Louis, avez-vous oublié de prendre vos médicaments?

Louis Catorze was prescribed liquid Gabapentin for pain relief after his dental surgery. The vet told us that we could either put it in his food (nope) or syringe it directly into his mouth (hahahahahaha … NOPE) whenever he looked as if he might be in pain.

Since we haven’t the slightest idea how to know when he is in pain, we decided to blob the liquid onto his body at a random moment that suited us, then wait for him to groom it off. We are still waiting.

Ugh.

Catorze sniffed the area, then sniffed the air around him, then looked at me and at Cat Daddy. And he just sat there. Cat Daddy rubbed the liquid into a long streak down the silly sod’s body, in the hope that this would alert him to the presence of a foreign substance, but to no avail. And why would he care? This is the same individual who comes in from the Zone Libre covered in creatures and matter not even recognised by science, and he doesn’t appear to even NOTICE, let alone give a merde.

Catorze happily sat and let the liquid air-dry on his fur. And, when we blobbed on another few drops, this time onto his paws, he did the same thing. So he’s going about the place sporting unsightly, crusty patches of dried Gabapentin on his fur, having ingested absolutely none of it, yet eating, drinking, purring and screaming perfectly happily.

Maybe he doesn’t need the drugs. But I’m starting to feel that maybe I do.

He looks rough as guts but, trust me, there’s nothing wrong with him.

Le beau voyou

Louis Catorze had his dental surgery on Tuesday. He came home that evening sporting some impressive bald patches on his arms, like a prison gang leader with not one but two tattoo sleeves. And, according to Cat Daddy, Catorze lived up to that in the waiting room at check-out time, by making a dog, who had been impeccably behaved up to that point, go absolutely ballistic. Catorze didn’t even make a sound; just being there was enough. The dog’s human was absolutely mortified, but Cat Daddy reassured her that we’d been there many times with many dogs, and that it really wasn’t their fault.

“Soit à table, soit au menu.”

In the end, just one – ONE – small incisor was removed. This is great news because it means that Catorze has been able to keep his famous fangs. But what a drama over one tooth. I spent vast swathes of time, which I will never be able to get back, cutting up his soft food into pieces so minuscule that a baby ant could have swallowed them, and I probably didn’t need to. In fact, now that I think of it, since he was able to hunt, he should have been perfectly capable of chewing a couple of pieces of fish.

The little sod is subdued, and eerily silent; he didn’t utter a sound on the way back from the veterinary practice, and he only managed one feeble wheeze when he arrived. And, despite the fact that Cat Daddy was the one who bundled him into a bag and left him at his least favourite place in the world, he has sat on his papa’s lap but refused to sit on mine. Still, he’s eating and drinking. In fact, now that we have identified his favourite of the Cool Cat Club foods*, we have brought forward our next shipment with a few extra packs of them.

*Catorze especially loves the cod and salmon trays, which have the texture of pâté and which can be guzzled down easily even with hurty and/or no teeth.

Cat Daddy and I had plans to visit my sister and her family this weekend, but we don’t want to leave Sa Maj with a chat-sitteur right after his surgery. So he is in for a double treat: I shall be going away on my own, whilst the gentlemen of the household remain here for a well-deserved, weekend-long Boys’ Club. I have even persuaded Cat Daddy to let Catorze join him in bed, something he usually hates “because it’s like being in bed with a rat” (?).

Thank you again for your good wishes. And, yes, I will be asking Cat Daddy how he knows what it feels like to be in bed with a rat.

Les crocs du Roi

Louis Catorze is going to the vet today so, to cheer him up a little, we watched a vampire film called Day Shift at the weekend. As ever, he showed no reaction to the hisses of his bloodsucking counterparts, nor to the pounding rock music accompanying the fight scenes, but he did up and take notice when the vampires were rounding up cats to keep as familiars:

Me: “Was it the cats or the men that caught your attention?” Le Roi: “Oui.”

Catorze has a condition called Feline Odontoclastic Resorptive Lesions (FORL). There is more information about it here but, in essence, it’s the teeth eating themselves. It’s pretty grim. Once it takes hold, it keeps coming back, and sometimes it’s easier to remove lots of teeth at once, rather than subject poor kitty to multiple surgeries removing a few teeth at a time. In the event of the vet recommending a full extraction, I am ready for it. But I really, really hope he will get to keep the famous fangs. (Catorze, I mean. Not the vet.)

Please keep the little sod in your thoughts today. And thank you to everyone who has already sent good wishes.

