Le cinéma, c’est vraiment magique

Les grandes vacances sont ici! And this means that Movie Night at Le Château, which often falls by the wayside during a normal working week, will happen more often.

Our Movie Night preparation always consists of the same ritual: lighting a relaxing soy candle (Louis Catorze can’t get enough of Scent Trail candles – http://www.scent-trail.co.uk/ourshop/ – and even tries to nuzzle them through the packaging), gathering an assortment of snacks and dragging Catorze’s arse from wherever he is for some enforced togetherness.

I realise how selfish that sounds, and that others would probably leave their poor cat in peace and let them decide if and when they wanted to partake in Movie Night. But the thing is that we know the little sod better than he knows himself: he WANTS to join us, but he just doesn’t realise it.

Louis Catorze is only capable of dealing with what’s in front of him and he needs constant reminders to do everything, from eating to drinking to going outside to cuddling, because he seems to lack the natural instinct and the brain power to think of doing these things himself. And, once reminded, even if it’s not the thing he intended to do at the time, he’s perfectly happy about it.

This is proven by the fact that, when Cat Daddy drags Louis Catorze in to join us for Movie Night, despite the indignity of being scooped up in one hand and poured onto the sofa, HE STAYS. It’s as if a switch flips in his brain and he recalls how much fun it is. And he remains with us, purring away, until I go to bed, when he pitter-patters upstairs with me, snuggles me until I fall asleep, then pitter-patters back downstairs to join his daddy for Boys’ Club.

And, if anyone is wondering about Louis Catorze’s preferred viewing genre, he’s partial to a bit of horror. Would we throw him to the zombies to save ourselves? Probably … although I suspect that, on account of the lack of brains, they would throw him back.

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Aux larmes, citoyens!

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It’s 14th July, and Louis Catorze is staging his very own French Revolution here at Le Château: his early morning screaming sessions have restarted, and they continue long after I have gone to work when Cat Daddy is still in bed. We’re woken repeatedly by his yelling and thundering about on the wooden floors, all for no reason whatsoever, and it’s driving us crazy. He is neither hungry, nor thirsty, nor distressed, nor in need of anything: he just seems to like the sound of his own voice. And, unfortunately, we don’t. Especially not at 1am, 3am or 5am.

Yesterday morning I woke up at 5am to the sound of screaming, pitter-pattering and scampering, which usually means that Louis Catorze has invited a guest in.

After some searching, I found him lying on his back with his head and back feet hooked through the straps of one of my sports bras. Catorze had unzipped my gym bag, pulled out the bra and gone on some sort of cross-dressing rampage. He wasn’t trapped or upset; in fact, he seemed to be having tremendous fun, rolling, bicycle-kicking and screaming. After wrestling the bra away from him and cautiously checking the gym bag in case he had put anyone or anything in there, I was wide awake with a good hour to go until my alarm. I never got back to sleep after that.

This – the screaming, not the cross-dressing – has happened every night/morning, at least once per night/morning (usually more), for the last 10 days or so, and we’re going to work feeling utterly frazzled and wanting to cry. I think we might have to resume our routine of some energetic play before bed to wear out the little sod, because we can’t go on like this.

Any suggestions would be received with more gratitude than you will ever know. Or we might just have to stick him in an Uber and send him somewhere far, far away. If you live absolutely nowhere near TW8, look out for him in a Toyota Prius.

Le Roi est content: vive Le Roi!

This week we seem to have been disproportionately busy with pointless things. Firstly, I excitedly took delivery of a mystery parcel, only to discover that it was the beeswax candles that I had ordered to combat the hay fever that Louis Catorze doesn’t have.

And, secondly, after a whole day spent trying to capture the sneezing and wheezing on video so that the vet could see it, I have had the embarrassment of telling them to ignore said video on account of the fact that Catorze wasn’t unwell: he had just snorted a blade of grass.

The good news, however, is that the little sod’s Gabapentin taper is going brilliantly, and he has managed to defy the odds and get down to 1 x 25mg every other day. The vet is surprised and delighted that we have managed to keep it under control with such a low dose, which isn’t typical of the other cats on his feline hyperesthesia forum. And he is continuing to eat Pill Pockets, so the Greco-Roman combat is well and truly a thing of the past. So, if this positive snap continues, hopefully the meds will be completely gone by August and he will be able to have a nice, substance-free summer (apart from the steroid jabs).

