La lune bleue

Ugh. Another night of my cat, who typically just shuts up and cuddles quietly in bed, padding up and down my body, purring, clambering over packing cases and popping bubble wrap (!) in the room next door, all the while singing the anthem of his forefathers. A couple of threads on a Facebook cat forum revealed that many of the members’ cats have also been behaving in a similar loopy fashion lately, and someone had suggested that it could be linked to tomorrow’s Blue Moon.

Also, Louis Catorze somehow managed to fashion E.T.’s face out of his food last night (see below – no Photoshop or fakery used here), which is conclusive proof of something spooky in the air. Is there a mysterious alien mothership somewhere, silently commanding all our furry overlords to simultaneously annoy the crap out of us? Could the moon BE that very mothership?  For those who aren’t familiar with the moon and its workings, a full moon is (obviously) when the moon appears as a whole disc in the sky, and a Blue Moon is when this happens for the second time within a calendar month. And, because a Blue Moon doesn’t happen very often (hence the expression “Once in a blue moon”), it’s regarded as an especially enchanted time. Accidents, criminal behaviour and hospital admissions (for humans) are said to be more numerous during a full moon; could something similar be true for cats, too?

I consulted our good friend Google for advice, and discovered a wealth of information confirming that the full moon was, indeed, responsible for nutso behaviour among both humans and animals. For instance, the word “lunatic” originates from the belief that the moon’s changes cause insanity. And, on an unrelated note, be very afraid, men of the world: apparently women are programmed to menstruate during the full moon, all at the same time, but the only reason we don’t is because artificial stimulation from electric lights, computers etc. has overridden nature. I told this to Cat Daddy and he sort of pretended not to hear me, muttering something about chocolate and asking God to help him.

Anyway, the one piece of information that really stood out was this: “It’s not the full moon, it’s the night. Night people are a whole subset of the population, and the lore includes night beings such as vampires and werewolves.” Seriously? I’m to expect potential sleep deprivation at the paws of Louis Catorze EVERY SINGLE NIGHT? I was so shocked that it put me off Google for a whole hour.

So it seems I shall never sleep again, but Cat Daddy can’t help but feel slightly intrigued about our boy being some sort of otherworldly monstre. I guess we kind of suspected it anyway as he’s black with vampire teeth and a bit of a weirdo, so Cat Daddy reckons we need to encourage the flourishing of this intrinsic penchant for the night, rather than pushing him off us and swearing at him. Will his nocturnal annoyances escalate at Halloween? What about the winter solstice, when 18 hours out of 24 are in darkness? Cat Daddy is quite excited about finding out. I myself think I can live without it.

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La cire d’abeilles


Oh dear. Louis Catorze’s right eye is starting to look bald and puffy around the edges. I don’t know why this is happening just as we make some headway in cleaning up the dust, but I suspect it’s because he has managed to slip past me and into the Forbidden Greenhouse on a few occasions. (Unfortunately we’ve discovered that the greenhouse door won’t shut: the hinges have rusted and wedged it firmly open, and not even Cat Daddy has managed to shift it. Plus there are numerous missing or broken panes of glass so, even if we did manage to close the door, Louis Catorze would still be able to get in.)

We’ve still not located his Piriton, so today I had to schlep to the pharmacy to get more. Fortunately I have had more luck finding the beeswax candles, which – provided they are 100% beeswax, as mine are – clean the air as they burn and are said to reduce asthma and allergies; I myself have found them very helpful during the hay fever season, and, on a couple of occasions, they have even encouraged Louis Catorze out of La Cage after one of his Post-Itch Sulks. Regular tealight candles – the kind that you buy in bulk from the supermarket – are made of paraffin wax, which is a by-product of petroleum refining and which begins life as gross sludge at the bottom of a crude oil barrel. Then, in our misguided belief that we are setting a romantic and sensual mood, we set fire to it and send its toxins pumping into our homes and our lungs – lovely.

So I’ve tracked down the beeswax candles, but where on earth am I supposed to put them so that Louis Catorze can reap the maximum benefit? Yesterday he spent the ENTIRE day in the suitcase in our spare room, but it doesn’t seem remotely sensible to leave candles unattended in a room containing lots of brittle cardboard boxes and a stupid cat. Alternatively there’s the Forbidden Greenhouse, but I’m highly put off by the idea of being seen by the neighbours and having to explain why I’m leaving candles there. “Oh, they’re for my allergic cat.” Right.