Maybe he should just sleep through this bit.

Manger, c’est la vie

It has been a week of food-related drama here at Le Château, caused by the males in the household.

Cat Daddy came home drunk the other night after going to the rugby, and he refused the pasta I was making on the basis that he was “not sober enough to appreciate it”. I stopped preparing it and put everything away, only to have him then say, “Where’s the pasta you promised me?” So I dragged the pasta paraphernalia out again, continued where I had left off and, three minutes before it was ready, Cat Daddy announced that he would rather have cheese on toast instead. At that point I lost patience with him and said, “I AM MAKING PASTA. YOU WILL EAT IT. AND YOU WILL SAY THANK YOU FOR IT.”

Meanwhile, Louis Catorze has been making a dreadful mess with his food again, and licking his lips excessively after eating. When I gave him a fresh serving of food last week, he ate about two pellets and creepy-stared at me. I then sprinkled some hot water onto his food, and he wolfed down the lot.

Merde.

If you weren’t around the last time this happened, it means that something is very likely to be wrong with his teeth.

And if you WERE around the last time this happened, you will know that Catorze only eats the watered food if it’s daisy-fresh. If it’s too cold, too dry, too damp, too stale or [insert other bizarre and/or unfathomable reason for rejecting top-notch, expensive food], he won’t eat it and, instead, creepy-stares for a new portion. I daren’t even think about how much we have thrown away because it hasn’t met his stratospherically high expectations. It’s been maddening for us but, as always, this hasn’t dented his spirit in the slightest; Catorze has still been well enough to annoy the absolute merde out of a (male, of course) visitor to Le Château who happens to be allergic to cats. Apparently the screaming and bullying were so bad that Cat Daddy was forced to apologise.

Le Roi is booked in for X-rays and (possibly) dental surgery the week after next. I know. I can’t believe we are back here again, either.

Please get better, little sod.

Traité du zen et de l’entretien des chats

Louis Catorze went for his booster injections yesterday, and what a drama it was.

Obviously he screamed and screamed in the waiting room as usual although, luckily, the only other presence was Poppet the Airedale terrier, who didn’t care and even appeared to wag her tail in time to the screaming. And her Dog Daddy’s glasses were all steamed up after coming in, so I am hoping that he won’t recognise me if he sees me again.

However, it was a new vet administering the shot and, somehow, she wasn’t able to handle a demonically-possessed Catorze in quite the same way that our usual vet does. Every time he thrashed, hissed or screamed, she would hesitate and back off, and there was a dog going ballistic in the next room, which didn’t help. Catorze made an absolute spectacle of himself although, for once, I couldn’t fully blame him. Like a rogue ouija board, he is absolutely lethal in the wrong hands.

I was about to suggest that we abandon the whole thing and try again next week, but that would have meant going through this pain for a second time. Eventually I told the poor vet to commit to the action and see it through, and to ignore any thrashing, hissing and screaming.

She did as I asked. Job done.

Catorze is now safely home and over his trauma, and is cheering himself up by watching some football with me. However, I don’t suppose he has ruled out exacting some excruciating revenge.

“Haunted bones, I command vous to curse the humans forever.”

Chauve derrière et, devant, chevelu

Louis Catorze went to see the vet yesterday, both for a steroid shot and because his mysterious bald patch has suddenly returned.

It’s been six weeks since his last steroid shot, which is very pleasing indeed given that, usually, around autumn, he starts to need them more and more frequently. But the bald patch is utterly puzzling. It hasn’t quite developed the narrowed pupil as yet, but I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before it’s staring creepily at me.

No soreness, no scabbing, no broken skin, just a hole with his ghostly, paper-white skin peeking through.

The vet was as flummoxed as we are and, once again, told us that we shouldn’t be concerned unless the skin started to look sore (it doesn’t) or we noticed Catorze excessively grooming the area (he doesn’t). Obviously this is good. But what makes it appear? And what makes it go away again? It’s yet another Roi mystery to which we will never find answers.

We have been instructed to keep an eye on the bald spot and contact the vet again if it deteriorates. But I already know that it won’t. It’ll just disappear to the otherworldly realm whence it came, only to reappear at some inopportune moment, looking more evil than ever before.

The little sod was able to relieve some of his stress by screaming at a couple of massive Red Setter dogs* in the vet’s waiting room, and is now fully recovered from the misery of his épreuve. As far as he’s concerned it’s business as usual, and he’s now screaming at me to go into the front room. However, with the festive season approaching, I daren’t relax too much, and I have booked him a late December appointment, just in case.

