Les pellicules infernales

We have had quite the weekend at Le Château, with the following events taking place:

1. End-of-the-football-season festivities (although Louis Catorze doesn’t regard this as a celebratory moment as it means fewer men will be visiting us for the next eleven weeks).

2. The Black Cats won the League One play-off finals and will be promoted to the Championship tier next season.

Naturellement Catorze thought this would be an excellent time to churn out as much dandruff as possible, specifically when friends were due to visit on the day of the Black Cats’ match. After the oatmeal incident I wasn’t going to go down THAT route again so, instead, I just spent the entire morning brushing him to try to remove the worst of the dandruff. It didn’t work. All I managed to do was stir up more.

There was absolutely no hope of my visitors failing to notice the dandruff; they have two black cats of their own so they know what normal ones are meant to look like. And, yes, we all know that Catorze is far from normal, but I didn’t think making him pretend for just one afternoon was such a big ask.

Anyway, Sa Maj was a very convivial host, as ever, screaming for his guests’ attention during lunch and always positioning himself in the brightest sunlight for maximum visibility of his dandruff. Our friends hid their revulsion well, although Cat Daddy and I were inwardly wincing every time they stroked the little sod. Dandruff on cats isn’t nice. And dandruff on black cats looks especially awful.

The next morning, the dandruff had vanished as suddenly and as inexplicably as it had appeared.

I suppose I ought to mention this at the vet appointment later this week although, knowing Catorze, his bald patch will also disappear at the time of the appointment, only to magically reappear as soon as we get home, along with the dandruff and the mats.

Bastard cat.

A mixture of dandruff, plant matter, insect matter and other stuff that we daren’t even think about.

Un trou dans le noir

Just as I was starting to think Louis Catorze didn’t have QUITE enough things wrong with him, the little sod decided to develop this inexplicable bald patch:

What on earth …?

For a while I ignored it, thinking perhaps I just hadn’t beaten the oatmeal out of him properly. But he is fastidiously clean, and there is no way he would have intentionally left crud on his person. Many cats have bald patches as a result of stress over-grooming but, despite the little sod’s numerous problems, he has never really done this kind of thing. Apart from, erm, that time in 2016-2017 when he had feline hyperesthesia and he chewed his tail to pieces.

My theories are as follows:

1. He caught himself on a sticking-out twig.

2. He was a little over-zealous in grooming off whatever crud he’d rolled in (plant sap, snail juice, fox poo, take your pick).

3. A parakeet finally had enough of his nonsense, flew down and pecked him. (Not content with fighting the pigeons and the squirrels, Cat Daddy has now also declared a fatwa on the parakeets and Catorze is valiantly and loyally fighting his papa’s corner.)

I had planned to ask the vet about the bald patch when we went for Catorze’s steroid shot but, because the little sod had been doing so well health-wise, we haven’t been yet. But now I guess we don’t have any choice.

So the agenda for our appointment is as follows:

1. Steroid shot.

2. Collect Broadline.

3. Mats.

4. Bald patch.

No doubt there will be more items by the time the appointment takes place. And I have started building myself a fort to hide from the deluge of Unrepeatable Expletives. (From Cat Daddy, I mean, not from the vet.)

Awaiting the next set of instructions from The Mothership.

Le livre rose

Sometimes you have to ask the question, even if you already know the answer. This is one of those times.

We don’t really need to think about this one.

I snapped up the very last copy of this book from Amazon and, once again, I forgot that the order notifications go through to Cat Daddy’s phone. The conversation that ensued was quite interesting, but this is the abridged version:

Him: “Why are you buying this? You hardly need a book to tell you if he’s gay or not.”

Me: “…”

Him: “And anyway, don’t you already have this book?”

Me: “No, of course I don’t. Why would I buy two of the same book? That would be ridiculous.”

Him: “I’m sure I’ve seen it in the house.”

Me: “You must be thinking of, erm, ahem, my “Poetry for Cats” book which has very similar illustrations.”

[Silence, tumbleweed, crickets]

Anyway, after several weeks of no book, the supplier eventually contacted me to tell me it was out of stock and to refund my money. Then, last week, having been refunded, the book arrived … and, the same day, a friend revealed that she had also bought me a copy.

So now I have two of the same book. Which is ridiculous.

Interestingly, Louis Catorze has not (yet) displayed any of the criteria mentioned in the book. However, I think a reprint is due as the book fails to mention two huge Catorzian pink flags: hanging out with unneutered male cats (Ginger Impinger Dosti, Beefy Tabby Tigger and Donnie, to name but three) and aggressively demanding attention from human males, whether or not they want to give it.

Here he is, scouring the horizon for more men:

“Où sont les hommes?”

