La foudre et les éclairs ne font pas vraiment vraiment peur

We all know that Louis Catorze, to put it mildly, isn’t quite like other cats. Gadding about outside in the rain is just one of the peculiar things that he does. However, last weekend, when we had torrential Blade-Runner-meets-Se7en rain for several hours straight, we witnessed something quite unthinkable: the little sod headed for the cat flap at the first sign of thunder and lightning.

Cat Daddy and I both thought he was just going to look, which would have been strange enough. Mais non: he was off out.

Oui, Mesdames et Messieurs: Catorze is irresistibly drawn to the two forces of nature which scare most animals witless. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that they call to him, in the same way that The One Ring calls to the Dark Lord.

This is weird, isn’t it?

Cat Daddy: “He’s going out in it! HE’S GOING OUT IN IT! ****ing werewolf cat! What’s wrong with him?”

We have been asking ourselves that question forever, and I don’t think we will ever know the answer. Here he is, communing with the elements from one of his favourite spots, not even caring about the water dripping from the table onto his rump:

Is he hoping it’ll start raining men?

Traverser la tempête

We had a storm a couple of nights ago. I know this not because I heard the rain, but because Louis Catorze woke me at hourly intervals, absolutely drenched, to roll the water off onto the bed, before going back outside to soak up more water and repeat the whole process.

I used to joke about Catorze being like Lieutenant Dan from Forrest Gump (younger followers: ask your parents) during storms, although this was just for dramatic effect and I have never seen him behave in such a way. I have only ever witnessed him excitedly running outside upon hearing the rain, then sitting calmly in a sheltered spot and listening. (That said, his rodent kills often take place during storms, so he must have a touch of the unhinged about him.)

However, Cat Daddy has just told me that, during the most recent storm, he’d heard Catorze howling outside. Not screaming or whining, but that full-on, guttural cat fight sound. As far as he was aware, it was just one cat’s voice. So either evil Catorze had intimidated the other cat into silence (a bit mean) or he was howling on his own (just plain bizarre).

Me, hopefully: “Could it have been … some other cat?”

Cat Daddy, falteringly: “Well … I suppose I didn’t SEE a cat, so … y’know …”

Sigh. There was no point in trying to kid ourselves. It was him.

Oscar Wilde was right all along:

“At first art imitates life.” Yes, although calling Le Blog “art” is a bit of a reach.

“Then life will imitate art.” This is where we are at the moment.

“Then life will find its very existence from the arts.” I don’t know what this means, but this is the part that scares me the most; the thought of all life starting and ending with Catorze is the exact opposite of what we want/need as a society.

I don’t have photographic evidence of him goading the storm gods, because I have no wish to go out in the rain at 2am with my phone. However, here is a picture of him being all cute and playful with his papa, which shows what a liar and a faker he is:

Nice try, but we don’t believe you.

Il pleut des cordes

It had to happen sooner or later, and on Wednesday it finally came into effect: just like other water suppliers before them, Thames Water have implemented a hosepipe ban. We are not allowed to use a garden hose to water plants, fill a paddling pool or clean vehicles. However, we are allowed to use one to water new plants (“new” = planted in the last four weeks), clean a leisure boat (?) and clean a vehicle if visiting customers. I know. I KNOW.

Cat Daddy and I don’t like having to empty the washing-up bowl into the shrubbery several times a day, but we understand why we have to do it. And, so far, la personne royale has escaped an unceremonious soaking, despite the fact that he insists on choosing a new and unobtrusive sleeping spot in the shrubbery every time he goes out.

The day after the hosepipe ban, we had torrential rain for most of the day. Obviously, this is a good thing. However, the bad news is that rain turns Louis Catorze into a complete and utter maniac. Not that he really needs an excuse.

Catorze LOVES storms. When it rains, whilst his more normal feline counterparts are curled up indoors, he is underneath the outdoor table listening to the rain fall around him, or out somewhere conducting the kind of ICB that can only be conducted in the rain. I wouldn’t put it past him to be able to bury a human body in a thunderstorm, unaided and with no tools.

This particular storm started in the early hours of Wednesday morning. I was fully aware of it all the way because Catorze spent several hours going outside, coming in to jump all over me and roll his gross, wet body all over the bed, then going back out again to repeat the cycle.

