Au clair de la lune

Cats and full moons, Mesdames et Messieurs: whatever you’ve heard, it’s all true.

A few nights ago, during the full moon, Louis Catorze’s behaviour was utterly out of control, with relentless hours of racing around, whining, screaming and so on. As usual, Cat Daddy slept through it and he didn’t believe me when I told him how dreadful it was.

Cat Daddy: “I might have heard maybe one meow, but that was it. Wasn’t it?”

No. Not by a long way.

Anyway, the next night we experienced similar chaos, no doubt because the moon remains full for a day or two before waning and therefore the psycho behaviour doesn’t just switch off. This time Cat Daddy DID witness it.

The next morning he said, “He was absolutely manic after you went to bed. Wouldn’t stop screaming. We went outside together and the screaming got worse. In fact, I followed him to the end of the garden, and I swear he was trying to lead me to something.”

Oh. Holy. Hell. At this point I actually felt my soul leave my body.

Just when we all thought Catorze couldn’t get any creepier, THIS?

Cat Daddy’s theories as to what it could have been:

1. Foxes

2. Another cat

3. Some sort of dead prey too bulky to drag through the gap in the fence

My thoughts:

1. Werewolves

2. Demons

3. A vortex leading to a parallel dimension, most likely the one from where Catorze originated in the first place

There is nothing visible at the end of the garden, nor on the other side of the fence, which could have been the source of Catorze’s animated mood. But, frankly, this makes it – and him – all the more terrifying, and I am now scared to be alone with the little sod.

Worse yet, it’s only July. What on earth is he going to be like in October, when his sinister Chat Noir power peaks and when we are set to have not one but TWO full moons?

Follow the black cat.

Une créature de la nuit, comme celles dans les BD

Now that summer is properly here, Louis Catorze is permanently out. And by that I don’t simply mean he is spending more time outdoors than he used to. I mean we never see him, EVER. Sometimes Cat Daddy has even had to cancel Boys’ Club meetings due to low attendance, which is unheard of.

Occasionally, when I go to bed, Catorze comes up with me and cuddles me until I fall asleep. But this is not a loving gesture; this is more like a teenager making sure his parents are properly asleep before sneaking out for some illicit partying. Once I’m asleep, Catorze is back downstairs bidding his papa a friendly “Bonsoir” and then he’s out.

As for what he does when he’s out, that rather depends on whether or not we can see him. If he’s in our garden, it’s not hard to monitor his activities which are usually as follows:

1. Rodent Duty (see below for a photo of him surveying the gap in the fence that separates the Zone Occupé from the Zone Libre)

2. Arguing with the local wildlife (see below for a photo of him taken just after I intervened in a scream-off with an absolutely furious parakeet)

Rather more worrying is what the little sod gets up to when we CAN’T see him. Quite often he disappears eastwards across the shed roofs and we hear mid-distance barking, which most likely means he has got as far as Twiggy the greyhound’s place about ten houses away. And I really don’t fancy his chances of outrunning her.

Most cats start to slow down when they reach double figures, but Catorze appears to have taken his lead from The Lost Boys* instead. He has mastered both sleeping all day and partying all night and, due to his diminutive kittenish stature, he ticks the “never grow old” box, too.

It’s fun to be a vampire.

*Younger followers: ask your parents.

Playing Whack-a-Rat.
He says the parakeet started it.

Les rats de ville

Our pubs are officially open from today.

However, Cat Daddy and his boozing buddies have decided that they won’t be heading back to the Cock and Bull* quite yet, and that they will continue their virtual drinking meets for the time being. This is great news for Louis Catorze, who loves the Friday night Zoom sessions with the boys, and even better news for me as I get to listen to their captivating chats and tell you all about them.

*I haven’t made this up. This is the actual name of the pub where they used to meet pre-lockdown. I KNOW.

