Ne plaisante pas avec mon tutu

After tiring of waking up every morning looking as if my face had been put through a trouser press (younger followers: ask your parents), I recently bought a couple of sets of those satin pillowcases. If you haven’t seen them, they’re a bit 1980s and not the most attractive of objects, but they are supposed to make you, erm, wake up NOT looking as if your face has been put through a trouser press.

Cat Daddy wasn’t convinced, so I showed him a list of the benefits.

Him: “It says here that satin pillowcases reduce the friction between the hair fibre and the pillowcase.”

Me: “I know.”

Him: “And it’s hypoallergenic, breathable, and less absorbent.”

Me: “I know.”

Him: “OH MY GOD.”

Me: “What?”

Him: “You didn’t buy them for yourself at all, did you? You bought them for HIM.”

He’s wrong on this one; the thought of Louis Catorze sharing a pillow with me really isn’t pleasant. But, to be fair, buying special pillowcases for their cat is the kind of thing that most cat freaks probably would do. In fact, I didn’t buy the 100% silk ones because they were ruinously expensive and had complicated care instructions, but I bet some of you would. YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE.

At the same time as buying the pillowcases, I also bought (from a different place, obviously) a cheap, scratchy tutu skirt to wear to a fancy dress party later this month. Which of the two do you think is Catorze’s new favourite sleeping spot? Go on, I bet you’ll never guess …

Le Roi loves to feel pretty. We don’t judge him.
Guess it’s his tutu now.

Les étranges compagnons de lit

I always go to bed much earlier than Cat Daddy, even during the school holidays. After I have settled down and closed my eyes, we go through this same ritual repeatedly:

1. Louis Catorze lies with/on me for a little while, then leaves.

An actual photo of bedtime with Catorze.

2. When he arrives back downstairs, he discovers that Cat Daddy has shut him out of the living room so he whines to be let in.

3. Cat Daddy either doesn’t hear him or chooses to ignore him.

4. Catorze whines again. And again. AND AGAIN. [At this point may I mention that, however bad Catorzian screaming may be, it doesn’t have the gut-wrenching, fingernails-down-the-blackboard pathos of Catorzian whining. And, no, I have no idea why Cat Daddy cannot hear it from the other side of the door, yet I can hear it all the way upstairs.]

5. I shout, “Please would you let him in?”

6. No response. Whining continues.

7. I repeat my message to Cat Daddy via WhatsApp.

8. No response. Whining continues.

9. I finally phone Cat Daddy and beg him to let the little sod in.

10. I hear living room door open, then, “Well, are you coming in or not, you little f***er?”

11. Door closes again.

12. Pitter-pattering up the stairs, then Catorze, having decided that he no longer wishes to go into the living room, appears back in the bedroom.

13. Cycle restarts from Point 1.

Good grief.

Am I going to have to start sneaking stealthily off to bed, in the same way that people with normal cats have to slide the tin opener silently from the drawer?

Cats are weird. And ours is the weirdest of the lot, most likely because he isn’t even a cat.

Boys’ Club in bed is rather more fun.

Le sommeil aux yeux sombres

Legend has it that, if you go to bed early because have something important to do the next morning, a black vampire cat will appear in the dead of night and raise merry hell.

And that is exactly what happened the night before my first day back at school.

Going back to work in January after the end of the festive season is the most hellish thing there is … not because anything particularly bad happens, but because it just IS. And having to go through it on no sleep, because a certain bastard cat was misbehaving the night before, is excruciating. And, no, we can’t shut him out of the bedroom, because he would only scream, whine and scratch at the door. I had bitter experience of this many years ago, when I shut the bathroom door so that I could have a relaxing bath in peace.

I barely slept on Monday night because of all the purring, whining, rolling, pitter-pattering and parkour. And, when my alarm went off the next morning, I found a rubber band in the bed, which he had sourced from some unknown location and with which he’d messed around all through the night.

The next night I didn’t hear a thing from him, which, obviously, was great as I needed the sleep. However, it’s also annoying because it proves that he can pick and choose.