*One dog had curly hair. YES, CURLY HAIR. I wouldn’t have even thought she were a Red Setter had her more traditional twin sister not been with her.

L’œil maudit (Partie 3)

October is upon us. And, would you believe, Louis Catorze’s evil eye has vanished into the swirling mists of autumn, as swiftly as it came.

I can’t explain it, but I suspect that what prompted the disappearance was me making an appointment with the vet for Catorze’s steroid shot, and planning to discuss the bald patch at the same time. I have plenty of pictures of it, of course, but they’re not much use to the vet. At least the appointment was relatively straightforward, though. Apart from the heavy rain, the long wait and the other two cats in the waiting room whom Catorze managed to rouse into song.

Here is what’s left of the area where the eye used to be:

I spy, with my little … oh wait, where is it?

Now that the appointment is over, and now that I have mentioned all this online, no doubt it will return, only to disappear again when I make the next vet appointment.

I am relieved because I didn’t want Catorze to start over-grooming the area, plus it was weird as hell. But, at the same time, part of me is disappointed that it won’t be here for Hallowe’en. I was quite looking forward to showing my black vampire cat with an evil eye to the trick-or-treating kids and watching them flee in terror.

Catorze may now look 1% less creepy than he did before, but I’m sure he will make up for that in other ways. I daren’t even think about what these could be.

Oh dear God.

Dans des moments comme ceux-ci

This fine gentleman is Mr Fu:

How do you do, Mr Fu.?

He is friends with Louis Catorze’s frère-from-another-mère, Antoine, and Antoine’s usurper stepbrother, Boots.

Well, I say “friends” but, in actual fact, they’re only friends in the same way that Catorze is friends with Cocoa the babysit cat and his sister, Chanel. It’s the humans who are friends. The cats have never met and I’m pretty sure that, if they did, there would be carnage and bloodshed. But it’s nice to pretend, non?

Most places in England, including vet practices, are closed today for the Queen’s funeral. (No doubt the corgis asked for this; I bet they’re overjoyed that their most hated place in the world is closed.) So, naturellement, Mr Fu thought this would be a good time to go out scrapping and end up with a fight wound that required medical treatment. A lump appeared on his head on Saturday afternoon and had deteriorated by the evening but, luckily, by that time, his humans had managed to bag one of the last available slots on Sunday.

One prescription (Metacam and antibiotics) and one bill later, Mr Fu is doing fine. Pulling a stunt like this when the whole country is closed for the long weekend is beyond evil, yet also utterly typical of cats and what they do. I bet the little sod had been planning this for months.

I wish there were an option for those of us with, erm, untrustworthy cats, which allowed us to book vet appointments for inconvenient times and cancel at the last minute in the unlikely event of the cats behaving themselves. It’s my birthday next month and the whole family are coming over for lunch, and I am giving serious consideration to booking such an appointment for Catorze. He doesn’t need the vet (at the moment). But it would be just like him to do something stupid on that day, leaving us scrabbling around for the last remaining appointment right in the middle of our main course. And, if you don’t believe Catorze would stoop that low, have a look here.

So … do I book the appointment, with the fear that I might forget to cancel 24 hours beforehand and end up being charged and/or blacklisted as an infidel no-show? Or do I leave it and risk Catorze crawling in from the Zone Libre, bleeding from the eyeballs, drooling black vomit and dragging his lifeless back legs behind him, just as we are all leaving for the pub?

I suspect that whatever we do will end up being the wrong thing. Bastard cats.

Antoine: “Stupid humans!”
Boots: “Pathetic humans!”
Catorze: “Whatever. Couldn’t really give a merde.”

Une histoire de deux Louis

Louis Catorze saw the vet on Tuesday. He’s had a good run this summer, with his last steroid shot being on 30th June, so we are glad we’ve been able to stretch it out until now.

As ever, the appointment couldn’t possibly have been straightforward and had to be a total comedy. (Funny for everyone else, I mean. Certainly not for me.)

This was the sequence of events on that morning:

1. Feed and water Catorze, as usual, then wait for him to join me on sofa.

2. Hear him gadding about in soft plastics recycling box in the dining room and figure that, as long as I can still hear him, I will be able to locate him when it’s time to go.

