La piqûre royale

We have had a right old rigmarole this year with Louis Catorze’s booster vaccination.

He was due to have it in September but, because he needed an antibiotic shot after his dental surgery, he couldn’t have the booster in the same appointment, as planned. Then supplies of the vaccine ran out, with replenishments not due until early December.

To complicate things further, because Catorze also needs a steroid shot which can’t be administered alongside the booster, the out-of-stock problem royally messed with the timings. In short, to guarantee him a timely booster in December, we’ve been having to choose between giving him steroid shots when he didn’t need them, or NOT giving him steroid shots when he DID need them. Naturellement we opted for the former.

We were due to take him for a not-urgently-needed steroid shot on Monday, when he decided to go completely psycho an hour before the appointment.

He was racing around, attacking invisible prey and leaping in and out of Blue the Smoke Bengal’s mamma’s Thank You For Cat-Sitting gift bag. Somehow he managed to loosen the lid on one of the jars in the bag, leaking fruit jelly everywhere, so I had to wipe down the containers and give them away bagless. (Catorze kept the bag as a play yurt, jelly residue and all.)

More worryingly, he was also chasing his tail. Although he was doing it playfully, and not in the steady, trance-like way that he did when he had Feline Hyperesthesia*, I didn’t want him reminding himself of how much fun it is to chew his tail. So I had to unleash the toy that I’d bought him for Yule, to take his mind off his tail and to wear him out a little.

*If you have the time and the inclination, have a look through the blog entries from December 2016 to February-ish 2017, for the full horror of this. Feline Hyperesthesia is a horrible condition like no other I’ve ever seen, and for most cats it means medication for life. Catorze, being the oddity that he is, is the only cat I’ve known to recover from it and to no longer require medication. (Obviously he still needs it for the other 7,052 things that are wrong with him, but not for Feline Hyperesthesia.)

During the short journey to the vet, and upon arrival there, an utterly unworn-out Catorze screamed his guts out, so much so that a massive Dulux dog in the waiting room barked at him to shut up. (He didn’t.) I wasn’t looking forward to giving an already-manic cat an injection that would make him worse, but then our vet delivered the joyous news that the vaccine had come in early.

Merci. À. Dieu.

So we swapped treatments, and Catorze had his booster instead of his steroid shot.

We are most relieved that little sod is no longer running around like a gun-toting, placard-bearing anti-vaxxer. (You’ve seen the trouble he causes WITHOUT a gun and a placard, so can you imagine him WITH them?) And, with his steroid shot not due for another week or two, perhaps we can look forward to a brief peaceful interlude before his madness starts again.

What would it say on his placard? All suggestions welcome.

Pas de nouvelles, pas de nouvelles

What an insane week it’s been at Le Château: I am back at work after a whole summer off, Cat Daddy has been away on business and is preparing to go again next week, we’ve had a dead mouse in the bathroom and Le Roi’s booster jabs were due today.

But the one piece of great news is that, because Louis Catorze is not any medication at the moment, he was able to go to our local vet and have a standard vaccine, rather than enduring a 90-minute round trip to the rescue centre vet for the special non-live vaccine that only they can supply. Until now he’s had to have that because Atopica isn’t compatible with standard booster injections and so, unsurprisingly, I opted for the 90-minute round trip rather than risk a freakishly psycho FrankenRoi. It feels like a luxury not to have to do that anymore.

“I wonder if the vet will compliment him on his appearance?” I shouted in the car, so that I could be heard over Catorze’s screaming. “He’s looking really good at the moment.”

“Yeah, but it’s all relative,” Cat Daddy yelled back. “Of all the cats that she sees, where do you think he would rank on a scale from 1 to 10?”

Silence, tumbleweed, crickets. Even Catorze shut up at that point.

Anyway, after Louis Catorze’s initial “Quoi? Here again? I thought we were done with this place?” everything went ok. He has beefed up to a whopping 3.49kg, which came as a surprise to the vet as cats usually LOSE weight during a break from steroids. There was the usual yelling and swearing (from him) when his ears were examined, and the procedure had to be aborted when he unveiled an ingenious new trick: bending forward and wedging his head between his thighs so that his ears were inaccessible. (Imagine a cat preparing to do a forward roll but not actually rolling, and just remaining in a tight ball. Little sod.)

