L’homme au masque de fer



Someone once told me that my naming of Louis Catorze had “forever ruined French history for her”. So what better way to empathise with her concerns, and to give le royal nod to the recent Oscar winners, than to watch a historically-questionable Hollywood adaptation of an acclaimed Alexandre Dumas novel, giggling like a little child every time Louis XIV is mentioned?

The Sun King is played by a man from Los Angeles, D’Artagnan is from Dublin, and two of the three musketeers are from Illinois and the Isle of Wight. But, as someone who has convinced half the world that my cat from a North London rescue is a French monarch, I practically invented the suspension of disbelief. So this was no problem to me.

The similarities between Louis XIV and Louis Catorze are staggering, the main one being that both are tyrannical despots who live in luxury as the peasants, who are forced to fund their lavish lifestyles, languish in poverty. And the single, minor difference is that Louis XIV, according to musketeer Athos, “is cold and cruel, and cares only for himself” … which is not strictly true of our little sod as he also cares for Cat Daddy and male friends/neighbours/tradesmen/trick or treaters/Ocado delivery drivers.

The end of the film shows the human Louis clapped in irons and locked up in the dankest, most squalid part of the Bastille prison, which is not a million miles from what Cat Daddy has threatened when Louis Catorze has woken us in the night with his whining/scampering/rodent-bringing/bubble-wrap-popping. And the positive and uplifting conclusion of the film, apparently showing the Sun King bringing prosperity and peace to the citizens of France, was actually down to the actions of his (much nicer) impostor twin brother, Philippe.

Cat Daddy: “You see? I think we ended up with the wrong cat. I want to adopt Philippe. There has to be a Philippe out there for us.”

Maybe, but not quite yet … after all, the human Louis reigned for over 72 years.

What’s that in cat years?


Les merveilles de l’hiver

There are many fun things that can be done in the snow, but I don’t suppose schlepping to the vet to pick up Louis Catorze’s Broadline is one of them.

Cat Daddy came with me but he wasn’t the best company, complaining all the way about Catorze and his inconvenient, money-haemorrhaging connerie. And, because the walk took us a few minutes longer than usual due to slipping and sliding on the ice and snow, that meant I had to listen to more complaining.

When we got there and were told how much it was, Cat Daddy swept his contactless card across the scanner thing but it was declined.

Vet: “I’m afraid you can only use contactless for payments under £30.”
Cat Daddy. “Oh. Did you not say it was £14?”
Vet: “Erm, no. £44.”

Silence, tumbleweed, crickets. And, after we had paid and left, Cat Daddy complained about Catorze and his money-haemorrhaging connerie all the way home again. Sa Majesté, meanwhile, had been out enjoying some snow play and hadn’t even noticed we had gone.

It’s a good thing we have Le Royal Sick Fund. And it’s a good thing we love the little sod.


Le Roi de Neige

Snowmageddon has hit London! For those who are outside the UK, this is something that happens when snow is forecast: schools close, the transport system grinds to a halt and nobody dares to travel anywhere without carrying a spade and a torch. Yet, when the time comes, it’s just a light, feeble, anti-climactic dusting far from the apocalyptic blizzard we expected, and countries such as Canada and Sweden laugh at us for being so pathetic.

When it comes to snow, cats tend to fall into one of two camps:

2. NON

Louis Catorze, of course, does both. At 7a.m. I was greeted by clear evidence of his nocturnal gaddings-about, as shown below … but, when we came home from work, the whole lot was covered by a perfect, pristine layer of new snow, showing that he had promptly switched to NON mode and not moved his lazy arse all day.


He was, however, soon back to YOUPI! and slipped out for more wintry frolics at The Front when Cat Daddy was putting out the rubbish this evening. We had no idea he was there until Bert the dog’s daddy knocked to tell us, adding that he could hear the screaming from his front room. You cannot IMAGINE our deep, deep shame.

“Apparently there’s more chaos forecast for later this week,” Cat Daddy said just now. I hope he means the snow.

Longue vie et prosperité

Since Valentine’s Day there have been no further sightings of Le Rat. Nor have there been any sightings of its much larger parents, whom my mum has convinced me are out there somewhere.

For a bit of fun, and in the hope that our collective mind over matter might speed things along a little, I started a sweepstake among my fellow cat freaks, with a small prize going to the person who correctly predicted the day that Louis Catorze eventually caught Le Rat. But, unfortunately, it has backfired catastrophically: whilst Le Château remains a rodent-free zone, the cats of some of the sweepstake entrants have had a right old hunting hootenanny. And one or two of the humans aren’t very happy and hold me responsible.

This turn of events means one of two things has occurred:

1. The Mothership* has malfunctioned
2. The Mothership is functioning perfectly well, merci, and the universe is unfolding as it should

*You are all aware of The Mothership, oui? The mysterious alien craft responsible for beaming sinister commands to the feline population via their microchips? Yes, we’re all TOLD that microchipping is to track them if they get lost, et patati et patata, but we know better, don’t we?

