L’apocalypse commence par Le Roi Soleil

Armageddon must be nigh: although Louis Catorze has escaped out at The Front about 78 times since we took delivery of our plant-topped recycling box thing, not once has he attempted to use it as a litter tray. Much as it pains and repulses me, I have been checking for signs of disturbed soil every time someone knocks at the door to return him to us, and there are none whatsoever.

Whilst we are delighted that Sa Maj is, for once, doing what we want him to do, something about it makes us rather uncomfortable and we can’t help waiting for the axe to fall at some random and inopportune moment. 

Here he is enjoying the new green surroundings of The Front, with the sedums now in place. Has he turned over a new leaf (metaphorically, I mean), or will his inherent evil triumph at some point?

Maintenant lavez-vous les pattes

We have just treated ourselves to a fabulous green solution for storing our unsightly recycling boxes. However, once the top bit is filled with soil and plants, I am concerned that a certain someone may mistake it for the world’s fanciest litter tray. So … how to keep Louis Catorze from doing unwanted business here? 

Cat Daddy, rather naively, is insisting that Catorze will never use this as les toilettes royales “because he isn’t allowed out at The Front”. But we all know better, don’t we? 

We – well, I – thought about everything from cat-arse-activated sprinklers to filling the top with spiky cacti to deter la derrière royale, but then my mum suggested sedums. No, I had no idea what they were, either, until now. 

As far as I can gather, sedums are low-maintenance, semi-succulent plants which (my mum says) will spread quickly, leaving little-to-no soil exposed to tempt wayward cat behinds. And although they are not covered in spines like cacti, they can be quite pointy in places, so I can’t say I would especially want to sit on one.

So, now that we have a genius idea for Roi-proofing our new purchase, all we need to do is ramp up our efforts to keep The Front under lockdown. Player 1 (me) is ready. Player 2 (Cat Daddy), not so much.

If you also fancy treating your cat to a ruinously expensive outdoor litter tray, we got ours from bluum.co.uk. We even managed to assemble it without Cat Daddy losing his temper and without me stabbing either him or myself in the head with the screwdriver.

La joie de l’automne

Today is the autumn equinox, which signifies the start of my favourite time of the year. Normally I would mark this by lighting a scented candle but, because of a certain sneezing little sod, this is now off limits. (He actually hasn’t sneezed in a while, but we are being cautious as we really don’t want another trip to the vet.)

And, if my memory serves me correctly, this time last year I had also hoped to treat myself to a relaxing spa bath but the same little sod ruined it by battering at the bathroom door and screaming himself senseless. So I guess that is also off limits … unless, of course, I invite him in to make use of the steam to clear les narines royales.

Instead, Cat Daddy and I will be celebrating with Louis Catorze cuddles – which, despite everything, are always a treat – and fillet steak when we get home from our autumn walk. And, yes, Catorze will be getting a little sliver of steak with his dinner. (His preference is medium-rare. Thank you for asking.) 

Happy autumn to you all. Here is Sa Maj, resplendent among the Japanese anemones, heralding the new season in the only way he knows how: 

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Je suis venu comme un boulet de démolition

D204A87E-B936-48E7-BD3F-F254CE20741BCat Daddy is furious because someone or something has been into the Forbidden Greenhouse and trashed his precious chilli plant seedlings. I asked if the motive for this heinous crime had been toilet use, but this just made Cat Daddy more angry as the garden provides more than adequate cat toileting areas. He snapped that he didn’t know and wasn’t prepared to dig in and find out, but that I was welcome to do so myself if I wanted to. (I didn’t.)

The sliding door of the Forbidden Greenhouse had been left open the tiniest amount, which means that the culprit was either a largish rat or Louis Catorze (although Cat Daddy has just muttered that there isn’t much difference between the two). This, along with Catorze’s penchant for sneaking unnoticed into places that he has no business being, makes him a highly likely suspect for this crime. 

The other piece of evidence in the case of Cat Daddy versus The Crown is the curious set of pawprints seen in the picture. Bizarrely, they lead INTO the scene of the crime but there are no prints leading out. This would appear to vindicate the defendant, as it’s not possible to cavort about in soil and leave with clean feet, but unfortunately Catorze has previous when it comes to this; in the past I have found muddy paw prints in the centre of our bathroom floor but none leading into, nor away from, that point. The only way of doing this would have been to levitate in, gad about on the floor with dirty paws and then levitate out again.

Cat Daddy: “If I ever catch him doing anything like this again, he’ll be levitating for sure: right off the end of my foot after I kick his arse.”

Oh dear. No further questions, Your Honour. It’s not looking too hopeful for the defendant, is it?

Anyway, Cat Daddy is now on a mission to protect the rest of his plants from further destruction: the seedlings in the Forbidden Greenhouse are now under much better protection with the door fully closed, and the outdoor salad leaves are secure behind a mesh barrier. 

So, what say you, ladies and gentlemen of the jury? Do you find the little sod guilty or not guilty?

