Minuit dans le jardin du bien et du mal*

*Yes, of course the “mal” is our mutual friend. Who else would it be?

Louis Catorze appears to have adopted Teenage Me’s body clock: sleeping all day and partying all night.

The little sod goes out at dusk and eventually rolls in between around 4am and 5am every morning. At night, The Back is transformed into a magical place. Because the garden faces north-west, and because we are not overlooked by anyone, we are blessed with everlasting summer sunsets that deliver an enchanting light display.

Le Roi is on high alert at this time, having slept throughout most of the day to power up for after-dark tomfoolery, and his creepy kitty sixth sense picks up all sorts of animal sounds inaudible to us. Cat Daddy swears he can hear the snails chomping away at the leaves, and he constantly berates Catorze for not doing enough to destroy them.

(Incidentally, Cat Daddy hates the snails as much as he hates the pigeons and the squirrels. “I found one on my chervil plant the other day. That’s my f***ing dinner he was eating! What a ****.”)

Catorze’s favourite thing to do is to sit and stare at the virginia creeper, as if absorbing the sounds inside, sometimes bird-chattering at the invisible prey, then launch himself into the leaves to pounce on thin air.

Seeing our old, haggard boy frolicking around with the life and vigour of a young kitten is a heartwarming sight. During their most recent Boys’ Club en plein air, Cat Daddy thought it might be cute to take some pictures.

It wasn’t.

Just look at the horror show that resulted from that photo session. NOW do you believe me when I say Catorze is the devil himself?

Good grief.
Oh. Doux. Jésus.
What the hell even IS this?

Londres est en flamme

Louis Catorze does not like sitting on bare skin. He favours fluffy blankets or denim, merci for asking.

He is also not a fan of, erm, the fan. It’s not the noise, but the breeze; he seems to find it quite annoying and moves away, flicking his ears and muttering obscenities under his breath, when I direct the airflow towards him.

So here I am, in a 30+ degree heatwave, sitting beneath a fluffy blanket and with the fan OFF, with the equivalent of a fur hot water bottle on my lap, to allow said fur hot water bottle to relax in what he believes to be comfort. I don’t know which is/are flowing faster: my sweat or my tears.

And, before you say anything, I bet you would all do the same (not for Catorze, obviously, but for your much nicer cats). In fact, I’m pretty sure you have done worse.

“Switch this on and I’ll slice you up, chère Maman.”

Tenter le sort

Cat Daddy really should know better.

10:00pm: He complains that Louis Catorze hasn’t caught any rodents or birds all year, and claims that cats who hunt are more manly than those who don’t (?).

4.39am the next day: The little sod screams repeatedly in my face (note: not in Cat Daddy’s face but in MINE) and I know instantly that something is up.

Catorze used to bring his prey to our bedroom, which was disgusting but at least there were no surprises. Now, however, his MO is to announce the special delivery and then send us on a treasure hunt for whatever and wherever it may be. I searched in all the usual and unusual places to find nothing and, naturellement, after all that palaver, I was wide awake and there was no point trying to go back to sleep.

Later that morning, I went outside to work out on my aerobic step. It was then that I found the dead mouse, right in the spot where I would lay my head to do my sit-ups, with flies starting to gather around the aromatic smell of sun-cooked mouse as it was one of the hottest days of the month. Ugh.

Anyway, Cat Daddy removed the mouse and took it to the mouse graveyard aka the bin in the park over the road, luckily not bumping into That Neighbour who would regard this sort of thing as fly-tipping. And, when I finally did my sit-ups (avoiding the bit of mouse-patio, obviously), Catorze circled me, screaming his lungs out. I imagine he was either searching for his mouse or rejoicing in the fact that I was dying of heatstroke and then he would have Cat Daddy to himself.

The fun never stops here at Le Château. Sadly what passes for “fun” is questionable.

On the lookout for the next mouse.

L’alpha et l’oméga (Plan B Partie 1)

We have starting using Louis Catorze’s beauty oil 2,0 – called Coatex – and it seems to smell very slightly less pungent than the Nutramega, so hopefully this means it will make him smell less pungent, too.

This time the oil inside the capsules is a runny liquid, so I have to be very careful blobbing it onto his body. And Catorze is even less aware of when I’ve blobbed it onto him, so he pads around in confused circles wondering where the smell is coming from. And woe betide me if I apply it just as he’s about to eat, because the dozy muppet thinks it’s his Orijen that somehow smells different and then he doesn’t eat.

