Je braille, donc je suis

What a wild few weeks it has been at Le Château. La belle France have come out on top, with even Oscar the dog’s daddy putting money on them. Louis Catorze has had an unrelenting whirlwind of attention from visiting football fans. And, best of all, he has displayed some razor-sharp match predictions, which has been a poke in the eye for cynical, doubting Cat Daddy.

Sa Majesté has even correctly indicated some of the finer details of matches which were not apparent during the prediction, but which later became clear as they played out; after agonising for ages about the butterfly (see previous entry) and what it could possibly signify, and even wondering if it could be a streaker, I now see that this was the pitch invasion by the aptly-named Pussy Riot.

Now that the excitement of the football is over, Louis Catorze is back to screaming. He just won’t shut up, and Cat Daddy said the other day that it was “getting him down”. 

He screams before we get up. He screams when we get up. He screams when we’re just watching TV and minding our own business. And, not long ago, when we arrived home from work (and he had escaped out at The Front), he greeted us in the street with such gut-wrenching screaming that we hid in the car because we were so embarrassed. Yes, it was mortifying beyond belief. And, yes, we got it on video (available on request, and screen shots of which are shown here). 

Nothing whatsoever is wrong; the little sod just likes screaming. We don’t, but then he has never concerned himself with what we like or want, and I don’t suppose he is going to start now. 

As a child, when I did a first aid course, I recall the teacher telling me that silent casualties were to be dealt with more urgently than screaming ones, because “if they’re screaming, it means they’re alive and breathing”. Le Roi certainly is. And, given the sad little thing he was when he first came to live here (sleeping all the time, barely interacting with us), I guess this is a good thing. 

So we’re just going to let him enjoy being healthy and happy. And possibly also buy earplugs. 

Le cri est bien souvent plus gros que la bête

AA04FF1E-4E21-470E-890F-42588C981567

Cat Daddy popped out yesterday morning to go to Cocoa the babysit cat’s place. On his way back, he saw from a distance that Oscar the dog’s family had gathered on the pavement outside Le Château … and, as he approached, he heard the unmistakable, fingernails-down-the-blackboard sound of Louis Catorze’s excruciating screaming. 

It turned out that, as usual, the little sod had slipped out unnoticed when Cat Daddy left. And, instead of just waiting for him to come back, he had decided to ambush Oscar’s family as they left the house and accompany them, screaming, to wherever it was that they were going. They were about to knock at the door to ask us to intervene when Cat Daddy approached. 

“He caused complete and utter havoc,” said Cat Daddy, when he later related the story to me. “They really didn’t know what to do.”

“Was the screaming loud?” I asked. 

“Oh yes. GOD, yes.” 

Oh. Well, it’s not as if we have to face them again anytime soon … except, erm, probably tomorrow, then every day forever more, on account of them being our next-door neighbours and good friends. 

Which means that we can expect more of the same, anytime soon. You’re welcome. 

En vacances, l’esprit libre

Whilst Cat Daddy and I struggle with the drudgery that is January, Louis Catorze has been dealing with it by being as annoying as is felinely possible. I don’t know where he finds the energy – after all, we certainly can’t – but his psycho levels appear to have spiked lately, and we can’t keep up with his nonsense.

This is a small selection of the undesirable behaviour that we have had to endure:

1. Nocturnal scampering and whining (which doesn’t sound that bad, but trying to teach teenagers on a night of interrupted sleep is the worst pain there is)
2. Sitting statue-still and creepily staring at us (and, yes, we do wish he’d do this at night and the scampering and whining during the day)
3. Following us around the house trilling, chirping and trying to trip us up
4. Screaming at the party wall surveyor and drowning out his attempts to make audio notes on his dictaphone
5. Knocking all my students’ assessments onto the floor and rolling on them

Here he is, having just done numéro 5. The deranged stare and toothy gawp don’t really say “Remorse”, do they?

1439AFA9-E749-4A5F-BA9A-4223B4730E47

Cat Daddy: “We should just pack our bags and leave. Let him become someone else’s problem for a change.”

So we did. We have just had a lovely weekend with some great friends and their more photogenic, better-behaved cats, and are on our way back right now. No doubt Sa Majesté will have been impeccably good for those taking care of him, as always. And, whilst the brief break from his bad behaviour has done us some good, I am sure it will resume again the minute we set foot across the Château threshold.