Franchir le temps

It’s a full moon and, once again, Louis Catorze’s energy is through the roof, so much so that Cat Daddy has had to kick him out at The Front a couple of times, just to get some peace. Don’t worry, we always remember to retrieve him again (eventually), usually when his screaming becomes embarrassing.

We try to avoid leaving the house when Catorze is on the rampage at The Front. However, sometimes, if he escapes as we’re on our way out and we can’t grab hold of him to drag his arse back in, we don’t have much choice. Luckily he never roams far and, when we come home, he always greets us, screaming himself hoarse, rolling on the pavement and making a spectacle of himself.

One day he escaped as we were leaving to go out but, luckily, some guests were due to arrive later that evening and they had keys to Le Château. So we messaged them and asked if they would mind looking out for the little sod when they arrived, and shepherding him in if possible.

When we arrived home we found our guests engrossed in trashy reality TV, with Sa Maj happily pitter-pattering and chirping around them. We thanked them for letting him in and asked if he’d come willingly or whether he’d had to be forced/tricked.

You know what’s coming next, don’t you, Mesdames et Messieurs?

“He was already in when we arrived.”

Oh. Mon. Dieu.

As you are aware, once he is out at The Front there is no way of re-entering Le Château unless through a window, or by pitter-pattering many, many houses to the left or the right, then hopping over a fence and cutting through many, many gardens to come back again. The former was not available as an option at the time, and we have no evidence that he has either the brains or the inclination to do the latter.

HOW DOES HE DO THIS?

Leaping through space and time.

La farine d’avoine

Louis Catorze’s dandruff has been deteriorating, and I noticed that it looked especially bad just before a friend was due to visit. We couldn’t have him looking scaly and gross in front of visitors so I tried to brush it out, but each brush stroke seemed to just dredge up more crud. I then decided to deploy the colloidal oatmeal powder.

This was probably the right idea. However, I should have executed it a lot better.

Rather than tipping out the powder and letting him roll around in it or his own accord, for whatever stupid reason I decided, instead, to tip it straight from the pack onto his body whilst he lay on my lap. Instead of the light dusting for which I had hoped, huge lumps of oatmeal fell out, each one breaking into a zillion pieces when it hit la personne royale. Each one of those zillion pieces then hit me, breaking into a further zillion pieces as they did so.

Extracting the oatmeal most certainly was not a piece of cake.

The next twenty minutes or so were spent chasing a white cat around the living room and attempting to brush/beat the oatmeal out of him. It only half-worked. When my friend arrived, rather than being dandruff-free, Catorze was still grey in some areas and peppered with both dandruff AND oatmeal, and I was worried that his attempts to groom it off would leave him with stomach cramps or constipation. Luckily this turned out not to be the case, and, because our friend knows the little sod very well, she didn’t bat an eyelid when we said there had been “an oatmeal incident”.

Post-groom mess.

We can’t think of any reason why Catorze’s skin would suddenly deteriorate and, as with the mats, we will check with the vet just in case. Happily, Le Roi is utterly unfazed by it and is continuing to live his best life.

L’épice effrayante

A few nights ago I prepared some fish with a potent herb, spice and salt rub, then I washed my hands and went to cuddle Louis Catorze.

With hindsight, I should probably have done those tasks the other way around – maintaining the hand wash in between, naturellement – because my hands clearly still smelled of the rub and Catorze was confused by this.

His actions and facial expressions were as follows:

1. “Je voudrais des cuddles!”

2. “Merde, it’s her. I didn’t want her. I wanted mon papa.”

3. [Sniffs hand] “What the absolute merde is this?”

4. [Glares] “Does the rest of her smell like this, too?” [Sniffs whole arm]

5. “What even WAS that?” [Goes back to hand again]

7. [Accepts cuddles in an insincere and resentful fashion, in the same way that I do when small children offer me pretend food from their pretend café and I’m secretly wishing it were real food]

This wasn’t quite as bad as the time I decided to make my own green curry paste, and the bashing of the pestle and mortar outraged him beyond belief. But it still serves him right; after those torturous months of having to water his Orijen, throwing away countless portions which didn’t meet the required standard, it’s about time the tables were turned and that HE was inconvenienced by the preparation of OUR food.

“Have you SMELLED yourself lately, salope? Also: feed moi.”

Le salon de coiffure

What the flamin’ flip is all this?

Ugh.
Ugh.
Ugh.

More mats, that’s what. They are materialising from nowhere, like crop circles. It’s almost as if simply being touched by a matty hair is enough to mattify a previously-normal hair, a bit like turning into a zombie when another zombie bites you.

The largest of the three mats quite literally appeared overnight. As in, there was no trace of it in the evening and then, suddenly, the next morning, it was there. I am puzzled and concerned, yet also strangely satisfied that I am getting such good value out of the Dematting Rake.

