Un nouvel an, des anciens problèmes

2019 is here, with its annoyingly unround and unbalanced appearance. I almost can’t stand to look at it because it hurts my OCD, and, whilst I don’t want to wish time away, I really want to add 1 to 2019 and turn it into the beautifully even 2020. 

I don’t know what the year will bring but, as Benjamin Franklin (I think – or possibly Mark Twain?) once said, in this world nothing can be said to be certain except death, taxes and Louis Catorze getting stuck in the Forbidden Greenhouse when it’s either life-threateningly hot or life-threateningly cold. And one of those things is more certain than the others.

I came home the other day to find no sign of our mutual friend, which is somewhat unusual as he is very dog-like in his ways and almost always greets us. Then, when I stepped outside to grab a bottle of Crémant from nature’s outdoor overflow fridge, I heard the faraway yet unmistakable sound of screaming, then saw his affronted face and psycho eyes peering at me through the glass. 

Cat Daddy, when I texted him to tell him: “WHAT? I opened the greenhouse door for about 0.3 seconds this morning to grab some boots, then I shut it again. I didn’t see him go in at all. How was he?”

Erm: indignant and loud. And pretty cold.

Yet not quite cold enough, it seems, as, right after getting his body back to optimum temperature (by settling on me and sucking out my heat), the little sod pitter-pattered out again and was immediately heard screaming at birds / bugs /  Oscar the dog / the air. 

Here he is after eventually deciding to come back in again. Most cats wouldn’t be so silly as to do the same thing twice but, as this is Le Roi we’re talking about, I guess we’re ready for another year of more of the same. 

Hope the start of 2019 has been better for you than it was for Catorze. 

C’est le moment le plus merveilleux de l’année

It has started to feel très festive here at Le Château now that Louis Catorze’s tree is in place. (Yes, you have read that correctly: in addition to our main winter solstice tree, he gets his own mini one.) Decorating it is no mean feat, as the Pine Needles of Death are razor-sharp and, therefore, affixing each bauble is pain. And, yes, I do, indeed, see the tree as a cruel yet accurate metaphor for Catorze’s life, with him sitting atop all smug and loving himself, and me desperately scrambling around trying to adorn it with more and more lovely things, only to have my efforts rewarded with repeated stabbing. 

Anyway, now that it’s done, it looks rather splendid. We don’t usually buy him any gifts, though, because he already has so many things – or, as Cat Daddy puts it, “this house is full of his shite”. And, besides, buying a tree AND gifts for a cat might be considered a bit over the top. 

We have less than a week to go, and so many things still left to do. Luckily for Catorze, all he has to do is sit around and watch us do it all. 

Les merveilles de l’hiver

There are many fun things that can be done in the snow, but I don’t suppose schlepping to the vet to pick up Louis Catorze’s Broadline is one of them.

Cat Daddy came with me but he wasn’t the best company, complaining all the way about Catorze and his inconvenient, money-haemorrhaging connerie. And, because the walk took us a few minutes longer than usual due to slipping and sliding on the ice and snow, that meant I had to listen to more complaining.

When we got there and were told how much it was, Cat Daddy swept his contactless card across the scanner thing but it was declined.

Vet: “I’m afraid you can only use contactless for payments under £30.”
Cat Daddy. “Oh. Did you not say it was £14?”
Vet: “Erm, no. £44.”

Silence, tumbleweed, crickets. And, after we had paid and left, Cat Daddy complained about Catorze and his money-haemorrhaging connerie all the way home again. Sa Majesté, meanwhile, had been out enjoying some snow play and hadn’t even noticed we had gone.

It’s a good thing we have Le Royal Sick Fund. And it’s a good thing we love the little sod.

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Le Roi de Neige

Snowmageddon has hit London! For those who are outside the UK, this is something that happens when snow is forecast: schools close, the transport system grinds to a halt and nobody dares to travel anywhere without carrying a spade and a torch. Yet, when the time comes, it’s just a light, feeble, anti-climactic dusting far from the apocalyptic blizzard we expected, and countries such as Canada and Sweden laugh at us for being so pathetic.

When it comes to snow, cats tend to fall into one of two camps:

1. YOUPI!
2. NON

Louis Catorze, of course, does both. At 7a.m. I was greeted by clear evidence of his nocturnal gaddings-about, as shown below … but, when we came home from work, the whole lot was covered by a perfect, pristine layer of new snow, showing that he had promptly switched to NON mode and not moved his lazy arse all day.

