A genoux

We are so grateful to our eagle-eyed French friend who, during our absence, reported cramp-like symptoms in Louis Catorze’s back left foot, causing him to limp and whine a little.

Because this only happened a total of 3 times during our 2-week holiday, and never for more than a minute each time, we didn’t ask her to bundle Louis Catorze into his pod and take him to the vet. But, when I witnessed it twice the day after our return, I decided to take him myself. And, fortunately, I also took the precaution of filming the limping, because I knew that the little sod would refuse to demonstrate it to the vet when it really mattered.

I had been quite upset the night before the appointment, wondering whether he was on some sort of painful, nerve-related, post-Gabapentin comedown, so it was actually a relief to be told that he had dislocated his knee. Apparently there are 4 levels of severity when it comes to dislocated joints, and Catorze’s is the lowest level due to the fact that it pops easily back into place each time, enabling him to walk normally again immediately afterwards. But there’s nothing we can do about it other than give him Metacam for pain relief and monitor him to make sure that it doesn’t deteriorate.

The vet also told us not to allow Louis Catorze to become overweight, as excess chub would put stress on the knee joint. I assured him that, because Catorze doesn’t like food of any kind, this would be no problem whatsoever.

Cat Daddy, later: “Another defect to add to his list of defects. I guess it’s all part of being the runt of the litter.”

Actually, given that Cat Daddy himself has knee problems, and that my neck pain sometimes requires me to have steroid injections, it would appear that Louis Catorze is … turning into his parents.

Here he is, treating his dislocated knee with the sensible caution that it deserves:

IMG_9776

La princesse irlandaise

We returned from our holiday a few days ago to a still-standing Château and – thanks to the love and care of our French friend and Oscar the dog’s folks – a shiny, shouty Louis Catorze. It seems that he was a very good boy during our absence. Apart from an intermittent cramp/limping scare, which will need further investigation, and an uninvited wander into Dog Daddy’s man-cave – clearly if Boys’ Club cannot come to Catorze, then Catorze will seek out Boys’ Club – the two weeks passed without major incident.

Cat ladies are never off duty, not even when they are on holiday, and no holiday would be complete without a (potential) cat intervention. Meet Bri:

Her name sounds like the cheese but, in fact, we named her after Brigid, Ireland’s patron goddess. This sweet, ageless girl, with a meow like a squeaky bicycle wheel, was our companion during our 3 days at the eco-glampsite in County Mayo. I say “ageless” because she was very kittenish in size and demeanour, yet something tells me that such fur colouring – an all-black head with a mottled body – comes from black fur that has changed over time, rather than being true tortoiseshell.

After ascertaining that Bri didn’t have a family – our nearest neighbours were all farming people who tend to see stray cats as vermin – I contacted a local rescue and sent them a picture of her. Sadly we weren’t able to find a suitable transportation pod, catch her and deliver her to the rescue’s designated vet, all within limited bank holiday opening times, but plans are now in place for the rescue to set a trap soon. I have given them the contact details of the site owner and recommended the best place for laying the trap, and I hope beyond hope that we have good news soon.

I wish we could have done more for Bri during our stay, but one thing that I am really, really glad we did was to give her a spot-on flea treatment. (I am not in the habit of carrying flea treatment in my handbag, as my crazy catness has not quite elevated to such a level as yet, but I was lucky enough to find some in the one shop that was open on a bank holiday Sunday.) Dear little Bri sat perfectly still for me and purred all the way through, as if knowing I meant well – and, yes, I am aware of the irony of a feral cat behaving impeccably for flea treatment when my own little sod first tries to kill me, then rolls the liquid off onto all our soft furnishings and clean laundry. Minutes later, a visible cloud of fleas rose from her body, which was satisfying and horrifying in equal measure. Hopefully they will stay away and give her some relief.

I have been asked a few times whether we would have brought Bri back home with us. Believe me, we wanted to – although Cat Daddy’s condition was that we took her instead of Catorze, not as well as – but it’s not quite as simple as, “See a stray cat, put it in your bag and go home.” Cat Daddy and I tend to regard cats in the same way that we regard fruit and vegetables: best sourced locally. I have mixed feelings about subjecting Bri to a long journey to London when there must be plenty of people in Ireland who would be thrilled to have her. Also, I am not convinced that she would have made a good urban cat: as well as having zero fear of cars – she happily rolled around under ours, even with the engine running – she seemed very content in a rural environment. I think she needs somewhere just like her current place but with a regular person feeding, flea-treating and worming her and not leaving her to the mercy of the elements during the low season.

