La chirurgie dentaire

Louis Catorze’s dental surgery went well. Because the procedure took longer than expected, he missed the Animal Bus back and so we had to collect him from TW3. Whilst there, a little boy in the waiting room pointed to me and said, “Wow! Look at that lady’s cat bag!” (great) and a manic, disobedient puppy called Duke, who dragged his poor human into the practice with unbelievable force, licked my elbow as he passed me (not so great).

During our very long wait, Cat Daddy was bored so he, erm, photographed the Animal Bus.

Le Roi had to have THREE teeth out, all from his lower jaw. There is a fourth one – also from his lower jaw – which will need to come out later but which couldn’t be removed this time, because that many deep extractions in one go would have been too much. He will have a follow-up consultation next week, and X-rays in six months or so to determine the right time to remove that pesky fourth tooth.

Luckily none of these teeth are his trademark vampire fangs. Obviously had he needed them removed we would have done it, but it would have been very upsetting indeed. A vampire cat without fangs is, erm, not really a vampire cat.

Catorze was very disorientated when he returned home, sniffing everything as if it were his first visit here, but this was nowhere near as unnerving as his silence. He didn’t make a sound from the moment we collected him and, at the time of writing this, he is still mute (with the exception of one yowl when I stabbed him in the arm with my nail scissors – see below). As you are very much aware, noise is what he does, so the lack of screaming is deeply, deeply uncomfortable.

We had been told to remove Catorze’s bandage when we arrived home, but he defiantly resisted all attempts to do this. The vet had said it would be easy. It wasn’t. It was just like trying to find the edge on a dodgy roll of cheap cling film, except that the roll of cling film fought back. So I am going to have to either take him in again on Monday to have the bandage removed, or keep trying over the weekend and risk further stabbings to le bras royal.

Catorze will, apparently, “look rather sorry and horrible for a while” (Cat Daddy: “So what’s new?”) but, in actual fact, apart from being a little drooly, and apart from sporting a new stab wound on the arm, he’s doing much better than we expected. All we need is for his voice to return, and he will be fully back to normal*.

*His normal is not like most people’s normal.

Poor spitty Roi.

Les dents du Roi

Louis Catorze is due to have his tooth extraction today.

I don’t feel great about this. I am an anxious person by nature and I am particularly anxious when it comes to his health issues, which just seem to keep coming (although, to be fair, we were warned about this). And this week is my first full week of the new school year, so the timing really couldn’t be worse.

Catorze is also ageing faster than Dorian Gray’s portrait. His white hairs are becoming more and more numerous and, when we compare him to pictures from two or three years ago, the difference is startling. The fact that he’s an old man with the constitution of a swatted gnat doesn’t make him an ideal candidate for surgery, regardless of how common the procedure.

As ever, the one positive in this situation is the fact that he doesn’t appear to know or care that he’s not well. He is still carrying on with life as he did before, and loving every bit of it. If his health were half as robust as his sass, I know that he would get through the surgery with no problem whatsoever.

Please keep your fingers crossed for the little sod. Cat Daddy and I will be awaiting his return with ample Orijen (and water to dampen it).

Old man white hairs … plus a scratched nose and a chipped ear, most likely from scrapping with Goliath.

Aux yeux du père, le fils est beau

The last time I had surgery, I woke from my anaesthetic and announced to the ward, “I’ve just been dreaming about ginger cats! Must’ve been Alfie and George!” (Obviously Alfie and George are actual ginger cats that exist. Which is a relief, because made-up ginger cats might have made me look silly.)

No such morphine-induced excitement this time around but everything went well, although perhaps I shouldn’t have watched so many X Files episodes beforehand as there are startling similarities between a surgical procedure and an alien abduction. There was a brief incident as I left Le Château for the hospital – involving an escape at The Front and gut-wrenching screams that woke the neighbours – but, other than that, Louis Catorze has actually been behaving. I could have done without the 6:15am screaming alarm call the following day, though. And, although he saved me a clean-up job when he licked off the ink that the surgeon had used to mark up my arm, I was really creeped out by it and am now scared to be alone with him.

I have made the following observations since coming home from hospital:

1. Catorze has a “Merde, she’s still alive?” face.

2. His unnerving obsession with his daddy has reached new heights/depths (depending on one’s perception). Or, as Cat Daddy puts it, “He won’t leave me the hell alone.”

It has never been a secret that I am probably not even Catorze’s second favourite human in a household of just two humans. But whereas he used to climb off my lap and onto Cat Daddy’s only on a moderately regular basis, he now does this every time Cat Daddy sits down. And, whereas he used to wait a few minutes before the lap swap, now he does it in under 10 seconds. (Yes, Cat Daddy has actually timed him.)

The screamy little sod has shown me SOME love, although not nearly enough considering I was the one who was knocked out cold and chopped up.

Cat Daddy retires at the end of this month and will be spending a lot more time at home with Catorze than ever before. Will this bromance go from strength to strength, or could this enforced togetherness be too much of a good thing?