Le pouvoir du pollen

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If you have ever suffered from hay fever, no doubt you will be fully aware of all the things you should and shouldn’t do: keep windows and doors shut, take a teaspoon of local honey a day (and, if you’re in London, Hen Corner honey is excellent: https://hen-corner-micro-bakery.myshopify.com/collections/london-honey), and so on. However, you may also wish to exercise caution if you decide to cuddle an outdoor cat in June.

A few days ago, Louis Catorze pitter-pattered in after spending most of the day out on the hunt, looking to grace the trophy cabinet (i.e. our bedroom floor) with another piece of silverware (i.e. a rodent). And, whilst it seems obvious now that furry-bodied cats would soak up airborne toxins like sponges, I didn’t think about it when I picked him up to cuddle him; it was like pressing my face into shards of glass.

The danger doesn’t stop there: we also allow Louis Catorze to sleep on our bed, spreading the evil allergens all over our pillows and sheets. And, yes, I accept that it’s not compulsory for him to sleep on the bed, and that we could shut him out of our bedroom, but he has slept with us ever since the first night he was with us, and I would feel sad breaking that habit. (Plus it enables us to keep him under surveillance, because we know what a troublemaker he is and we couldn’t trust him as far as we could spit.)

So … what to do about this? The only option is to give kitty regular damp towel rub-downs (preferably on a non-carpeted area) and, if you’re lucky, they might appreciate the cooling power of this procedure on a hot day. If they’re anything like Catorze, on the other hand, they will writhe, wail and wish you were dead … but your sensitive nostrils and stinging eyes will thank you, even if your cat won’t.

*Picture posed by the splendid Cocoa the babysit cat

 

 

Le petit coin

Thanks to Cat Daddy, Le Château now has a vegetable patch. Or, as Louis Catorze calls it, “les toilettes”.

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Now, I am not one of those people who panics at the thought of the slightest germ, but I have a particular aversion to the rear ends of cats. So, the less I have to do with them, the better. The thought of excretory solids, liquids or gases is grim enough, but the prospect of such substances coming into contact with FOOD is absolutely the worst thing in the world.

“Relax! It’s fine! Animals poo and wee on crops all the time,” said a friend of mine. Maybe. But there’s a huge difference between an incidental bit of bird plop or horse manure in an arable field, and a demonic little beast repeatedly using your vegetable patch as his outdoor latrine just to annoy you. The sweetcorn plants that my mum gave us lasted less than 12 hours in the soil before they were decimated. Cat Daddy didn’t mince his words in his text to me that morning: “Little shitty boy has dug up one of the sweetcorn plants to shit. He’s a shitting pest.”

“At least his poo will put other cats off using the place as a toilet,” said another friend. “Your own cat’s poo is far better than the poo of a thousand random cats, isn’t it?” Erm, not really. Poo is poo, irrespective of which cat arse expelled it. Unless we’re talking quantity, of course, because a thousand cats would obviously produce rather more than one.

Anyway, the sweetcorn problem is now halved because Catorze has dug up 3 out of 7 plants and reburied them so deeply/far away that we don’t even know where they are anymore. I think we need an electric fence for Catorze. And maybe Valium for ourselves.

La crème de menthe

Quelle semaine! Louis Catorze was correct in predicting that we’d vote Leave, was disastrously wrong in predicting the results of the France v Ireland game and, to top it all, is still limey and we’re no further forward in finding a reason why.

Every time I think the smell is about to fade, the little sod goes and tops up from somewhere. I have recently begun to believe that somebody’s lime mint plant could be responsible for the zesty aroma of his fur and, since catnip and mint belong to the same family, this is more or less equivalent to him going off and getting high on a neighbour’s gear. We don’t know whether to be impressed or ashamed (probably a bit of each).

The only way to know for sure, of course, was to test Catorze. So I ordered my own assortment of mint plants (including a lime mint), and the plan was to arrange them in a row and turn Catorze loose upon them. If he dived head-first into the lime mint and started snorting, we would have a winner.

Cat Daddy rolled his eyes when I told him of my plan. “There’s no mystery to solve,” he said. “Louis Catorze is healthy. His fur smells of a healthy cat. All cats smell like that.”

THEY DO NOT. My mum’s cat doesn’t. My sister’s cat doesn’t. Cocoa the babysit cat doesn’t. And you don’t even want to know what Luther smelled like.

Anyway, Cat Daddy’s objections were overruled and the test was conducted anyway. This was the pitiful sequence of events:

1. Plants are lined up (left to right: evening primrose control/decoy plant, chocolate mint, lime mint, strawberry mint – see photo 1)
2. Test subject approaches, ignores all plants and instead rolls on patio
3. Laughter from me, more rolling from test subject (see photo 2)
4. Wind blows lime mint plant over which, along with more laughter, startles test subject (see photo 3)
5. Test subject loses interest and wanders off
6. The end
7. Conclusion: inconclusive

Seriously, you couldn’t make this up if you tried. (And, yes, I’m aware that it sounds as if I have.)