Les poils emmêlés

Not long after the Louis Catorze’s vet appointment, during which we didn’t mention the mats on account of them having long gone, I discovered these:

His evil eye is on the other side.

These quite literally sprang up overnight and, during the few days leading up to me spotting these, he showed no indication of struggling to groom or any such thing. Clearly it was time to deploy the Dematting Rake again … and, naturellement, that was when Catorze decided that he was going to lie on that side of his body (his right) forever more.

Usually he favours lying on his right side around 70% of the time, so getting to these mats was always going to be a challenge. However, when I really, really needed him to lie on his left side, he firmly decided that he wasn’t going to do it, ever again.

Cat Daddy refuses to believe that one cannot flip a cat who doesn’t want to be flipped, and thinks it’s just me being pathetic. Not long ago, when he was brushing Catorze on his lap, he tapped the royal rump with the brush, gently said, “Come on, Louis, let’s flip you” and the bastard cat happily obliged, purring away. When I try it, the little sod turns himself into a dead weight and gives me a new type of scowly meow which I’ve never heard before and which has been invented just for this purpose (more about that another time).

After several days of sitting pointlessly with the Rake at my side, at long last I had a result when the little sod suddenly acquiesced and lay on his left side, matted side up.

The mats were gone. Nothing, niente, nichts and nada.

No doubt evil Catorze wants me to be left wondering if I had dreamed the whole episode, so merci à Dieu for photographic evidence. That said, somehow it still feels as if he has won this battle.

Bastard cat.

Tout est bien qui finit bien

We took Louis Catorze to the vet yesterday afternoon. Naturellement, when we tried to locate him half an hour before the appointment time, we found him right in the centre of some dense, inaccessible shrubbery in the garden, with the chances of a painless extraction being slim-to-zéro.

We then resorted to our not-so-secret weapon: sending Cat Daddy to the end of the garden for some alone time and a nice quiet read.

Bingo.

Catorze was flushed out of his hiding place in an instant. And the predictable bothering of his papa that followed meant that the little sod was easily scooped up and shoved into his transportation pod when the time was right.

Although we would rather not have to take him to the vet at all, there is some sort of perverse satisfaction in discussing multiple ailments/issues in one appointment. Part of it is the feeling of getting good value out of the service and, even better, it means we don’t have to endure the horror of having to take him twice in the same week. So it was very pleasing indeed to be able to collect his Broadline AND give him his steroid shot AND have his bald patch seen to, all at once. And, happily, as the bald patch is now growing back, there is no cause for concern and we have been advised to just leave it. This makes me very happy indeed, as I really didn’t want to have to deploy Le Cône.

As ever, Catorze doesn’t appear to care about any of this. He’s eating, drinking, screaming and playing – in fact, a few days before the vet appointment, he brought a rubber band to our bed from some unknown location and spent the night ricocheting it, and himself, all over me from dusk till dawn.

So he’s doing just fine. Our little old boy is living the life of a king.

“Don’t mind moi.”

Les pellicules infernales

We have had quite the weekend at Le Château, with the following events taking place:

1. End-of-the-football-season festivities (although Louis Catorze doesn’t regard this as a celebratory moment as it means fewer men will be visiting us for the next eleven weeks).

2. The Black Cats won the League One play-off finals and will be promoted to the Championship tier next season.

Naturellement Catorze thought this would be an excellent time to churn out as much dandruff as possible, specifically when friends were due to visit on the day of the Black Cats’ match. After the oatmeal incident I wasn’t going to go down THAT route again so, instead, I just spent the entire morning brushing him to try to remove the worst of the dandruff. It didn’t work. All I managed to do was stir up more.

There was absolutely no hope of my visitors failing to notice the dandruff; they have two black cats of their own so they know what normal ones are meant to look like. And, yes, we all know that Catorze is far from normal, but I didn’t think making him pretend for just one afternoon was such a big ask.

Anyway, Sa Maj was a very convivial host, as ever, screaming for his guests’ attention during lunch and always positioning himself in the brightest sunlight for maximum visibility of his dandruff. Our friends hid their revulsion well, although Cat Daddy and I were inwardly wincing every time they stroked the little sod. Dandruff on cats isn’t nice. And dandruff on black cats looks especially awful.

The next morning, the dandruff had vanished as suddenly and as inexplicably as it had appeared.