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He was, however, soon back to YOUPI! and slipped out for more wintry frolics at The Front when Cat Daddy was putting out the rubbish this evening. We had no idea he was there until Bert the dog’s daddy knocked to tell us, adding that he could hear the screaming from his front room. You cannot IMAGINE our deep, deep shame.

“Apparently there’s more chaos forecast for later this week,” Cat Daddy said just now. I hope he means the snow.

La saison froide

The winter solstice is here, and Cat Daddy got his way with the outdoor tree. I was annoyed with him as we decorated it in the pouring rain and cold, and he was annoyed with me when I forced him to don a hazmat suit and gas mask to clear away what I thought was fox poo on the patio, but which turned out to be a bit of moss. So, by the time we were finished, we were both full of whatever the opposite of Yuletide cheer is.

We also have a mini-tree for Louis Catorze. Well, in reality it was because Cat Daddy preferred to buy a separate tree for the silver decorations than stoop to the vulgar depths of putting silver and gold together on our outdoor tree. But I am telling everyone that he wanted the cat to have his own tree, because it’s funnier … and, so far, nobody has questioned or doubted this.

I have been mulling over Le Blog entries from last December, and I can’t believe how far things have moved on: back then Louis Catorze was in Le Cône and under house arrest, there were more drugs in the cat food cupboard than in Pablo Escobar’s basement and Cat Daddy and I were stressed beyond measure about the tail-chewing. Now he is virtually drug-free (Louis Catorze, I mean, not Cat Daddy), his tail is perfectly healed and he is back to doing what he does best: annoying the pair of us witless.

We are very lucky indeed and we hope that this good fortune is indicative of the general direction of the next 12 months to come. We wish you all a joyous and prosperous year.

Mon beau sapin

D390CDED-4684-47BD-AA3A-CABAF75C5154Cat Daddy and I bought our Yule tree last weekend. The lovely lady from whom we bought it advised us to keep it outdoors until we were ready to decorate it, but, due to Cat Daddy being away on business and me being unwell, we just haven’t got around to it.

Cat Daddy now wants to make it an outdoor tree. (We will still be able to see it through the patio doors and enjoy its sparkly beauty when we sit on the kitchen sofa.) Despite the fact that we’ve never had an outdoor tree before, he is convinced that we can make it work with a set of proper outdoor lights and some more robust ornaments. But this isn’t because he’s suddenly had a life-changing moment of creativity or tree-consciousness. This is because, if we bring it indoors, we only have one place to put it: the place where Louis Catorze’s chaise longue currently is. And Cat Daddy won’t have Sa Majesté “with no place to sleep”.

It doesn’t matter that the little sod has 2 living room sofas, a kitchen sofa and 3 beds fully kitted out with anti-allergy bedding. Le Roi’s favourite napping place is in front of the living room radiator, right where our tree always used to go during the days pre-chaise, and Cat Daddy would rather buy lights and decorations and move the tree than do the sensible thing and just put the chaise longue somewhere else for a couple of weeks.

Once we purchase the new tree trimmings, I am prepared to bet Le Château on Catorze not using la chaise longue once throughout the entire Yuletide season. Qui est d’accord?

L’hiver arrive

Even though Actual Winter doesn’t start until the winter solstice, the first snowfall of the season means that Psychological Winter has begun. We had delightfully thick, chunky flakes falling yesterday and, whilst the ground was too wet for them to settle for as long as I’d have liked, we have so little snow in London generally that I will happily take what I can get. So this was a glorious, wondrous thing to behold.

My social media feed yesterday was inundated with photos of cats frolicking in the snow or, at the very least, placing a cautious paw on the frozen wasteland that was once their garden, then backing away. Louis Catorze, on the other hand, spent the entire morning lounging in bed with us and didn’t set so much as a whisker outdoors. We couldn’t decide whether that was incredibly lazy, or smarter than the rest of us who insisted on schlepping around all over town despite the weather warnings.

“The met office are saying you shouldn’t make non-essential journeys,” said Cat Daddy, as I pulled out my puffy, red “Santa’s duvet” coat from the cupboard. “Are you sure you need to make this trip to your friend’s place?”

She has cats, so YES. Catorze yawned.

