Le renard peureux

It’s the summer solstice. Usually, by this time of the year, we are not even close to hitting the heady heights of 28+ degrees – that tends to come in July/August – but this month has been a hot one.

However, the one good thing about it all is that cat mischief is inversely proportional to soaring temperatures; it’s simply too hot for cats to misbehave. And we imagine that Donnie has been feeling it, too, since he hasn’t been round in a while. Apart from, erm, last night, when he showed up and started a yowling match with Louis Catorze in front of our horrified dinner guests. And that time when a neighbour whom I don’t even know had to break up a fight between the pair of them. Oh, and that other time when I was awoken by that awful cat fight sound, and I looked outside to see their unmistakable forms on the fence. (Yes, it was definitely them. I know their silhouettes like I know my own name.)

Sa Maj has been flopping languidly around Le Château and Le Jardin, spending inordinate amounts of time at his Rodent Duty station (the gap by the fence separating us from the Zone Libre). He was outside with Cat Daddy the other day, happily pitter-pattering around, when the birds in the Zone Libre started screeching.

Now, we all know full well that, when birds screech in unison, it’s never good. Anyone with any brains would run in the opposite direction. So, naturellement, Catorze decided to run into the Zone Libre to investigate.

It was Foxy Loxy.

Cat Daddy was powerless to help on the other side of the fence, and all he could do was stare (and curse the fact that he didn’t have his phone to take a picture). Then, unbelievably, Foxy Loxy took one look at Catorze … and fled.

This is not the first time we have seen this; in fact, Cat Daddy has seen THREE foxes run away from Catorze. Obviously it’s no bad thing that a predator who could finish the little sod in an instant would choose, instead, to retreat. But we are puzzled and terrified that the birds’ screeching, something we thought to be a universal sign of abject peril – yes, known even to a dimwit like Le Roi, surely? – would send him running TOWARDS it.

Is there anything we can do about this? There must be some kind of training or lessons, like teaching kids the Green Cross Code? (Younger followers: ask your grandparents.)

“I hear danger! I must interfere for absolument no raison whatsoever!”

L’or, l’encens et la myrrhe

The winter solstice is here, but I’m not really feeling the Yuletide joy. Firstly, my teacher-cold – the same one that had been threatening to hit since September but stayed simmering below the surface, enough to annoy me but not enough to warrant time off – finally broke through on the last day of term, just in time for the holidays. And, secondly, we were put into Tier 4 a couple of days ago. If you didn’t even know there was a Tier 4 you’re in good company, because neither did we. In fact, none of us Londoners did until a few hours before it was announced. In short, this means that the Five-Day Festive Free-For-All is cancelled, so we will all be spending the celebratory season like Kevin McCallister: home alone. (Younger followers, ask your parents.)

In better news, someone has sent Louis Catorze a Yuletide gift, but I have no idea who it is.

The card bears the words “From one crazy cat lady to another” which, frankly, doesn’t narrow it down in the slightest. And I know that the sender also has cats (although this doesn’t narrow it down, either) because there were puncture marks in the Dreamies packet. I am lucky enough to know several people who would be this thoughtful, yet most of the prime suspects have denied all knowledge.

If you were responsible and I have not yet accused you, I would have got to you at some point, I’m sure. There is the small matter of a certain someone having to be good in order to deserve presents, but nevertheless I am very grateful to you for thinking of the little sod. Thank you so much!

Incidentally, I still have the Black Cats calendar that I found on my doorstep in 2016, and my quest to find the mystery giver was unsuccessful. So, whilst we’re on the subject of owning up, it would be nice to know who left that, too, so that I may say thank you.

Wishing you a magical winter solstice. Brighter days are coming.

“They knelt before the king and offered precious gifts.”