Anyway, for those who are interested, their most recent meeting of minds consisted of the following topics:

1. Eric Clapton

2. Playing whole albums on Spotify/Deezer/Apple Music/whatever, versus only playing selected tracks

3. Who has the biggest car (Tim, Mike and Simon fought it out between them and couldn’t agree, so the conclusion remains inconclusive)

4. Plastering, and the fact that you can (apparently) now get paint which is the same colour as plasterboard

5. Lawn bowls

6. Sutton Beer Festival 1975, when (apparently) a naked lady climbed to the top of a marquee and a naked man chased after her

7. Pete’s summer house/shed, and whether it should be called a summer house or a shed

8. How much salt everyone adds when they’re cooking

In other news, just when we thought it couldn’t get any worse, CANNIBAL RATS. Oh yes. 2020 has already given us blazing infernos (Australia), raging floods (UK), a plague of locusts (Somalia) and a killer virus (erm, everywhere) but, if you drew “cannibal rats” in your workplace sweepstake as the next thing to go wrong in the world, you may well be in the money. On the positive side, the reopening of pubs may draw the little critters away from residential areas. But that’s about the only good news that there is.

Be warned, this link is a darkly comedic yet horrifying read:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jun/29/summer-of-the-cannibal-rats-hungry-aggressive-highly-fertile-and-coming-to-our-homes?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

Thank goodness for Catorze and his relentless hours of Rodent Duty. Ok, so it’s not great that he brings them into the house, but I guess a dead rat in the house is somewhat preferable to a live one running freely and making little ratty babies. (There were many, many things in the above link that made me shudder, but “highly fertile” was by far the worst.)

Here is the little sod, having adopted an elevated position for a better view and continuing to take his civic duty very seriously indeed. So, good citizens of TW8, we can sleep soundly in our beds this summer.

All along the watchtower.

Le velours noir

Louis Catorze’s ears are now almost completely bald, and they look more like pigs’ ears than ever before.

Cat Daddy is convinced that the sunblock somehow “killed the hair follicles” so, even though this is highly unlikely, I stopped applying it just to see what would happen. But I think he has continued to lose fur even without the block, and now he looks like this:

“Où sont les poils?”

Although it looks highly unattractive, Catorze’s skin is not sore or inflamed and, in fact, he doesn’t even seem to know or care that the fur has gone. It’s certainly not bad enough to require a vet visit now but, if he’s still bald in September, I will be sure to mention it when I take him in for his booster jabs. Not that I really need to mention it, as it’s plain for all to see.

Fingers crossed that this is just a temporary blip, and that the little sod will be fully-furred soon.

Gémir comme un chien

Louis Catorze has a new sound.

Oui, Mesdames et Messieurs, his repertoire of sounds is no longer limited to the ones mentioned here: https://louiscatorze.com/2018/11/11/je-gueule-donc-je-suis/. We can now add Le Chien Blessé to the list, and this sound is exactly as one would imagine.

If you have a dog, and your dog has ever been shut in a place that they really, really don’t want to be in, THIS IS THAT SOUND. It’s not far off Le Miaulement à la Bouche Fermée (no.1 on the above link) and I would probably place it in that same family, but there is something altogether more tragic about Le Chien Blessé. This horrendous whining scrapes at one’s eardrums and can be heard from anywhere in the house, irrespective of how quietly Catorze may do it and how far one may be from him.

I often go to bed long before Cat Daddy, who stays up watching television or listening to music. Catorze usually comes to bed with me and lies with me for a while, but then goes back downstairs for Boys’ Club. Occasionally he finds the living room door shut so, unable to access Le Club, he utters that sound to alert Cat Daddy to his predicament.

Unfortunately Cat Daddy is often engrossed in some film or programme, or he has his headphones on or some such thing, so he fails to hear Catorze. So Catorze whines again. And again. And again. At this point the sound wakes me from my deep sleep, and I have to send Cat Daddy a text message saying, “LET HIM IN.”