Here he is, feigning innocence. Bonne Année to you, too, little sod:

Bastard cat.

Le coussin royal (Partie 2)

Remember how much Louis Catorze loves our expensive cushions? Well, it seems he’s keen to spread his love to all cushions, not just expensive ones. This was how I found him yesterday:

What the actual WHAT?

He has never shown any interest in this cushion in all the years we’ve had it sitting flat on the sofa. However, having it hanging precariously on the edge of the table, ready to drop off at the slightest move, has proven too much to resist. So much for cats sleeping in places where they feel safe.

We will never understand this beast. But then they’re all a bit wayward and unhinged, aren’t they?

On ne brisera pas les hommes

I have just returned home after a night away, having left the gentlemen of the household alone for a whole twenty-four hours.

Cat Daddy sent me many Catorze photos during my absence, proving that, for all his besmirching of us cat freaks, he is very much one of our number. This one was accompanied by the word “‘Elmo” and, after some confusion wondering who on earth Elmo was, I discovered that he had meant to write “‘Ello” but it had been autocorrected:

Nothing Saintly about this Elmo.

I thought perhaps at least one of the boys might be pleased to have me back, but this is what took place upon my return:

[Lots of Boys’ Club cuddles]

Me: “I haven’t seen him for a whole day, and he’s not even interested in saying hello.”

Cat Daddy: “Well, that’s because you abandoned him! [Turns to Louis Catorze:] Didn’t she? She abandoned us. It was just the two of us, wasn’t it? And didn’t we have the BEST time?”

Catorze: “Mwah!”

Me: “ …”

[More Boys’ Club cuddles]

Me: “ …”

It turns out that, during my absence, Cat Daddy had intended to shut the bedroom door overnight but, after a few too many Mâcon Villages, he had relented and left it open. So the little sod had pitter-pattered in and gorged himself senseless on the feeling of having his daddy to himself all night. And the pair of them are more smug and pleased with themselves than ever before.

This was Cat Daddy’s view when he woke up on Sunday morning:

“Bonjour.”

Right now as I write, I am relegated to the end of the sofa whilst the boys continue their love-up. Such is life as the second favourite human in Le Château.

Le réveil-matin

I have ditched my stupid Lumie Bodyclock. As well as being painfully difficult to set and reset (and, to be fair, the reviewers warned me but I didn’t listen), it doesn’t keep very good time and loses five minutes every couple of months or so. For a clock, this is the most useless quality I can imagine. Nothing else could possibly make a clock more useless than this.

However, Louis Catorze is at hand to wake me up in the mornings. Regretfully he doesn’t do this at the hour that I want, nor the NUMBER of times that I want, but not doing what we want him to do is a recurring theme when it comes to life with him, and we are quite used to it by now. Cat Daddy talks about shutting him outdoors at night, but then he would just go on the rampage around the neighbourhood. And, in a “Keep your friends close but your enemies closer” kind of way, I would rather know where he is than have to wonder.

Incidentally, Catorze’s voice has now returned to “normal” after his surgery and he is back to sounding like a whiny child whose mummy has told him that he can’t have any ice cream. However, since October hit, his purr has become louder. Figure THAT one out. And, whereas he used to scream/whine outside the bedroom to wake Cat Daddy after I’d left for work, he now starts the racket BEFORE I HAVE EVEN LEFT, and also scratches at the door. Mon Dieu.

The little sod is absolutely feral at the moment, bouncing around, racing through corridors with his silly little feet skidding on the floorboards, screaming and with an all-consuming desire to escape out at The Front. It’s all too much. God only knows what he will be like on Hallowe’en.

The energy of the Saison du Chat Noir really has given Catorze a shot of adrenaline. He didn’t need one, but I guess that’s our problem, not his.

No rest.

J’adore la valériane

Louis Catorze has had his post-op follow-up and all appears to be going well, although he needed an antibiotic shot because his gum is still a little inflamed. This is most likely because he insists on leaving the softened Orijen pellets, and just eating the hard ones around the edges of his bowl which escape the water.

