Où sont mes drogues?

Forget about the iceberg lettuce shortage: here at Le Château we’re going through the rather more desperate Gabapentin pill drought. There are none whatsoever in the whole of West London, and the vet isn’t sure when they will be able to get hold of any.

I received the bad news by phone whilst in a packed football stadium and never have I been more glad of the noise, because, to a casual eavesdropper, the conversation wouldn’t have sounded great: “No, I’ve never had any problem getting hold of pills before. Yes, I’ve ordered 100, but please may I make it 150 in case there’s a problem next time, too? No, I already have plenty of the powdered version, thank you. Yes, it’s definitely the pills that I want …”

Our situation with Louis Catorze is a bit like that film Speed, where they have to keep driving the bus at a minimum of 50 miles per hour otherwise it will blow up. If we don’t keep Catorze’s medication at a constant level, his symptoms are likely to come back … and there’s no way on earth I want to return to the bad old days of nightly yowling and hissing and a chewed, bleeding tail.

It’s a blessing that we at least have the powder, but administering it isn’t easy. For a start, Sa Majesté won’t eat it in jambon de Bayonne, I assume because, like garlic, its pungency increases when crushed, so he can smell it immediately. It’s too wispy and floaty to just throw into his open mouth, so I have to actually shove my fingers in … and there’s nothing more terrifying than having to touch the jaws and teeth of a snapping, hissing beast who wants me dead. And, although powder is harder to spit out than pills, the unpredictable consistency and the fact that Catorze fights like a brute mean there are far too many variables to be able to measure doses accurately: spillages on clothes, furniture, the floor, my hair and his fur, bits that remain stuck to my fingers, and so on. So I haven’t the faintest idea how much of the powder actually makes it into him.

Not that any of this seems to affect him long-term, though; his tail remains intact and he is continuing to eat, drink and pitter-patter happily about Le Château, unaware of all the stress he is causing us.

Cat Daddy: “He’s aware. Of course he’s aware. He just doesn’t give a shit.”

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Les poils d’enfer

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Forget about the Rio Olympics, and forget about chasing Pokemon(s). (Do you add an “s” or is there one noun for both singular and plural, like fish and sheep?)

Here at Le Château we have had our own challenge of physical and mental endeavour: daily brushing of a certain someone who had been looking a bit scruffy and ragged at the start of the summer. (Cat Daddy has just read this and said, “You’d better put that it’s Louis Catorze, in case everyone thinks it’s me.”)

We were spoilt with Luther because, being a Bombay, he didn’t shed. So we never had to brush him, ever. Not so with Le Roi; he moults like crazy, and brushing him is the second most miserable experience imaginable (the first being giving him pills).

Brushing Louis Catorze tests all these components in a way that no Olympic sport ever could:

– Speed, as I try to catch the little sod
– Strength, as I grab hold of the little sod
– Endurance, as I attempt to keep hold of the little sod whilst also trying to brush him
– Super-sharp reflexes, as I dodge the kicks and the Freddy Krueger slasher claws

Of course, when Cat Daddy brushes him, the scenario is rather different:

– One or two unremarkable squeaks
– Cuddles for daddy afterwards

It’s just not fair, is it?

“Maybe he just doesn’t like the way you brush him,” suggested Cat Daddy, helpfully. “He never misbehaves when I do it.”

Très bien pour lui. What does he want: a medal?

(He didn’t get one. But what he did get is the permanent role of Gardien de la Brosse Royale; if he’s so darned good, he can show the rest of us how it’s done.)