Apparently there are many reasons for an older cat not grooming efficiently, including arthritis, bladder issues and simply not being as bendy as they were when they were younger. Dental problems are also listed as a reason, although l’m pretty certain that Louis Catorze no longer has them. And it’s just as well, because this was the advice given by one website:

“If they have a painful mouth, they obviously won’t want to use their mouth to groom their fur, causing them to become more matted. Like people, cats need dental cleaning and regular mouth care. If you can, start brushing your cat’s teeth.”

BRUSHING YOUR CAT’S TEETH. Nope, nope and thrice nope.

Anyway, since removing these mats (with some difficulty, I might add), more have appeared, as has Catorze’s unsightly dandruff, and all I can do is continue brushing and raking. To be on the safe side, I’m going to tell the vet about them when we go for his next steroid shot.

Hopefully this is all part of a general spring-summer purge and not a sign of anything more ominous.

This kind of crazy caper probably doesn’t help.

Les pèlerins sont de retour

Me: “So … [our new neighbours next door] have a guest coming for the weekend, and they’d like to know if they can bring her over to meet Louis?”

Cat Daddy: “…”

Me: “Did you hear what I said?”

Him: “…”

Me: “…”

Him: “Are we some sort of tourist attraction now, or something?”

Me: “…”

Him: “Maybe we should put Louis on TripAdvisor? “Come to Brentford and visit the stadium, the steam and water museum and Louis Catorze’s Château”?”

Me: “Erm … so can I say yes to the meet-up, then?”

Him: “You’ve already said yes, haven’t you?”

Me: “…”

Narrator: “So the Sun King bestowed his blessings upon another devotee. And all was well with the world.”

“The world revolves around moi.”

Les herbes folles

Oh. Mon. Dieu. I have just found this among our condiments in the kitchen:

I don’t think the good people of Italy would approve of this in their lasagne.

This is the sachet of catnip that came free with Louis Catorze’s spring-summer bed. And the fact that I found it where I did suggests that a member of our household has been using it in our food.

Now, when someone asks you whether you used the cat’s gear for cooking, there really is only one correct answer. I was, therefore, utterly dismayed when I asked Cat Daddy and he replied, “I’m PRETTY sure I didn’t”.

Oh dear.

Luckily for Catorze, drugs that are given as a free gift with a purchase are nothing special, and his really good shit is safely hidden at the back of the cat cupboard. However, the next time Cat Daddy makes dinner, I’ll be making sure I don’t drive or operate machinery afterwards.

Photo taken by our friend Emily after consuming his birthday edibles. (Catorze consuming them, I mean, not Emily.)

Fixer le regard

A couple of days ago, Cat Daddy and I spent the afternoon in separate rooms watching different television programmes; I didn’t want to watch whatever dull sports thing he was watching and he didn’t want to watch gruesome documentaries about serial killers.

Naturellement Louis Catorze chose to sit in the kitchen with his papa but, after a short while, he came into the living room, where I was, to creepy-stare at me for food. It wasn’t long before I felt so uncomfortable that I succumbed to his sinister mind control, like a brainwashed cult devotee.

Me, to Cat Daddy, as I opened the Orijen tin: “I can’t believe you’re sitting in the same room as the food, yet he came to creepy-stare at ME. Why didn’t he creepy-stare at you?”

Him: “He did.”

Me: “What? And you didn’t feed him?”

Him: “No. I just ignored him. That’s why he went to you.”

Me: “For goodness’ sake. It would have been so much less effort for you to do it. I’ve just had to get up and move rooms.”

Him: “Well, that’s your own fault. You give into him too easily.”

Me: “…”

I have friends who get up at 5am to feed their cats because they can’t stand the physical bullying and intimidation, and I used to think they were pathetic. Yet here I am, being given the runaround just because this tiny, toothy little despot LOOKS at me in a certain way. He doesn’t make a sound. Mainly because he doesn’t need to.

What a look, though. I challenge anyone to remain in the same room with this (see below, with bonus tongue on this particular occasion) and not be desperate to make it stop:

“Feed moi.”

Les invités d’honneur

Louis Catorze had a magnificent birthday weekend and marked it as follows:

1. Stole a hair band from a guest’s bedroom whilst she slept, then rampaged around the house with it during the early hours, eventually dropping it downstairs in the living room.

2. Indulged in some herbal edibles.

3. Had some mystery fun with unknown individuals in the Zone Libre.

4. Played with the toy that he received from Disco the dog:

So. Much. Fun.

Two never-seen-before members of the Chat Noir contingent stopped by a couple of days before the big day, to bid their comrade a Joyeux Anniversaire. We thought this first visitor WAS Catorze until we realised that the little sod was indoors, eating his Orijen in front of us.

Look at the little sod’s tail, and the enthusiasm with which he runs to greet his nouvel ami.
“Bonjour.”