In the end I lit one in the living room and opened all the doors, hoping that its pollutant-killing magical beam would somehow spread through Le Château. If nothing else, there’s something very calming and hypnotic about watching a candle flame flickering and dancing. So, at best, this will have a positive effect on my boy and, at worst, it will make no difference but I will be so relaxed that I won’t care.

J’adore mon nouveau lit


Good news: Louis Catorze has found a new day bed which isn’t the greenhouse. Bad news: it’s in my suitcase of not-yet-unpacked-because-there’s-nowhere-to-put-them clothes, including an unworn t-shirt with the label still attached, which I was intending to return to the shop.

Luckily my gratitude that he hasn’t picked a dusty sleeping spot outweighs my crossness about the t-shirt, so I’ve resisted the temptation to drag him out. It is, however, mildly annoying that he would prefer to be here than on any of the vast array of expensive anti-allergy human and pet bedding that we have all over Le Château.

I decided there was nothing much I could do but make the best of it, so I flung his bioenergetics pendant into the suitcase with him. I often wake up in the night worried that the pendant has fallen off the bed, or anxious that Louis Catorze is sleeping further away from it than the minimum requirement of 3 inches. Also, in my half-asleep scrabble around to try and locate it, my hand wanders uncomfortably close to Louis Catorze’s arse and then I have to get up and wash it. (My hand, I mean.)

So it’s a multiple and universal win: my boy gets to keep his sleeping place of choice, he gets close proximity to, and therefore maximum absorption of, the pendant’s magical healing rays, and I get a more restful night’s sleep without fear of touching his lower portions. Let’s just hope a piece of scrunched Sellotape will do the job on my t-shirt, and that the shop won’t realise that it’s had cat hair and cat arse on it.

La poussière, partie 2

Somebody is banned from the gross, dusty greenhouse, and that somebody’s name starts with “L” and ends with “ouis Catorze”. Can you guess who it is?  Little sod’s eyes have been looking leathery and weepy again, so the greenhouse is now officially out of bounds. (I told him this the other day but he ignored me, sneakily bypassing my human blockade and escaping out of the bathroom window via the toilet cistern.) I don’t know where he’s going to go for his daytime mega-nap, but that’s his problem to fix.

Curiously, he wasn’t TOO bad with the dust from all the building work going on, which got me wondering whether inorganic dust from freshly-sanded walls could somehow be more sterile, and therefore more tolerable, than organic dust teeming with stale cobwebs and the remains of dead flies? In fact … don’t cobwebs pretty much come from a spider’s arse? Ugh.

Anyway, it was the perfect time to FINALLY find Louis Catorze’s bioenergetics remedy, which consists of a liquid to drop into his drinking water and a bioenergetics pendant to place in his bedding. He tends to sleep with us at night so I will be putting the pendant in our bed, much to Cat Daddy’s amusement – although, if he and I also emerge from this exercise glossy-haired and smooth-skinned thanks to the pendant’s magical force field, he will be forced to mange his mots.

Whether you believe in alternative medicine or not, something about the pendant is drawing Louis Catorze. I left them both on the bed this morning about 5cm apart, and my boy had his back to the pendant. This is how I found them when I returned:   

Ça fait 1 an! 


Louis Catorze has been with us for exactly a year! (The picture above was taken the day after he arrived – I love it because it shows his gorgeous squashed boxer’s nose.) We’d only lost Luther a month beforehand and it seemed very soon to be getting another cat, but being catless was making us sad. I don’t think there is a right or wrong time to get another cat after losing one, but my advice would be, “If in doubt, do it anyway.” At worst, you will be giving a cat a home and freeing up a rescue centre place for another one who needs it. And, at best, you will have a cat!

(Cat Daddy has just read the above over my shoulder and said, “What about the cat hair everywhere? And the muddy paw prints? And being woken up at 3am just for a chat? And being completely bled dry financially because he needs special this and special that?” Oh yeah. There’s that, too.)