This sound is the second most annoying thing that there is. The only thing more annoying is the fact that I don’t have it on video. Here is Catorze, smug in the knowledge that I have no proof:

“Who whined? Pas moi.”

La masque de la mort noire

Good news: Brentford beat West Bromwich Albion on Friday night.

Bad news: although we desperately scoured the television for a glimpse of earless Louis Catorze on the giant banner, we weren’t able to spot him.

Even worse news: Brentford happened to score just as Cat Daddy was having an intimate papa-fils moment with his boy and, in his euphoria, Cat Daddy screamed in Catorze’s face and sent the poor little sod scuttling outside.

Cat Daddy felt absolutely terrible about it afterwards and was worried about having caused permanent damage to Boys’ Club and to their special bond. But, luckily, Catorze is as thick as mince and promptly forgot about the incident within seconds.

Brentford’s next home game is on 4th July. This also happens to be the day that social distancing rules will relax, and we will be allowed to maintain a distance of “1 metre plus” should 2 metres not be possible. Nobody quite knows what this means, but any system that relies on “the common sense of the British public” must be pretty foolproof, I guess. Ahem.

Pubs will also be open from 4th July, and people are saying, “Imagine how drunk everyone will be!” Erm, they know about drinking at home, right? Or is that just us?

Anyway, although Cat Daddy and I are planning to avoid shops, public transport and people for a little longer, we have bought some new masks just in case we are unavoidably forced to deal with any of the above.

Here is mine. No further words are needed:

Fangtastic.

Sous la chaleur du soleil

It is unbelievably, painfully, brain-vaporisingly hot. And Louis Catorze wants lap cuddles.

But, when he settles on me, it makes him/us even hotter. So he meows disdainfully as if it were all my fault and steps off.

But then he wants lap cuddles again. So he steps onto me and settles down once more. As before, this makes him/us too hot, so he meows disdainfully as if it were all my fault and steps off again.

The little sod has invented possibly the most annoying perpetual motion machine on earth: himself. And it will keep motoring along until one or other of us snaps and loses our shit.

My money is on me being first.

🎵 The heat is on. On my lap … 🎶

À l’intérieur, à l’extérieur

A couple of evenings ago, when Cat Daddy was putting out the recycling, Louis Catorze escaped out at The Front. Then he came to the window as we were watching television and stared in unflinchingly and creepily.

We ignored him and carried on watching television. He continued to stare.

Cat Daddy: “I’m going to have to let him in. I can’t stand to look at his eyes any longer.”

He opened the window. Catorze didn’t move.

Cat Daddy: “I’m going to count down from ten. If you’re not in by one, I’m shutting the window and you’re going to have to stay out there.”

Cat Daddy counted down. Catorze stood statue-still. The window was closed and Cat Daddy sat down.

Then the screaming started.

Cat Daddy: “[Unrepeatable expletives, then] I’m not letting him in now. He can wait.”

The screaming continued.

Cat Daddy: “I’m still not doing it.”

The screaming continued.

Me: “The neighbours are going to be really annoyed by this.”

I was thinking, in particular, of That Neighbour, who got his nickname not because we don’t like him – we do – but because he is always the one who ends up escorting Catorze home when he causes mayhem at The Front. When I tell stories of his escapades and I ask friends to guess who brought him back, they always reply, “Oh God, not that neighbour AGAIN?”

Cat Daddy: “[Unrepeatable expletives, then] Fine.”

This time the little sod came in as soon as the window was opened, only to go out at The Back immediately.

Cat Daddy: “If he wanted to be outside so badly, why didn’t he just stay out at The Front?”

Trying to figure out cat logic? Waste of time. Trying to figure out Roi logic? Seriously, don’t bother.

Let the right one in. This is the wrong one.

Un chat sur un maillot

Cat Daddy and I are thrilled that the football is back. Louis Catorze would have preferred it if we were able to invite the boys* round to watch it, bien sûr, but I think even he accepts that compromised football is better than none at all.

