L’amitié perdue, l’amitié retrouvée

Last weekend, as Cat Daddy arrived home, a lady in the street stopped and said, “Excuse me: is this the home of Louis Catorze?”

You just couldn’t make this up, could you, Mesdames et Messieurs?

When Cat Daddy shamefacedly confirmed that she had the correct house, she introduced herself: “I’m Ginger Impinger’s mum.”

Actually, “Ginger Impinger’s NEW mum” would have been more accurate: after concerned reports emerged on a local forum of an increasingly thin and unkempt GI appearing at various houses in the neighbourhood, a rescue organisation trapped, chipped and snipped him and treated him for a few minor surface ailments. Sadly, whilst he was under house arrest at the rescue’s veterinary surgery, not a single poster went up locally regarding his whereabouts, indicating that the poor boy didn’t have any people (or, at least, none who cared enough), but the happy news is that he is now in a lovely new home.

The TW8 network of who-knows-whom is tighter than a gnat’s behind, so his new mamma and I have been able to find and message each other. And, because Le Blog documents virtually every one of her boy’s visits to Louis Catorze, she has been able to read all about their exploits together. The large area that he covered came as something of a surprise, but GI’s mamma was also comforted by the fact that, throughout his time on the run, he had a little playmate and a safe haven of sorts at Le Château.

She loved the name “Ginger Impinger”, too, and I think she may even have been half-tempted to keep it, were it not for the fact that, if a place is officially one’s home, strictly speaking one can’t impinge. The name she has chosen for him is Dosti – “friend” in Hindi – which is highly appropriate as he was such a good buddy to Catorze, coming to collect him for little jaunts together, dropping him safely home afterwards and generally showing us all that an unneutered (as he was then) male isn’t always the ubiquitous bullying troublemaker.

The meaning of “Dosti” has a bittersweet tinge when I think that Louis Catorze will be losing his only friend; now that he has a permanent home he is not going to be visiting us anymore and, if he does, I am to let his mamma know immediately because, understandably, she doesn’t want him wandering that far. But we have now gained a new friend in his mamma and, most importantly, dear little Dosti finally has the family he deserves. Here is the lucky boy, relaxing in his new place:

Le Roi attire tous les garçons à la cour

Louis Catorze has had a new visitor to Le Jardin and, once again, it appears to be an unneutered male. I don’t know why it is that unneutered males are drawn to him like iron filings to a magnet, but we’re just thankful that they don’t want any trouble.

When Le Roi caught sight of le visiteur in our mint patch and pitter-pattered over to him so fast that his little paws were a blur, we thought, “Mon Dieu, this isn’t going to end well …” But it turned out that our boy was desperate to kiss him. I’m not joking. I’d have preferred him to hold back a little and not offer his heart so readily but, y’know, I guess you can’t help it when the urge hits you.

This first photo isn’t the best quality but Catorze’s body language clearly shows that he is the one unashamedly making all the moves. At this point Cat Daddy had his face pressed up against the window and was actually screaming: “He’s kissing him! OH MY GOD, HE’S KISSING HIM! What a tart!”

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Here they are again, more clearly, in post-kiss awkwardness:

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Le visiteur was even brave enough to let me stroke him a little and I am quite confident that, at some point, he will let me attach a paper collar bearing the words, “Please do the responsible thing and empty the loose change from these money bags” or something to that effect. I do hope he will be back because he was very easy-going: no fighting, spraying or havoc-causing, just casually hanging out.

Even Cat Daddy is a little bit in love with him. “Now that’s what a proper cat should look like,” he said. “I wish we could keep him.”

(Unfortunately he meant instead of Louis Catorze, not as well as.)

Les ballons d’or sont de retour

This week is our lovely vet’s last week at work before she sets off on her travels, so yesterday I went to see her with some gifts: a Louis Catorze t-shirt so that she may remember her most troublesome patient, and a bottle of fizz to help her forget the yowls, hisses and kicks.

I very nearly took him along to bid her farewell, but then decided that he had already put her through quite enough.

We shall miss her tremendously, but she has excellent colleagues whom we know will give Le Roi nothing but the best treatment. We are VERY lucky indeed.

On my way back I bumped into notre cher ami Ginger Impinger, who was sporting a snazzy new collar and striding purposefully down the middle of the road. It was quite a shock to see him as we were a good few minutes’ walk from all the other areas where he has been spotted.

GI always enters and exits Le Jardin from Oscar the dog’s side (our left as you look out), so we imagined he would live that way. Cocoa the babysit cat’s family live in the same direction and GI has been caught napping on their furniture and even sitting on their glass conservatory roof, giving everyone below an uninterrupted eyeful of his ballons d’or. But he has also been spotted around our local pub, which is about 60 houses away from Cocoa’s place, and where I saw him today is another area entirely. (See below for my not-entirely-to-scale map of GI sightings.)

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I am in complete disbelief that he would cover so much ground, let alone keep coming back to Le Château. After all, our cat flap is now inaccessible (not that it stops him from trying – Oscar the dog’s mamma has seen his ginger derrière reversing out after failed entry attempts), and it’s not as if Louis Catorze will be having relations with him anytime soon.

I really, really want to find out where the little sod might live and, somehow, broach the awkward subject of les ballons d’or with his people. But, given the enormous catchment area (that we know of) covered by GI, I have no idea where to begin.

Les ballons d’or

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Cat Daddy says he doesn’t believe me when I tell him that Ginger Impinger is not neutered.

There are two very clear pieces of evidence proving my argument, but he thinks I have imagined them. I was a little insulted at his assumption; I know my balls and I know that GI’s are very much present (although maybe I shouldn’t have said it quite like that to him). But, without photo evidence, and without encouraging GI too close for comfort, I can’t prove that I am right.

I think that Cat Daddy, like a lot of men, feels queasy at the idea of neutering and equates it to castration in human males; whenever I raise the subject of GI and his balls, he crosses his legs and changes the subject. But there’s no escaping the fact that every vet on the planet is in favour of neutering, not only because it keeps down the population of stray cats but also because neutered cats are less likely to wander or fight. They may even be less prone to disease, including certain types of cancer, if neutered.

The thing is that, although neutering a cat is the responsible and humane thing to do, it’s not a legal requirement. Telling GI’s folks to neuter him would be akin to telling a parent how to raise their child (although there are many times when I have wanted to do that, too). Yet he shouldn’t really be out and about with his bits still on; even if he doesn’t happen to meet any unneutered females outdoors, I can well imagine him having the culot to break into houses to seek them out.

So my threefold mission is to somehow find out where the little sod lives, befriend his humans and bring about the subject of neutering in a roundabout yet tactful way. Quel travail.