Le tabouret du Roi

Cat Daddy recently bought a brand new scratching post. Now, it wasn’t because he wanted to do something nice for Louis Catorze: it was because he wanted to park in Pets at Home’s customers-only car park but didn’t want to be that despicable person who parks there without buying anything.

When he brought the scratching post home, Louis Catorze rushed immediately towards it, scratched happily away (see photo), and all was well with the world … for a whole 24 hours.

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The next day, Cat Daddy’s heart-stoppingly expensive footstool arrived, from the same company that supplied the swish drinks trolley (yes, THAT drinks trolley: https://jesuisleroisoleil.wordpress.com/2016/02/20/papa-est-decu/). Through some cruel ironie du sort, Louis Catorze now thinks the footstool is his scratching post. And to say that Cat Daddy is displeased about this could not be a bigger understatement.

He has tried to protect the footstool when not in use by leaning cushions against it, but the little sod just pulls them away. We have put the scratching post in front of the footstool, but Catorze just sidesteps it. Shouting “No!” at him when he starts to scratch usually works, but of course it doesn’t stop him from scratching when we’re not around.

Bits of the stitching and fabric are already starting to come away from the footstool, and we’ve only had it for a few days. Meanwhile, the scratching post is still as pristine as it was on the day it was made.

Although I hope that Louis Catorze will miraculously just stop scratching one day, deep down I know that the only solution is to get rid of the offending item.

Cat Daddy just read this over my shoulder and huffed, “I couldn’t have put it better myself – but who the hell would be stupid enough to have him?”

Actually, I meant … oh, never mind.

Je suis légèrement moins drogué

Just a quick update on Louis Catorze’s most recent vet visit and steroid shot. (If nothing else Le Blog helps me to keep track of the dates of these things.)

We decided to take him today as we had noticed the skin around his inner eyes thickening, which is usually the danger sign that things are about to turn to merde again. Once again he yowled and whinged throughout the whole procedure, but we are happy to report that his ears have improved, so he doesn’t need the ear drops anymore. And, because we had taken him in before the itching had fully set in, the vet was able to give the little sod a reduced dose of the steroid shot.

We wondered whether the lower dose would mean less psycho behaviour. But we weren’t left wondering for long: the minute we got back, Louis Catorze dashed straight out to annoy Oscar the dog. Oh dear.

J’adore le dopage

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I tend to write blog entries when a significant event has taken place, or, more usually, when Louis Catorze has done something stupid, but I’m writing this today because Cat Daddy made me.

Although we’re now sold on the idea of steroid shots for Le Roi – his fur and skin looked so much better immediately after the vet visit on Christmas Eve – it’s difficult dealing with the psychological aspects of going down this route. A lot of this, of course, is due to years of prejudice thanks to the media: most of us, when confronted with the word “steroid”, think of sporting drugs cheats and freakishly malformed bodybuilders. But, with so many animal and human medicines promoting themselves as “steroid-free”, it’s easy to make the assumption that steroids must, therefore, be bad. And the idea that we’ve agreed to pump them into our sweet boy every month, even though they make him feel better, takes some getting used to.

Yesterday morning I woke up at 4am after dreaming that Louis Catorze had stopped breathing due to steroid complications, and, worse yet, the little sod wasn’t around for me to reassure myself that he was fine. I woke Cat Daddy and asked him to go and look for him. He rolled over and muttered something unnecessarily discourteous.

That afternoon he and I had a long chat about why we had made the decision about the steroid shots (and why the heck I had woken him up), and he made me write down all the benefits “as a reminder, in case I punish myself later on after Louis is gone”. (As cat slaves we’re good at doing that, aren’t we, even though it’s pointless? I still agonise over Luther, who was run over, wishing I had fed him before he went out so that he might have missed that car by 5 minutes.)

