Le mauvais écureuil

Oh my: it seems we may have been a little hasty in accusing Louis Catorze of digging around in the sedums.

To be honest we had started to have our suspicions some time ago, when we noticed that the soil disturbance incidents didn’t correspond with Catorze’s escapes at The Front. And, as we were leaving the house the other day, we caught this sizeable sod – he doesn’t look that large in the photo but, trust me, he was massive – having a fine old time in our recycling box planter. I wasn’t quite quick enough to catch him in the act, but here he is making his escape (below).

I almost feel bad for blaming Sa Maj, but then Cat Daddy rightfully pointed out 1) that Catorze doesn’t care (and never did) and 2) that it makes up for all those times when he did things and got away with it.

We can’t prove the things, nor do we know what half the things even are. But we know that THERE HAVE BEEN THINGS.

Le figuier royal

People who plant new trees are good. But people who are nice to existing trees are also pretty good, non?

As if to make up for delivering us the devil-plant that is deadly nightshade, Mother Nature has gifted us a fig tree (pictured below when it still had leaves; at the moment it’s just a sticking-up twig).

Oui, Mesdames et Messieurs: it quite literally just appeared one day, and I had no idea what it was until the delightful people on my social media tree group collectively Shazammed it. What a wonderful gift this is, and how very appropriate given that the human Louis XIV apparently grew figs at Versailles. That said, I am trying not to think too hard about the fact that the seed most likely fell out of a bird’s arse (and quite a middle-class bird at that).

Unfortunately it seems that the fig is toxic to cats. Not in a “sit downwind of it and you die” type of way, like the nightshade, but ingesting any part of it will cause vomiting and general malaise. And yet, in a world that is wiping out trees by the minute as if they are some sort of liability, I am determined to love this one and to find some way of enabling it and Louis Catorze to coexist happily. This is not going to be easy, given his penchant for doing exactly what we don’t want him to do, when we don’t want him to do it.

Anyway, as advised, we have moved the fig to a terracotta pot and are keeping it indoors until the spring. Can we trust Sa Maj to neither eat it nor turn the pot into les toilettes royales?

Le pouvoir du pollen

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If you have ever suffered from hay fever, no doubt you will be fully aware of all the things you should and shouldn’t do: keep windows and doors shut, take a teaspoon of local honey a day (and, if you’re in London, Hen Corner honey is excellent: https://hen-corner-micro-bakery.myshopify.com/collections/london-honey), and so on. However, you may also wish to exercise caution if you decide to cuddle an outdoor cat in June.

A few days ago, Louis Catorze pitter-pattered in after spending most of the day out on the hunt, looking to grace the trophy cabinet (i.e. our bedroom floor) with another piece of silverware (i.e. a rodent). And, whilst it seems obvious now that furry-bodied cats would soak up airborne toxins like sponges, I didn’t think about it when I picked him up to cuddle him; it was like pressing my face into shards of glass.

The danger doesn’t stop there: we also allow Louis Catorze to sleep on our bed, spreading the evil allergens all over our pillows and sheets. And, yes, I accept that it’s not compulsory for him to sleep on the bed, and that we could shut him out of our bedroom, but he has slept with us ever since the first night he was with us, and I would feel sad breaking that habit. (Plus it enables us to keep him under surveillance, because we know what a troublemaker he is and we couldn’t trust him as far as we could spit.)

So … what to do about this? The only option is to give kitty regular damp towel rub-downs (preferably on a non-carpeted area) and, if you’re lucky, they might appreciate the cooling power of this procedure on a hot day. If they’re anything like Catorze, on the other hand, they will writhe, wail and wish you were dead … but your sensitive nostrils and stinging eyes will thank you, even if your cat won’t.

*Picture posed by the splendid Cocoa the babysit cat