Louis Catorze started sneezing and snorting late on Friday evening, and this went on at regular intervals throughout the night. At first I thought he was coughing up hairballs, but he hardly ever has them because we are so rigorous with his brushing routine. Plus the sound was more nasal than throaty.
He seemed otherwise content – shouty, silly etc. – so, after checking his face and mouth and finding nothing untoward, I phoned the vet rather than taking him in, and I described his symptoms as “snorting, sniffing, lots of lip-licking and shaking his head as if trying to get something out of his nose or throat.” They confirmed my feeling that it wasn’t a medical emergency – possibly a seasonal allergy – and recommended a small amount of Piriton if he became too uncomfortable, but told me to monitor him and take him in on Monday if things didn’t settle.
Hay fever was probably the one, single ailment that Catorze had never had, and I couldn’t believe that we would now have to add it to his extensive list of problems. I ordered some allergen-busting beeswax candles online as I had run out, and I attempted a dose of Piriton but the combination of super-strong, spring-loaded syringe plus unhappy cat meant that it didn’t end very well. The little sod screamed bloody murder, writhed, clawed, drooled like a rabid wolf and then took off to hide in the Forbidden Greenhouse, wearing most of the Piriton on his face and chest.
After an uneventful afternoon, by evening things hadn’t settled at all: the gurning, spluttering and head-shaking were just as regular. As I went to bed, mentally preparing for the battering that Le Royal Sick Fund would take when I called out the emergency vet on a Sunday, I saw that Louis Catorze had followed me, still snuffling and staring at me as if pleading for help, so I decided to have one last go at checking his face. I put him between my knees, pulled his head right back … and caught sight of what looked like a grass seed sticking out of his right nostril. BINGO.
I tried to pull it out but the darned thing wasn’t budging, and Catorze was becoming increasingly agitated at my picking and poking. But I held on and persisted, finally succeeding in dislodging the offending item … and, to my horror, I saw that it wasn’t a grass seed at all, but a whole blade of grass (see photo, with a 20p coin for scale). Oui, Mesdames et Messieurs: THE ENTIRE THING HAD BEEN UP HIS NOSE THE WHOLE TIME.
I cannot fathom how it could have got up there in the first place, let alone how it stayed there for 24 hours. I don’t think I could get a blade of grass to stay up my nose for more than a few minutes, even if I glued it there. But, thankfully, it’s out now. And, as soon as it was released, the ungrateful little weasel uttered not a word of thanks, instead pitter-pattering off to his papa for Boys’ Club cuddles.
The moral of this story: cats are ungrateful idiots. But we still move heaven and earth for them to be comfortable and happy, don’t we?