Cat Daddy is highly amused by the nationwide rodent-killing spree. “They say that rodents are the only creatures which could survive an apocalypse,” he said, “but it sounds as if the cats belonging to the sweepstake people would be ok, too. Louis Catorze wouldn’t last a minute. In fact, if there were an apocalypse, the rodents would probably eat HIM.”

Let’s hope that the hunting hootenanny is just a temporary phase. Otherwise I fear that the apocalypse might happen sooner than we think.


L’Année du Chien

Chinese New Year officially begins today and it’s the Year of the Dog, which will be rather displeasing to many of our feline overlords. However, Louis Catorze, being quite cordial towards dogs even if the feeling isn’t mutual, has both accepted this with good grace AND chosen to make a peace offering to his sparring partner next door:


Whilst I am not a great believer in the western zodiac, nor in the characteristics attributed according to one’s date of birth, Chinese New Year made me curious about Louis Catorze’s corresponding Chinese horoscope animal. And, being born in 2010, it turns out that he is likely to be … a Tiger. No joke. (Cat Daddy spat his tea all over his laptop when I told him.)

This is what l’internet says about those born in the Year of the Tiger:

– Brave [Catorze takes on larger animals of any kind, without hesitation, so OUI]
– Competitive [although this rather depends on the nature of the competition; if it’s “Who can be the biggest and most annoying crotte de merde in the land?” then OUI]
– Self-confident [OUI]
– Charming [OUI]
– Well-liked by others [provided we don’t count dogs or Ocado delivery drivers among the “others”, then OUI]
– Impetuous [see “Brave” above: OUI]
– Over-indulged [I suppose having a house built and furnished to his specifications, food flown in from Canada and a savings account for his healthcare could possibly, by some people’s interpretation, be seen as “over-indulged”, so OUI]

Louis Catorze wishes everyone, especially all dogs, a joyous and prosperous year ahead. And he would love to know all about your feline overlords’ Chinese horoscope animals and whether the characteristics are a good match!

Beurk, le rat!

It’s Valentine’s Day, and many of us will have received gifts in honour of this auspicious Hallmark day. My gift, however, is delayed.

Here is a picture of it:


Oui, Mesdames et Messieurs: here at Le Château, seeing a live rodent isn’t just seeing a live rodent. It’s Louis Catorze’s equivalent of those despatch confirmation emails, saying, “Your parcel is on its way.”

Responses to the photo of my impending delivery have been as follows:

Oscar the dog’s mamma: “A baby rat, I reckon. I think it’s rather cute. But I still wouldn’t want it in my house.”
Cat Daddy: “A RAT. Where the hell is HE when we need him?”
My mum: “They say that, in London, you’re never more than 3 feet away from a rat. You’d better keep your door shut when you go outside, even if it’s just for a few minutes.”

Super. Merci.

It’s not a question of WHETHER Louis Catorze will catch it – because we know that he will – but WHEN. And, unfortunately, there will be no way of tracking this package, and I guess I can forget about choosing a one-hour delivery slot. Knowing Catorze, Le Rat will be dropped onto my pillow in the dead of night, still squealing, with one or more limbs/organs hidden elsewhere in Le Château for me to find later.

Joyeuse Saint Valentin à tous!

Lancer un pavé dans la mare

If you have never seen those “Photos taken seconds before disaster struck” picture gallery things, this interpretation should be self-explanatory:


I took this photo mainly because I never imagined Louis Catorze would take on an enormous beast of a wood pigeon the same size as him. And, in the unlikely event of him trying, I thought he would be far too slow to actually succeed. C’était faux: not long afterwards, despite le pigeon distancing itself by settling on a different part of the furniture, le petit voyou charged down the garden path and managed to get his paws to it.

Cat Daddy raced outside and grabbed a broom to try and separate the pair of them. He managed to poke le pigeon out of evil Catorze’s grasp, but the poor, traumatised bird flapped its way into a corner from where there was no escape … and Catorze, despite being thicker than a concrete milkshake, knew this, and circled like a hungry shark. I then had to go out to try and catch him but he refused to be caught, forever dancing tantalisingly out of my reach, but luckily this gave Cat Daddy enough time to trap le pigeon in a cardboard box and place it in the safety of the park opposite.

My best friend, who was over for lunch at the time, hooted with laughter at the whole spectacle. (She is a dog person, and this confirmed why.)

Cat Daddy and I may need to be more consistent in our approach to dealing with the little sod. Our mixed messages are probably WHY he’s such a little sod.

Me: “Bad kitty. That poor bird.”
Cat Daddy: “Call yourself a hunter? That was the most pathetic effort ever.”