I suppose I ought to mention this at the vet appointment later this week although, knowing Catorze, his bald patch will also disappear at the time of the appointment, only to magically reappear as soon as we get home, along with the dandruff and the mats.

Bastard cat.

A mixture of dandruff, plant matter, insect matter and other stuff that we daren’t even think about.

Un trou dans le noir

Just as I was starting to think Louis Catorze didn’t have QUITE enough things wrong with him, the little sod decided to develop this inexplicable bald patch:

What on earth …?

For a while I ignored it, thinking perhaps I just hadn’t beaten the oatmeal out of him properly. But he is fastidiously clean, and there is no way he would have intentionally left crud on his person. Many cats have bald patches as a result of stress over-grooming but, despite the little sod’s numerous problems, he has never really done this kind of thing. Apart from, erm, that time in 2016-2017 when he had feline hyperesthesia and he chewed his tail to pieces.

My theories are as follows:

1. He caught himself on a sticking-out twig.

2. He was a little over-zealous in grooming off whatever crud he’d rolled in (plant sap, snail juice, fox poo, take your pick).

3. A parakeet finally had enough of his nonsense, flew down and pecked him. (Not content with fighting the pigeons and the squirrels, Cat Daddy has now also declared a fatwa on the parakeets and Catorze is valiantly and loyally fighting his papa’s corner.)

I had planned to ask the vet about the bald patch when we went for Catorze’s steroid shot but, because the little sod had been doing so well health-wise, we haven’t been yet. But now I guess we don’t have any choice.

So the agenda for our appointment is as follows:

1. Steroid shot.

2. Collect Broadline.

3. Mats.

4. Bald patch.

No doubt there will be more items by the time the appointment takes place. And I have started building myself a fort to hide from the deluge of Unrepeatable Expletives. (From Cat Daddy, I mean, not from the vet.)

Awaiting the next set of instructions from The Mothership.

Le pouvoir du vaisseau mère

The Mothership seems to be beaming very clear “Go apeshit” messages to the feline population at the moment. This is not good.

Louis Catorze, still full of the post-steroid munchies, has been more of a pain than I can possibly describe, with Cat Daddy describing his all-day screaming as “beyond a joke”. Catorze’s French frère-from-another-mère, Antoine, is also behaving oddly, bouncing around on the kitchen worktop (where he’s not allowed). However, the prize for the absolute worst goes to Catorze’s cat-cousin King Ghidorah who, after overgrooming a relatively minor scratch into something awful, raised merry hell throughout my sister’s efforts to fix him.

King Ghidorah was booked for a 3:30pm appointment with the vet one afternoon and, naturellement, when it was time to leave, he was nowhere to be seen.

My sister hunted in all the usual and unusual places but to no avail, then had to make the Call of Shame to inform the vet that she wouldn’t be coming because she didn’t know where her cat was. Most vets are quite used to this, but that doesn’t make it any less embarrassing when you’re the one having to make that call.

King Ghidorah eventually rolled in a couple of hours after the appointment, not giving a single shite about the upset caused. My sister hastily packaged him up, then called the vet to ask whether they had any availability that evening.

They didn’t.

So she had to unpackage him again, and her next-door neighbour later sent her this:

“Mwahahahahaha!”

Oui, Mesdames et Messieurs: after royally stuffing up the afternoon, he spent the early evening sitting on the neighbours’ skylight, creepily spying on them and (most likely) sniggering with glee at the success of his dastardly plan.

If you think your cat is behaving normally, be warned that there’s a full moon coming. It won’t last.

UPDATE: King Ghidorah made it to the vet eventually and it turns out that, despite regular Advocatting, he has fleas, no doubt from his numerous scraps with dodgy members of the feral gang living in the badlands of SE20. Hopefully the steroid shot to stop the itching, and the change of flea medication from Advocate to something stronger, will see him well again.

Où sont les fangs?

Louis Catorze’s follow-up with his royal physician went well.

When I stuffed him into his transportation pod, naturellement there was the usual unearthly screaming. Yet, on the walk over to the practice, he was eerily silent. This is most unlike him. The only moment that he let out a little squeak was when we passed a couple of French bulldogs; no doubt he recognised his compatriots and was keen to bid them a friendly bonjour/m’aidez.