3. Gadding-about noises slow to a gentle rustle.

4. Check dining room, just to be sure.

5. No Catorze. Assume he has teleported out.

6. Search house and garden. Conscious of time (appointment in thirty minutes’ time) and start to feel anxious.

7. Wake Cat Daddy and ask him to come downstairs and act as bait to flush out Catorze. He is not pleased.

8. Final sweep of dining room, turning every metaphorical stone in ultra-meticulous CSI fashion. Eventually find Catorze asleep in Deliveroo bag.*

9. Cat Daddy is even more furious that I made him get up for nothing.

10. Bag up Catorze and schlep him to the vet.

11. Arrive at vet practice and Catorze emits a particularly long, rasping scream, startling a dog and his human who is paying their bill.

12. To break awkward silence following scream, I say, “Shush, Louis!” Dog pitter-patters over to me.

13. Dog Daddy: “Oh, is your cat called Louis? So is my dog!”

14. Catorze screams some more. Louis the dog rests his chin on my knee as if to offer me support in this excruciating situation.

15. Vet comes into waiting room and calls, “Louis, please?”

16. Louis the dog obediently pitter-patters into the examination room despite having already been seen.

Is this exceptional responsiveness from Louis the dog … or the ultimate in Catorzian mind control, with the little sod commanding his canine counterpart to take a bullet for him?

Anyway, apart from all that, everything is as it should be. I mentioned to the vet that Catorze’s mats were returning (although none were visible at the appointment, having inexplicably vanished the night before), and she said that we needn’t be concerned unless we could see Catorze struggling to groom certain areas (no) or having difficulty running and jumping (HELL, no).

The vet also checked his front right paw, where he’d managed to get a blob of pungent plant sap on himself a few days ago and now it’s left a hole. Again, nothing to worry about.

It was a relief to discover that this was plant sap. Initially I thought one of the neighbours had finally snapped and put down poison for him.
Post-sap hole.

When we arrived back home, Cat Daddy made his boy do the Chubbing Up Dance when he found out his new, meaty weight of 3.34kg. And, at the time of writing this, they were both enjoying Boys’ Club somewhere.

To scrape some positives from the situation – well, I have to try – at least Le Roi is doing well. Let’s hope that this continues as summer draws to a close and his party season starts.

*Cat Daddy and I have only used Deliveroo once (during that fateful weekend away when he set that kettle on fire), and it was such a shambolic experience that we haven’t used it since. So how we came to have a Deliveroo bag is beyond me.

Des substances qui améliorent la performance

Cat Daddy and I are off on holiday today. At a time when petrol prices are astronomical, what better thing to do than, erm, a two-week road trip?

Earlier this week we took Louis Catorze to the vet for his steroid injection. To be honest he wasn’t desperately in need, but our other options were to wait until we returned home from holiday (nope) or have our chat-sitteur take him to the vet (hell, nope).

Our cleaning lady started vacuuming just before we set off for the appointment, and the sound of the vacuum cleaner turns Catorze into a feral, screaming hell-beast. So that didn’t really help us. However, at least no dogs were waiting in the Dog Area. When that happens, it never goes well.

Once, when I arrived at the surgery, there was an Oscar the dog lookalike in the Dog Area. Although Catorze and I obediently complied with the apartheid system and sat in the Cat Area, the reception is fairly small. So the opposing factions were able to eyeball each other across the room like the Jets and the Sharks in West Side Story, and it was only a matter of time until one of them decided to start the altercation. I imagine it was Catorze, although I can’t remember for sure. My brain appears to have blocked it out, the way that brains do with traumatic events if they know that you won’t be able to cope with them.

“I don’t know why he’s doing this,” the Dog Daddy said, apologetically, of his dog. “He doesn’t usually mind cats.”

More barking from the Oscar dog, more screaming from Catorze and more apologies from the Dog Daddy followed.

“What’s your cat usually like with dogs?”

Jésus, Marie et Joseph, et le petit âne; let’s not even go there. Luckily the Oscar dog was then called into the examination room, so I was spared the horror of having to have that conversation. “He torments the shit out of them” probably wouldn’t have sounded great.

Anyway, the little sod’s dose kicked in the day after this latest appointment and, whilst I was packing, he followed me around, walking across all my clothes, screaming his little guts out. The only thing that shut him up was me picking him up and holding him, so I had to finish packing one-handed.

One of my friends suggested that perhaps Catorze felt sad that we were leaving. I’d say it were drugs, general idiocy or a combination of the two.

Glassy-eyed and ready to cause havoc.

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.