La vie est, en quelque sorte, un pèlerinage

It’s been an action-packed few days here at Le Château, with visits galore from pilgrims coming to see Louis Catorze. One visitor was his favourite vet, who is back at the practice for a short while. We are so grateful to her and to her colleagues for all the care that he has received there, and it was lovely to see her under more pleasant circumstances – sitting outside, cuddling a happy, up-tailed Catorze and sipping tea – instead of the ungrateful little sod yelling at her and kicking her in the face.

Our dear friends from Switzerland have had their “furthest-travelled pilgrims” crowns toppled as Le Roi has now received guests from Las Vegas. Naturellement he decided, 20 minutes before their arrival, to roll about in all manner of foul garden waste, then greeted them lying on his back with one leg pointing east and the other west, and stringy plant matter hanging off his whiskers. Cat Daddy told our visitors, apologetically, “Yes. I’m afraid you travelled all the way from America for THIS.”

C’est vrai: our cat’s popularity eclipses our own by quite some margin.

I was once asked, “Do random strangers really contact you and ask if they can visit your cat?” Well, it’s not quite as simple as them inviting themselves and me replying with, “Here’s our address, and I will leave you a key outside.” But, if you are a member of an online pet forum, over time you familiarise yourself with people and all the intricacies of their pets’ lives. And, whilst most of us wouldn’t suggest a meet-up with someone online whom we had only just met, if you have been chatting over many months, or even years, then they’re no longer random strangers.

I have often had this conversation with family and flesh-and blood friends, too:

Them: “So … people off the internet come to your house?”
Me: “Yes.”
Them: “But … you don’t know what they’re going to do!”
Me: “What do you mean? What’s the worst they could do?”
Them [in absolute seriousness]: “They might steal Louis Catorze.”

[Silence, tumbleweed, crickets]

Me: [Hysterical, lung-splitting laughter]

I appreciate that people online can pretend to be someone else, but no more so that one’s neighbour, one’s work colleague or the man in the pub; the only “truth” one is guaranteed from a face-to-face meeting is the absence of the filtered selfie. And, let’s face it, we’re not arms dealers or drug barons: we’re cat freaks. The most dangerous exchanges taking place between us will be catnip and, for the hardcore among us, a few Dreamies. (And, yes, I realise now that “catnip” sounds like marijuana, and “Dreamies” sound like ecstasy.)

I have met some thoroughly lovely people through Louis Catorze and all the stupid things that he does, and I am looking forward to welcoming more pilgrims over the coming years.

Cat Daddy: “They’ll be sorry. You mark my words.”

IMG_9844

*Thank you, Elizabeth, for the wonderful picture of le petit voyou!

Les pèlerins du Roi Soleil

IMG_8830I can’t think of the last time one of my friends was organised enough to make plans with me several months ahead of time. However, not only does a certain little sod have people who are, but they happily come from all over the place to see him.

The Sun King had a lovely day yesterday with one of his beloved and generous pilgrims (see above for the fabulous gift that he received) and he has further pilgrimages arranged for as far ahead as September, from as far away as Mexico.

Prior to receiving his pilgrims, Cat Daddy and I often have a conversation like this:

“So, who’s coming today?”
“[Insert name of pilgrim].”
“Where are they coming from?”
“Somewhere north of, erm … the equator.” [I usually mumble the words “the equator” to try and make it sound like an actual place.]
“What do they do for a living?”
“I don’t know.”
“Are they single or married?”
“I don’t know.”
“How old are they?”
“I don’t know.”
“Well, how old do they look in their Facebook profile photo?”
“I don’t know, because their Facebook profile photo is of a cat.”
“So you haven’t asked our guest ANYTHING about themselves?”
“Erm, well, I know about their cats.”
“Of course you do.”
“There’s Buddy, who’s black with 3 white feet and a white chest, who weighs 4.2kg. He’s going to be 2 on 7th November and he once brought a mouse and put it into [Pilgrim]’s laptop bag. And there’s Princess, a seal point Siamese weighing 5.1kg, who celebrated her 8th birthday last week and who is scared of the vacuum cleaner but fine with the hairdryer.”
[Silence, tumbleweed, crickets]

I know this must sound as if I’m not interested in people. I am. But, quite often, I’m more interested in cats. And, luckily, I know that not a single one of Louis Catorze’s pilgrims will be insulted by this, because they all feel the same way.

They are, after all, coming to see him, not me.

 

Le Lundi Bleu

image

Today is Blue Monday, so called because it’s said to be the most depressing day of the year. Firstly, it’s a Monday (never good). Secondly, it’s a good week-and-a-bit before pay day for most people. And, lastly, it’s far enough from Christmas to make the holiday season a distant memory, but still some way off from the next major public holiday. For a while I thought I was going to have to add a fourth complication into the mix – something along the lines of, “It’s the day when well-meaning veterinary staff who are just doing their job are viciously mauled by psycho black cats” – but, luckily, we didn’t have to see the vet today after all. Génial!

Louis Catorze has been doing so well this week. He’s vocal, affectionate, energetic and, most importantly, he’s itching far less and his wounds are healing. And it seems that the vet was right about his willingness to be medicated increasing proportionally with how well he felt: administering his Atopica and ear drops is never going to be top of our list of favourite things to do, but it hasn’t been the purgatory that it was last week, either. So I called the vet, described his current condition and asked if he really needed to be put through the stress of another visit, and they said no. MERCI A DIEU.

So Blue Monday hasn’t been so blue for me after all. A day which I thought would end with pinning a screaming, struggling cat down on a table and watching helplessly as more money drained from his dwindling sick fund, has actually ended with me cuddling up on the sofa for movie night with a sweet, purry and affectionate little kitty. (I am talking about Louis Catorze in both instances, by the way. I don’t mean some random cat comes into my house to watch movies with me, delightful though it would be.)