Plus chaud que la moyenne

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.)

Photo from

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 met the cat on Monday, gave him a few treats on Tuesday, he had moved in by Wednesday …

They even sell Craig David t-shirts – and, yes, we bought one:

Craig David all over your (shirt).

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.

Why were you screaming loudly late last night? Can you fill me in?

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.

Oh, non, pas moi, je survivrai

Because it’s a bank holiday weekend, my mind drifted to memories of the LAST bank holiday weekend when Cat Daddy gave Disco the dog’s human sister some lessons in musical history and helped her to compile a disco playlist.

I don’t know why I didn’t blog about this at the time, but I imagine it was because the week was already full of Louis Catorze’s nonsense, and not only was there no room for further nonsense but, in fact, there was a backlog of unpublished nonsense. This seems to be quite a recurring pattern for Le Blog.

I tried to help with the playlist but this was the extent of my contribution:

Me: “What about Knock on Wood? Is that disco?”

Cat Daddy, utterly horrified: “What? NOOOO!”

Me: “What is it, then?”

Him, as if that were the stupidest question on earth: “That’s soul!”

Me: “What’s the difference?”

Him: “….”

Me: “???”

Him: “It’s just different.”

[I have since found out that Knock on Wood was one of the tracks on a compilation album called Fetenkult Disco 70. I have no idea what “Fetenkult” means but I’m fairly sure I understand the “Disco” bit.]

Anyway, Dog Sister’s playlist entitled Disco the Party Dog is now a thing, although it’s still a work in progress, and she and Cat Daddy are taking their research very seriously. The most important part involved Dog Sister and Cat Daddy dancing outside to Ottowan’s D-I-S-C-O (younger followers: ask your parents), each holding their respective animal and making him do Saturday Night Fever movements (younger followers: ask your grandparents) with his paws.

Catorze denies everything and says that it never happened (all lies).

Yes, Sir, he can boogie. Whether he wants to or not.

Louis, be good; une chanson pour fêter les 11 ans du Roi Soleil

Deep down in sunny Brentford to the north of Kew
Not far from the M4 and the B452
There stands a fine Château made of brick and wood
Where lives a small black cat who’s up to no good
He always does the opposite of what we say
We tell him “No” but then he does it anyway

No, no!
No, Louis, no, no!
No, Louis, no, no!
No, Louis, no, no!
No, Louis, no, no!
Louis, be good!

This kitty’s super-creepy; he’s got vampire teeth
The canines are much bigger than the ones beneath
He goes to other gardens and he raises hell
Annoying all the foxes and the squirrels as well
He is a total psycho and a massive pain
That’s why you’ll hear us yelling this again and again

No, no!
No, Louis, no, no!
No, Louis, no, no!
No, Louis, no, no!
No, Louis, no, no!
Louis, be good!

Cat Daddy tells him “Someday I will kick your arse
Unless you start behaving with a bit more class”
Yet many people visit him from miles around 
They get here just by following the screaming sound
Maybe someday, instead of being a shite
He’ll say "I will be good tonight"

No, no! 
No, Louis, no!
No, no, no, Louis, no!
No, no, no, Louis, no!
No, no, no, Louis, no, no! 
Louis, be good!
Happy 11th birthday, little sod.

Je suis heureux, j’espère que vous l’êtes aussi

I have completed a whole fortnight of teaching from home and survived to tell the tale.

It was someone else’s cat – a lovely plushy ginge called Simba, belonging to one of my students – who brought my video lessons to a standstill by gatecrashing, meowing to the class and then settling on the desk to watch his small human work.

Louis Catorze, however, saved his star turn for my online staff meeting, climbing across the keyboard, screaming. Then, when I kicked him off, he ran riot with a noisy bell toy that he had hidden behind the sofa, most likely for this very purpose.

Apart from that, Catorze more or less left me alone and either slept through my work or annoyed the merde out of Cat Daddy instead of me. I later discovered that the sleepiness was because Cat Daddy has been wearing him out at extended Boys’ Club which starts at around 9pm and goes on long into the night/morning.

Being at home all day means I have been able to take a cheeky peek into the once-mysterious ways of Le Club, and I can report that Cat Daddy and Catorze have been enjoying lengthy late-night music sessions together. This is mostly old-school prog rock, but they’ve been going through a new wave phase recently. Sa Maj bounces up and down on his daddy’s knees to Elvis Costello’s “Welcome to the working week” in an ironic nod to the fact that neither of them know what one is, whilst I still slave away like a chump. That said, I am very much aware of how lucky I am to still have a job.

Cat Daddy recently announced – after a few too many sloe gins, I might add – that he wanted to create a cat-themed playlist for their music club. This is excellent news as it saves me doing the same job for Catorze’s birthday.

