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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L’infirmier

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A couple of weeks ago I had a cortisone injection in my right shoulder, and yesterday I had another one in the left. (The hospital actually sent me a further letter inviting me for a third one, then realised their mistake when I pointed out that I only have 2 shoulders.)

My sister: “This means that 2/3 of your household are on steroids!”

After the injection you are supposed to rest at home for 48 hours, which has meant I’ve had to cancel a few things that had been planned for ages, including my mum’s birthday lunch, my friend’s 30th and a concert which was my anniversary gift to Cat Daddy. So he went out for the night, taking his friend as his anniversary date, and I was stuck indoors with Catorze. (That wasn’t supposed to rhyme.)

Now, I realise that a cosy night in with a cat may sound like a pleasant way of passing the time, but this is Catorze we’re taking about. For a start, I am only his 14th favourite human in the world (after Cat Daddy, ex-Houseguest Matt, Cocoa the babysit cat’s daddy, Cocoa the babysit cat’s brother, Oscar the dog’s daddy, Bert the dog’s daddy, our friend Steve, our friend Phil, our friend Daniel, Krzysztof driving the Lemon van from Ocado, the man who fixed the dishwasher and those two trick-or-treating youths who came wearing clown masks and brandishing machine guns), so I don’t suppose staying home with me is top of his list of fun things to do. Also, cats instinctively know when you are ill but only about 8% of them actually give a shit, and this makes the patient more miserable.

Quelle surprise, then, when the little sod remained cuddled up on my knees all evening! THIS NEVER HAPPENS! And, when my pain got too bad and I decided to take myself off to bed, I called him from upstairs and he came running to join me. (This is one of the dog-like qualities that I love in him but, very often, when he arrives and sees that it’s just me and my stupid shit again, he turns around and leaves. This time he stayed for a brief cuddle.)

At 1:15am I was woken by the familiar sound of indistinct scrabbling (the feline version of a text from DHL, indicating that a delivery had been made). Nothing says “Get well soon, maman!” quite like blood all over the bedroom floor and a dead rat, especially when only having one functioning arm with which to clean up the mess.

I intend to take it easy for the rest of the weekend. I really hope that Catorze does, too.

Les escargots

Some cats catch birds, others catch mice and a few catch rats. Louis Catorze has managed all of the above, and more, but his latest thing is to bring teeny-tiny snails into Le Château.

Cat Daddy is quite embarrassed by it and feels that there is more prestige in rodents, with the manliness of the cat being directly proportional to the size of the rodent caught. “Snails are just a joke!” he declared. “Only he could be so slow that a SNAIL is capable of catching up with him and hitching a ride on his fur. I hope you chucked them out in the park at the front. If you chuck them out in the garden, they’ll eat all the kale.”

Oh. Oops. Luckily I remembered where I’d put them and was able to retrieve them because, being snails, they hadn’t got very far.

Here are two of our boy’s gifts, brought one after the other on the same night, pictured with a 20p coin to get a true sense of their teeny-tininess. It seems you can take Le Chat out of France, but you can’t take France out of Le Chat.

Le cadeau de bonne chance

I started a new job on Wednesday. It’s a job that I have wanted ever since I set eyes on the ad, and I poured every fibre of my being into both my application and the interview to make sure they were as good as they could possibly be.

Cat Daddy knew that I would have a fitful night’s sleep on Tuesday due to nerves and excitement, so he showed his support by making me a relaxing cup of teapigs Snooze tea before bed and wishing me luck.

Louis Catorze gave zero shits about my sleep, so he showed his “support” by bringing a mouse to the bedroom and gadding about with it like an idiot at 3:45 in the morning.

I awoke to the sound of unspecified scrabbling around, and knew immediately that Catorze was up to no good. I switched the light on and saw, to my relief, that it was a mouse and not a rat, and that it was dead, so I got out of bed to fetch a piece of tissue in which to wrap it. However, because it was raining outside, and because the little sod and the mouse had been rolling their gross, drenched bodies around the room, the floor was wet … so over I went, landing in a mangled heap and jarring my ankle when it walloped the bedside table leg.

Of course, having hobbled to the bathroom for tissue, wrapped up the mouse, disposed of it and hobbled back to bed again, I was then wide awake, remaining that way until sunrise, and I went to my first day at my new job feeling utterly ravaged and angry with the world. Cat Daddy, on the other hand, slept through the entire thing, and went to work daisy-fresh.

On a completely unrelated matter, I know of a small, toothy, black cat up for adoption. Free to a good home – or even a below-average home, if anyone will have him.

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Il y a un rat dans ma chambre: qu’est-ce que je vais faire?