L’infirmier devoué

Next week I am due to have surgery on my shoulder, which should hopefully spell the end of a long line of problems. It’s a day procedure, so I won’t need to worry about Louis Catorze causing havoc in my absence (no more than usual, anyway) as I’ll be back that evening, but I am concerned about what he will do when I come home.

I often hear reports of cats being extra loving and affectionate when their humans are ill or convalescing. Sa Maj, on the other hand, does everything in his power to send me back to hospital, no doubt hoping that I will die there. When I came home after spinal surgery the little sod jumped onto my torso, then used it as a launch pad to jump somewhere else. And, when I had abdominal surgery, he did THIS (see below), which not only nearly burst my stitches as I tried to wrestle him out of the room (1st link), but also triggered the long-term avian war that still wages on to this day, having started with the starlings and continuing with the magpies and the angry green parakeets (2nd link):

https://louiscatorze.com/2016/07/16/loiseau/

https://louiscatorze.com/2016/07/20/tel-est-pris-qui-croyait-prendre/

So … can we trust Catorze to be nice/good this time?

Cat Daddy: “You’ve really learned nothing in the last few years, have you?”

Vive l’indifférence

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It’s been just over a week since my surgery, and what a week it’s been. We’ve had some British Wimbledon wins, a French football failure, and Louis Catorze is still fiercely waging his campaign of apathy towards me.

He’s not unhappy, nor is he descending into his allergic state (quite the opposite, in fact: it’s been over 2 months since his last steroid shot and he’s still riding high on it). He and I have the odd moment at bedtime when he naps at my feet but, during the day, he steers clear of me. Then, when Cat Daddy comes home, he races to the door to greet him, as if to say, “Merci à Dieu!”

A friend mentioned the fact that he might object to my hospitally smell, in the same way that some cats reject their kittens/buddies when they return from the vet and smell vetty. But, surely, even with my mess of Medusa-like tendrils of hospital hair, he can see that it’s me and not some impostor?

Another friend suggested that Louis Catorze might be so intelligent that he’d figured out that I can’t pick him up or bend to stroke him, so he was thoughtfully saving me the strain of trying by avoiding me. Believe me, it’s not that.

Cat Daddy’s response, when I complained about Catorze’s treachery: “But he’s always liked me better. He isn’t doing anything different now and therefore, technically, hasn’t betrayed you.”

Silence, tumbleweed, crickets. I get the feeling that will be the theme of the next few weeks.

Mon papa, mon héros

I realise that cats often have a favourite human, but this is beyond a joke: in the run-up to my hospital stay I was largely ignored by Louis Catorze and, now that I’m home again, c’est la même chose.

Apart from a couple of meows when I first walked through the door – which I now realise were not “Welcome home!” but “Merde! Her again!” – and the moment when he kicked my surgical wound (whilst stepping over me to get to Cat Daddy’s lap), Louis Catorze has barely acknowledged my presence.

Luther, Louis Catorze’s big brother, very slightly preferred me but it was barely discernible, possibly about 45-55 in my favour. Louis Catorze, however, is very firmly a boys’ boy and it’s more like 80-20, with the little sod preferring his daddy, our male friends, builders, removal men and Ocado delivery drivers over me. And Cat Daddy has revelled in this by bombarding me with pictures of the two of them snuggling up together during my absence. Every day in the hospital I woke up to more photos of Catorze draped all over his daddy – and, to make matters worse, the photos continue to come even now that I’m home. Last night I received some whilst I was just 2 metres away, in the next room. This is one of them:

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My recovery time is 6 weeks so this is going to be a REALLY long summer, in every sense. I fear that not even the powers of novels and Netflix will be able to save me.

Ce n’est qu’un au revoir

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On Tuesday I’m going into hospital for a (common and minor) operation, and my first thought on the matter was, “Will Louis Catorze be ok?” I briefly toyed with the idea of smuggling him in with me in my wash bag – yes, he is small enough – but then had terrifying visions of him escaping and going on the rampage through the hospital. I can just see him accidentally hooking his stupid periscope tail through a patient’s drip and ripping the needle bit out of their forearm, tripping up staff as they carry hazardous chemicals or, even worse, pitter-pattering into Intensive Care, nuzzling a plug socket and inadvertently switching off someone’s life support.

“He probably wouldn’t want to come to the hospital anyway,” said Cat Daddy, “because his favourite person is me, not you.” He is right. Who am I kidding: far from missing me, the little sod will be elated to get rid of me and have 3 uninterrupted days of Boys’ Club avec son papa.

So there will be a few days’ respite from the idiocy of the Sun King, although no doubt said idiocy will restart again the minute I get back. When I had spinal surgery 2 years ago, he welcomed me home by jumping onto my torso, then using it as a launch pad for a further jump, so I can’t wait to see what delights await me this time around.

See you all on the other side. A plus tard!