After pounding down relentlessly all morning, the rain finally stopped mid-afternoon. But Sa Maj wasn’t done. He was still going outside but, this time, gadding about in the still-wet undergrowth and then returning to roll the water onto me/us/the furniture.

Sodden little sod.

I heard Cat Daddy’s voice saying, “Ugh, Louis, look at the STATE of you! You’re drenched!”

Catorze responded with his customary “Mwah!” then promptly went out to gad about in the undergrowth again.

I have given up pondering whether he will turn normal one day, or slow down in his old age. He won’t. And, even though he gives us the creeps, we can’t help but love him for it.

Taking a short break from goading the rain gods.

Le dernier mois

It’s December and, whilst we haven’t had any snow in London, it’s cold.

Louis Catorze is firmly back in his autumn-winter igloo. He has been known to spend all day in there, even foregoing food and drink (I am not overjoyed about this) and eventually crawling out at 9pm, all dishevelled and blinking at the light like a little cave gremlin, to sit on his daddy’s lap. For a while we were quite worried about him and almost whisked him off to the vet, but now normal service has resumed and he’s back to screaming and being a shite.

Cat Daddy: “Maybe he wasn’t ill. Maybe he’s so thick that he just forgot to wake up” (?).

The igloo, which was gifted by one of his beloved pilgrims, has been in the living room for a couple of months but he didn’t set paw in it throughout that time, no doubt because the weather was so mild. However, the Arctic blast brought by Storm Arwen was obviously too much to bear, and he has now retreated so deep inside that there’s no budging him. (Catorze is notoriously difficult to shift from his igloo once bedded in; if we need to get him out, for a vet visit or a pill, for instance, Cat Daddy has been known to pick up the entire igloo and shake it, like shaking vinegar over chips*. Catorze clings on for dear life and eventually exits the igloo with all the urgency of a very viscous, gloopy, screaming sauce.)

*Non-Brits: ask your British friends.

Cat Daddy and I are both quite happy that Catorze has rediscovered his igloo. As well as giving us some peace at night, it also keeps him out of mischief somewhat (Catorze, I mean, not Cat Daddy).

Here is the little sod, enjoying his cosy bed:

He’s in there somewhere.

Vents, soufflez à crever vos joues!

Anyone who thought Louis Catorze was a complete maniac anyway should see what he’s like when there are high winds. And when I say “should”, what I mean is “really shouldn’t”.

He can be an absolute hell-beast on a windy night, bouncing all over the bed, screaming, whining and thundering around the house. However, on Thursday night, when it also happened to be the first full moon of October AND a raging storm, he decided to thunder around the house WITHOUT A SINGLE UTTERANCE.

Now, this may seem preferable to the screaming, but at least with the screaming I know that it’s him. Voiceless stomping can sound just like a burglar, a poltergeist or some other horror that my mind decides to visualise during fitful half-sleep, and it’s quite an alarming sound to hear over and over again.

I lost count of the number of times the little sod woke me up that night but I estimate it to be around ten to twelve. And, when my alarm went off in the morning, I discovered that he had rolled his wet body all over the clean clothes that I had put out for work. To add insult to injury (and we’re talking considerable injury here, as I regard a sleepless night as akin to being stabbed in the guts), when I came down for my morning cup of tea he crawled into his El Día de los Muertos cold-weather igloo and went to sleep.

Cat Daddy: “He probably brought in a mouse.”

Me: “He didn’t.”

Him: “Maybe we just haven’t found it yet.”

[Silence, tumbleweed, crickets]

Here is Le Roi, most likely telling me that he’s just getting started:

“Shhhhhh. Just sleep. Sweet dreams, salope.”

Malade? Moi?

“He can’t be that unwell if he’s managing to do THAT” is set to become the third most common refrain here at Le Château, after “What the hell is WRONG with him?” and “If any neighbours ask, just say it must have been some other cat.”

My sister and her daughter came to visit at the weekend and, as you know, Louis Catorze loves kids. However, rather than showing affection to my niece (aged 4) when she was awake, he decided to visit her after she had been put to bed to stir up trouble.

The grown-ups’ chosen horror film for the evening (which was unbelievably rubbish, but that’s not the point) was repeatedly interrupted by “Loooouis!”, then giggling and thumping, then feline screaming, then more “Loooouis!”, more giggling and so on.

