Qui est l’adversaire mystérieux?

Because I’ve been working late all week, and because Cat Daddy has been away for a couple of days, last night was our first chance to sit down together and talk about the vet visit. Whilst I’m glad that Louis Catorze didn’t make a spectacle of himself this time, I am mildly irritated that he behaved impeccably with his papa and yet is such a horror when I take him to the vet.

Cat Daddy took him to a new local practice that we hadn’t visited before, and the vet was absolutely lovely to Louis Catorze, cuddling him and telling him what a brave boy he was. He sat beautifully through the shaving and cleaning of his wound, the weigh-in (he’s now 3.65 kg) the thermometer and the antibiotic injection, and was in such good spirits after getting home that he snuggled Cat Daddy all afternoon. Not even the faintest sniff of a sulk.

Today, apart from the indignity of a bald spot in the middle of his forehead like the eye of a glaring cyclops, he’s perfectly fine. No sign as yet of his sparring partner, nor any clues as to whom it might be. All the most obvious suspects live too far down the street and I just don’t see them bothering to come here (and hell would freeze over before Louis Catorze moved his arse to get to them), so I think we’re in for a long wait before we solve that mystery.

(No photo as Le Roi refused to be photographed today.)

Je lutte, donc je suis

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Happy autumn equinox to all pagans and pagan-sympathisers! This is usually one of my favourite days of the year because it means that the whole of the glorious season of autumn, and the countdown to Halloween – the ultimate celebration of the black cat – are ahead of me and still to be enjoyed. However, on this occasion I’m a bit ticked off because a certain little sod has an infected wound and has had to go to the vet.

Cat Daddy was working from home today and noticed that Louis Catorze wouldn’t stop licking and scratching the top of his head. Then, when he sent me a photo (too disgusting to feature here, hence why I’ve used a pretty autumnal flower instead), I knew he would need an antibiotic shot, so off to the vet they went. To his shock, Cat Daddy was told that the shape and position of the wound made it very likely to be a fight injury.

I almost fell over when he broke the news to me. Fighting is just so … well … VULGAIRE. I thought I’d raised my boy better than this. What’s more concerning is that, although our neighbours have reported seeing Louis Catorze in their garden “having a stand-off with a very pretty tabby”, we’ve only ever seen one other cat in our garden on one occasion during our first couple of weeks at Le Château, and not a single cat since. With whom is he fighting? Where? And how on earth can I do anything about it if I don’t see it?

Luckily Louis Catorze remains utterly unbothered both by the vet visit and the wound (and, presumably, the fight) but I’m going to have to keep an eye on him. Clearly my theory about him being too stupid to get into trouble is wildly inaccurate.

Faites vos dévotions à moi!

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It’s been another eventful weekend at Le Château. First of all, the onset of autumn has meant a glut of daddy long legs(es?), so Louis Catorze has been busy catching and eating them. Despite being a bit dim in most areas of life, he is surprisingly adept as an insect- and arachnid-hunter and has even been known to leap from laps, shoot across the room in semi-darkness and gulp down some hapless creature that was minding its own business on the opposite wall. And, just as wildlife photographers don’t interfere when a Thomson’s gazelle meets its end at the hands of a predator in the Serengeti, I stay out of it and let nature take its course.

Louis Catorze also had a visit from another of his loyal subjects, who had read about him online and wanted to experience the warmth of the Sun King first-hand. These visits are starting to become a regular thing, which is most delightful for all of us at Le Château, and they have even been likened to pilgrimages, with reverent followers coming from near and far to bestow blessings in the form of cuddles and toys.

Cat Daddy snorted with laughter at the idea of our boy becoming a sort of latter-day Notre Dame/Seigneur de Lourdes, and said, “He’s a scraggy, black runt! What POSSIBLE benefit could anyone reap from coming to see him?” Well, the fact is they continue to come; we have 2 more visits lined up next month, and I daresay there will be more after that. If people can be so inspired by an unremarkable-looking, special needs black cat, I see that as a major coup in the battle against black cat prejudice which currently sees them as the least popular and last-picked of all cats.

Health-wise, Louis Catorze is continuing to remain allergy-free, although both Cat Daddy and I sense that this run of good fortune is soon to end. That’s just the way it goes with our boy, with good and bad episodes coming and going in cycles, but I’m always on the lookout for the next thing that could help him. A very kind friend and Roi-enthusiast recently recommended rooibos and chamomile as possible soothers of irritated skin and, with Cat Daddy and I both being tea lovers, we have heaps of both in our kitchen. So, whenever it may be that things start to go bad again, we’re ready with a new weapon of choice.

L’eau potable

I’ve finally plucked up the courage to look in the gross bucket from which Louis Catorze was drinking, and it’s full almost to the brim with … soil and gravel. Yuck.

Cat Daddy was most unhelpful when I informed him.

Me: “I’ve looked in the bucket, and guess what?”
Him, not looking up from his laptop: “What bucket?”
Me: “The one Louis has been drinking from.”
Him: “Right.”
Me: “Well, don’t you want to know what’s in it?”
Him: “Ok. What’s in it?”
Me: “Soil and gravel.”
Him: “That’s good, isn’t it?”
Me: “Is it?”
Him: “Well, the water will be nice and clean, won’t it, after filtering through it?”

