La prise de la Bastille

One of our neighbours popped round a couple of days ago, and not only did he overhear Louis Catorze’s tormenting of Oscar 2 weekends back, but the little sod has, on numerous occasions, broken into his house. Through an UPPER FLOOR window. 

And, on the most recent occasion, a member of his family found him pitter-pattering around their landing, screaming, because said window had been shut and he couldn’t get back out. 

“Mortified” doesn’t even BEGIN to describe how Cat Daddy and I felt upon learning this news. And “mystified” would have been our second adjective of choice, had we not remembered what used to happen in our previous home when we were attempting to train Catorze to use the cat flap. Long story short: he wasn’t having any of it and, instead, chose the Mission Impossible route in and out via next door’s fence, their conservatory roof and our upstairs bathroom window. During one outward (we assume) journey he even managed to get a large bottle of mouthwash stuck in the slats of the Venetian blind. To this day, we have no idea how he did this.

We also recalled that, just like his big brother, Luther, Sa Majesté was a master of going into places where he had no business being. Our next-door neighbour at the time would often text me saying, “There’s a black cat in my house. Is it yours?” And, when the texts stopped, I assumed it meant that Catorze was no longer impinging but, in actual fact, the neighbour had simply got to know him so there was no need to ask me if he were mine. The same lady also once heard scrabbling around under her bed and thought she had mice but, when she looked, it was Catorze.

So now that we know HOW, the only question is WHY the little sod would break into a house that has traces of dog in it, that doesn’t have a supply of food (both of which should make it less attractive to an impinging cat) and that is occupied mainly by ladies (which should make it less attractive to Catorze). And I don’t suppose there’s much we can do to stop him. We are just lucky that we have patient, understanding neighbours who like us. 

Cat Daddy: “For now. Our neighbours like us FOR NOW.”

This photo was taken last month but I love it because it sums up Le Roi’s arrogant and entitled attitude, surveying his Château and all the neighbours’ adjoining Châteaux which, it seems, are also his Châteaux:

L’ascension du Roi

Easter weekend at Le Château? Oh, y’know: eating too much chocolate, drinking too much wine, the Sun King going out and then returning home smelling of recreational drugs, that kind of thing …

We could tell that he smelled different as soon as he jumped onto the sofa with us – not lime, nor (thank goodness) that awful catty stench, but a sweetish, herby aroma that we couldn’t quite place. Then, when we finally realised, neither of us wanted to be the one to say it first.

So it seems that either Louis Catorze roams further than we thought … or one of our closer neighbours is naughtier than we realised.

Although I cannot stop myself from eyeing everyone’s houses suspiciously as I walk down the street and wondering if it could be them, I can’t say I’m that bothered about what people do in their own homes. My only concern is that the little sod has been entering people’s houses uninvited, which is rather rude and not how we have raised him to be. And, judging by the smell of his fur, he has definitely been sitting downwind of the smoke at length, so surely the smokers would notice his presence and kick his arse out of their house? Or perhaps they do notice him but each person thinks they are hallucinating, and so nobody mentions the cannabis cat? With his glassy eyes and protruding fangs, Louis Catorze could EASILY be mistaken for the product of someone’s drug-altered mind, rather like a creepier version of the Absinthe fairy.

Anyway, short of actually asking neighbours outright (“Hello! You look like the sort of person who enjoys a smoke …”), I don’t suppose there is anything we can do to find out who the mystery herb user is, nor can we stop mannerless Catorze from breaking and entering. So I guess we can add this to the forever-expanding list of unsolvable Roi mysteries.

Here he is, during his glory days of party powder use. It’s an old photo yet somehow very appropriate …

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Vive les vacances

Cat Daddy and I have just returned from a few days away and, as you can see from this plaque on the cottage next door, we didn’t need to go looking for French cats: they found us. And we weren’t even holidaying in France!