IMG_8653A couple of days ago, Oscar the dog’s mamma told me that she had seen a large brown rat in their garden. Ever-hopeful, I asked her if she were sure that it wasn’t a very big mouse, or an unusually skinny-tailed squirrel. She was sure.

I suggested to her that, if she ever saw it again, provided Oscar weren’t in the vicinity, I would happily flick Louis Catorze over Le Mur and let him have a bash at catching it. However, I hadn’t quite expected him to catch it of his own accord, so soon after our conversation. Nor had I expected him to bring the damp, stinky carcass up to our bedroom.

Worse yet, it was our easily-startled cleaning lady who found it. I came home to find her so traumatised that she could barely speak, and eventually I managed to get it out of her that there was a rat in our bedroom. (Once again I said, “Are you sure it’s not a mouse?” although, deep in my heart, I knew.)

As she and I stood staring at it and wondering what the heck to do, Louis Catorze picked that very moment to switch into psycho play mode and attack her feet. Because he ambushed her from behind, she felt him before she saw him and, thinking he was another rat, she screamed as if she had been shot.

I went to look for a bin bag and, naturellement, we didn’t have any, so I had to take the sturdiest plastic bag I could find, which was a Selfridges one. Once Ratty was safely entombed I dropped a 2p coin in with him, hoping it would land squarely on his body and give a sense of scale when I provided people with photographic proof of how big he was. But, unfortunately, it sort of wedged in at his side and, because it was the same colour as his body, it ended up looking more like some sort of cystic growth than a 2p coin, adding to the horror of the whole situation.

Whilst our cleaning lady sat in a corner and cried quietly, I headed for the park bin where so many of Catorze’s victims have been laid to rest, praying that nobody would see me. Although, if you don’t want to be seen, you should carry an unobtrusive, plain bag and leave the house whistling nonchalantly. Leaving the house holding a bright yellow Selfridges bag with your fingertips and at arm’s length, all the while shuddering and retching, probably isn’t the way. And, of course, I bumped into Bert the dog’s daddy, who was working on his car in the street right outside Le Château, and I was forced to explain the bag and the shuddering and retching.

So now I am confined to Le Château on account of being too ashamed to leave it, and Louis Catorze is banned from the bedrooms on account of being too disgusting. And our poor cleaning lady will probably never lead a normal life ever again. Cat Daddy, however, can’t help but admire his boy’s pest control efficiency, and this has been echoed by Dog Mamma, who is delighted that Catorze has done his civic duty. Another friend said, “Isn’t it reassuring to know that he’s such a good rat-catcher?”

I don’t know what makes a “good” rat-catcher. But I’m pretty certain that depositing smelly rat corpses in spotlessly-clean places where there were no rat corpses before, isn’t it.

Le piège à souris

Another day, another darned mouse, this time delivered to our bedroom, undead and twitching. But, fortunately for me, by the time I had gone to fetch a plastic bag and come back again, Le Bon Dieu had had the grace to take its poor soul to mouse heaven.

Because we had to dash straight out to the eye hospital for Cat Daddy’s painfully early appointment, I didn’t have a chance to dispose of La Pauvre Souris in the park bin across the road. I certainly wasn’t putting it in any of our household bins in case Catorze broke in and caused further havoc, so, on our way out, I just dumped it temporarily on the Roi-inaccessible doorstep at The Front, with the intention of getting rid of it as soon as we returned. We would only be gone for a couple of hours and nobody was due to visit us, so nothing could possibly go wrong. Or so we thought.

As we headed off to the hospital in the car, we caught sight of the postman walking into our street. Merde.

There was no time to return home and dispose of the plastic bag before the postman saw it, although Cat Daddy said it was highly unlikely that any postman would untie a plastic bag that was sitting on a doorstep and peer inside.

That was when I realised that I hadn’t tied it up.

We were at the hospital for quite a lot longer than expected and, whilst I should have been worrying about Cat Daddy, all I could think about was whether the postman would tell all our neighbours that we keep a dead mouse in a John Lewis bag sitting on our front doorstep. (Postmen are PERFECTLY placed to spread gossip, aren’t they, given that they go to every house in the neighbourhood and probably know everyone?)

Our only hope was that maybe we wouldn’t have any letters today, so perhaps the postman would have had no need to come to our door. When we got home, however, we found not only that we had had more post than ever before in our lives, but also that the wind had somehow blown the bag open and its grim contents could be seen from the street.

Then one of the neighbours, who was passing by, stopped for a chat on the doorstep, and Cat Daddy was forced to maintain cheerful conversation whilst, at the same time, striking a bizarre pose to obscure La Pauvre Souris with his foot. (He later reported that it was VERY difficult to get that fine balance of hiding the body without stepping on it and having it burst underfoot.)

Now … would you forgive this contrite face?

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