Vents, soufflez à crever vos joues!

Anyone who thought Louis Catorze was a complete maniac anyway should see what he’s like when there are high winds. And when I say “should”, what I mean is “really shouldn’t”.

He can be an absolute hell-beast on a windy night, bouncing all over the bed, screaming, whining and thundering around the house. However, on Thursday night, when it also happened to be the first full moon of October AND a raging storm, he decided to thunder around the house WITHOUT A SINGLE UTTERANCE.

Now, this may seem preferable to the screaming, but at least with the screaming I know that it’s him. Voiceless stomping can sound just like a burglar, a poltergeist or some other horror that my mind decides to visualise during fitful half-sleep, and it’s quite an alarming sound to hear over and over again.

I lost count of the number of times the little sod woke me up that night but I estimate it to be around ten to twelve. And, when my alarm went off in the morning, I discovered that he had rolled his wet body all over the clean clothes that I had put out for work. To add insult to injury (and we’re talking considerable injury here, as I regard a sleepless night as akin to being stabbed in the guts), when I came down for my morning cup of tea he crawled into his El Día de los Muertos cold-weather igloo and went to sleep.

Cat Daddy: “He probably brought in a mouse.”

Me: “He didn’t.”

Him: “Maybe we just haven’t found it yet.”

[Silence, tumbleweed, crickets]

Here is Le Roi, most likely telling me that he’s just getting started:

“Shhhhhh. Just sleep. Sweet dreams, salope.”

La lune du chasseur

There’s a full moon tonight. And, mon Dieu, do we know it: Louis Catorze’s screaming has been building up for days and has now reached what we really, really hope is its peak. Although, knowing him, now that I’ve said that, he will probably dig deep and find more from somewhere.

During the day Sa Maj screams for any number of the following reasons:

⁃ Wanting to be let in from The Front (after Cat Daddy kicks him out for a few minutes’ respite)

⁃ Excitement at having Cat Daddy all to himself

⁃ Excitement when visitors come (especially men), leading Cat Daddy to recite his usual spiel of “No, he’s not distressed, that’s just his normal voice …”

⁃ Disapproval of the cleaning lady’s methods

⁃ Disapproval if it’s been more than 0.3 seconds since Cat Daddy last stroked him

⁃ Liking the sound of his own voice

⁃ Just for fun

⁃ Whatever

It would be reasonable to assume that his day-long screamathons wear him out, allowing us a more restful evening and night. Nope: the little sod follows Cat Daddy around, screaming, right through to late afternoon/early evening when I come from work. He then goes out for Night Patrol at both The Back and at The Front – with creepily accurate timekeeping still in operation, bien sûr – and wakes us up at least twice during the night with more screaming/whining/bouncing around.

Cat Daddy: “This is what it’s like ALL BLOODY DAY when you’re at work. It’s starting to feel like bullying.”

As I have said many times before, at his age he should be slowing down. But he isn’t. We have no idea from where he is getting this energy, but my guess is that he’s drawing from either the moon, The Mothership* (although some have theorised that the moon and The Mothership are one and the same thing), or – most likely of all – Lucifer himself.

We cannot cope. Please send help.

*The Mothership is the invisible alien vessel that controls all cats by beaming instructions to them via their chips. We cannot see her, but we know she is there.

Message received and understood: when you give le signal, we will attack.”

Attention à la pleine lune

It’s a full moon today.

The next one will be on 2nd September, and the following month we will have not one but TWO full moons, with the first taking place on 1st October and the second on the 31st.

A full moon on Hallowe’en is a rare thing, only occurring once every 19 years or so. There have been a couple of Hallowe’en full moons in my lifetime but, regretfully, I was unaware of them at the time. So, in many ways, this will be the first one for me, and I intend to make the most of it as if it were the only one.

Long before Covid 19, Cat Daddy and I had talked about going away to celebrate, for instance to Mexico for El Día de los Muertos. But, with travel being unpredictable and likely to remain as such for some time, we will be at home this Hallowe’en. And, in many ways, this is the best thing, because how could we not celebrate a full moon Hallowe’en with a black vampire cat?

(Also: had we gone away, our poor, unsuspecting chat-sitteur(s) would have been stuck with Louis Catorze and his stupid shite, and that wouldn’t have been very fair.)