I’ll be honest: we were initially drawn to Louis Catorze because he looked so much like Luther in his photos. And when I called his foster mamma to arrange to meet him and she warned me about his protruding vampire teeth, being a bit of a black cat / horror movie / Halloween fiend, that just made me want him even more. At that point we knew we would adopt him even though we hadn’t met him, and there really wasn’t a lot he could have done at that first meeting to change my mind (although gnawing off my fingers might have been a bit offputting) so, on the first Sunday of my summer holidays, we brought him home.

Luther had settled in fully within 3 days, so we had an expectation that Louis Catorze would do the same thing. He didn’t. Although he was affectionate, for the first few months he spent 23.5 hours a day asleep and Cat Daddy even wondered whether we should return him to the rescue centre as he clearly wasn’t happy with us. But he got there in the end, just more slowly than most. In fact, that pretty much sums up his approach to everything in life.

We plan to mark this special day by giving him love and cuddles and letting him do what he wants. (So, erm, totally different from a normal day, then.) We are so happy to have this sweet, itchy little soul in our lives, and we really hope that, despite not being the brightest, he realises that.

Le jour de gloire est arrivé!


It’s official: The King has left the building.

Not only that, but he then rolled on the garden path, covering himself in dust and making Tom the decorator laugh, and re-entered the building. All in the space of a few minutes. To say we are in disbelief is an understatement; can this really be the same dumbo cat who took half a year to do the same thing at Le Palais?

So this morning was spent taking photos and sending them to anyone who cared (and plenty of people who probably didn’t), much to the amusement of Tom the decorator. We don’t speak the same language so I’m not able to explain what a big deal this is; if anyone knows the Polish for “My cat took 6 months to use the cat flap in our previous house yet he’s just done it here in a day, so I have to mark this auspicious occasion by taking lots of photos and posting them online for the amusement of strangers,” please let me know. Otherwise I guess I’ll just have to leave him thinking I’m a complete nutjob.

Whilst I’m inordinately proud of my boy, this now leaves me with something of a content dearth for my blog. I had planned for at least 6 months of cat flap progress – or lack of progress – updates, which have now been rendered redundant thanks to Louis Catorze’s shock succès. I have no idea what I will write about now, yet I trust him to inspire me as he always does.

Vive Le Roi!

Le Tunnel

  
Tomorrow, Mesdames et Messieurs, is the day when we will be training Louis Catorze to use Le Tunnel. Until now we’ve kept it hidden from view by leaning a big floor tile against it, because we didn’t want him to attempt to use it whilst locked and then be discouraged from ever trying again. So we decided that we would unveil it to him when he’s allowed to use it, on a weekend day when we will be around to fix any mishaps or release the silly sod if he gets trapped.

My main concerns are as follows: 

  • There is a 25cm tunnel through the wall (whereas he’s used to a cat flap in a door)
  • The opening is quite high in the wall so Louis Catorze will have to make some effort to climb up into it
  • He is really stupid 

The problem last time was that Louis Catorze didn’t understand that he had to push the door with his head (maybe because, as a mighty monarch who commands a nation, he is used to having lowly peasants open doors for him). For those who aren’t familiar with the workings of a Sureflap chatière, kitty needs to push with his head to allow the reader to read his microchip; contrary to non-Sureflap-owners’ belief, the chatière doesn’t open from a distance, not even a short one. So Louis Catorze’s failure to push meant he didn’t get out. 

The Sureflap manufacturer recommends getting your cat used to it by first removing the batteries and using it as a standard cat flap, but even this proved problematic as the requirement to push was still there. Eventually we discovered that Louis Catorze would push if the door were taped open a fraction but, of course, word soon spread about the free All You Can Eat (Until You Get Caught) self-service diner, and we then had every cat in the neighbourhood stopping by for a cheeky bit of bouffe. (That sounds filthy, but “bouffe” means “food”, I promise.)

Then one day, after around 5 months of us trying everything we could think of including spraying the door with catnip (made no difference), and sticking opaque paper over it just in case it was the transparency that freaked him out (also made no difference), he just went out. Once only, mind, but still! A few weeks later he’d cracked it. 

So it really could go either way tomorrow: un grand succès or un désastre total. I can’t help but have high hopes for my dear boy despite the fact that, in order for the Sureflap to initially register him as a user, Cat Daddy had to stuff him undignifiedly through it as one would stuff a duvet cover into the washing machine.