Sigh. It was clearly pointless trying to prise him away from the football results to explain that the water would only be filtered if it came out of the BOTTOM of the bucket, and Louis Catorze had been drinking from water that had collected at the TOP. So I just gave up.

A quick straw poll among my cat-freak friends revealed 2 things:

  1. A gravelly bucket is by no means the worst place to drink from
  2. I have zero control about what the little sod does when I’m not around, so fretting about it is pointless

So I’m just going to leave Louis Catorze to it, although I have squeezed a few drops of his bioenergetics remedy into the bucket for at least a faint semblance of goodness. Ha.

Le Roi a soif: vive Le Roi!

I’ve been concerned about Louis Catorze’s water intake lately. Cat Daddy broke the royal pint glass a little while ago so we’ve had to replace it with a wine glass, but we’re not convinced that our boy is using it enough. I agonised for ages about why this could be: could it be the size/height? Or perhaps the glass was in the wrong position? (Most cats aren’t dumb enough to allow themselves to disintegrate into dry dust rather than take a sip from a moderately unsatisfactory glass, but this is Le Roi we’re talking about.)

I changed the wine glass to one of those hi-ball tumbler things: no. I tried a smaller wine glass: also no. I even tried Cat Daddy’s special Hoegaarden beer glass, which didn’t make me very popular, yet Louis Catorze was still pretty blasé about it; sometimes he’d drink a few sips, but a lot of the time he’d just sniff it and walk away.

I was beside myself with worry and having nightmare visions of his organs shutting down one by one through dehydration. Then, this morning, I saw this:

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Ugh. I don’t even know what’s in this bucket – and I’m too afraid to look – but I know that we didn’t bring it to Le Château. This means it was here before we moved in, and has probably been here for years.

WHY?

(Why would he do this, I mean. Not why has the bucket been here for years.)

Je suis en bonne santé!

Louis Catorze has been high on the attention from his visitors since the weekend, racing about, constantly demanding attention and generally being a pain in the arse. However, yesterday he was brought rapidly back down to earth with a trip to the vet, for the vaccinations that he was unable to have the last time.

I wasn’t able to take him so he went with Cat Daddy instead. After the previous shockers that we’ve had, I had expected something like the apocalypse, only worse … but I’m happy to report that all went well. Apart from a minor waiting room débâcle in which he roused his other feline comrades into some sort of mass sing-song/protest session, the whole experience was without incident.

The vaccinations took place smoothly, his temperature and weight were fine (he’s put on another 150g and now tips the scales at a portly 3.6kg), and overall the vet was delighted at his improvement. In fact, she told Cat Daddy, “Is this really Louis? As in, skin problem Louis? I can’t believe how much better he looks!” Better yet, there was no Post-Vet Sulk upon getting home; in fact, he was all over Cat Daddy, who was working from home yesterday, and annoyed the crap out of him all afternoon. Here he is having a rest from it all:

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How lovely to have some good news for a change. We couldn’t be more thrilled.

Le Roi de la jungle

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Le Roi was thoroughly spoiled at the weekend by his visitors from Switzerland and is still basking from the glow of the wonderful time that he had. There were gifts, there were cuddles, there were endless photographs, and somehow, through the toys he was given, he seems to have rediscovered his joie de vivre. He is truly a pleasure to be around at the moment (apart from at 4am this morning, when I wanted to strangle him).

He seems to be spending more time in the garden here than he ever did at Le Palais. I’m not sure whether it’s liking the feel of the extra soil under his little feet, or the fact that he has encountered zero other cats so he feels like the true Roi du Château, but he is often out there, just sitting in the flowerbed and watching butterflies and bugs go by.

The prospect of making our garden more Catorze-compliant looks as if it’s going to be more troublesome than we’d originally anticipated, because the list of plants that are toxic to cats is IMMENSE (thank you to Suzanne for providing the list):

http://icatcare.org/advice/poisonous-plants

If you have a cat and you also have some of these plants, don’t panic: apparently they only really pose a problem if your cat is stupid enough to roll in them or chew them. Unfortunately, ours is.

The most easily identifiable was the hydrangea (the pink one to the right of the photo), to which, naturellement, Louis Catorze is irresistibly drawn; he has even been known to shelter under it during storms. (Most cats would just come indoors, but ours is a bit different.) Luckily that was easy to remedy as the plant is in a pot, so it was moved to The Front where Louis Catorze isn’t allowed to go. We have quite a few euphorbia dotted around, which will go as soon as my mum is able to come over and dig them up for her own garden.

We had intended to have beautiful amethyst wisteria cascading down the walls of the house at both The Front and The Back but, having seen that it’s on the list, those plans are shot to pieces and we will now only be able to have it at The Front. Wisteria is Cat Daddy’s favourite plant in the world, so he was most displeased by this, and he spent yesterday afternoon gazing mournfully at garden websites and muttering stuff under his breath. (I couldn’t hear what he was muttering, but it seems he was channelling the spirit of the Egyptian cat goddess, Bastet – I think I heard her name a few times.)

We don’t really know enough about plants to know whether we have anything else that’s on the list, so I guess that will be a super-long-term work in progress, especially as new things spring up as the seasons change and we have no idea what’s going to appear over the next year or so. If you are a gardener and you think you can spot any offenders in my photo, please let me know.