Since I have no idea how to make a cat who doesn’t like wet food eat wet food, I have been giving the little sod the one soft food that I know he will eat: Reflets de France tuna rillettes. I know that Cat Daddy won’t approve, but by the time he finds out I’ll already have done it, so he can’t do much about it.

We do have some good news: the little sod has started to use his new bed. However, comme d’habitude this is accompanied by bad news: it seems it’s actually a bath tub, not a bed.

Silly sod.

He has also rubbed his Gabapentin onto the bed and, of course, being cardboard, it has soaked up every drop. So now the bed has unsightly, meaty stains on it. (Yes, the Gabapentin smells of meat, for whatever reason.)

Bed is ruined. Bastard cat.

On a not-really-a-great-deal-better note: cats and valerian. Who knew? Well, ok, I knew, but I had completely forgotten until I was woken at 3am by Catorze playing with the opened blister pack on my bedside table. The little sod then flicked it under the bed and had a fine old time trying to grab it among the shoes, boxes and old gym bags, which meant no more sleep for me until one or other of us had successfully retrieved it.

Sharing a house with Catorze means that calm and sleep are distinctly lacking, hence why I use valerian. It smells pretty foul to us humans – in fact, I once put some into my shopping basket whilst in a health food shop and spent the rest of my shopping trip checking under my shoes because I thought I’d stepped in something unpleasant – but it is the crystal meth of the cat world. The little sods go nuts for it.

Obviously it would have suited me better had Catorze decided to play around with my valerian blister pack during the day instead of at 3am. But then he has never done what we want him to do, when we want him to do it, and I don’t suppose he’s about to start now.

I have now switched to a brand of sleeping aid that comes in a glass jar with an aluminium lid, so Catorze can no longer smell the herb through the packaging. Restful sleep shall be mine once more.

Well, as restful as it can be when you’re living with this horror show:

I can’t get no sleep …

Mieux vaut un bon sommeil qu’un bon lit

If you have been following Le Blog for a while you will be aware that, if Cat Daddy sits down next to us, Louis Catorze climbs off my lap and onto his. Usually he does this in under ten seconds (and Cat Daddy has timed him).

Yesterday I’d had him on my lap for a good hour or so and, when Cat Daddy sat down with us, he said, “You know what’s going to happen now, don’t you?”

Me: “Yes but, to be honest, I could do with him getting up and leaving because I want to go and get a glass of water.”

And, as soon as those words were out of my mouth, that was it. Catorze wasn’t moving.

Twenty minutes later:

Me: “I can see his ears twitching. He’s preparing to move.”

Catorze didn’t move.

Forty minutes later:

Me: “I can feel his paws twitching. He’s preparing to move.”

Catorze didn’t move.

An hour later:

Me: “I’m actually really thirsty now.”

Cat Daddy: “You can’t chuck him off! He’ll be upset!”

Me: “…”

Should they find my body in months to come, dehydrated and lifeless on the sofa, you’ll know what happened. And, most likely, Catorze will still be on my lap, mainly to make sure that I’m really dead.

Not moving.

Je suis mon pire ennemi en personne (Partie 2)

Louis Catorze’s El Día de los Muertos cold-weather igloo comes out in autumn and remains in place until May. The little sod is always delighted and refuses to be removed from it during daylight hours. However, in late January, he suddenly stopped sleeping in it.

At first we didn’t think much of it but then we felt bad that we hadn’t checked for something nasty in the igloo (massive pile of puke, dead rat, mummified human body part plundered from some ancient burial ground, that kind of thing).

I peered into the igloo upon returning home after a walk to discover … a huge clump of cat hair. Oui, Mesdames et Messieurs: Catorze’s OWN DISGUSTO-FUR has repulsed him enough to propel him out of his favourite place and send him searching for alternative sleeping spots.

Anyway, the igloo has been cleaned, la personne royale has been brushed and normal service has resumed. As you were.

Zoom in for the tiniest glimpse of fang.