“The snow is getting thicker and thicker,” continued Cat Daddy, peering nervously out of the window. “Are you sure about this?”

Catorze twitched and flicked his tail.

“Right,” Cat Daddy eventually sighed. “Don’t blame me if your train is cancelled and you end up stuck on the other side of London.”

Catorze stretched and rolled. And, when I got back several hours later, he was still in exactly the same spot.

“He’s not even been outside to go to the loo,” said Cat Daddy, “which either means he’s saving it up for later [fine by me] or he’s done it somewhere in the house [not really fine].” If it’s the latter, no doubt our senses will detect that tantalising, come-hither fragrance at some point.

Winter is coming. Mind you, Sa Majesté can be seen resting les fesses royales and not doing much all year round.

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Le jeu de cônes

Winter is coming – or, rather, it arrived yesterday – and the solstice is traditionally a period of celebration, joy and hope. Sadly I don’t feel especially celebratory or joyous at the moment, and the only thing I’m hoping for is that, one day, Louis Catorze will stop biting his darned tail. Regretfully, that day won’t be coming anytime soon.

Earlier this week, he was lucky enough to receive a SECOND gift of a soft Cône, this time in Extra Small size, from the same kind friend who sent the first one. And he has shown his gratitude by figuring out that soft Cônes can bend. Naturellement, he bit his tail and broke the skin again, forcing me to go to Pets At Home and buy an even wider, more rigid Cône (with padded edges to protect la gorge royale) for when we’re not supervising him.

He absolutely cannot bite his tail in the new Cône … but, with sufficient effort and the correct planetary alignment, he has discovered that he can get a paw to it. And, yesterday evening, he managed to get his claw stuck in his wound and couldn’t get it out. Fortunately I was with him so I was able to pull it out … but he was left with an ugly, gaping wound and a chunk of flesh hanging from his tail.

We took him to the vet this morning, hoping she would say that it was just a superficial scratch. But she thought it looked much worse than that and was concerned that he was still showing so much interest in his tail, so she recommended an X-ray to rule out any deeper problems. Luckily there was a slot available this morning so we were able to leave him there and collect him again this evening.

Sadly the X-ray revealed no damage to his tail. (I say “sadly” because I find inconclusive answers more frustrating than anything on earth; “It’s broken in 28 places”, whilst unpleasant, would at least have given us a starting point.)

And he will have to remain Côned for at least another week.

Our next options are as follows:

– A different type of painkiller whose name I forget, designed for neurological pain
– Feliway diffusers and an anti-anxiety supplement called Zylkene
– Another steroid shot, in case the reason for the original irritation is his old allergy inexplicably deciding to reappear on his tail
– All of the above

It’s a lot to take in. Cat Daddy and I are having a cup of tea, cuddling Catorze and trying to figure out what to do.

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KramPuss, le diable d’hiver

One of our much-loved blog followers very kindly sent Louis Catorze a soft collar as a get-well gift. Thank you, Tally! What a thoroughly sweet and and thoughtful gesture, for a spoilt little sod that probably doesn’t deserve it. The collar has been a godsend in terms of allowing him to get comfortable and sleep properly, but the naughty boy has found all sorts of ways of exploiting its, erm, versatility.

On Friday, when we came home from a meal out, he had shoved one arm through it and was wearing it as a sort of off-the-shoulder top/cape, and the next day it was a 50s-style prom skirt. Unfortunately he cannot be trusted without a collar properly in place, and doesn’t even last a second without going for his tail again. So, with deep regret, I decided to put his plastic collar back on again, reserving his soft collar for supervised sleep sessions only.

Could I get it back on? Mais non.

To be fair, Louis Catorze wasn’t THAT uncooperative, although he did yowl and complain all the way through. I was just too stupid to figure out the weird fastenings; after I had finished, there were rough seams rubbing against his ears and bits of plastic sticking up in all directions. So back to the vet I went.

Because both Cat Daddy and Houseguest Matt were out, I had to take Louis Catorze myself. He fought like an absolute fiend as I put him into his box, and continued to struggle and writhe throughout the car journey and as I carried him across the car park. The two ladies in the vet’s waiting room (with their nice, calm cats) looked quite alarmed as I fell through the door, breathless and sweating, hair stuck to my face, just about managing to cling onto a violently-shuddering cat box.

