Le petit coin

Thanks to Cat Daddy, Le Château now has a vegetable patch. Or, as Louis Catorze calls it, “les toilettes”.

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Now, I am not one of those people who panics at the thought of the slightest germ, but I have a particular aversion to the rear ends of cats. So, the less I have to do with them, the better. The thought of excretory solids, liquids or gases is grim enough, but the prospect of such substances coming into contact with FOOD is absolutely the worst thing in the world.

“Relax! It’s fine! Animals poo and wee on crops all the time,” said a friend of mine. Maybe. But there’s a huge difference between an incidental bit of bird plop or horse manure in an arable field, and a demonic little beast repeatedly using your vegetable patch as his outdoor latrine just to annoy you. The sweetcorn plants that my mum gave us lasted less than 12 hours in the soil before they were decimated. Cat Daddy didn’t mince his words in his text to me that morning: “Little shitty boy has dug up one of the sweetcorn plants to shit. He’s a shitting pest.”

“At least his poo will put other cats off using the place as a toilet,” said another friend. “Your own cat’s poo is far better than the poo of a thousand random cats, isn’t it?” Erm, not really. Poo is poo, irrespective of which cat arse expelled it. Unless we’re talking quantity, of course, because a thousand cats would obviously produce rather more than one.

Anyway, the sweetcorn problem is now halved because Catorze has dug up 3 out of 7 plants and reburied them so deeply/far away that we don’t even know where they are anymore. I think we need an electric fence for Catorze. And maybe Valium for ourselves.

Aucune solution, que des problèmes

It’s been almost 2 weeks since Le Mur was constructed on our western border but, unfortunately, it hasn’t turned out to be the peacekeeping tool for which we had hoped.

In terms of obscuring Oscar and Louis Catorze from one another when they are on ground level, it has done its job. However, as we all know, cats have the huge advantage of being able to jump. And, because Le Mur is able to fully support Catorze’s weight (whereas the previous fence wasn’t), it means that the little sod is able to do this:

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In actual fact this shows him chirping sweetly and running to me for cuddles, having heard me open the door to take the picture. However, the unfortunate camera angle doesn’t reflect this and, instead, he looks like a determined, steely killing machine with his eyes locked on his enemy. And I suppose that’s what Oscar sees every time.

Worse yet, we had a brick barbecue built a couple of days later (also pictured), and Le Roi has decided to make use of this as a handy step-up to Le Mur. And, on windy days, when Le Mur is a little shaky and he can’t risk being whipped off his perch and dropped into the danger zone, Louis Catorze balances on the barbecue with his back feet, lifts himself up with his front feet and pokes his head through the trellis, safe in the knowledge that he has a solid base but also ensuring that Oscar will still get maximum annoyance from the sight of his stupid little face.

One day I will get a photo of this, because it’s the funniest thing in the world. I don’t suppose Oscar would agree, though.

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Donald Trump would be so proud of Oscar the dog: not only has he built a wall, but he has managed to get the humans to pay for it.

Except that it’s actually a 5ft fence, not a wall. And its purpose is mainly to keep the Sun King out of sight from Oscar, because of ever-deteriorating relations between the two parties.

Our previous wooden picket fence really wasn’t up to the job of separating the warring factions. Oscar would catch sight of Catorze through the slats and bark like a lunatic; Catorze would run to the fence, stare at him and meow back; this would drive Oscar doubly mad and more barking would ensue; Catorze would meow back again … and the two of them would continue in this fashion like a noisy, furry, 2-part perpetual motion machine until one, the other or both were undignifiedly hauled indoors.

Oscar’s thirst for revenge was eventually such that he began to pummel at the fence, which weakened progressively over many months and eventually gave way. Dog Mamma and Dog Daddy placed a multitude of obstacles and barriers in his way but, having learned and memorised where the weak spot was, Oscar was an unstoppable force. He would choose to strike when his folks were busy doing other things and sometimes actually succeeded in getting through, so I would have to call the Dog Parents and escort their boy off our premises.

And so the opaque fence was born.

Louis Catorze had great fun flirting with the men who put up the fence – they commented that he had kept them company throughout the construction process – but was highly displeased to find that he could no longer survey enemy territory. However, as you can see, he found a solution. Here he is on his new viewing platform – Oscar’s summer house – and, if you zoom in, you can just about make out his cheeky little open mouth, mid-meow. (Oscar is below, out of shot, snapping and circling like a hungry saltwater crocodile.)

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So, as one war ends, another begins. Being the Sun King’s peacekeeping force isn’t easy.

L’amour est le meilleur des médicaments

Louis Catorze has been on the reduced dosage of 2 x 25mg of Gabapentin a day for almost 2 weeks now, and he is showing no recurrence whatsoever of his symptoms.

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Better yet, he has started to eat Pill Pockets, so no more Greco-Romaning! Merci à Dieu et à tous ses anges! (If you don’t know what Pill Pockets are, they are tiny, edible, plasticine-like cups into which you stuff pills before squishing them to seal the opening shut. No, Louis Catorze wouldn’t eat Pill Pockets before. But he does now. Are you all keeping up so far, Mesdames et Messieurs?)