L’horloge magique

During half term I decided I’d finally had enough of terrible sleep (due in part to checking my phone clock multiple times through the night to see how many hours of sleep were left; don’t pretend you don’t do it yourselves). So I treated myself to one of those Lumie Bodyclock things that wake you up to soft light and gentle sounds.

Now, we aren’t the most proficient when it comes to electronics. I am good at following instructions yet still can’t get said apparatus to function. Cat Daddy is rather less adept and considerably less patient, often throwing the item across the room and using Unrepeatable Expletives of the Worst Kind. And at half term it was still Mercury Retrograde so, during a week of zero success with electronics*, my expectations of figuring out this device were quite low.

*Cat Daddy’s bike light malfunctioned, his electric razor kept switching itself on and wouldn’t stay switched off and, to top it all off, his phone accidentally posted four unicorns on the food bank volunteers’ WhatsApp group, most of whose members he doesn’t know (although they now know who he is):

These, plus other unicorns in different poses, are now among Cat Daddy’s “frequently used” emojis.

I made it 60% of the way through the the Lumie Bodyclock’s installation process without mishap. Then, when selecting my alarm sound, I was met with some interesting and bizarre options. Click on “Sounds” on this link for the full list and to try them out in front of your cats: https://www.lumie.com/products/bodyclock-shine-300

Naturellement I was drawn to the kitten sound although, when testing it, it sounded like a disconcertingly aggressive kitten and I already have one of these who wakes me up. But I was intrigued by the goats – and by the kind of people who would want to be woken up by them – and so I couldn’t resist trying it on the clock to see whether it was as comedic as I imagined.

It was.

Then, of course, I couldn’t turn off the goaty sound. And an outraged, screaming Louis Catorze came barging in to find out why I had allowed farmyard animals to enter his Château.

Anyway, the next morning I was woken up by dreadful white noise and not by the tropical birds that I’d wanted. (White noise is the default sound and has its own button which overrides everything else, so no doubt I’d pressed it by mistake at some stage.) And Catorze, who was with me at the time, did not approve. But at least I know that it works. And the wake-up light gives Catorze some interesting shadows and an almost Steampunk look:

Sa Maj loves a bit of retro-futurism in the morning.

Le lit du Roi

Oscar the dog’s human sister came over recently for some Louis Catorze time. They spent a lovely afternoon together, playing with cat toys and old cardboard boxes, and Catorze was on his best behaviour, the way he always is when guests come so that nobody believes us when we complain about what a psycho he is. He played happily with her and meowed sweetly every time she spoke to him. (Yes, they regularly have actual conversations, with her speaking and him replying.)

Dog Sister’s time with Catorze is also teaching her more and more about the differences between cats and dogs, as demonstrated here:

Dog Sister: “What’s that box?”

Me: “That’s Louis’s bed.”

Her: “But it says “Cats are NOT permitted …””

Me: “Yup. That’s cats for you.”

During her visit Dog Sister decided to renovate Catorze’s bed by filling it with old cushions that we were going to throw away, and now he can’t get enough of it. His upgraded bed is his new favourite place, so much so that he even stayed put here during the beautician’s first visit since lockdown, instead of following her upstairs, rolling on all her stuff and screaming at her. The best thing is that he sleeps here most of the night, which means he isn’t annoying us, nor is he out picking fights with the local wildlife.

Here he is, enjoying the handiwork of his best buddy:

Yes, he has more beds than we do. Et alors?

Cinq ans d’esclavage

Yesterday marked the 5-year anniversary of the glorious day that Louis Catorze came to live with us.

Because of this length of time, we thought we were highly knowledgeable in terms of the many sub-edicts of Little Sods’ Law. But it seems that more and more of them progressively come to light that we never knew existed. He really is the gift that keeps on giving.

We can now announce the following new addenda to the Law:

1. If you are in the middle of changing bed linen and become distracted, even for just a second, any black cat in the vicinity will be irresistibly drawn to the unguarded, undressed white duvet and pillows.

