L’alpha et l’oméga (Partie 4)

My school holidays are here. (Yes, U.K. teachers, I break up much earlier than the rest of you.)

My holiday time so far has consisted of the following:

1. Writing a list of the books I want to read this summer.

2. Writing a list of the cocktails I want to make, and spending inordinate amounts of money on random, niche ingredients that I will most likely use just one time, for one drink. (Mezcal, anyone? A bit of Fernet-Branca?)

3. Watching football.

4. Reading the comments on Matt Hancock’s Instagram and laughing so much that I almost need to be sedated. (If you have not done this, please try it even if only for a few minutes. It will brighten your day more than you ever thought possible.)

So, in all, I have been pretty productive, even if I do say so myself.

In other news, we know that the Omega 3 oil wasn’t supposed to have so many Parties. However, we have hit upon a huge deal-breaker of a stumbling block: the supplements make Louis Catorze stink like a rotting corpse.

It’s very unfortunate because his dandruff is hugely improved, and we are sure that further use would have continued to show positive results. But, given the choice, I’m pretty sure most people would choose a cat who didn’t stink like a rotting corpse over one who did.

Honestly, it’s not a mild smell that can be disguised by room spray, scented candles or suchlike, not that we use any of that kind of thing anymore on account of our sensitive mutual friend. It’s a truly gut-wrenching stench, just awful.

Cat Daddy’s Helpful Comment of the Day: “I’d actually rather have the dandruff.” (Regretfully, I am inclined to agree.)

Anyway, the vet has never heard of this side effect before – the fact that it’s only ever happened to Catorze will, of course, surprise nobody – but she has suggested some other brands to try, and I am hoping that one of them will make him smell better. They certainly can’t make him smell any worse.

When you don’t need to set an alarm, because the smell wakes you.

L’alpha et l’oméga (Partie 3)

When Louis Catorze stopped eating his fish oil vol-au-vents, I tried smearing the oil onto his fur to see if he would groom it off. When it worked a treat, I decided to adopt this method permanently, using a teaspoon as an applicator as my finger was too melty and my lip balm pot was just too weird.

My morning routine now includes squeezing the contents* of a capsule onto the back of a teaspoon, taking said teaspoon into the living room with me with my morning cup of tea and waiting for the little sod to join me. When he does, I pounce.

*I do the whole lot every other day rather than half every day, which saves me from having to reserve a sticky, smelly, half-squeezed capsule. I choose the odd-numbered days because Le Roi is odd.

Now, Catorze wouldn’t be Catorze if he didn’t do something strange and off-the-wall in response to this. The first time I did it he was fine but the second time, unbelievably, he didn’t know where the smell was coming from. His sense of smell is supposed to be 972 times better than mine, and yet I could detect this foul substance from across the room but he had no idea it was ON HIS OWN ARM.

Catorze sniffed the coffee table, the window shutters and the lamp.

Me: “It’s on you!”

Catorze sniffed the carpet, the sofa and his igloo.


It was quite some time before the penny dropped and he finally started to groom himself. Naturellement by this point he had done a few circuits of the whole room trying to find the source of the smell, with me nervously following him with kitchen towel and anti-bacterial spray (which I suspect are powerless against oil but I didn’t know what else to do) and desperately praying for him not to rub against anything porous.

The same company who makes the Omega 3 also makes a brain supplement. I don’t suppose we’ll be needing that.

Thanks but no thanks.

L’alpha et l’oméga (Partie 2)

Not long ago, I picked up Louis Catorze’s bowl to wash it and found two pills underneath it. The little bastard had eaten off the Pill Pocket casing, then somehow hidden the pill. Twice.

And remember when he liked his Omega 3 vol-au-vents? Yeah, well, now he doesn’t. And, as per his usual méthode de travail, he decided this right after I bought further supplies of Pill Pockets.

This meant that I had to find another way of getting the Omega 3 into him. It’s too big a capsule to Greco, and I didn’t dare squeeze it onto his food for fear of giving him another excuse to go on hunger strike.

I then had the idea of, erm, squeezing it onto his body and letting him groom it off. The only problem was that, should he fail to groom and just let it air-dry on himself, I would be left with a greasy, fishy, screaming furbag pitter-pattering around and rubbing disgusting oil everywhere. But it had to be worth a go since the Omega 3 made a huge difference to the little sod’s yucky fur after just a week of use.

Anyway, this was the sequence of events that followed:

1. Pierce hole in capsule and sit on sofa with holey capsule just within reach.

2. Target sits on my lap.

3. Squeeze contents of holey capsule onto my finger, ready to rub onto Target’s body.

4. Target scarpers, leaving me with gross, fishy gel on finger.

5. Wait for Target to return and, as I do so, fishy gel starts to melt on my finger. There are no non-porous items within reach onto which I can temporarily scrape fishy gel, other than my pot of lip balm (SORRY to Cocoa the babysit cat’s folks, who gave me said lip balm).

Nothing sweet about this.

6. Target appears to realise that something is up and doesn’t return to my lap.

7. I pick up lip balm, casually walk towards him then pounce, rubbing the pot against his arm and transferring the fishy gel onto him in one smooth movement. Am probably prouder of this than is normal/appropriate.

8. Target is perturbed by what’s just happened and doesn’t know what to do. He remains frozen for a few seconds.

9. Target scarpers.

10. Target returns and grooms off the fishy gel. I HAVE SUCCEEDED IN MY MISSION. (Well, it was about time. My missions can’t just go on failing forever, right?)

Anyway, since we now have 639 packets of Pill Pockets, the little sod has been able to send some to his buddy Dexter (below) in India, who is being a bit of a shite about taking his medication.

“Nah … not gonna eat that.”

And Cat Daddy was highly amused to discover where the most recent Pill Pocket shipment had passed through before coming here:

Never been but it sounds dodgy as hell.

L’alpha et l’oméga

Louis Catorze’s skin has been looking scaly and dandruffy lately, so the vet recommended an Omega 3 supplement called Nutramega. I was sure Cat Daddy would disapprove but, when he saw the information leaflet, he asked me why on earth we hadn’t bought them before.

To be honest, I don’t really know why. Over the years there have been so many things going on with Catorze – the worst being tail-chewing to the point of drawing blood, requiring through-the-night attention – that, perhaps, a glossy coat seemed a luxury rather than a priority. Plus the thought of adding another pill to his arsenal of medication didn’t appeal, especially as he is so awful at taking them. But at least we have them now, and we are determined to give them a shot.

The supplements, although not huge, are too big to encase inside a Pill Pocket for tiny Catorze. So I have to make a hole with a cocktail stick (younger followers: ask your parents), squeeze half of the fishy, gel-like contents into the well of a Pill Pocket, like a vol-au-vent (younger followers: ask your grandparents) and reserve the part-squeezed capsule to do the same thing again the next day.

The vet knows what Catorze is like so, initially, I bought ten days’ supply as an experiment. Having seen his reaction to two bowls, I needed to be sure that he wouldn’t go bonkers at the sight of two Pill Pockets, too. But – MERCI À DIEU – he ate them. This is right up there with stigmata and weeping statues in terms of miracles.

Cat Daddy, in a deadpan voice and without looking up from his gardening catalogue: “Amazing.”

I now have to open FIVE packs for him every day, the others being the Pill Pockets, the Prednisolone pills and, of course, the two different foods. But, despite everything, the little sod is worth it.

In this photo he has just discovered that the Nutramega information leaflet smells of vet:

Not impressed.

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.