The downside, of course, is Catorze’s psycho behaviour. He is pretty unhinged at the best of times, but he is noticeably worse during the run-up to Hallowe’en and during full moons. So, with both events combining, we are going to need to stockpile our arsenal of defensive weapons: crucifixes, Valium, aluminium foil to cover the windows, the works.

Here is Catorze in a pose which, although terrifying, is a relief to have caught on camera, as people will finally start to believe me when I say how creepy he is. Even though the little sod was all the way outside, his stare was so intense and unnerving that Cat Daddy actually FELT it and called me to come and look.

And I think this is Catorze’s way of saying, “Bring it on.”

He’s he-errre!

Le couvre-feu (Partie 1)

Before we open the living room window in the evening, we always go through the following ritual with Catorze:

Me: “You know you have to be back by 10pm, don’t you?”

Catorze: “Mwah!”

Me: “10pm. Is that clear? Meow once for yes, twice for no.”

Catorze: “Mwah!”

Cat Daddy, without looking up from the television: “He can’t understand you. He’s French.”

Unbelievably, the little sod has made it indoors almost every night at 9:57pm.

The only exceptions were yesterday, when he rolled in at 10pm on the dot, and last weekend, when Cat Daddy allowed him a half hour weekend extension and he came in at 10:24pm on Saturday and 10:28pm on Sunday.

(And, yes, I know that a weekend extension is nonsensical since Catorze doesn’t have a working week from which he needs to wind down, nor does he even know what a weekend is.)

Other than being creeped out by the fact that notre cher ami can apparently tell the time with some precision, we are trying not to read too much into this. Anyone who was ever grounded by their parents as a teenager knows that a run of good behaviour is highly suspicious. At best, it’s a trick to get the curfewer(s) off their case and to convince them to bring forward the lifting of the curfew. And, at worst, it’s a cover for a stunt even more outrageous than the one that caused the curfew to be imposed in the first place.

And it’s a full moon next week. Merde.

Dare we wonder what horrors lurk ahead?

He’s not always there when we call. But he’s always on time.

Au clair de la lune

Cats and full moons, Mesdames et Messieurs: whatever you’ve heard, it’s all true.

A few nights ago, during the full moon, Louis Catorze’s behaviour was utterly out of control, with relentless hours of racing around, whining, screaming and so on. As usual, Cat Daddy slept through it and he didn’t believe me when I told him how dreadful it was.

Cat Daddy: “I might have heard maybe one meow, but that was it. Wasn’t it?”

No. Not by a long way.

Anyway, the next night we experienced similar chaos, no doubt because the moon remains full for a day or two before waning and therefore the psycho behaviour doesn’t just switch off. This time Cat Daddy DID witness it.

The next morning he said, “He was absolutely manic after you went to bed. Wouldn’t stop screaming. We went outside together and the screaming got worse. In fact, I followed him to the end of the garden, and I swear he was trying to lead me to something.”

Oh. Holy. Hell. At this point I actually felt my soul leave my body.

Just when we all thought Catorze couldn’t get any creepier, THIS?

Cat Daddy’s theories as to what it could have been:

1. Foxes

2. Another cat

3. Some sort of dead prey too bulky to drag through the gap in the fence

My thoughts:

1. Werewolves

2. Demons

3. A vortex leading to a parallel dimension, most likely the one from where Catorze originated in the first place

There is nothing visible at the end of the garden, nor on the other side of the fence, which could have been the source of Catorze’s animated mood. But, frankly, this makes it – and him – all the more terrifying, and I am now scared to be alone with the little sod.

Worse yet, it’s only July. What on earth is he going to be like in October, when his sinister Chat Noir power peaks and when we are set to have not one but TWO full moons?

Follow the black cat.

Le pouvoir de la lune

Cat Daddy and I felt miserable and out of sorts the other day after a dreadful night’s sleep. And I expect you can guess the reason for that dreadful night’s sleep.

Cat Daddy [edited version]: “He was absolutely ****ing awful: going out, coming in, jumping on me, screaming, sticking his wet nose in my ears, rubbing his whiskers on my face. He’s a ****ing pest.”

I must admit I was surprised as he’s not usually this bad (Louis Catorze, not Cat Daddy). I am often aware of his presence during the night, but he tends to utter just a few closed-mouth whines and not much more.

My friend: “Are we approaching a full moon, by any chance?”

I checked the date.

Merde.