2. The strength of the cat’s attraction to the duvet and pillows will be inversely proportional to the cleanliness of the cat.

If you are easily repulsed by gross cats, please look away now.

I have no idea what he did to get into such a state. Nor do I know what most of this stuff even is, although I fear that those things on his left cheek (our right), are dead spiders.

Cat Daddy: “You’re going to have to move him. I’m not touching him. He’s your cat.”

[It hasn’t escaped my notice that Catorze is always “my” cat when he’s done something bad or cost us a lot of money.]

Cat Daddy again: “Oh. You can’t move him, can you, because of your shoulder? So I suppose I’m going to have to do it?”

Mais oui.

Anyway, the little sod wasn’t budging from the duvet and clung on as if the lives of every man on the planet depended on it. Eventually he was ejected but, somehow, in all the chaos, the dead spiders were dislodged. I now fear that they might be lurking somewhere inside the folds of the duvet. Ugh. The only thing worse than spiders is hidden spiders. IN YOUR BED.

Cat Daddy, sinking into a chair and rolling his eyes: “Oh, don’t worry, we’ll find them. First thing in the morning, probably stuck to your face or mine.”

And now I can never sleep again.

I am fairly sure that the best recovery from surgery does not involve restless nights fretting about duvet spiders. And I expect that this is all part of the Dark Lord’s grand plan to take me down – making it look like “post-operative complications” – so that he can have Cat Daddy all to himself.

Notre petite vie est cernée de sommeil

Louis Catorze disappeared without a trace at the weekend. After hunting all over the house, including in locked cupboards, we eventually found him in the guest bedroom, buried deep underneath the duvet and utterly out of sight except for the tip of his silly little tail sticking out. So, now that the weather has turned colder, and given that he has only used his warm-weather bed a couple of times, I have reinstated his winter igloo. 

The little sod initially sniffed suspiciously, as if it say, “Really? Pour moi?” But, when he realised it wasn’t some cruel trick, he was in. 

Cat Daddy was disgusted when I told him, as if I had given our hypothetical human child absinthe and cigarettes. “I can’t believe you’ve GIVEN IN,” he sighed. But he felt a little better when I explained that this meant Sa Maj wouldn’t be tunnelling into the guest bedding, leaving a trail of hair and whatever other unknown crud he always seems to be covered in. 

I am sure that, when the sun returns, the Sun King will be back out and on the rampage. But, for now, if anyone wants him [Cat Daddy: “I wouldn’t hold your breath, if I were you”], he can be found here: 

47B2D2EE-C621-414E-B2D2-751D45D0E4C1

Le printemps, c’est l’époque des projets et des plans

The dark winter seems a lifetime away now, and, somehow, the longer days give us the feeling that we have so much more time to do things. That’s what it all means to us, at least. To Louis Catorze, it means burrowing deeply into his igloo and never coming out.

Cat Daddy: “This isn’t normal. Staying in there all day is like one of those sensory deprivation torture things. This is what they do to prisoners of war.”

Me: “But we’re not subjecting him to it by force. He’s chosen to go in there.”

Cat Daddy: “Exactly: he’s so thick that he doesn’t even KNOW he’s torturing himself! He’s going to come out an institutionalised vegetable with no eyes, because he’ll have evolved not to use them. And he’ll be completely brain-dead because he won’t have used that, either. On second thoughts, maybe that particular ship has already sailed.”

I did remind Cat Daddy that evolution happens progressively over many generations of creatures, and not with just one animal over a couple of weeks, but he wasn’t really listening. He had a point about the brain-dead bit, though.

If Sa Maj were our human child, we would be picking up his bed and physically tipping him out (and possibly also making him get a job, as a 9-year-old cat is probably about 50 in human years). But, because he is a cat, he just gets to lie around in his pit and not deal with any other living souls if he doesn’t want to. And the worst we will do is complain about him to strangers on the internet and transform his convertible igloo into the warmer-weather bowl shape.  

Is it possible to be disgusted at his laziness and, at the same time, envious of his life?