Here is a very rare shot of Catorze snuggling ME, rather than his daddy, on our outdoor sofa, the day after l’extraction de l’herbe. I like to think of this as his way of saying, “Merci, Maman.”

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Saint Jérôme et le lion

Louis Catorze started sneezing and snorting late on Friday evening, and this went on at regular intervals throughout the night. At first I thought he was coughing up hairballs, but he hardly ever has them because we are so rigorous with his brushing routine. Plus the sound was more nasal than throaty.

He seemed otherwise content – shouty, silly etc. – so, after checking his face and mouth and finding nothing untoward, I phoned the vet rather than taking him in, and I described his symptoms as “snorting, sniffing, lots of lip-licking and shaking his head as if trying to get something out of his nose or throat.” They confirmed my feeling that it wasn’t a medical emergency – possibly a seasonal allergy – and recommended a small amount of Piriton if he became too uncomfortable, but told me to monitor him and take him in on Monday if things didn’t settle.

Hay fever was probably the one, single ailment that Catorze had never had, and I couldn’t believe that we would now have to add it to his extensive list of problems. I ordered some allergen-busting beeswax candles online as I had run out, and I attempted a dose of Piriton but the combination of super-strong, spring-loaded syringe plus unhappy cat meant that it didn’t end very well. The little sod screamed bloody murder, writhed, clawed, drooled like a rabid wolf and then took off to hide in the Forbidden Greenhouse, wearing most of the Piriton on his face and chest.

After an uneventful afternoon, by evening things hadn’t settled at all: the gurning, spluttering and head-shaking were just as regular. As I went to bed, mentally preparing for the battering that Le Royal Sick Fund would take when I called out the emergency vet on a Sunday, I saw that Louis Catorze had followed me, still snuffling and staring at me as if pleading for help, so I decided to have one last go at checking his face. I put him between my knees, pulled his head right back … and caught sight of what looked like a grass seed sticking out of his right nostril. BINGO.

I tried to pull it out but the darned thing wasn’t budging, and Catorze was becoming increasingly agitated at my picking and poking. But I held on and persisted, finally succeeding in dislodging the offending item … and, to my horror, I saw that it wasn’t a grass seed at all, but a whole blade of grass (see photo, with a 20p coin for scale). Oui, Mesdames et Messieurs: THE ENTIRE THING HAD BEEN UP HIS NOSE THE WHOLE TIME.

I cannot fathom how it could have got up there in the first place, let alone how it stayed there for 24 hours. I don’t think I could get a blade of grass to stay up my nose for more than a few minutes, even if I glued it there. But, thankfully, it’s out now. And, as soon as it was released, the ungrateful little weasel uttered not a word of thanks, instead pitter-pattering off to his papa for Boys’ Club cuddles.

The moral of this story: cats are ungrateful idiots. But we still move heaven and earth for them to be comfortable and happy, don’t we?

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Le pouvoir du pollen

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If you have ever suffered from hay fever, no doubt you will be fully aware of all the things you should and shouldn’t do: keep windows and doors shut, take a teaspoon of local honey a day (and, if you’re in London, Hen Corner honey is excellent: https://hen-corner-micro-bakery.myshopify.com/collections/london-honey), and so on. However, you may also wish to exercise caution if you decide to cuddle an outdoor cat in June.

A few days ago, Louis Catorze pitter-pattered in after spending most of the day out on the hunt, looking to grace the trophy cabinet (i.e. our bedroom floor) with another piece of silverware (i.e. a rodent). And, whilst it seems obvious now that furry-bodied cats would soak up airborne toxins like sponges, I didn’t think about it when I picked him up to cuddle him; it was like pressing my face into shards of glass.

The danger doesn’t stop there: we also allow Louis Catorze to sleep on our bed, spreading the evil allergens all over our pillows and sheets. And, yes, I accept that it’s not compulsory for him to sleep on the bed, and that we could shut him out of our bedroom, but he has slept with us ever since the first night he was with us, and I would feel sad breaking that habit. (Plus it enables us to keep him under surveillance, because we know what a troublemaker he is and we couldn’t trust him as far as we could spit.)

So … what to do about this? The only option is to give kitty regular damp towel rub-downs (preferably on a non-carpeted area) and, if you’re lucky, they might appreciate the cooling power of this procedure on a hot day. If they’re anything like Catorze, on the other hand, they will writhe, wail and wish you were dead … but your sensitive nostrils and stinging eyes will thank you, even if your cat won’t.