*Catorze is, however, still able to get his virtual boy-fix through Cat Daddy’s Friday night Zoom meet with his pub mates. Last week’s topics of conversation were as follows:

1. Moles (at the time I misheard and thought it was “Mould”, but I have since been corrected and I am sure you will all agree that “Moles” is a far more interesting topic)

2. Who slept with whom in their youth (and finding out that they had women in common)

3. Gin

4. Hot TV presenters from the 70s and 80s, and which ones are still hot

5. Hoarding/finding food items in the cupboard with ancient expiry dates

6. Ice Road Truckers, and which ones have haemorrhoids

7. Pensions

8. Simon’s fruit loaf, and whether or not he should ice it

As we aren’t able to attend matches, our beloved Brentford Football Club have offered season ticket holders the chance to have photos of themselves printed onto a giant banner. (Again, an implied presence at Griffin Park is better than none at all.) And I thought it might be rather fun to, erm, PhotoShop Catorze’s face onto my body and submit that, instead of submitting a photo of myself.

Cat Daddy, when I suggested the idea: “…”

I don’t have the skills to do such a thing but, luckily, Cocoa the babysit cat’s daddy does. So I sent him a photo of myself in my Brentford shirt, plus a selection of Catorze head shots, and let him work his magic. And this is what he created:

“Allez les Abeilles!”

Cat Daddy, when he saw the above image: “…”

The only possible glitch that I can foresee is that the club supplied a humanoid-shaped template into which supporters have to somehow make our photos fit, and of course this doesn’t allow for Sa Maj’s ears. So, in the very unlikely event of him slipping past the censors, his image will probably be earless. This will make the end result creepier but also much, much funnier.

Here is Catorze in the template:

“Où sont mes oreilles?”

So now we wait. The possible outcomes are as follows:

A. Brentford Football Club accept the photo and Catorze is shown on TV, with or without ears.

B. They send me a politely-worded rejection email.

C. We never find out whether I have been accepted or rejected.

Obviously option C would be very disappointing indeed, and I hope beyond hope that it’s option A. But I’d settle for the moderate comedy value of option B.

Thank you so much to Cocoa and Chanel’s Cat Daddy for his magnificent work.

Le vieil homme et son chat

The summer solstice is here, the football is back, AND it’s also our wedding anniversary today. We will be celebrating at home, of course, but I know that Cat Daddy misses pubs and would far rather be there. (Remember when there were pubs?)

Not long ago he was recalling one pub, in particular, that he visited for the first time just before lockdown, and our conversation about it went something like this:

Him: “There was a cat in the pub.”

Me: “What kind of cat was it?”

Him: “Quite large, similar to Nimbus [our first cat]. British Blue with white around the mouth. Short-haired. When I asked the barman about her, he said she was a Persian. She didn’t look Persian, though.”

Me: “Oh, right.”

Him: “And there was a dog in the pub, too.”

Me: “What kind of dog was it?”

Him: “I dunno. [Long pause.] Floppy-eared.” [Another long pause, sips wine.]

And there it is.

I am a little better in this respect and I can name a wide range of dog breeds such as Yorkshire terriers (like Oscar), Cockapoos (like Nala), erm … police dogs, Andrex dogs and those stout, meaty ones that look like John Wick’s dog.

However, Cat Daddy’s statement just about sums up most cat people: able to give intricate details of every type of cat on the planet, yet can’t put together more than two words about any dog. For all his protests and name-calling of Louis Catorze (most of them too rude to repeat), Cat Daddy is a cat man and proud of it. And the photo below proves that.

Incidentally, Cat Daddy wasn’t overjoyed about me publishing this photo, but reluctant permission given under duress is still permission, non? And, if you zoom in, you can see one of Le Roi’s perma-fangs, which are always on display even when his mouth is fully closed.

Joyeux Solstice à tous.

Retirement goals.