I don’t dare tell Cat Daddy that this is no one-off, but something that is likely to happen 12-13 times a year. And, yes, most cats of Catorze’s age are winding down, but clearly The Mothership has failed to send him the “All seniors, stand down” memo.

Anyway, Cat Daddy is still livid and says we need to give him to a rescue for a few days’ respite so that we can get some sleep. Is this even a thing? Do rescues or catteries – or does ANYONE – offer this service?

“Réveillez-vous! Aucune raison!”

Le lion a suffisamment de dents pour se sentir bien dehors

Have you ever seen one of those 1980s movies where the small-town neighbourhood bad boy is undignifiedly hauled home to his parents by the local sheriff? (I haven’t, but I am sure that it must have happened in some 1980s movie at some time.) 

Well, Louis Catorze’s troublemaking-about-town has reached such a level that neighbours have started knocking at our door to return him to us. Cat Daddy is BEYOND mortified about this although, curiously, he fails to see that it wouldn’t be a problem if we* were more vigilant about keeping The Front under lockdown.

*HE

The first time that this happened, Catorze had slipped out unnoticed at The Front and his screaming could be heard from the living room of one neighbour, disturbing his TV viewing. A couple of weeks ago, he had slipped out unnoticed again and had tried to get into the same neighbour’s house as their dinner guests were leaving. And the most recent incident involved him slipping out unnoticed YET AGAIN (I think I may detect a pattern here) and ambushing Oscar the dog’s mamma and sister, screaming, as they left the house. They politely knocked at the door a few nights ago and said, “Louis is outside at The Front, and we just wanted to check that you knew?” Erm … no. 

I never know what to say when the little sod is returned to us. I can’t even lie and say, “He’s never behaved like this before” because it tends to be the same people who keep bringing him back, and they all know what he’s like. 

I am trying EXTREMELY hard to be careful at The Front, but Cat Daddy is somewhat more, erm, relaxed when he puts out the recycling. With Hallowe’en – which I am spelling authentically for the first time ever – around the corner, and the very real danger of Catorze being mistaken for a novelty vampire cat toy and scooped up into some kid’s treat bag, we need to up our game. (Yes, most cats would probably loudly and violently object to being carried off by a gang of sugar-high youngsters, but this is Sa Maj we’re talking about.)

And I have just checked my calendar and realised that it’s a full moon tonight which, let’s face it, adds another complication into the mix that we really don’t need. Someone needs to intercept The Mothership’s transmissions très rapidement. 

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Thank you to Emily for this amazing photo of the little sod who is, most unusually, moving AWAY from the front door

Le coeur vaillant

It’s a full moon tonight, which means more idiocy from the feline population of the planet. And, because we’re approaching Halloween, black cats, in particular, will be more idiotic than ever.

I got chatting yesterday afternoon to Bert the dog’s mamma, as we were putting out the recycling at The Front.

Now, Louis Catorze’s interactions with Bert are pretty minimal, which is why you haven’t heard much about him so far. Bert’s garden has lots of trees and shrubs against the fence, making it harder for Catorze to access it, and it also helps tremendously that Bert is getting on a bit, so his eyesight and hearing aren’t what they used to be. Not that this stops Catorze from making trouble when he feels like it; a friend who visited us once said, “I can’t believe what I’ve just seen. First Louis went over that fence [pointing to Bert the dog’s side] and pissed off that dog, then he went over THAT fence [pointing to Oscar the dog’s side] and pissed off THAT dog. Now the 2 dogs won’t shut up. Your neighbours must hate him – and you.”

Anyway, during our chat, Bert was happily sniffling and snuffling around his mamma’s feet. Louis Catorze had been asleep on the sofa but woke up, heard Bert and decided to follow me outside and scream at him.

Yes, I realise that normal feline instinct should spur him to run in the opposite direction from a dog. But this is Le Roi we’re talking about.

Bert’s mamma didn’t appear the slightest bit surprised by the screaming. In fact, she revealed that she often opened her front door to find Catorze on the doorstep, screaming away (at times when we knew he was at The Front but thought he was having a nap under our wisteria plant). And, apparently, if Bert was in the vicinity, our little sod would scream even more and sometimes try to shimmy past Dog Mamma and into the house.

Yesterday’s incident could have ended badly, but Le Roi’s royal arse was saved by the fact that Bert, incredibly, didn’t see or hear him. (No, I don’t understand, either, how anyone could fail to hear this whiny, searing meow that scrapes away at your eardrums like fingernails on a blackboard.) Then Bert’s daddy came out and said hello, which distracted Bert even further, allowing Catorze to tire of the screaming and pitter-patter back indoors.