*Picture posed by the splendid Cocoa the babysit cat

 

 

L’effet de serre

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During the 30+ degree heat of last week, when most of us were desperately seeking shade, the Sun King, apparently, wasn’t warm enough, and spent much of his time in the greenhouse.

A word of warning if, like us, you happen to have both a greenhouse and an incredibly stupid cat: please be careful. Le fichu con was trapped there for about 3-4 hours one evening – thankfully after the worst of the heat had passed – and, because he is highly adept at slipping unnoticed from one place to another, we are prepared to bet a Roi’s ransom that it will happen again if we don’t watch out.

Catorze had just had a visitor and had been cuddled and spoilt beyond measure, so it would have been easy to assume that he were sleeping off the evening’s excitement somewhere. But it was unusual for him not to join us for Movie Night, so eventually we decided to go out and look for him. After being alerted by the pathetic wailing coming from the greenhouse, we were able to release him – and, fortunately, he was perfectly fine and unharmed, just mildly outraged at the inconvenience of it all. A few cuddles later and he had completely forgotten about his ordeal.

Even if your cat wouldn’t be that stupid/nosey, be prepared for the fact that other neighbourhood cats might. Cats sneak into sheds and outhouses all the time and are usually fine, even after days of entrapment, but greenhouses are like ovens in this weather so the consequences could be disastrous. And, although it may seem illogical for any creature to actively seek shelter in a greenhouse when it’s this hot, trust me, they still do it.

Please, please check carefully before closing up for the day/night, especially if your greenhouse has lots of nooks and crannies in which a silly (or lost) animal could hide. Or, better yet, if you’re in any way unsure, don’t close up completely at all, and leave an escape route for said silly/lost animal to use in an emergency.

 

Il y a un rat dans ma chambre: qu’est-ce que je vais faire?

IMG_8653A couple of days ago, Oscar the dog’s mamma told me that she had seen a large brown rat in their garden. Ever-hopeful, I asked her if she were sure that it wasn’t a very big mouse, or an unusually skinny-tailed squirrel. She was sure.

I suggested to her that, if she ever saw it again, provided Oscar weren’t in the vicinity, I would happily flick Louis Catorze over Le Mur and let him have a bash at catching it. However, I hadn’t quite expected him to catch it of his own accord, so soon after our conversation. Nor had I expected him to bring the damp, stinky carcass up to our bedroom.

Worse yet, it was our easily-startled cleaning lady who found it. I came home to find her so traumatised that she could barely speak, and eventually I managed to get it out of her that there was a rat in our bedroom. (Once again I said, “Are you sure it’s not a mouse?” although, deep in my heart, I knew.)

As she and I stood staring at it and wondering what the heck to do, Louis Catorze picked that very moment to switch into psycho play mode and attack her feet. Because he ambushed her from behind, she felt him before she saw him and, thinking he was another rat, she screamed as if she had been shot.

I went to look for a bin bag and, naturellement, we didn’t have any, so I had to take the sturdiest plastic bag I could find, which was a Selfridges one. Once Ratty was safely entombed I dropped a 2p coin in with him, hoping it would land squarely on his body and give a sense of scale when I provided people with photographic proof of how big he was. But, unfortunately, it sort of wedged in at his side and, because it was the same colour as his body, it ended up looking more like some sort of cystic growth than a 2p coin, adding to the horror of the whole situation.

Whilst our cleaning lady sat in a corner and cried quietly, I headed for the park bin where so many of Catorze’s victims have been laid to rest, praying that nobody would see me. Although, if you don’t want to be seen, you should carry an unobtrusive, plain bag and leave the house whistling nonchalantly. Leaving the house holding a bright yellow Selfridges bag with your fingertips and at arm’s length, all the while shuddering and retching, probably isn’t the way. And, of course, I bumped into Bert the dog’s daddy, who was working on his car in the street right outside Le Château, and I was forced to explain the bag and the shuddering and retching.

So now I am confined to Le Château on account of being too ashamed to leave it, and Louis Catorze is banned from the bedrooms on account of being too disgusting. And our poor cleaning lady will probably never lead a normal life ever again. Cat Daddy, however, can’t help but admire his boy’s pest control efficiency, and this has been echoed by Dog Mamma, who is delighted that Catorze has done his civic duty. Another friend said, “Isn’t it reassuring to know that he’s such a good rat-catcher?”

I don’t know what makes a “good” rat-catcher. But I’m pretty certain that depositing smelly rat corpses in spotlessly-clean places where there were no rat corpses before, isn’t it.