After around 90 minutes of this sleep deprivation torture, my niece was so over-tired that she lost her rag and bawled. Catorze’s work here was done, so he left my sister to mop up the carnage and pitter-pattered out to join Storm Dennis in wreaking neighbourhood havoc.

If you have sent him get-well vibes, merci. We could, however, use a few more behave-yourself vibes.

Party all night!

Il y a de l’orage dans l’air

Louis Catorze doesn’t like storms. Who knew?

Well, I didn’t. But I do now, thanks to his decision to inform me at regular half-hourly intervals, all the way through last night. And, comme d’habitude, Cat Daddy slept through both the storm and the whining.

I understand that thunder and howling gales aren’t everyone’s thing, but telling me once would have sufficed. And, if you don’t like them, you’d just stay away from them, right? NON! Judging by the wetness of Sa Majesté’s fur each time he woke me up, it seems that, for reasons that I cannot fathom, he chose to keep going out and sitting in the rain for at least 15 minutes before then coming indoors to express his outrage. I just don’t understand it at all.

Just one blog post ago, I was bragging that, perhaps, I had underestimated the little sod’s intelligence. Now I am wondering exactly what planet he’s on.

Cat Daddy: “Probably Uranus.”

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Le cadeau de bonne chance

I started a new job on Wednesday. It’s a job that I have wanted ever since I set eyes on the ad, and I poured every fibre of my being into both my application and the interview to make sure they were as good as they could possibly be.

Cat Daddy knew that I would have a fitful night’s sleep on Tuesday due to nerves and excitement, so he showed his support by making me a relaxing cup of teapigs Snooze tea before bed and wishing me luck.

Louis Catorze gave zero shits about my sleep, so he showed his “support” by bringing a mouse to the bedroom and gadding about with it like an idiot at 3:45 in the morning.

I awoke to the sound of unspecified scrabbling around, and knew immediately that Catorze was up to no good. I switched the light on and saw, to my relief, that it was a mouse and not a rat, and that it was dead, so I got out of bed to fetch a piece of tissue in which to wrap it. However, because it was raining outside, and because the little sod and the mouse had been rolling their gross, drenched bodies around the room, the floor was wet … so over I went, landing in a mangled heap and jarring my ankle when it walloped the bedside table leg.

Of course, having hobbled to the bathroom for tissue, wrapped up the mouse, disposed of it and hobbled back to bed again, I was then wide awake, remaining that way until sunrise, and I went to my first day at my new job feeling utterly ravaged and angry with the world. Cat Daddy, on the other hand, slept through the entire thing, and went to work daisy-fresh.

On a completely unrelated matter, I know of a small, toothy, black cat up for adoption. Free to a good home – or even a below-average home, if anyone will have him.

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J’adore la pluie

Anyone looking out of the window today would know immediately from the weather that it’s a bank holiday Monday: grey skies, torrential rain and general misery. Most people with any sense will have stayed at home and kept dry. Louis Catorze, on the other hand, is outdoors.

No, we haven’t shut him out, nor is he lost or disorientated and unable to find his way back. The cat flap is accessible, the back door is ajar and there’s nothing in the house which is scaring him away except, perhaps, for me. He has chosen, of his own free will, to sit in the flower bed, blink at the raindrops like a lunatic and get soaked. (No photo available because that would, of course, involve going out there myself, and I’m not going to do that.)

Although I’ve very much accepted that my cat isn’t normal, this behaviour really takes the gâteau. I can see the appeal of freshly-washed laundry, perhaps even cardboard boxes, but getting cold and wet when you don’t have to? WHY? Someone suggested that perhaps the rain was soothing on his sore skin, which is fair enough, but then why not stay out for just long enough to be sufficiently soothed and then come in? Why wait until you’re utterly drenched, come in shouting indignantly about it (even though it was your choice) and then rub your disgusting, wet body and muddy paws all over our bed?

News just in: he’s now run indoors, looked back outside through the glass doors and done the bird-chatter noise at the rain. There isn’t a single bird in sight (probably because even they have the sense to stay out of the rain). This is BEYOND weird.

I guess a normal cat wouldn’t give me nearly as many blogworthy moments. But then, are any of them normal?