Upon arrival, Catorze made a friend in the waiting room: a fellow allergic cat called Pebbles, the same age as him but twice the size, whose humans thought Catorze’s pod was my handbag until it started screaming. In fact, this is the one disadvantage of the pod. Because it doesn’t look at all like a vessel for transporting animals, I worry that people who see me on the way to the vet will think I have some bizarre screaming holdall – or, worse, that I am walking along making the noise myself.

Bag o’screams.

Anyway, when we went into the examination room, I confessed my monumental medication stuff-up to the vet. If she thought I was an absolute idiot, she hid it well and told me that too little was better than too much. Unbelievably, despite everything, Catorze is healing well and there is no sign of any infection. I have to continue giving the little sod his Loxicom for another five days which, luckily, is very easy since I just blob it onto his fur and he calmly and happily grooms it off. So there is no need to Greco it to him. (Grecoing a liquid is a lot harder than it sounds.) Then, after three clear drug-free days, he can go back for his steroid shot.

When we returned to Le Château, he forgave me instantly and settled on my lap (photographed below). So it seems that the days of the Post-Vet Sulk are a thing of the past.

Le Roi’s fangs are taking their time in coming back. Cat Daddy seems to think they are progressively returning, but I’m struggling to see it myself. Obviously we love him with or without fangs, but they are my favourite part of him and he doesn’t seem like himself without them. Let’s hope that they return fully soon.

Thanks again to everyone who has wished him well.

Where ARE those fangs?

La mise à jour du statut

I am the worst person in the world.

On Saturday, when giving Louis Catorze his Loxicom, it dawned on me that I hadn’t been turning the bottle upside-down to draw the liquid into the syringe. In short, the poor little sod hadn’t had any pain relief since the day after his surgery, and I had just been administering air. I hadn’t noticed because I thought I was drawing in clear liquid and, when nothing spilled when I delivered each dose, I simply thought my technique had improved.

So there I was thinking poor Catorze wasn’t bouncing back from this surgery as quickly as he did from the last one, when, in fact, I’m just a shit cat parent. I debated for some time before posting this, in case I received a torrent of (rightful) criticism for being so negligent, but I decided in the end to take a bullet on the behalf of the greater good so that nobody else makes the same mistake in the future. CHECK THE PRODUCT, Mesdames et Messieurs, especially if it’s one you haven’t used before.

Je suis désolée, Mon Roi. Vous méritez bien mieux que ça.

Catorze’s swollen snout is subsiding, as is his post-surgery chain-smoking drag queen voice, but there is still little sign of his trademark fangs. Something about the swelling, or the way his jaws fit together, or possibly both, means that they are hidden from view much of the time. Even when I position the camera low down under his chin, with him staring haughtily down, I barely see the famous fangs.

Only the tiniest hint of fang … and (I think) a bit of dribble.

Despite being subdued, he did feel well enough to join us when Cocoa the babysit cat’s folks came for dinner, pitter-pattering between people and sitting right in the middle of us, listening to the conversation as if it somehow concerned him. And he also felt well enough to bolt out at The Front as our guests left, just at the moment that I shouted to Cat Daddy, “Don’t let him run out!”

(Cat Daddy blamed me for not holding onto Catorze, but the real culprit was Cat Daddy’s whisky-induced slowness in closing the door.)

Catorze has his follow-up with the vet later this morning, which will give an indication whether everything is unfolding as it should. I still haven’t decided whether or not I should confess my horrendous mistake although, since the vets follow Le Blog, they will probably know by now.

The little sod thanks everyone who has wished him well, especially Cocoa the babysit cat and his sister Chanel who sent him a toy and some non-crunchy duck and venison treats (which he LOVES). Hilariously, Cat Daddy thought the treats were for us and I almost wish I’d just kept quiet and let him eat them.

La piqûre magique

Oui, Mesdames et Messieurs, the answer to Wednesday’s French Wordle was this:

Little Turdle.

I know. I didn’t think proper nouns were allowed but, after some research, I have discovered that a louis is a type of sovereign coin. So I have learned something new.

I have to give a special mention to my friend Ben for his attempt (even though I know my mum is going to read this):

OH. MON. DIEU.

Ben then proceeded to blame me for his naughtiness, saying it was my fault for insisting that he try French Wordle that day. Erm, ok, but that still doesn’t explain how he arrived at THAT starting word. I think this says far more about him than about me.