La renaissance du soleil

Louis Catorze’s Cat Granny passed away last month, and Cat Daddy and I have been thinking about her during our traditional winter solstice reminiscing. She was the best mother-in-law imaginable and would always take my side in an argument with Cat Daddy. In fact, she would always take my side even if there had been no argument, and at Christmas she would give me better presents than the ones she gave him. Her words to me when we announced our engagement were: “Well, he’s always been a very nice son to me. I just HOPE he’ll be a nice husband to you.”

She left us on Remembrance Sunday, which was a very important day to Cat Grandpa, and I can imagine him hurrying her along on that morning and telling her she’d better get to him before 11 o’clock.

Cat Granny loved cats, although I don’t have any decent pictures of her with Louis Catorze as he preferred hanging out with Cat Grandpa at Boys’ Club. But they had a lovely relationship, and she was one of the few people who didn’t mind stroking him when he had just come in, cold and wet, from a thunderstorm. She would always be there with the cuddles, whilst Cat Daddy and I flinched and shuddered when Catorze came near us with his gross, drenched fur.

Cat Granny is pictured below with Brook, the enormously fat* cat who lives in her residential home and who is the same cat that ruined her 90th birthday party by catching a bird in front of horrified guests.

*I must add that the residential home staff do not overfeed him. As anyone with a greedy and determined cat will understand only too well, he goes out and manages to find food – and clearly rather a lot of it – from somewhere.

Moments after this photo was taken, the delightful scene was ruined because Brook dug his claws hard into poor Cat Granny. Cat Daddy and I had to delicately unpick the big sod and hoist his considerable bulk off her body, which was quite some challenge, demonstrating yet again – not that we really needed reminding – cats’ innate capacity for spoiling things that were perfectly lovely before.

I hope that Cat Granny and Cat Grandpa, wherever they may be, are surrounded by cats (but maybe better-behaved ones than naughty Brook). And Catorze, Cat Daddy and I wish you all a wonderful winter solstice.

Trop de choses à faire

The winter solstice is fast approaching and, whilst Louis Catorze is following his natural instincts and burying himself so deeply into his igloo that I fear he might become part of it, Cat Daddy and I are doing the opposite. We have so much to do, including the following:

⁃ Buying, putting up and decorating our main tree, which Cat Daddy put outdoors one year because he didn’t want to disturb his boy’s main sleeping spot (even though he has 849 other sleeping spots) and has remained an outdoor tree ever since: https://louiscatorze.com/2017/12/15/mon-beau-sapin/

⁃ Buying and decorating Catorze’s tree (yes, Sa Maj has his own tree, although I don’t suppose he will agree to be pictured next to it)

⁃ Choosing a charity to receive the donation that we make in lieu of sending cards

⁃ Sending cards to the awkward people who don’t know about or understand the charity donation thing, and who would probably never speak to us again if we didn’t send them a card (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE)

⁃ Organising the festive menu for the day (even though we still don’t exactly know who’s coming and for how long)

It’s all a bit manic and although, at times, we wish we could climb into that igloo with Sa Maj and just wait for it to all be over, we know how lucky we are that we are able to do these things. The people who can’t, for whatever reason, are very much on our minds at this time of year.

We hope that your festive planning is going well, and that it’s bringing you more joy than stress. In the meantime, Sa Maj is still in his igloo, and he won’t be budging anytime soon.

Quel ange me réveille sur mon lit de fleurs?

The summer solstice is here, and that can mean only one thing: Louis Catorze’s summer bed has been deployed.

The rest of us, of course, have to put up with just one bed all year round, but Sa Maj has his winter bed (the igloo), his spring and autumn bed (the igloo converted into a bowl) and his summer bed (the chaise longue). And, when he feels like it, he also has our bed, any of two guest beds, any of two laps (but usually Cat Daddy’s), any of THREE sofas, Cat Daddy’s overnight holdall, Cat Daddy’s work rucksack, the shed roof, Oscar the dog’s shed roof and probably a whole host of other locations that we don’t know about.

Here he is, staring evilly (looks wrong but spellcheck confirms that it is, indeed, an actual word) from the chaise longue, probably mentally totting up his total number of beds and cursing us for providing so pathetically few.

