Le pouvoir du vampire

This week I asked some of my students whether they liked dogs or cats. They said cats. This is the correct answer.

The conversation then led to our own cats, past and present, including, of course, Louis Catorze, and at the end of the lesson I showed them a photo of him. They were utterly spellbound and speechless at the sight of his magnificent vampire fangs.

“Miss, he’s REALLY beautiful!” they exclaimed. “Can we see more pictures? Can we just look at cat pictures next lesson instead of doing work?” They will never know how much I wanted to say yes to this. French pluperfect tense grammar rules or cat photos? It’s a no-brainier, oui?

Anyway, the students now appear to be under the impression that people would pay a fortune for a black vampire cat, and they are devising a Dragons’ Den-worthy scheme to get rich by breeding Le Roi and having his hypothetical Reine birth lots of fanged babies. Cat Daddy spat his tea all over his newspaper when I told him this, and said, “Bad, bad idea. One: he has freakish physical and mental abnormalities that are best not passed on. Two: females aren’t his thing. Three: he has no balls and can’t reproduce anyway.”

Good points, well made. But, as the little sod’s big day approaches, I’m with my students on this one. I think that we have been blessed with a very special gift indeed, because who DOESN’T want a vampire cat at Hallowe’en? And it is my civic duty to share this gift with the world.

Cat Daddy again: “No. It’s really not.”

Parce qu’il le vaut bien

Louis Catorze had his annual booster injections yesterday, and it was nothing short of wondrous to be able to have such a straightforward visit. Well, when I say “straightforward” I mean the treatment required, not the overall experience. Naturellement we had the usual screaming on the journey there and the usual brutal combat during the injection, although this time it was I who had the merde kicked out of me and not the vet. And, to quite literally add insult to injury, the little sod refused me cuddles but was happy to have them with the vet and with a delighted 7-year-old boy whom I invited into the examination room with us because he was desperate to see the black vampire kitty. (Cat Daddy later on: “Other people come into the examination room with you, JUST TO SEE HIM?”)

Health-wise everything was great: no pressing problems to discuss with the vet as Catorze’s eye is now fine, no having to pre-order the special vaccine which didn’t clash with his myriad of other treatments, no new medication to pay for, just turning up, having him weighed and injected, gritting my teeth through the kicking and screaming and then going home again. 

It’s been a tough road getting Catorze to this level of health but, despite being an ungrateful little sod, he is worth it, and you would understand if you were to see his heartbreaking “Before” photos. They are too upsetting to post here and, in fact, I have only ever shown them to 3 people: my friend in South Africa who runs a feline health forum, a lady in Malaysia whose cat had similar symptoms and, erm, a famous Asian celebrity to whom I sent them by accident because she happened to have the same name as the lady in Malaysia. But, trust me, the transformation is miraculous, and it’s hard to believe that he is the same cat.

Not long after our return, as I attended to the lacerations on my hand – who knew that a cat’s BACK feet could be such lethal slashing machines? – Catorze recovered from his anguish by rolling on the pavement at The Front, which dogs have used multiple times as les toilettes. Quelle joie. 

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La lune bleue

Ugh. Another night of my cat, who typically just shuts up and cuddles quietly in bed, padding up and down my body, purring, clambering over packing cases and popping bubble wrap (!) in the room next door, all the while singing the anthem of his forefathers. A couple of threads on a Facebook cat forum revealed that many of the members’ cats have also been behaving in a similar loopy fashion lately, and someone had suggested that it could be linked to tomorrow’s Blue Moon.

Also, Louis Catorze somehow managed to fashion E.T.’s face out of his food last night (see below – no Photoshop or fakery used here), which is conclusive proof of something spooky in the air. Is there a mysterious alien mothership somewhere, silently commanding all our furry overlords to simultaneously annoy the crap out of us? Could the moon BE that very mothership?  For those who aren’t familiar with the moon and its workings, a full moon is (obviously) when the moon appears as a whole disc in the sky, and a Blue Moon is when this happens for the second time within a calendar month. And, because a Blue Moon doesn’t happen very often (hence the expression “Once in a blue moon”), it’s regarded as an especially enchanted time. Accidents, criminal behaviour and hospital admissions (for humans) are said to be more numerous during a full moon; could something similar be true for cats, too?

I consulted our good friend Google for advice, and discovered a wealth of information confirming that the full moon was, indeed, responsible for nutso behaviour among both humans and animals. For instance, the word “lunatic” originates from the belief that the moon’s changes cause insanity. And, on an unrelated note, be very afraid, men of the world: apparently women are programmed to menstruate during the full moon, all at the same time, but the only reason we don’t is because artificial stimulation from electric lights, computers etc. has overridden nature. I told this to Cat Daddy and he sort of pretended not to hear me, muttering something about chocolate and asking God to help him.

Anyway, the one piece of information that really stood out was this: “It’s not the full moon, it’s the night. Night people are a whole subset of the population, and the lore includes night beings such as vampires and werewolves.” Seriously? I’m to expect potential sleep deprivation at the paws of Louis Catorze EVERY SINGLE NIGHT? I was so shocked that it put me off Google for a whole hour.

So it seems I shall never sleep again, but Cat Daddy can’t help but feel slightly intrigued about our boy being some sort of otherworldly monstre. I guess we kind of suspected it anyway as he’s black with vampire teeth and a bit of a weirdo, so Cat Daddy reckons we need to encourage the flourishing of this intrinsic penchant for the night, rather than pushing him off us and swearing at him. Will his nocturnal annoyances escalate at Halloween? What about the winter solstice, when 18 hours out of 24 are in darkness? Cat Daddy is quite excited about finding out. I myself think I can live without it.

Ça fait 1 an! 


Louis Catorze has been with us for exactly a year! (The picture above was taken the day after he arrived – I love it because it shows his gorgeous squashed boxer’s nose.) We’d only lost Luther a month beforehand and it seemed very soon to be getting another cat, but being catless was making us sad. I don’t think there is a right or wrong time to get another cat after losing one, but my advice would be, “If in doubt, do it anyway.” At worst, you will be giving a cat a home and freeing up a rescue centre place for another one who needs it. And, at best, you will have a cat!

(Cat Daddy has just read the above over my shoulder and said, “What about the cat hair everywhere? And the muddy paw prints? And being woken up at 3am just for a chat? And being completely bled dry financially because he needs special this and special that?” Oh yeah. There’s that, too.)

I’ll be honest: we were initially drawn to Louis Catorze because he looked so much like Luther in his photos. And when I called his foster mamma to arrange to meet him and she warned me about his protruding vampire teeth, being a bit of a black cat / horror movie / Halloween fiend, that just made me want him even more. At that point we knew we would adopt him even though we hadn’t met him, and there really wasn’t a lot he could have done at that first meeting to change my mind (although gnawing off my fingers might have been a bit offputting) so, on the first Sunday of my summer holidays, we brought him home.

Luther had settled in fully within 3 days, so we had an expectation that Louis Catorze would do the same thing. He didn’t. Although he was affectionate, for the first few months he spent 23.5 hours a day asleep and Cat Daddy even wondered whether we should return him to the rescue centre as he clearly wasn’t happy with us. But he got there in the end, just more slowly than most. In fact, that pretty much sums up his approach to everything in life.

We plan to mark this special day by giving him love and cuddles and letting him do what he wants. (So, erm, totally different from a normal day, then.) We are so happy to have this sweet, itchy little soul in our lives, and we really hope that, despite not being the brightest, he realises that.