Anyway, this is typically how the daily applications go:

1. Pierce capsule with cocktail stick.

2. Sit and wait for Catorze to come and sit on my lap.

3. Catorze decides to go out and fight Donnie / goad foxes / hunt rats instead of spending time with me.

4. Sit for 973 hours next to holey, fishy capsule, waiting for little sod to come back.

5. Catorze returns from his gallivanting and settles on my lap. Take opportunity to grab the capsule, squeeze it and blob oil onto his leg, but forget which end has hole and end up smearing most of it on myself. (The Nutramega very conveniently caved in at the holey end so it was easy to tell, but this one doesn’t.)

6. Clumsily attempt to smear oil from self onto Catorze’s leg. He is not a fan of this.

7. Catorze fails to acknowledge that he has fishy oil on his leg. Am therefore stuck with a fishy, oily cat on my lap.

8. Catorze starts to sniff the air but doesn’t appear to know that the smell is coming from his leg.

9. Catorze grooms every part of his body apart from the fishy, oily leg.

10. Catorze looks at me as if I am the one who smells, most likely because I now do.

Quel cauchemar. And I only have to do this, erm, every single day for the rest of his life.

Wondering what the hell the smell is.

Les pies qui chantent

According to the creepy old magpie rhyme, seven indicates “a secret never to be told”. In this case, it’s not much of a secret: Louis Catorze is on the other side of the fence, winding them up, and they’re all cackling at him. If you zoom in, you can even see the bottom right one with its beak open, mid-caw:

Seven against one doesn’t seem like a fair fight.

Cat Daddy was so concerned that he actually went to look over the fence to check that his boy was all right. Not only was he perfectly fine, but he didn’t even appear to care about the apocalypse unfolding around him. The skies were darkening, the avian army was gathering, and all the while Sa Maj was happily slow-blinking away in the Zone Libre, enjoying the last few remaining rays of sun.

The same kitty sixth sense which informs him of when I am about to give him medication, somehow failed to alert him to this. In fact, WE were alerted long before Catorze was. I don’t think I will ever understand this.

Worse yet, I have just discovered that the French version of the creepy magpie rhyme says “Sept pies: enterrement”, which isn’t especially reassuring.

I really don’t want any trouble … yet I fear that is exactly what I will get.

Le champion des poids légers

In June we discovered that Louis Catorze was at his lowest weight ever, and we had no idea why since he was eating and drinking fine and his test results were normal. His royal physician instructed us to, erm, feed him unlimited amounts of the most expensive food on the planet and bring him back in a month for a second weigh-in.

If you have ever had to take an animal to the vet, you will know what a cirque de merde it is. I don’t just mean getting them there; I also mean the awkwardness of the few hours prior, when you are having to Act Normal. Acting Normal when things are not is like trying to sleep when you can’t, or walking with a broken leg: the more desperately you want it to work, and the more effort you put into it, the worse the problem becomes.

Eventually Cat Daddy managed to trap Le Roi with a fake Boys’ Club meeting and, whilst the two of them were snuggling, I tiptoed off to fetch the transportation pod. I also took his vial of Broadline to the appointment, because the little sod had been dodging me for days and I hadn’t been able to de-flea him.

The consultation didn’t take long and was relatively trouble-free, apart from a little whining. And it turned out that Catorze has gained … 50 grams.

I know. Non-Brits, this is probably the weight of about three lip balms.

It’s not much, but at least he isn’t in a worrying cycle of inexplicable weight loss. And it seems that either the Post-Vet Sulk is now a thing of the past or he is so thick that he forgot where we’d just been, because he was back to his usual pitter-pattery, screamy self as soon as we arrived home.

Let’s hope that continued helpings of Orijen will get the little sod back to normal. Whatever “normal” may be.

Acting Normal.

La récolte des cerises noires

It’s no secret that cats somehow know when we are about to take them to the vet and, if they are outdoor cats, they disappear on the morning of the appointment. Even Louis Catorze knows that all he has to do is slip through the hole in the fence separating the Zone Occupé from the Zone Libre, and there is nothing we can do about it.

