Le bonheur est une drogue dure

Christmas has been and gone, and we have made it to those weird in-between days when nobody quite knows what to do with themselves.

December has been a trying month: we have had to cope with stubborn colds, Cat Daddy’s scary Christmas lights set to “epilepsy mode”, and seeing the vet more often than we have seen all our friends and family put together … and, through it all, Louis Catorze is still chasing his tail.

The Zylkene calming supplement – or “Louis Catorze’s party powder”, as Cat Daddy naughtily calls it, and which can be seen decorating the edges of Le Cône – has made some difference; the little sod has been going for his tail slightly less often, and with slightly less ferocity. But, unfortunately, this difference isn’t significant enough to allow us to permanently dispense with Le Cône.

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We went back to the vet today, and she was surprised at how long it was taking for his wound to heal. A few squeezes and pinches to the tail – and a hiss from Sa Majesté – revealed that there was still a problem there. Rather than going for the steroid shot, which would delay the healing even further, the vet prescribed a neurological painkiller which only exists in tablet form. Oui, Mesdames et Messieurs: we are going to have to pill the little sod twice a day for 2 weeks.

“You could try wrapping the pill in this special paste, to get him to eat it,” the vet suggested, demonstrating how to do it. Louis Catorze stared at the unappetising pellet and gave each of us in turn his “And what the heck is THIS pile of merde?” look.

In the end she had to pill him using the traditional method of brute force and a prayer. It didn’t look pleasant and there is no chance in hell of us succeeding.

I am usually pretty poor at predicting the future, but I can see that my January 2017 will involve tears, anguish and lacerations to the hands.

Le patient français

It has been 2 days since the X-ray and Louis Catorze is continuing to obsess with his tail, presumably because the claw puncture wound from the other night has irritated him even further.

Watching him interact with it is the most bizarre thing imaginable; he can be unaware of it one moment and, the next, the red mist descends and he just HAS to try and kill it. If we are with him, a cuddle and a gentle warning are usually enough to distract him. But we can almost hear the cogs whirring away as he thinks, “You can’t keep watch over moi forever.”

And, of course, the real problem is when we’re not in the same room with him, or when we’re asleep. That’s when he really goes for it, with a full-on fight punctuated by those awful raspy screams that we have grown to know and hate.

We have decided to try the Zylkene calming supplement, which is a white powder that you sprinkle onto food, to see if it has any effect on Louis Catorze’s tail obsession. Bearing in mind that white powder dusted over dark brown food looks ridiculously obvious, I was fully expecting to be met with the “Go home: you’re embarrassing yourself” look, but, astoundingly, Le Roi did eat a little.

We have also studded the house with Feliway diffusers in the same way that Transylvanians would use crucifixes. They’re everywhere, silently churning out odourless, invisible clouds of happy gas that will make our boy better (we hope).

The vet told us that these new measures would take a few days to kick in, and that any changes would be subtle. But, if the alternative is tail amputation (unfortunately, yes, this has been mentioned), we’re willing to give anything a try.

We will keep you updated and, in the meantime, we wish you a wonderful and peaceful Christmas weekend. Your love and support of the little sod mean the world to us.

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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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