In other news, earlier this week I had the joy of taking Louis Catorze to the vet for his steroid shot. The little sod fought like a demon when I shoved him into his transportation pod and screamed all the way there, startling the dogs in the park as we walked past them. This is by no means unusual but I don’t think I will ever truly get used to it.

Luckily the practice was empty when we arrived, so it didn’t matter too much that the screaming continued. However, two ladies came in shortly afterwards to collect some medication, and they were hit by Catorze’s decibels as soon as they opened the door. Whilst waiting to be seen, they politely looked the other way and tried to pretend that they couldn’t hear the infernal racket.

Because there was a complicated blood test cat being seen just before us, we had a longer wait than usual. Pretty soon the two ladies couldn’t stand Catorze’s noise anymore and had to start talking about something – ANYTHING – in an effort to mask it, and I even heard one of them say, “Isn’t the weather awful? When it’s like this, you just don’t feel like going out, do you?” (It was glorious sunshine outside at the time, so clearly the screaming had got to her so badly that she didn’t even know what she was saying.)

Eventually, Complicated Blood Test Cat came out. She was deathly silent in her pod at first but soon decided, after hearing Catorze’s screaming, that she would join in. So, whilst her bill was being sorted out, the five of us (Complicated Blood Test Cat’s human, the two ladies-in-waiting, the receptionist and me) were subjected to a cacophony of feline screaming from both cats, in stereo.

Because Catorze is due to have his next dental surgery later this month, he wasn’t able to have his usual steroid shot as it would prevent his wounds from healing. So, instead, he was given a fast-acting shot designed to last a week, and we are just going to have to try to keep him itch-free until after the surgery. And, since we don’t know what it is that triggers his scratching, this is going to prove somewhat tricky.

So, for now, all I can do is keep blasting him with the atmosphere-purifying beeswax candles, brushing him regularly and hoping it doesn’t all turn to merde before his procedure.

Here he is in his pod, just before we left for his appointment. You may wish to turn the volume down:

Saint Jésus et tous ses apôtres.

Un imbécile et son argent

I am the worst person in the world. Not only did I forget to Broadline Louis Catorze this month but, when I finally remembered and went to his cupboard to take out a vial, I discovered that we were all out. Never in all my cats have I let this happen; I am usually meticulously organised when it comes to their health matters.

Luckily I realised my mistake on the day of Catorze’s steroid shot, so I was able to email the vet and ask them to order in some Broadline and, in the meantime, to give him an emergency dose of whatever flea and worm medication they happened to have lying around. I know that lots of us let the treatments lapse, and some don’t do them at all, but this is Catorze: we all know very well that, if I don’t do it this month, given that he goes rummaging around in all manner of undesirable places, we will be spending the festive period dealing with the maman of all flea infestations, fixable only by setting fire to our soft furnishings, and worms crawling out of his arse end and mating with each other to make more worms.

When it was time to leave for the appointment, despite having clung like a limpet to Cat Daddy all day long, Catorze had disappeared. We eventually found him hiding underneath a sheet that was drying in the dining room and, after the most undignified and unwieldy struggle hauling him out, with the little sod screaming his lungs out, we were able to stuff him into his transportation pod.

One steroid shot, one flea and worm treatment and one Gabapentin (for his possible* continuing toothache) later, we were £138 down. I took Cat Daddy’s credit card into the surgery with me and he was most displeased when I had to run back out again to ask him for his PIN, because the bill came to over £100 and therefore I couldn’t do a contactless payment. There were Unrepeatable Expletives on the way home, but Sa Maj was utterly mute so at least I only had to listen to one of them.

*It’s “possible” toothache because he wouldn’t let the vet look in his mouth, so she was unable to confirm it for sure. We now have to Gabapentin him and, if he eats more normally as a result, then most likely he did have toothache.

The minute we arrived home, Catorze pretended to forgive me and to come for lap cuddles, but in reality he just wanted to roll the flea treatment all over a scarf that I’m knitting.

And there is still the matter of the removal of his final troublesome tooth, which the vet suggested having in the New Year. I don’t suppose there is a “good” time for planning ruinously-expensive feline dental surgery. But January sure as heck isn’t it.

Haemorrhaging money because of this little sod.

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.

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.

Le champion des poids légers

In June we discovered that Louis Catorze was at his lowest weight ever, and we had no idea why since he was eating and drinking fine and his test results were normal. His royal physician instructed us to, erm, feed him unlimited amounts of the most expensive food on the planet and bring him back in a month for a second weigh-in.