Happy Midsummer to you all from the Sun King.

Le retour de l’hiver

Louis Catorze’s list of winter solstice gift recipients is mercifully short, due to the fact that he doesn’t really have any friends. There are a few characters to whom he likes to spread some festive cheer, although the reality is that he doesn’t mix with most of them or even know them at all. I think anyone who has ever had any kind of social media account can relate to this. 

Anyway, Sa Maj’s “friends” are as follows:

  1. Oscar the dog (a Yorkshire terrier and the Flash Gordon to Louis Catorze’s Ming the Merciless)
  2. Cocoa the babysit cat (a larger and rather more photogenic version of Catorze, minus the scary teeth)
  3. Cat-Cousin Alfie (a tabby with a voice like a dog’s squeaky toy)
  4. Cat-Auntie Zelva (a black and white kitty who looks like Mr Potato Head from Toy Story)
  5. Nala the dog (the Cockapoo featured in this year’s Hallowe’en entry of Le Blog)
  6. Noah the dog (a Cavapoo who loves brass bands)
  7. Zoox, my workplace dog (a Hungarian wire-haired Vizsla – no, I had never heard of them before, either – with a knowing, almost-human face)

Cat Daddy: “But, of all these animals, he’s only actually met one. And that one hates him and wants him dead.”

C’est vrai. Zut. 

I am the one who takes charge of the buying, because Cat Daddy doesn’t approve of gifts for pets. (“Bloody ridiculous! What the bloody hell is this world coming to?” is, I believe, what he said.) If you are around the same age as me, you will recall that, during our childhood, the only pet gifts available were one generic festive stocking for cats and one for dogs. That was it.  Now, of course, things are different. Cat clothing, anyone? Novelty beds? Advent calendars? (I’m not joking: Google them.) 

Anyway, as this time of year is all about thinking of others, we will be buying for the little sod’s friends but donating what would have been his gift money to Lilly’s Legacy, one of his favourite rescues. If you would like to do the same, their PayPal address is lillyslegacy@hotmail.com. 

Wishing you all the joys of the winter season, with love from me, Cat Daddy and Louis Catorze. 


C’est le moment le plus merveilleux de l’année

It has started to feel très festive here at Le Château now that Louis Catorze’s tree is in place. (Yes, you have read that correctly: in addition to our main winter solstice tree, he gets his own mini one.) Decorating it is no mean feat, as the Pine Needles of Death are razor-sharp and, therefore, affixing each bauble is pain. And, yes, I do, indeed, see the tree as a cruel yet accurate metaphor for Catorze’s life, with him sitting atop all smug and loving himself, and me desperately scrambling around trying to adorn it with more and more lovely things, only to have my efforts rewarded with repeated stabbing. 

Anyway, now that it’s done, it looks rather splendid. We don’t usually buy him any gifts, though, because he already has so many things – or, as Cat Daddy puts it, “this house is full of his shite”. And, besides, buying a tree AND gifts for a cat might be considered a bit over the top. 

We have less than a week to go, and so many things still left to do. Luckily for Catorze, all he has to do is sit around and watch us do it all. 

La saison froide

The winter solstice is here, and Cat Daddy got his way with the outdoor tree. I was annoyed with him as we decorated it in the pouring rain and cold, and he was annoyed with me when I forced him to don a hazmat suit and gas mask to clear away what I thought was fox poo on the patio, but which turned out to be a bit of moss. So, by the time we were finished, we were both full of whatever the opposite of Yuletide cheer is.

We also have a mini-tree for Louis Catorze. Well, in reality it was because Cat Daddy preferred to buy a separate tree for the silver decorations than stoop to the vulgar depths of putting silver and gold together on our outdoor tree. But I am telling everyone that he wanted the cat to have his own tree, because it’s funnier … and, so far, nobody has questioned or doubted this.