So:

Pros of steroid shots:
1. Rapidly improved skin and fur
2. Dramatically reduced itching
3. Increased energy (and annoyingness)
4. More sociable behaviour
5. Civilised monthly trip to the vet, as opposed to brutal fight to the death 3 times a week
6. Giving him the shot would mean we could now go away at weekends if we wanted to (something we haven’t done since the little sod came to live with us, because we feel bad asking our neighbours to do battle with him in our absence)
7. NOT giving him the shot would be imposing a personal stance on him when he has no choice, like those poor cats who are made to eat vegan food (no problem with vegans personally, but forcing a vegan diet onto carnivorous animals is CRUEL)

Cons of steroid shots:
1. Questionable long-term effects (although this is the case for all medication – and the vet said that, provided we kept an eye on Louis Catorze’s organs via yearly blood tests, he should be fine)
2. Double the monthly cost of Atopica (not really a proper con as we have never held back, and would never hold back, from a treatment for Catorze because of money)

It doesn’t look so bad when presented that way, does it? I do know that we’re doing the right thing for him; I just wish my brain would catch up.

Aucune photo cette fois-ci

Louis Catorze looks terrible at the moment, so much so that I’m having to resort either to using oldish photos on this blog, or ensuring that the angle/focus/distance are such that the worst bits of his face aren’t visible. (Obviously if you are reading this then you’re an animal lover so you will sympathise, but I understand that not everyone wants to see something that looks, to the untrained eye, very like a severe case of animal neglect.)

It’s been hard to monitor his condition given that I barely see him in daylight hours, but I’ve just had a look at his face during some very rare garden rolling-around time and he looks horrendous. He’s lost pretty much all the fur on one side of his jawline, and a lot of the fur on the other side of his jaw and under his chin (only visible from the side and underneath – from the front he still looks normal-ish). He also has bloodied cuts on his face, presumably from over-vigorous scratching, and just now, when I witnessed one of his scratching sessions, he put his paw so far into his ear that I thought it would never come out. So could it be that something in his ears is causing this bother? Yet another question for the vet tomorrow, along with the zillions that I already have.

My debit card is donning its battle gear in preparation for the battering it’s going to get tomorrow. I haven’t dared even ask what the cost is going to be for vaccinations plus the skin scraping test plus possibly an antibiotic injection (I’m sure he has an eye infection) plus possibly an ear mite treatment (not confirmed but wouldn’t surprise me). I’m fully expecting tomorrow to empty out what’s left of Louis Catorze’s sick fund, although I’d spend a million pounds to get results for him. What pains me at the moment is that I’m spending money, but he’s not getting better. In fact, he’s getting worse.

It’s now more apparent than ever that his grumpy moods are directly proportional to his flare-ups: when he’s well, he’s alert, energetic, playful and sociable. Now he hides all day, runs when he sees me and only feels safe to come near me when I’m asleep. I’m desperate beyond belief for this skin scraping test to tell us something. Please send the little sod all the good wishes you can for his vet visit tomorrow, and please pray for the poor staff who are going to have to deal with him.

Le rouleau suisse

Yet another good-news-bad-news dichotomy, as has become typical of Louis Catorze. The good news is that I’ve found his Secret Sulking Spot. The bad news is that it’s in the grubbiest and most inaccessible corner of the one room we haven’t yet unpacked, amidst the dust sheets that protected our pictures when Tom the decorator was working. The worst bit is that the silly cat hasn’t simply been sleeping ON the dust sheets: he appears to have fashioned himself a sort of Sulking Swiss Roll, with himself as the jam/cream filling and the dust sheets as the sponge. I’m surprised he hasn’t suffocated.

For the love of God, WHY? Why does everything that’s bad for him seem to hold such magnetism, especially as the house is full to the roof with far more comfortable, non-allergic (and bloody expensive) options? The obvious solution is to shut the door to that room until it’s cleared, but I’m concerned that that will only drive him to the forever-accessible Forbidden Greenhouse which is worse. I really do despair of this cat.

His scabby chin is, unsurprisingly, still scabby, and his balding eyes are getting worse. He continues to scratch ferociously and emit his horrible itch-yelp, and I can’t rub his chin to relieve the itching as the silly sod has broken the skin and it’s all weeping and sore. All our efforts seem futile at the moment, yet I know that keeping up with the dust mite mass genocide strategies really cannot do any harm, so keep up I must.

We’ve been here before, and it has passed. That’s what I must keep telling myself, however bleak things may look.