Whilst I don’t like to criticise the one and only thing that is successfully getting medication into the little sod, the ingredients list makes me twitchy and uncomfortable. Wheat flour: bad. Mixed tocopherols: no idea what these are, but they sound bad. Dried corn syrup: basically sugar, so REALLY bad.

I never thought I would see the day when I willingly gave my boy wheat and sugar. Mind you, the manufacturers know their target market: desperate people like me who have no option because nothing else works. They could make Pill Pockets out of heroin and asbestos and, if it meant our cats would just eat the goddamn pills and spare our lives, I reckon most of us would still buy them.

All being well, pill-wise we only have the rest of May (2 per day) and the whole of June (1 per day) left. The end is in sight. That’s what’s keeping us going.

Le Roi attire tous les garçons à la cour

Louis Catorze has had a new visitor to Le Jardin and, once again, it appears to be an unneutered male. I don’t know why it is that unneutered males are drawn to him like iron filings to a magnet, but we’re just thankful that they don’t want any trouble.

When Le Roi caught sight of le visiteur in our mint patch and pitter-pattered over to him so fast that his little paws were a blur, we thought, “Mon Dieu, this isn’t going to end well …” But it turned out that our boy was desperate to kiss him. I’m not joking. I’d have preferred him to hold back a little and not offer his heart so readily but, y’know, I guess you can’t help it when the urge hits you.

This first photo isn’t the best quality but Catorze’s body language clearly shows that he is the one unashamedly making all the moves. At this point Cat Daddy had his face pressed up against the window and was actually screaming: “He’s kissing him! OH MY GOD, HE’S KISSING HIM! What a tart!”

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Here they are again, more clearly, in post-kiss awkwardness:

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Le visiteur was even brave enough to let me stroke him a little and I am quite confident that, at some point, he will let me attach a paper collar bearing the words, “Please do the responsible thing and empty the loose change from these money bags” or something to that effect. I do hope he will be back because he was very easy-going: no fighting, spraying or havoc-causing, just casually hanging out.

Even Cat Daddy is a little bit in love with him. “Now that’s what a proper cat should look like,” he said. “I wish we could keep him.”

(Unfortunately he meant instead of Louis Catorze, not as well as.)

On a 7 ans!

Today is Louis Catorze’s birthday, according to his paperwork, although it’s actually the anniversary of the day that he first pitter-pattered into the rescue. The staff there probably tend to celebrate 20th July instead, which is the day that we took him off their hands and ended his reign of money-draining. (He was, and, as far as we know, still remains, their most expensive cat ever.)

At 7 years old he is now officially either Mature or Senior, depending on one’s source. Yet he is still the same tiny, kittenish little scrap of a thing that (we imagine) he was at a year old, which is quite impressive; how many humans could claim to look 1/7 of their actual age?

I had the idea of a huge neighbourhood birthday extravaganza with accordion music, Sun King bunting and party poppers that scatter Dreamies and party powder instead of shredded paper and glitter, but Cat Daddy vetoed it.

“We have had a whole house built and furnished to his specifications,” he sighed. “We have spent, and continue to spend, a fortune on anti-allergy paraphernalia. He has better food and health care than we do. So he can go whistle if he thinks he’s getting a party or presents.”

And that was that.

Don’t feel too bad for the little sod, though. He doesn’t know that it’s his birthday, for a start. And he will have a perfectly pleasant day here at Le Château with us, eating his usual ruinously expensive food imported from Canada and playing with the many lovely toys that pilgrims have kindly given him. And we will be raising a glass to him and thanking the universe for his good health. It will be no different from any other day in his life, but, trust me: this is good.

We hope you are having an equally lovely bank holiday weekend with your furry overlords, and that every day feels like their birthday.

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Le tricheur royal

Remember when Louis Catorze liked pâté de Bruxelles? Yeah, well, now he doesn’t. So we’re back to Greco-Romaning him again, and you all know what a cirque de merde that is. One of our friends witnessed it the other day and said, “Oh my God, that was absolutely HORRIBLE!” Erm, no blood was drawn and nobody died, which actually makes that a decent session. Wait till you see one of the bad ones, mon coco!

And I never thought I would use the words “Louis Catorze” and “clever” in the same sentence, but the little sod is finding more and more ingenious ways of avoiding his pill. His latest trick is to pretend he’s swallowed it, press his body against me for a fake cuddle and then silently spit the pill over my shoulder and into my hair.

I have coarse, curly hair so the pill remains stuck there for some time and, because I don’t notice it, I assume it has been swallowed. Obviously it dislodges itself eventually and falls onto the floor, but we didn’t think anything of it because we are quite used to seeing pills strewn about Le Château from failed Greco-Roman attempts. So Catorze has been able to get away with this treachery until now.

Le Roi’s little plan was finally foiled when Cat Daddy came home right after I’d just Greco-Romaned and cuddled notre cher ami, and he said, “There’s something in your hair.”

Quel. Fichu. Salaud.

So now I have to give my hair a good old shake after pilling time, just to be sure.

If I’m honest, the lies and deceit offend me far more than the non-pill-taking. “It’s a bit of a tragic day,” I said to Cat Daddy, “when the only cuddles you get from your cat are fake ones.”

Cat Daddy, not even glancing up from his laptop: “I wouldn’t know.”

Aïe.

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