We’re home now and the post-vet sulk appears to be a thing of the past, with Louis Catorze instantly forgiving us (or forgetting) and happily pitter-pattering about our feet. I hope this peace is a taste of the weekend to come; we could all do with it.

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Le Roi adore sa grand-mère

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My mum is staying for a few days and, because she’s broken her ankle, she is in our bedroom and we’re in the attic. (Mind you, being a typical mum and “not wanting to inconvenience us”, she offered to have the attic. Up an extra flight of stairs and on a mattress on the floor? With a bad ankle and crutches? Really, Maman?) Louis Catorze let out a sad yowl of confusion when he couldn’t find us last night but, once we’d called out to him and he understood who was where, all was well in his world once again.

Louis Catorze shared his love last night: I told my mum to keep her door shut in case he sat on her bad ankle, but, being the original Crazy Cat Lady whose genes have passed to the rest of us, she ignored me, left the door wide open and welcomed him in for cuddles instead. He sat on her stomach last night as she lay in bed, itched a bit, she nudged him to stop him itching, he itched a bit more, she nudged him again, and this went on until one or other of them fell asleep. Then he came up to join us.

I’m continuing with his morning play (despite the weirdness of sleeping with a toy fish on a string by the bed), although I think it’s going to be a while until I’m able to say that Louis Catorze is truly exercising. Cat Daddy came back from the bathroom mid-session and said, “There must be something wrong with his eyesight. No cat is THAT slow.” Sorry, but ours is. The vet pretty much said said so. I had his eyesight checked the last time we went, because I had exactly the same concerns, and it was fine.

I’ve booked his vaccinations for the 18th, and he will be having his skin scraping allergy test at the same time, to get the full horror over and done with in one go. I’m giving some thought to asking the vet about reconsidering his use of Atopica because, as well as making him grumpy, it’s clearly not serving its main purpose of keeping the allergy away. Also, despite it not being a steroid, nobody is quite sure about its prolonged use and subsequent side effects and, whilst I might take the chance for something that was working well, it seems senseless to risk his long-term health for such inconsistent results. He seems to fare better on plain old Piriton, especially in terms of his mood.

After all this time and money spent on tests and treatment, it would be somewhat ironic if his condition were kept in check with a £5 bottle from the pharmacy, wouldn’t it?

Les résultats, Partie 2

Louis Catorze’s remedy from the bioenergetics company arrived just before the move but, along with a lot of other stuff, it’s trapped among boxes in the living room and I can’t get to it. Luckily he’s doing really well at the moment, both physically and in spirit, so I haven’t needed it desperately. The analysis that accompanied it was like a foreign language to me, as was the letter explaining it. The one bit that I did understand, however, was: “Please allow 4-5 working days before calling us to discuss the readings”, so presumably I’m not the only one.

I called them today, and it seems that my cat defies both conventional AND alternative medicine: once again, he displayed sensitivity to certain substances, but not strongly enough to be causing such extreme symptoms. The bioenergetics lady said she couldn’t understand it at all. So Louis Catorze is a weirdo on many levels (although we kind of suspected this anyway).

Anyway, the offending substances are:

  • Egg yolk
  • Flax seed
  • Rabbit (not a concern as the chances of him catching one are slim-to-zero)
  • Fennel (I know he’s royalty, but really?)
  • Pigeon and chicken droppings
  • Feathers (the only one which didn’t come as a surprise to me, as he’s so much better when he’s kept away from the now-deceased Forbidden Feather Duvet)

The bioenergetics lady also confirmed receipt of my emails containing his medical history and the dreaded photos which I once swore I would never show to another living soul: the ones taken in January 2014 by Louis Catorze’s then-foster mamma, which show his allergy at its absolute worst. I had warned the bioenergetics lady beforehand that these photos were upsetting viewing, thinking that, as a professional who dealt regularly with this kind of thing, she’d have seen much worse. Unfortunately her response was: “Quite shocking.” Oh dear.

So I now need to get a move on in terms of clearing all those boxes and locating his stuff, so that I can start giving him the remedy.

I also spoke to the vet at the ex-rescue centre, who told me that they would be able to do the skin scraping test at the same time as the vaccination. Louis Catorze is not due there until mid-August, so he will have a good few weeks to settle into Le Château before being disrupted again. Poor thing probably has many more mountains to climb until he’s fully better, but it’s really good to feel that things are moving and that we’re taking active steps to find that solution.