concentration does not wane (second picture).

Nothing can successfully shift him from his station except someone approaching to take a photo, so these shots were very lucky indeed.

The only explanation we have for this behaviour: this must be a spot where rodents hang out. Obviously it’s great that the little sod takes his Rodent Duty so seriously – and, by this, I mean that he spends hours and hours like this, and neighbours have begun to comment and laugh – but I’m not looking forward to him bringing his panting, dismembered prey to our bedroom. Which he will.

I’m not joking about the panting. Look here if you don’t believe me: https://jesuisleroisoleil.wordpress.com/2017/11/26/psycho-kitty-quest-ce-que-cest/

Cat Daddy: “He’s not on Rodent Duty; he’s just staring at nothing because he’s THAT boring. He’s the most inept hunter ever. He won’t catch a thing.”

Cat Daddy was really silly to tempt fate by saying this. For an “inept hunter”, Catorze hasn’t done badly since we moved here (rats, mice, a bird and, of course, the slug that was dropped onto my pillow as I slept). Plus he is highly proficient at doing exactly what we don’t want him to do, so I’d be prepared to put money on us receiving a delivery very soon.

The bin bags and the rubber gloves are primed for action … and, should the worst happen, Cat Daddy will be on disposal duty.

Longue vie et prosperité

Since Valentine’s Day there have been no further sightings of Le Rat. Nor have there been any sightings of its much larger parents, whom my mum has convinced me are out there somewhere.

For a bit of fun, and in the hope that our collective mind over matter might speed things along a little, I started a sweepstake among my fellow cat freaks, with a small prize going to the person who correctly predicted the day that Louis Catorze eventually caught Le Rat. But, unfortunately, it has backfired catastrophically: whilst Le Château remains a rodent-free zone, the cats of some of the sweepstake entrants have had a right old hunting hootenanny. And one or two of the humans aren’t very happy and hold me responsible.

This turn of events means one of two things has occurred:

1. The Mothership* has malfunctioned
2. The Mothership is functioning perfectly well, merci, and the universe is unfolding as it should

*You are all aware of The Mothership, oui? The mysterious alien craft responsible for beaming sinister commands to the feline population via their microchips? Yes, we’re all TOLD that microchipping is to track them if they get lost, et patati et patata, but we know better, don’t we?

Cat Daddy is highly amused by the nationwide rodent-killing spree. “They say that rodents are the only creatures which could survive an apocalypse,” he said, “but it sounds as if the cats belonging to the sweepstake people would be ok, too. Louis Catorze wouldn’t last a minute. In fact, if there were an apocalypse, the rodents would probably eat HIM.”

Let’s hope that the hunting hootenanny is just a temporary phase. Otherwise I fear that the apocalypse might happen sooner than we think.

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Psycho kitty, qu’est-ce que c’est?

A few days ago, Louis Catorze decided that he wanted to play a game of “J’ai Caché Un Otage Quelque Part Dans Le Château Et Maintenant C’est À Toi De Le Retrouver.” If you don’t know what this is, trust me, you’ve dodged a bullet here.

Like every twisted serial killer in history who has left a trail of clues to taunt the world-weary detective chasing him, Catorze taunted me. The first clue was staring at nothing, sniffing nothing and peering under furniture at nothing. I knew that something was up but I couldn’t prove it.

Next clue: lots of nocturnal pitter-pattering but, when the light was switched on, the little sod would be sitting perfectly still, eyes wide with innocence. Then, when the light went out again, the pitter-pattering would resume. (The written description of this doesn’t even come close to conveying how annoying it was in reality, ESPECIALLY as Cat Daddy slept through it all.)

Then, a couple of nights ago, the bar was raised. I awoke to far-off, yet clear, panting: short, regular bursts, as if someone were inflating an air mattress with one of those manual pump things. Not long after that came the sound of familiar pitter-pattering and, then, the killer’s final coup de poing: the dull-eyed corpse of a huge mouse or medium-sized rat (I hope beyond hope that it was the former but fear it may have been the latter), blood spilling in all directions, dumped in the bedroom.

I realised then that the panting must have been either the poor rodent’s dying breath, or evil Catorze’s laboured wheezing whilst trying to run with his grande gueule stuffed full of rat. Neither option fills me with joy.

I now know exactly how Scotland Yard felt when they received THAT letter, although things were much easier for them as Jack the Ripper was good enough to stop after five(ish) victims. What next for Catorze and his killing spree? Tortured hostages dragging themselves around, half-alive, under the bed? Body parts and innards dropped onto my face as I sleep?

Cat Daddy: “It’s what cats do.” I still wish they wouldn’t, though. Here he is, taking a brief bit of repos from his murderous rampage:

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