If you have ever had to take an animal to the vet, you will know what a cirque de merde it is. I don’t just mean getting them there; I also mean the awkwardness of the few hours prior, when you are having to Act Normal. Acting Normal when things are not is like trying to sleep when you can’t, or walking with a broken leg: the more desperately you want it to work, and the more effort you put into it, the worse the problem becomes.

Eventually Cat Daddy managed to trap Le Roi with a fake Boys’ Club meeting and, whilst the two of them were snuggling, I tiptoed off to fetch the transportation pod. I also took his vial of Broadline to the appointment, because the little sod had been dodging me for days and I hadn’t been able to de-flea him.

The consultation didn’t take long and was relatively trouble-free, apart from a little whining. And it turned out that Catorze has gained … 50 grams.

I know. Non-Brits, this is probably the weight of about three lip balms.

It’s not much, but at least he isn’t in a worrying cycle of inexplicable weight loss. And it seems that either the Post-Vet Sulk is now a thing of the past or he is so thick that he forgot where we’d just been, because he was back to his usual pitter-pattery, screamy self as soon as we arrived home.

Let’s hope that continued helpings of Orijen will get the little sod back to normal. Whatever “normal” may be.

Acting Normal.

La récolte des cerises noires

It’s no secret that cats somehow know when we are about to take them to the vet and, if they are outdoor cats, they disappear on the morning of the appointment. Even Louis Catorze knows that all he has to do is slip through the hole in the fence separating the Zone Occupée from the Zone Libre, and there is nothing we can do about it.

When Donnie was booked in for his neutering, I advised his mamma to lock him in the night before; in fact, I would have bet my entire house and savings on him doing a runner that morning. What I didn’t expect, however, was for him to absent himself that morning, the day before AND the day before that.

The cheeky little sod eventually showed his face the day after his appointment, having been AWOL for almost four days. His mamma then locked him in and kept him in until the deed was done.

Here he is (pictured in his own house, for once) the day after the fruit harvest, under house arrest and feeling very sorry for himself. If only there were some way of communicating to him that it’s all for his own good.

Oh Donnie boy.

Le patient gériatrique

Poor old Cat Daddy has had to deal with medical incidents for both me and Louis Catorze in the last week.

I went into A&E last Sunday with stomach pains which turned out to be appendicitis, and I had an emergency appendectomy the next day. Luckily the magic of scheduling WordPress posts allowed Le Blog to continue whilst I was too unwell to write properly. Thank you to everyone who liked and commented, and sorry I haven’t been able to reply back properly as I usually would.

On the day of my surgery, Cat Daddy also had to take Catorze to the vet because, the last time we ordered steroid pills, the vet told us that she would need to see him before issuing any more.

Cat Daddy: “Obviously they want to check that he’s not turning into a wizened old addict.” I think that ship has well and truly sailed. However, we were debating tapering down his dose and would rather do this after seeing the vet, especially as it’s always turned to merde every other time I’ve tried.

We have also been concerned about Catorze’s weight. He wolfs down the Orijen multiple times a day, faster than we can dish it out, and we have never measured his portions on the basis that we would do so if we noticed him chubbing up. But he isn’t. Quite the opposite, in fact. So we were happy to take him in to be sure that nothing was amiss.

Anyway, the little sod now weighs 3.05kg which is the lightest he’s ever been. The vet took a blood test to which she referred as a “geriatric profile” (Cat Daddy: “What will the results say: “Yes, he’s getting old” or “No, he’s not”?”), and I was in my hospital bed with Cat Daddy sitting beside me when the vet called the next day to deliver the shocking news that Catorze is … normal.

Yup. Liver, kidneys, thyroid and whatever other things were tested: all normal.

Cat Daddy again: “Normal? He’s FAR from normal.”

The vet has prescribed, erm, more plentiful portions of Orijen (the most expensive food on the planet, in case I hadn’t already mentioned that) and another weigh-in in a month’s time.

Having started mentally preparing ourselves to say goodbye to the little sod – after all, he has already lived for much longer than we expected – this was the best news in the world. Cat Daddy went home after visiting hours to have a little celebration with his boy, and he also said he might give him an extra pill as a treat, although I hope he was joking about this.

He may be an old boy, but he’s not finished yet. (Le Roi, I mean, not Cat Daddy.)

I asked for photos of the celebration. I received this.