However, Sa Maj was less happy about the appearance of this absolute colossus, who sloped away after Catorze flew at him and told him to get lost:

And you are …?

The only reason he didn’t leave with his tail between his legs is because it didn’t fit. LOOK AT THE SIZE OF IT:

“Dégage!”

The photos aren’t the best because they were taken through grubby glass, but any attempts to go outside would have ruined the photo opportunity, with one or other party scarpering. You get the idea, though. Cats galore. It’s most apt that our place is called the CHAT-eau.

Thank you so much for all your birthday wishes. It’s wonderful to know that Sa Maj has friends around the world.

Official 12th Birthday Portrait.

Notre cher ami; une chanson pour fêter les 12 ans du Roi Soleil

So no one told us he was gonna be this way
This cat’s a joke, and blokes
Are all frightened away
It's like he’s always stuck in psycho gear
And he won’t behave today, this week, this month or even this year, but ...

We’ll be there for him
When the vet bills pile in
We’ll be there for him
Gonna bear it and grin
We’ll be there for him
If not us, well then who?

When we’re in bed asleep
His screams ring through the night
He knows we need our rest, but
He don’t give a shite
Nobody warned us there'd be cats like this
And although he’s cute it’s really clear how much he’s taking the piss, but ...

We’ll be there for him
Even though he’s so odd
We’ll be there for him
What a weird little sod
We’ll be there for him
If not us, well, then who?

No one could ever know him
No one could ever read him
Not even Satan has a clue
What it's like to be him
We’re knocking back the French wine
‘Cos of this crazy feline
But, you know what, it’s all fine
And if it weren’t us it could be you ... yeah ...

It's like he’s always stuck in psycho gear
And he won’t behave today, this week, this month or even this year

We’ll be there for him
Though he drives us both mad
We’ll be there for him
Guess it’s not all that bad
We’ll be there for him
If not us, well then who?

Bon anniversaire, little sod.

Les douze

Louis Catorze will be twelve years old on Saturday. This means that he will overtake Cat Daddy and become the oldest member of the household (based on cat years and their equivalent to human years).

When Catorze first came to live with us, we didn’t think he would live very long because he was such a sickly little thing. Yet here he is, not just soldiering on but positively thriving. My dream of him turning fourteen – simply so that I can tell people that Catorze is quatorze – is now a distinct possibility. Back in 2014 the idea of another ten years seemed a bit of a reach, but not anymore.

We had originally planned to be away for Catorze’s birthday – not to get away from him, I might add, but because Brentford are playing Manchester United away. However, the date of the match has been changed, so we will be here after all. Obviously he doesn’t give a shite whether we’re here or not, but I’m rather glad that we will be able to share his big day with him.

I had written a birthday song for him, too, remodelling the lyrics to Boney M’s Rasputin*. However, given recent events, it seems insensitive to post something with Russian references. I was looking forward to using the line “La la little sod, struts around as if he’s God” but he now has a new birthday song, to be posted on the day.

*Younger followers: ask your grandparents.

Here is the little sod, dreaming of the birthday tomfoolery that he can conjure up:

Relaxing on what he believes to be HIS outdoor sofa.

La vengeance des nœuds

Merde. We have just experienced MatGate 2.0. And, once again, the TWO mats in question were at the undesirable end of la personne royale:

“ … There’s a mat on mi kitty, what ammm I gonna do? …

I don’t know whether these were new mats, or leftovers from the previous ones which I thought I’d removed but hadn’t. Either way, I have had to deploy the Dematting Rake again. This time the mats were stubborn beyond belief and our mutual friend was not happy with my efforts to remove them. And I don’t think I will ever recover from the fact that the larger mat was coated in some sort of transparent, dried crud which TOUCHED MY HAND. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he had sat on a snail, the only animal too slow to move out of the way of his arse.

This one was HARD WORK.

I know that mats are not unusual for cats, but these two recent incidents are Catorze’s ONLY incidents. What could possibly make a once-unmatty cat suddenly develop them after twelve years? Does it mean that, in his old age, he is becoming less and less able to groom his arse end, despite being lithe and kittenish in every other way? That said, if it’s taken twelve years for us to see any signs of his advancing years, the little sod has had a pretty good run.

Cat Daddy: “It’s just his runtiness. It’s all part of being the runt of the litter.”

Me: “Awww. You think he was the runt of the litter?”

Cat Daddy: “Oh my God. You DON’T think he was the runt of the litter?”

[Silence, tumbleweed, crickets]

Anyway, I don’t suppose it matters as long as Catorze has his entourage at hand to fix the problem (which we have, in time for his birthday so, hopefully, he will be presentable for his party). And that is exactly as it should be for a Sun King.

Matty cat.

UPDATE: since writing this post I have found yet another mat, again at the arse end. And this one was STICKY. Ugh.