I have been mulling over Le Blog entries from last December, and I can’t believe how far things have moved on: back then Louis Catorze was in Le Cône and under house arrest, there were more drugs in the cat food cupboard than in Pablo Escobar’s basement and Cat Daddy and I were stressed beyond measure about the tail-chewing. Now he is virtually drug-free (Louis Catorze, I mean, not Cat Daddy), his tail is perfectly healed and he is back to doing what he does best: annoying the pair of us witless.

We are very lucky indeed and we hope that this good fortune is indicative of the general direction of the next 12 months to come. We wish you all a joyous and prosperous year.

Mon beau sapin

D390CDED-4684-47BD-AA3A-CABAF75C5154Cat Daddy and I bought our Yule tree last weekend. The lovely lady from whom we bought it advised us to keep it outdoors until we were ready to decorate it, but, due to Cat Daddy being away on business and me being unwell, we just haven’t got around to it.

Cat Daddy now wants to make it an outdoor tree. (We will still be able to see it through the patio doors and enjoy its sparkly beauty when we sit on the kitchen sofa.) Despite the fact that we’ve never had an outdoor tree before, he is convinced that we can make it work with a set of proper outdoor lights and some more robust ornaments. But this isn’t because he’s suddenly had a life-changing moment of creativity or tree-consciousness. This is because, if we bring it indoors, we only have one place to put it: the place where Louis Catorze’s chaise longue currently is. And Cat Daddy won’t have Sa Majesté “with no place to sleep”.

It doesn’t matter that the little sod has 2 living room sofas, a kitchen sofa and 3 beds fully kitted out with anti-allergy bedding. Le Roi’s favourite napping place is in front of the living room radiator, right where our tree always used to go during the days pre-chaise, and Cat Daddy would rather buy lights and decorations and move the tree than do the sensible thing and just put the chaise longue somewhere else for a couple of weeks.

Once we purchase the new tree trimmings, I am prepared to bet Le Château on Catorze not using la chaise longue once throughout the entire Yuletide season. Qui est d’accord?

Le jeu de cônes

Winter is coming – or, rather, it arrived yesterday – and the solstice is traditionally a period of celebration, joy and hope. Sadly I don’t feel especially celebratory or joyous at the moment, and the only thing I’m hoping for is that, one day, Louis Catorze will stop biting his darned tail. Regretfully, that day won’t be coming anytime soon.

Earlier this week, he was lucky enough to receive a SECOND gift of a soft Cône, this time in Extra Small size, from the same kind friend who sent the first one. And he has shown his gratitude by figuring out that soft Cônes can bend. Naturellement, he bit his tail and broke the skin again, forcing me to go to Pets At Home and buy an even wider, more rigid Cône (with padded edges to protect la gorge royale) for when we’re not supervising him.

He absolutely cannot bite his tail in the new Cône … but, with sufficient effort and the correct planetary alignment, he has discovered that he can get a paw to it. And, yesterday evening, he managed to get his claw stuck in his wound and couldn’t get it out. Fortunately I was with him so I was able to pull it out … but he was left with an ugly, gaping wound and a chunk of flesh hanging from his tail.

We took him to the vet this morning, hoping she would say that it was just a superficial scratch. But she thought it looked much worse than that and was concerned that he was still showing so much interest in his tail, so she recommended an X-ray to rule out any deeper problems. Luckily there was a slot available this morning so we were able to leave him there and collect him again this evening.

Sadly the X-ray revealed no damage to his tail. (I say “sadly” because I find inconclusive answers more frustrating than anything on earth; “It’s broken in 28 places”, whilst unpleasant, would at least have given us a starting point.)

And he will have to remain Côned for at least another week.

Our next options are as follows:

– A different type of painkiller whose name I forget, designed for neurological pain
– Feliway diffusers and an anti-anxiety supplement called Zylkene
– Another steroid shot, in case the reason for the original irritation is his old allergy inexplicably deciding to reappear on his tail
– All of the above

It’s a lot to take in. Cat Daddy and I are having a cup of tea, cuddling Catorze and trying to figure out what to do.

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