Nothing would give me more joy than to post here in a few weeks’ time, announcing that Bri has a new home. In the meantime, if you would like to help other cats like her, please support Mayo Animal Welfare, who have quite a task on their hands in terms of changing attitudes to neutering, microchipping and suchlike. You can donate to them here:

https://fundrazr.com/euyT0?fb_ref=share__c5K3Zd

 

Le silence du Roi

Louis Catorze has a swish, new transportation pod. One of the pictures below is of that very pod. The other shows a pod that is far more appropriate for him given his chequered history when it comes to being transported, but Pets at Home don’t appear to stock it. And I suspect that the armed guards would have cost extra.

Cat Daddy: “He doesn’t need a new transportation pod. The old pod is fine.”
Me: “But I find it hard to carry the old pod, the way he fights and flips.”
Cat Daddy: “He doesn’t fight and flip when I take him. He behaves perfectly well for me.”

Well, that’s delightful news. Thanks.

Anyway, the new pod is super-stylish and considerably more fitting for a Sun King than his old one. It’s not often that we encounter his comrades or adversaries in the vet’s waiting room but, when we do, we want to look the part, n’est-ce pas?

On Friday we decided that it would be a good idea to give Le Roi a preventative steroid shot before going on holiday, as he was starting to get a bit scratchy and we didn’t want his gouvernante française to have problems. The triangular – rather than square/rectangular – profile of the new pod makes it very easy to carry by my side, even with my neck and shoulder problems, so, for the first time ever, I was able to walk to the appointment.

Sadly, the ergonomic shape and Chanel-inspired quilting did nothing to alleviate the screaming. Catorze hollered his lungs out all the way there, and, because we were walking, the screams echoed through the neighbourhood as opposed to being confined to the car. Even the workmen, who were digging up the road, stopped what they were doing to look at us. And, upon arrival, le fichu salaud was so noisy in the waiting room that the two ladies who came in after us, with their nice, quiet cats, decided that they would rather sit in the Dog Area than in the Cat Area with us, completely messing up the vet’s new apartheid system.

We feel a bit bad for our French cat-sitter as the steroid shots usually turn our boy rather manic and psycho, but better that than to have him scratch himself to bleeding point and require a trip to the vet in our absence.

There won’t be any blog posts for a short while, unless we see any cute cats on holiday, or unless we hear that Louis Catorze has done something especially impressive or horrific. Please keep well until our return, and continue to obey your furry overlords at all times.

 

 

Protéger et servir

Cat Daddy and I are going on holiday in a few days’ time, and we have a friend coming all the way from Paris to look after Louis Catorze in our absence. Oui, Mesdames et Messieurs: Le Roi is going to have an ACTUAL French person as his full-time, live-in majordome/esclave.

“Do you speak French to him all the time?” she asked us. “Because I intend to. So, by the time you come back, he won’t take any notice of anything you say.”

Louis Catorze, not following instructions? Whatever next?

Anyway, Cat Daddy and I are currently putting together a set of manuals for her reference. The Château manual was complete some time ago, and contains the following sections:

1. The Sonos multimedia system
2. The kitchen appliances
3. Local places of interest

The Roi manual, which is proving to be rather more of a lengthy task, contains the following sections so far:

1. Food
2. Drink
3. Play
4. Catnip (for medicinal purposes)
5. Nocturnal gadding about
6. Brushing
7. The vet
8. Dog warfare
9. Prey, dead
10. Prey, living
11. Prey, partially-living
12. Lockdown at The Front, and how to manage escapees
13. Health and safety drill for Ocado delivery drivers

“It’ll be fine,” said Cat Daddy. “What’s the worst that could happen …?”

[Silence, tumbleweed, crickets.]

He continued: ” … Apart from us returning home to find the place knee-deep in dead vermin like some post-apocalyptic horror film, and our poor friend crying in the corner?”

Right. Où est ma valise?

You will notice that there is no “Medication” section in the Roi manual, and that wasn’t an oversight: notre cher ami has officially been given the all-clear from his favourite vet, who is back from her travels for a short while. No more Gabapentin! He has had no relapses at all during his tapering-off detox programme and, whilst we will miss the little sod for the next couple of weeks, we know that he will be fine and that our friend will look after him wonderfully.

We just hope that he will be equally considerate in return.

IMG_9195

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.

IMG_9420

Aux larmes, citoyens!

IMG_9360

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.”

IMG_9294