The songs that we already know are as follows:

1. Lovecats (The Cure)

2. Cool for Cats (Squeeze)

3. What’s New Pussycat (Tom Jones)

4. Stray Cat Strut (Stray Cats), although the bit about the lady cats, of course, doesn’t apply

5. Louie Louie (The Kingsmen)

6. Sun King (The Cult)

Six songs aren’t much of a playlist, but never fear: Cat Daddy and Catorze are on the case, and I am confident that the list will be complete by 30th April. And Cat Daddy has trained his boy so well that he sits happily in a room with loud, blasting music and doesn’t even blink (see photo below for proof), so they will probably work on the list together.

Me: “Does Louis prefer vinyl or streaming?” (It’s important to get this right for the party, after all, even though the party will end up being just the four* of us.)

[*Cat Daddy, me, Catorze and the mouse whom I know is still at large, even though I can’t prove it.]

Cat Daddy, firmly and without hesitation: “Streaming.”

Me: “You seem very sure about that.”

Cat Daddy: “Yes. Because vinyl means I have to get up and change the record, and that disturbs him.”

Of course.

Here is Catorze in his happy place. Would you believe, the little sod actually got up and moved closer to the speaker when David Bowie came on:

“Je n’ai jamais fait rien de bien …”

Le maître de la scène

Cat Daddy and I invited That Neighbour and his wife for dinner the other night. Yes, THAT Neighbour; the one who is always having to escort Louis Catorze home when he escapes at The Front and causes carnage in the street.

To be honest we had been putting it off because, although they are thoroughly lovely people, we’ve been so embarrassed by Sa Maj and his behaviour that we haven’t been able to face them. We were going to wait until the little sod started to behave himself but, of course, that jour de gloire never came and, before we knew it, 4 years had passed.

Anyway, after the greetings, the hors d’œuvres and our initial shock at the generous amount of alcohol they’d brought with them (although we all know the reason why they need it), the topic of conversation inevitably got to the small, black, toothy elephant in the room. Mind you, this was unavoidable because said elephant presented himself as loudly as possible, screaming, purring and nuzzling That Neighbour’s legs (although, rudely, he ignored Wife of That Neighbour). Luckily they are animal lovers and they have been taking all his shenanigans with good humour. For now, at least.

During dinner Catorze disappeared. Then the howling started. The longer it went on, the less cat-like it sounded and, pretty soon, it was more like something you’d hear in the haunted Transylvanian woods outside Castle Dracula.

Wife of That Neighbour: “Is that … MEOWING?”

That Neighbour: “Yes. Is it Louis?”

Cat Daddy, hurriedly opening more wine: “No, it’s definitely not him. It must be some other cat. Here, let me top you up.”

The conversation turned to Brexit, then to my and Puppy Mamma’s knitting woes, then to Wife of That Neighbour’s absolutely brilliant true story about the time she knitted the pink jumper worn by a household-name pop star in an iconic music video*. Throughout all this, the howling continued and Cat Daddy poured more and more wine. By the time we got onto climate change, so much wine was flowing that nobody noticed or cared about the howling anymore. And, when Sa Maj reappeared (and, coincidentally, the howling stopped), That Neighbour sang that “Louie Louie” song to him and gave him a big cuddle.

It’s hard to know whether this means that he’s forgiven him his trespasses, or whether it was just the wine. Probably a better indicator is That Neighbour’s choice of musical links posted on social media, which, consciously nor not, often seem to channel Catorze. This one was posted just before our dinner. It got better after that:

*Can you guess the pop star and the music video? Think of a charismatic, cat-loving British frontman – in fact, he’s known for having had quite a few cats, and my mum knows all their names – and the song is most likely the rousing anthem Catorze hears in his head every time he escapes at The Front.



Yesterday I was having a bit of an off day, mainly due to frustration that my recovery is so slow. Cat Daddy had sent me a text to cheer me up, which read, “You just have to be patient. You have a lovely house in which to recover, summer weather, TV and wifi, a huge bed in which to stretch out and, of course, the most amazing cat in the world.” (I pretended not to notice that that last bit was sarcastic.)

Then it happened: my beautiful little bubble of convalescence was cruelly broken by the sight of Louis Catorze walking casually past me with a dead bird in his mouth. And, before I could stop him, he had trotted under the coffee table and dumped the bird on top of Cat Daddy’s apocalyptically-expensive new wireless headphones. Oh. Mon. Dieu.

Getting a 3.2kg cat to leave a place that he really doesn’t want to leave, when you are not meant to be lifting weights of more than 2kg, is much more of a challenge than one might imagine. But, after a brief skirmish, I managed to separate Sa Majesté from his loot, kick his arse out of the room, ignore his unearthly screams to be let back in again (see photo) and call Cat Daddy to dispose of poor birdy. He was surprisingly good about it, with “That’s what cats do” falling from his lips not just once but several times. Before I could say “Sennheiser Momentum”, the headphones were disinfected and back on his head as he relaxed on the patio with Louis Catorze on his lap.

It later transpired that Cat Daddy had mentally claimed the bird as a gift to him, given that it was left on his headphones, and was actually secretly pleased that his boy had been so thoughtful.

I, however, am starting to see that being the second favourite human has its benefits.