Sa Majesté des mouches

We have a Code Ambre situation at Le Château: A FLY IN THE LIVING ROOM. Not that I really need to tell you, as you can probably hear the unholy racket from wherever you are in the world.

If you have a cat, you will know what I mean by “that bird-chatter sound”. The best way of describing it is a succession of clipped, otherworldly “eck-eck-eck” notes, daintily sung when the cat sees a bird. (Or you could just YouTube it and hear it for yourself.)

It’s very common for cats to make this noise at birds; however, Louis Catorze also does it to BUGS. Usually this is quite handy: if I hear it from the next room, I know that a fly is at large and I’m prompted to check my food or my cup of tea to make sure that they’re covered. But, right now, we just want to sit and enjoy Movie Afternoon, and the little sod won’t shut up.

(He once did the bird-chatter sound at the pterodactyls from Jurassic World, too. This was nowhere near as useful as the bug alert, but it was much funnier.)

There are a few theories as to why cats make this sound: it’s rumoured to be a sign of frustration that kitty can’t catch said bird/bug/dinosaur, a result of an adrenaline rush as the cat imagines the chase, or, rather more sinisterly, an involuntary reflex sound that escapes from the throat as the cat mimics chomping its jaws around the prey and killing it. But I don’t think anybody really knows for sure. It’s one of those peculiar little cat quirks that can’t be properly explained, but it makes us love them even more simply because it sounds so cute and funny. Unless you want some peace to watch a film. Then it’s really annoying.

I suggested continuing Movie Afternoon in another room, but Cat Daddy said that would be “letting Louis Catorze win.” A win for us, on the other hand, involves being stuck here, struggling to follow the story due to all the buzzing and chattering, and thinking, “Surely victory should feel better than this?” And this will go on and on until the fly escapes or is eaten, or until Cat Daddy finally snaps and swats both the fly and Catorze.

Unlike the film, I can predict exactly how this tale will end.

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Une image vaut mieux que mille mots

If you have a black cat, creating their official Halloween portrait is easy: you just place a pumpkin next to them, take a photo and that’s it, non?

Not so with Louis Catorze. Firstly, he’s not the most photogenic of cats. And, secondly, he doesn’t do as he’s told. The über-cool factor of a black vampire kitty with protruding fangs is utterly lost if we cannot capture this on camera for Halloween. And, alas, it seems that we cannot.

“Oh well,” said my sister, who visited this weekend for our annual Halloweekend tradition. “Maybe you can post those hilarious outtake photos instead?” Erm, those aren’t hilarious outtakes. Those are my best shots to date:

Friends have suggested the following strategies:

1. Place strips of jambon de Bayonne on the pumpkin to get Catorze to linger for longer.
2. Download a photo of a nicely-posed internet cat, paint the fangs on and pass him off as Sa Majesté.
3. Place the pumpkin on the floor and tell him that under no circumstances is he to go near it.

With 31st October gaining on us more quickly than I can say, “Dis ouistiti!” and still no official Halloween portrait in sight, I am starting to feel the pressure …

Le coeur vaillant

It’s a full moon tonight, which means more idiocy from the feline population of the planet. And, because we’re approaching Halloween, black cats, in particular, will be more idiotic than ever.

I got chatting yesterday afternoon to Bert the dog’s mamma, as we were putting out the recycling at The Front.

Now, Louis Catorze’s interactions with Bert are pretty minimal, which is why you haven’t heard much about him so far. Bert’s garden has lots of trees and shrubs against the fence, making it harder for Catorze to access it, and it also helps tremendously that Bert is getting on a bit, so his eyesight and hearing aren’t what they used to be. Not that this stops Catorze from making trouble when he feels like it; a friend who visited us once said, “I can’t believe what I’ve just seen. First Louis went over that fence [pointing to Bert the dog’s side] and pissed off that dog, then he went over THAT fence [pointing to Oscar the dog’s side] and pissed off THAT dog. Now the 2 dogs won’t shut up. Your neighbours must hate him – and you.”

Anyway, during our chat, Bert was happily sniffling and snuffling around his mamma’s feet. Louis Catorze had been asleep on the sofa but woke up, heard Bert and decided to follow me outside and scream at him.

Yes, I realise that normal feline instinct should spur him to run in the opposite direction from a dog. But this is Le Roi we’re talking about.