This isn’t good, is it? Whilst I am glad that Catorze is confident and not a nervous, hunger-striking, pooing-and-peeing wreck, running screaming towards dogs isn’t exactly where I want him to be. I have heard of strategies to make a nervous cat more confident, but … making a fearless/stupid cat rein it in a bit? Is this even a thing?

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La lune est le rêve du Roi Soleil

Please, someone, save us from this psycho nutjob. (No, not the new President Elect, but Le Roi.)

For the past few days he has been screaming, racing around the house, attacking us as we sleep and generally driving us round the bend. I can only assume this is due to the approaching full moon, because he was relatively normal* before.

*”Normal” refers to the Roi scale, not to most people’s reasonable interpretation of the word.

Yesterday he threw all his efforts into pummelling what looked like a shiny black worm, biting it, flicking it around, holding it in his front paws and doing the bicycle kick with his back ones, and, of course, picking it up in his mouth and fleeing if anyone tried to intervene. I later discovered that it wasn’t a worm at all but the suspender attachment from a basque but, even so, that’s time I will never get back again.

We have also had two mice in the last few days and, because Cat Daddy is recovering from quite a severe eye operation, the rodent-catching mantle has been passed to me. There’s nothing more disconcerting than glimpsing a mouse as it runs into the bathroom whilst you are having a shower, hotly pursued by Louis Catorze, then hearing them trash the place whilst you remain powerless to step in until you have washed the shampoo out of your eyes.

Only 2 more days until this nonsense hits its zenith, then hopefully the purging energy of the waning moon will calm the little sod down.

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La lune bleue

Ugh. Another night of my cat, who typically just shuts up and cuddles quietly in bed, padding up and down my body, purring, clambering over packing cases and popping bubble wrap (!) in the room next door, all the while singing the anthem of his forefathers. A couple of threads on a Facebook cat forum revealed that many of the members’ cats have also been behaving in a similar loopy fashion lately, and someone had suggested that it could be linked to tomorrow’s Blue Moon.

Also, Louis Catorze somehow managed to fashion E.T.’s face out of his food last night (see below – no Photoshop or fakery used here), which is conclusive proof of something spooky in the air. Is there a mysterious alien mothership somewhere, silently commanding all our furry overlords to simultaneously annoy the crap out of us? Could the moon BE that very mothership?  For those who aren’t familiar with the moon and its workings, a full moon is (obviously) when the moon appears as a whole disc in the sky, and a Blue Moon is when this happens for the second time within a calendar month. And, because a Blue Moon doesn’t happen very often (hence the expression “Once in a blue moon”), it’s regarded as an especially enchanted time. Accidents, criminal behaviour and hospital admissions (for humans) are said to be more numerous during a full moon; could something similar be true for cats, too?

I consulted our good friend Google for advice, and discovered a wealth of information confirming that the full moon was, indeed, responsible for nutso behaviour among both humans and animals. For instance, the word “lunatic” originates from the belief that the moon’s changes cause insanity. And, on an unrelated note, be very afraid, men of the world: apparently women are programmed to menstruate during the full moon, all at the same time, but the only reason we don’t is because artificial stimulation from electric lights, computers etc. has overridden nature. I told this to Cat Daddy and he sort of pretended not to hear me, muttering something about chocolate and asking God to help him.

Anyway, the one piece of information that really stood out was this: “It’s not the full moon, it’s the night. Night people are a whole subset of the population, and the lore includes night beings such as vampires and werewolves.” Seriously? I’m to expect potential sleep deprivation at the paws of Louis Catorze EVERY SINGLE NIGHT? I was so shocked that it put me off Google for a whole hour.

So it seems I shall never sleep again, but Cat Daddy can’t help but feel slightly intrigued about our boy being some sort of otherworldly monstre. I guess we kind of suspected it anyway as he’s black with vampire teeth and a bit of a weirdo, so Cat Daddy reckons we need to encourage the flourishing of this intrinsic penchant for the night, rather than pushing him off us and swearing at him. Will his nocturnal annoyances escalate at Halloween? What about the winter solstice, when 18 hours out of 24 are in darkness? Cat Daddy is quite excited about finding out. I myself think I can live without it.