As I waited, with the box continuing to spasm and jerk at my feet and the ladies trying/pretending not to notice, I sent an SOS to Cat Daddy. His helpful reply: “I don’t understand. He’s always fine when I take him to the vet.” Right. Thanks.

The vet showed me how to put the collar on properly, and we’re booked in again on the 22nd so that she can check his tail. This nicely messes up our holiday plans … but, having looked back at my blog entries from this time last year, it seems that that’s Le Roi and that’s what he does.

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La panacée du Roi

“What a pity January is almost over, just as things were getting good,” said absolutely nobody, ever.

It’s a difficult month at the best of times, even when the sharply cold temperatures and bright white frost give a kind of feeling of newness and freshness. But this January, far from being sharply cold or frosty-bright white, has been especially grim: grey, damp, clammy and sluggish. I can’t wait for it to end.

Louis Catorze, however, couldn’t give a hoot either way.

All is going phenomenally well in his little world, which means, at least, that someone has had a positive month. His black cat mojo is bursting at the seams at the moment and he looks magnificent. Cat Daddy usually lets out a snort of contempt when I say this, deriding Catorze’s “drug-addled state” and muttering something about him only appearing attractive if you look from a long way off and squint a bit. But I don’t care how far away you have to stand or how he got this way: I’ll still take it.

Here he is, looking menacing and demonstrating the right hook that (possibly) knocked out his mystery opponent at Le Fight Club:

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It’s not just his physical appearance that has improved: everything about him just seems easier when he’s well. Even the medication and the Advocate, whilst not exactly fun, aren’t so bad, with the Post-Meds Sulk seemingly a thing of the past; whereas previously he would run away afterwards and hide for hours (or for the whole day, as he did on his first day with us when I crunched his tail under my knee by accident), now he comes back for cuddles.

He’s had a fair few visitors throughout January and he’s been on fine form for them all: sociable, affectionate and even happily allowing 3 kids aged 5 and under to simultaneously manhandle him. Poor Luther would have walked through hellfire to avoid such a thing – in fact, most normal cats would – but we all know, don’t we, that Louis Catorze is not a normal cat?

He’s due at the vet’s for his next steroid shot in a couple of weeks. I really hope this run of good luck holds out until then.

Le solstice d’hiver

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The winter solstice is almost here! Soon the days will gradually start to get brighter and will bring, along with the new light, the promise of spring and happy times.

This time of year is said to be most auspicious for making wishes for the future but, to be honest, we have everything we want: a home, food in the fridge & a happy, healthy Roi. So, to thank you all for your support, we have decided to donate £1 per person following Le Blog to an animal charity*, and to wish for a more positive future for the less fortunate kitties out there.

We are sure Catorze will have no objection to sacrificing a few festive treats to help his comrades. Plus he’s thick, so he won’t know.

May you all feel the magic of this beautiful season, and may your cats forever feel lucky and loved.

*Louis Catorze donated to Lilly’s Legacy, a rescue group which can be found on Facebook and which helps stray and missing cats. If you’d like to donate to them, too, their PayPal account name is lillyslegacy@hotmail.com.

 

On peut détruire ce qu’on a écrit, mais on ne peut pas le déécrire

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Poor Catorze isn’t looking so good these days. His right eye has lost so much fur all the way around that he looks like Alex Delarge from A Clockwork Orange. And, last night, the dreadful itch-yelp returned; this is the ear-splitting sound that he makes when he scratches and breaks the skin.

We’re doing everything as we did in September/October, when he was looking his best, so we have no idea whatsoever why things have turned to merde now. It’s frustrating beyond belief. But the good news is that it’s not affecting his mood in the way it has before; although he’s lost a little of his Chat Noir sparkle, he still manages to find the inclination to cuddle us on the sofa in the evenings. And he has taken to having Post-Meds Cuddles with Cat Daddy whenever he medicates him (whereas I just get claws and teeth when it’s my turn).

We have tried so hard to find a pattern to Louis Catorze’s flare-ups and have failed so far, but this will be the third November in a row which has seen a downturn in his condition. (He wasn’t with us in November 2013 but, having seen the awful photos taken in January 2014, it would make sense that November was around the time things began to slide, to reach their nadir 2 months later.)

There is clearly something in the house or the winter environment that is less present at other times of the year and, whatever it is, it was present both at Le Palais and at his previous foster home too. I just wish I knew what the heck it could be.