Bert’s mamma didn’t appear the slightest bit surprised by the screaming. In fact, she revealed that she often opened her front door to find Catorze on the doorstep, screaming away (at times when we knew he was at The Front but thought he was having a nap under our wisteria plant). And, apparently, if Bert was in the vicinity, our little sod would scream even more and sometimes try to shimmy past Dog Mamma and into the house.

Yesterday’s incident could have ended badly, but Le Roi’s royal arse was saved by the fact that Bert, incredibly, didn’t see or hear him. (No, I don’t understand, either, how anyone could fail to hear this whiny, searing meow that scrapes away at your eardrums like fingernails on a blackboard.) Then Bert’s daddy came out and said hello, which distracted Bert even further, allowing Catorze to tire of the screaming and pitter-patter back indoors.

This isn’t good, is it? Whilst I am glad that Catorze is confident and not a nervous, hunger-striking, pooing-and-peeing wreck, running screaming towards dogs isn’t exactly where I want him to be. I have heard of strategies to make a nervous cat more confident, but … making a fearless/stupid cat rein it in a bit? Is this even a thing?

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Croisons les doigts …

5EF3EADF-1D92-4DCF-9CFF-6045FAB00153At the weekend, whilst we were lying in bed giving him cuddles, Louis Catorze chased his tail again.

We let him do it, just to see how long it would go on (happily it was no more than a few seconds) and to see if we could ascertain whether it was playful or something more sinister, but we couldn’t tell. In fact, we didn’t even really know what we were looking out for; I had this idea that sharp pounces were playful and that smoother, more seamless chasing were sinister but there’s no science in that.

Catorze has been Gabapentin-free and doing well for 2 months now, so it would be devastating beyond belief for him to start displaying symptoms again. Please send the little sod your good wishes: not so much “get well” but “don’t you DARE get sick again.”

La première pluie de l’automne

I adore the autumn equinox: a deeply mystical, spiritual time of year during which we reflect upon the year to date and give thanks for our blessings. As I had the day off work today, my plan was to relax and immerse myself in the magic of this beautiful season; however, the reality was this petite crotte de merde battering at the bathroom door and screaming like an air raid siren, destroying my dreams of a de-stressing spa morning.

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The battering and screaming started as soon as I got into the bath, and I thought, “I plan to stay in here for at least half an hour. He can’t possibly keep this up for THAT long.”

He did. And, naturellement, when I finally opened the door to leave the bathroom after 30 minutes of eardrum assault, he no longer wanted to come in.

Part of the essence of the autumn equinox is deciding what to relinquish in order to grow and prosper. Right now, the only thing on my list is 3.46kg of noisy black fur.

Les escargots

Some cats catch birds, others catch mice and a few catch rats. Louis Catorze has managed all of the above, and more, but his latest thing is to bring teeny-tiny snails into Le Château.

Cat Daddy is quite embarrassed by it and feels that there is more prestige in rodents, with the manliness of the cat being directly proportional to the size of the rodent caught. “Snails are just a joke!” he declared. “Only he could be so slow that a SNAIL is capable of catching up with him and hitching a ride on his fur. I hope you chucked them out in the park at the front. If you chuck them out in the garden, they’ll eat all the kale.”

Oh. Oops. Luckily I remembered where I’d put them and was able to retrieve them because, being snails, they hadn’t got very far.

Here are two of our boy’s gifts, brought one after the other on the same night, pictured with a 20p coin to get a true sense of their teeny-tininess. It seems you can take Le Chat out of France, but you can’t take France out of Le Chat.

Il y a de l’orage dans l’air

Louis Catorze doesn’t like storms. Who knew?

Well, I didn’t. But I do now, thanks to his decision to inform me at regular half-hourly intervals, all the way through last night. And, comme d’habitude, Cat Daddy slept through both the storm and the whining.

I understand that thunder and howling gales aren’t everyone’s thing, but telling me once would have sufficed. And, if you don’t like them, you’d just stay away from them, right? NON! Judging by the wetness of Sa Majesté’s fur each time he woke me up, it seems that, for reasons that I cannot fathom, he chose to keep going out and sitting in the rain for at least 15 minutes before then coming indoors to express his outrage. I just don’t understand it at all.

Just one blog post ago, I was bragging that, perhaps, I had underestimated the little sod’s intelligence. Now I am wondering exactly what planet he’s on.

Cat Daddy: “Probably Uranus.”

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