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People often ask us how we manage holidays with all the attention that Louis Catorze needs. The short answer used to be: by not going away, ever. It simply wasn’t practical to do so during his tail-munching days, not only because we would have been worried about him but also because we couldn’t unleash a manic, yowling, self-harming kitty onto any of our friends or neighbours, nor any cattery.

It has, very occasionally, crossed our minds to take him away with us. But then we consult The Checklist – of which you really need a full house of affirmative answers before you can consider taking your cat on holiday – and we are reminded of what a stupid idea it would be:

– Is your cat good with long journeys?
– Is your cat good with new places?
– Can your cat be trusted to behave, stick close by and not pitter-patter off into oncoming traffic, dark forests or raging seas?
– If you’re going rural, is your cat large enough not to be picked off by a marauding bird of prey? (Cue hysterical laughter from Cat Daddy at the thought of a floppy Catorze dangling undignifiedly from the talons of a huge buzzard, his indignant meows ringing out through the skies.)

Anyway, c’est un grand NON DE PARTOUT for The Checklist. So no mini-breaks for Le Roi.

Because we have now found a fairly foolproof way of getting the Gabapentin into Louis Catorze, we can ask pretty much anyone to come in and feed him in our absence, knowing that no Greco-Romaning is required. And we are lucky enough to have heaps of kind and obliging neighbours, including Cocoa the babysit cat’s folks, Oscar the dog’s folks and, if we can ever muster up the courage to face her again, maybe even the lady who found Louis Catorze screaming in the street the other day.

We are also very lucky that Louis Catorze is happy to see us when we return, whether we’ve been away for a few hours or a few days. I frequently hear horror stories of cats expressing their displeasure at being left, with tactics ranging from passive-aggressive sulking to plain offensive peeing/pooing/puking on things, but we have never experienced anything of the sort from the Sun King. When we arrive home he happily greets us, all shouty and up-tailed and, within minutes, he is flat out on Cat Daddy’s lap. What an easy-going, accepting little boy he is.

Cat Daddy: “He’s not easy-going or accepting: he’s thick. He doesn’t even remember we’ve been away because his brain can only store 3 facts at a time. If you wanted him to remember we’d been away AND plan an act of revenge, you’d have to remove 2 facts first.”

Je crie, donc je suis

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A couple of nights ago, Cat Daddy and I decided to go to our lovely local pub for dinner. It’s only at the end of our street – a short, 3-minute walk – so well within my diminished physical capabilities. Naturellement, as soon as we opened the front door to leave, Louis Catorze shot out like a speeding bullet and refused to be caught.

“Never mind,” I said. “We’ll only be an hour or two. He’ll just have to sit at The Front until we come back.”

Mais non: Louis Catorze had decided not only that he was coming with us, but that he would announce this fact very loudly to all within earshot.

“Oh dear,” I said, as we continued walking. “I’m sure he’ll shut up and go home in a minute.”

Mais non: the little sod continued to follow us, tail up, his screams ringing out embarrassingly through the street.

“Oh God,” said Cat Daddy. “He’d better not follow us all the way to the pub.”

Luckily, he didn’t: at that point, he decided to duck into a neighbour’s garden and carry on screaming.

Now, had that neighbour been an unknown person, we would have just left Sa Majesté to it, pretended we were nothing to do with him and kept walking, then picked him up on the way home. But, unfortunately, he happened to choose the house of someone whom we know quite well and who knows Catorze by sight. So, had they come out of their house to investigate the diabolical racket, it would have been shameful beyond words.

“We’re going to have to catch him and take him home, aren’t we?” said Cat Daddy. “And, seeing as you’re still not meant to be lifting things, I suppose I’m going to have to do it?”

Mais oui.

So Cat Daddy marched back down the street to where Louis Catorze still sat screaming, scooped him up with one hand like a fairground claw machine grabbing a soft toy, and carried him home. Not much is funnier than the sight of a highly annoyed man striding purposefully down the street, cradling a tiny, floppy, screaming cat.

We know quite a few of our neighbours and are on good terms with them (so far). Thank goodness none of them witnessed this.