Whoever said “Truth is stranger than fiction” certainly knew what they were talking about (and had probably met Louis Catorze). So, when Cat Daddy came back from the bar and told me that he’d seen a memorial on the wall paying homage to a previous pub cat, I believed him. I also believed him when he said that the cat was called, erm, Craig David. (Non-Brits: ask your slightly older British friends.)
Craig David was a stray who turned up one day at the Free Trade Inn in Newcastle and never left. He soon became an iconic feature of the pub, and customers would often find him asleep on a bar stool or on top of the jukebox. There was quite an outpouring of grief from the community when he passed away after four years of living his best life at the pub, and the staff decided to pay tribute with a commemorative blue plaque on the wall:
They even sell Craig David t-shirts – and, yes, we bought one:
I sometimes think of what we should do to honour Catorze when he is no longer here. But, since the little sod was forged in the raging fires of The Underworld, he will probably outlast every single one of us. And, just as Earth implodes, he will hop onto a spacecraft and return to his home planet, having accomplished his mission here.
Speaking of hellfires, later today we will be heading back to the inferno that is London, having had a relatively lucky escape here in that tiny strip of England that wasn’t in the Red Zone. Cat Daddy tried to cheer himself up by Googling places hotter than London, only to feel worse when he discovered that Seville, Cairo and Addis Ababa are all COOLER.
Much has been made of animals in the heat, with advice involving extra water and fans but, unbelievably, this is one area where I trust Catorze to do the right thing for himself, however insane it may seem to me. After all, he has ninety-nine problems but a heat-related illness ain’t one.
As ever, there is online panic, with people on my local neighbourhood forum telling cat owners to keep cats indoors. However, I disagree. Unlike dogs, who would blindly follow their owners across hot lava if they had to (and even if they didn’t have to), cats won’t do things that they don’t want to do. Also, if cats are used to going outside and they enjoy it, keeping them in would drive them round the bend; we would be able to hear Catorze’s screaming even from up here. So we have just told our neighbours to feed him smaller portions, keep an closer eye on the levels of his one water glass, and let him do as he wants. (He doesn’t need extra water glasses; trust me, he won’t drink from them. And, when the fan is switched on, his ears flick back and he moves away.)
Incidentally, our chat-sitteur reported that Sa Maj was the perfect angel during our absence, with no pukes, no rats and no 3am parkour. For heaven’s sake.