When Donnie was booked in for his neutering, I advised his mamma to lock him in the night before; in fact, I would have bet my entire house and savings on him doing a runner that morning. What I didn’t expect, however, was for him to absent himself that morning, the day before AND the day before that.

The cheeky little sod eventually showed his face the day after his appointment, having been AWOL for almost four days. His mamma then locked him in and kept him in until the deed was done.

Here he is (pictured in his own house, for once) the day after the fruit harvest, under house arrest and feeling very sorry for himself. If only there were some way of communicating to him that it’s all for his own good.

Oh Donnie boy.

Bon anniversaire, Papa

Today is Cat Daddy’s birthday, and it’s his last one as the oldest of the household. Because twelve cat years are equivalent to sixty-four human years, next year Louis Catorze is set to take over as Le Doyen du Château, which is both strange and incredibly funny.

Cat Daddy is the man who has everything (except patience for troublemaking black cats), so it’s hard to know what to give him. However, one of my fabulous fellow bloggers happened to point me in the direction of a U.K. website that sells juneberry – aka Saskatoon berry – produce: https://www.juneberries.co.uk

If you have never heard of Saskatoon berries, you’re not alone. I only found out about them when they featured on the ingredients list of Catorze’s Orijen Six Fish. Since my discovery that they are real and not some made-up fairyland fruit, there has been quite some talk about them on WordPress, with another excellent blogger posting this article about them:

https://cestpasmoijeljure.com/2021/06/19/fruit-dmon-epoque/

As nobody has complained more than Cat Daddy about Catorze’s expensive food choice, I think it very fitting that his birthday gift should be a bottle of Saskatoon berry gin liqueur. Every time he takes a sip, he will be reminded of just how fancy and exacting his boy’s tastes are.

Cat Daddy, when I explained the thought behind the gift: “…”

Below is a special royal birthday cocktail that I created for Sa Maj Cat Daddy, which I’m thinking of calling Chat Gâté but other suggestions would be welcomed. It consists of one part Saskatoon berry gin liqueur to four-ish parts Crémant, with a sprig of (I think) lime mint. And, yes, I did make him open the bottle early just so that I could take a photo for Le Blog.

I think it’s hilarious to tell people that Cat Daddy’s drink is made from an ingredient found in cat food. Yes, I know that there is some vital context missing. But it’s funnier that way.

Cat Daddy drew the line at having cat mint as a garnish.

Les rillettes de thon blanc

I have settled into a rather pleasant summer holiday routine, as follows:

1. Wake up when I want.

2. Bid good morning to Louis Catorze who, more often than not, is lying at my feet.

3. Make a pot of green tea.

4. Fashion a Trojan Horse amuse-bouche consisting of tuna rillettes surrounding a steroid pill, and watch with pure joy as greedy Catorze gobbles it up.

5. Watch horror movies or read books with the little sod on my lap until Cat Daddy wakes up.

Regretfully, Reflets de France tuna rillettes contain three huge baddies: wheat, sugar and butter. I know. However, anyone who has ever tried to Greco a writhing, yowling, hostile shite of a cat will understand. We would happily feed the little sods molten lava and strychnine if it meant they would just eat the pill and not give us any grief.

What’s more, getting one over on Catorze and having him think I’m giving him a treat when, in fact, it’s a pill, brightens my day more than I ever thought possible. Every time he eats one, an angel gets his wings.

Bon appétit, mon Roi.

Maybe I’ll wrap the next pill in grass, for a Cornish Yarg effect.

La citrouille

It’s a Hallowe’en miracle! (Yes, I know that it’s July, and only JUST July, at that. But it’s never too early to dream of Hallowe’en.)

Just as I thought that our one and only pumpkin plant had been suffocated by Cat Daddy’s murderous potato plants, it turns out that IT LIVES. You can just about see its orangey-yellow, pointy-petalled flower peeking out from behind that big leaf (below). It could be that, far from smothering the life out of it, the potato plants have actually protected it from the likes of the squirrels and Foxy Loxy and, with any luck, they will continue to keep it safe from harm until it’s ready to harvest in October.

Perhaps this is a good omen. After many attempts over the years at Louis Catorze’s Official Hallowe’en Portraits, which have almost all been dismal failures, maybe this is an indication that, this year, it will go according to plan?

I am excited beyond measure at the thought of little sod posing alongside a home-grown pumpkin. However, I hope he will adopt a prettier facial expression than this one:

Put that tongue away.