Cat Daddy will never admit this, but I think he is secretly looking forward to seeing his boy again. And I, too, can’t wait to scoop him up in my arms and have him yowl, kick and struggle to get free.

Le crieur public

IMG_8757If you are, or have ever been, the owner of a black cat, you will be familiar with a certain section of Little Sods’ Law: “If you see a black cat behaving badly in a public place, it’s very likely to be your cat.” And there is an added sub-clause to this part of The Law: “The likelihood of it being your cat is directly proportional to the embarrassingness of the behaviour.”

We have been caught out here a few times with Louis Catorze, and about 758 times with his big brother Luther, and we know now not to waste our time with smug thoughts such as, “What an idiot cat! I wonder whose it is?” So, when Cat Daddy was walking home from Cocoa the babysit cat’s place the other day and saw, in the distance, a lady in the street bending down and appearing to talk to a small, screaming animal, HE KNEW.

Clearly Catorze had slipped out unnoticed as Cat Daddy was leaving for Cocoa’s place, somehow lost sight of his papa and, instead of going back to Le Château to wait, decided to pitter-patter about the streets, screaming.

Cat Daddy was so embarrassed that he briefly toyed with the idea of bidding the lady a good afternoon, pretending he didn’t know Catorze and just walking by. However, Le Roi spotted him as he approached and galloped towards him, up-tailed and screaming himself almost hoarse, so Cat Daddy had no option but to sheepishly own up. “Yeah, this is my cat. No, we hadn’t shut him out: he chose to run out. No, he’s not neglected or mistreated: that’s his normal appearance. No, he’s not traumatised: that’s his normal voice …” and so on.

And it turned out that the lady was not a passer-by but a neighbour, who had heard the unearthly screaming from her house and come out to investigate. Yup, Louis Catorze was THAT loud.

The lady then opened her door to introduce Cat Daddy to her quieter, prettier, better-behaved cat, who sat there eyeing Catorze disdainfully as if to say, “Oh, DO shut up, you undignified oaf!” whilst the little sod continued to scream. Cat Daddy then scooped Catorze up in one hand and said goodbye, apologising again for having disturbed their afternoon. The lady said, “I expect I will see Louis around.”

I think she might hear him first.

 

Je crie, donc je suis

image

A couple of nights ago, Cat Daddy and I decided to go to our lovely local pub for dinner. It’s only at the end of our street – a short, 3-minute walk – so well within my diminished physical capabilities. Naturellement, as soon as we opened the front door to leave, Louis Catorze shot out like a speeding bullet and refused to be caught.

“Never mind,” I said. “We’ll only be an hour or two. He’ll just have to sit at The Front until we come back.”

Mais non: Louis Catorze had decided not only that he was coming with us, but that he would announce this fact very loudly to all within earshot.

“Oh dear,” I said, as we continued walking. “I’m sure he’ll shut up and go home in a minute.”

Mais non: the little sod continued to follow us, tail up, his screams ringing out embarrassingly through the street.

“Oh God,” said Cat Daddy. “He’d better not follow us all the way to the pub.”

Luckily, he didn’t: at that point, he decided to duck into a neighbour’s garden and carry on screaming.

Now, had that neighbour been an unknown person, we would have just left Sa Majesté to it, pretended we were nothing to do with him and kept walking, then picked him up on the way home. But, unfortunately, he happened to choose the house of someone whom we know quite well and who knows Catorze by sight. So, had they come out of their house to investigate the diabolical racket, it would have been shameful beyond words.

“We’re going to have to catch him and take him home, aren’t we?” said Cat Daddy. “And, seeing as you’re still not meant to be lifting things, I suppose I’m going to have to do it?”

Mais oui.

So Cat Daddy marched back down the street to where Louis Catorze still sat screaming, scooped him up with one hand like a fairground claw machine grabbing a soft toy, and carried him home. Not much is funnier than the sight of a highly annoyed man striding purposefully down the street, cradling a tiny, floppy, screaming cat.

We know quite a few of our neighbours and are on good terms with them (so far). Thank goodness none of them witnessed this.