Joyeuse Halloween!

Halloween, All Hallow’s Eve, Samhain … whatever you may call it, it’s finally here, mes amis! This festival is known for many things including the concept of disorder and the natural law of things being turned on its head, and today is no exception here at Le Château. The annoying furniture company who have unreasonably and unjustifiably retained our money for 3 months, have finally paid up. The missing John Lewis vouchers that Cat Daddy has been complaining about for ages, have turned up. And we have found Louis Catorze’s Achilles heel: the humble clothes horse.

Cat Daddy placed two of them in front of the Forbidden Greenhouse temporarily, because we needed room to set up our new TV unit. And, hilariously, it seems that Louis Catorze can no longer get in. I’m not joking: HE GENUINELY HAS NO IDEA WHAT TO DO. Here he is, looking highly confused at this recent development and thinking, “The bastards have done this délibérément.”

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Yes, I am fully aware that there are gaps which any normal cat could shimmy under, squeeze through or leap over. However, this is Louis Catorze we’re talking about. Or, as some of his wonderful online fans so brilliantly summed it up, #becauseRoi.

So, with the Forbidden Greenhouse inaccessible, he’s given up hiding in there and is happily washing his arse on a clean, anti-allergy bed, safe from dust, fireworks and marauding adolescents. My Halloween will certainly be happier knowing that he’s out of mischief. Hope you all have a wonderful day, and that your furry overlords and overladies stay safe tonight.

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Je suis accro à la serre

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As the light fades and autumn rolls steadily on towards Halloween, it seems that Louis Catorze’s health is starting to wane, too. Over the last couple of nights I’ve been very conscious of him fidgeting and scratching on the bed and, when I checked him the other day (with a cat like Catorze, daily inspections are as much part of the routine as feeding and watering), I found a very slightly balding eye and a dreadful-looking hacked-up chin. I’ve decided not to photograph the latter in particular but, if you were to watch a slasher horror film, you would get an idea of its appearance. “Stab victim chic” is le look that Louis Catorze has managed to achieve.

The frustrating thing is that we haven’t changed anything in terms of what we do with him. The only thing I can think of is the fact that he’s rediscovered his love of the Forbidden Greenhouse, after initially forgetting that it even existed. All together now: WHY?

The day before yesterday, he spent so long in there that Cat Daddy eventually went in with a torch and dragged his little French arse undignifiedly out. “It really wasn’t easy getting him out,” he said afterwards. “He’d wedged himself into this weird lidded bit of that propagator thing, and I had to prise the lid off first. He screamed the place down, too. I’m surprised the neighbours didn’t complain.”

I really didn’t think I’d have a battle on my hands preventing a cat from going into a freezing cold place in the middle of autumn; in fact, I thought it would be the LAST place he’d want to go to when we have comfortable beds, under-floor heating and suchlike. I was wrong. As closing the greenhouse door isn’t possible (it’s a sliding door that has rusted in the open position), my only option is physical blockades of the scary kind. So, as Louis Catorze hates mineral water bottles, my next step will be to put the plastics recycling sack in front of the greenhouse door.

To be honest, I don’t really think it will work; despite being thick, he can show flashes of incredible determination when it comes to doing things that are bad for him. But it’s all I have at the moment.

La Fête Nationale des Chats Noirs

It’s National Black Cat Day in the UK! Unfortunately Louis Catorze’s internal calendar runs on French time and it seems that, in France, it’s “Slope Off To The One Place You’re Not Allowed To Go And Ignore Your Maman” Day. It was that same day yesterday, too. And I suspect it will also be that day tomorrow. Here he is, pictured looking unrepentant in the Forbidden Greenhouse.

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Happy National Black Cat Day to Le Roi’s subjects, and to their furry overlords/overladies of all colours.

Le Roi coûte cher: vive Le Roi!

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Today is the first day of my half term break, and so far it’s all been about Louis Catorze. Firstly, the little sod woke us at 4am by hollering in our ears and bounding all over us, killing off any dreams of a holiday lie-in. Then we had to take an early trip to the sorting office to collect a parcel containing his flea medication. And, finally, we had to stop off at Cat Daddy’s work, where an impossibly huge 12-tonne sack of Acana Pacifica cat food awaited us.

“This is getting bloody ridiculous,” Cat Daddy muttered, as he hauled the massive sack into the boot of the car. “Our sleep is now shot to shit because of that cat. And look at all this stuff. Who’d have thought, when he was born, that he’d end up living a life of luxury and having food flown in from Canada? How much did this cost, anyway?”

Oh. Ahem.

“One of the girls at work gets that James Wellbeloved stuff sent to the office, and it costs £20 for a bag this size. Please tell me it didn’t cost £20?”

I sincerely swear that it didn’t cost £20.

J’ai besoin d’un secrétaire

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What an insanely busy weekend it’s been at Le Château, and what a crazy amount we packed into 2 days: as well as being my birthday, we’ve spent time with members of Louis Catorze’s fan club whom we didn’t know before. Cat Daddy has shifted from finding these visits slightly eccentric to accepting them as part of normal life. In fact, when the alarm goes off in the morning, his first words to me are: “So … who is it today, then?”

We often used to talk about downloading one of those diary-sharing apps to avoid double-booking our own arrangements, yet we never got around to doing it. However, now that Louis Catorze has his own social engagements going on, we’re at the point where we’re struggling to keep it all together. I am yet to have to tell a friend, “Sorry, I can’t make Saturday night after all because some strangers who’ve read about my cat on the internet are coming to visit him”, but it’s only a matter of time.

This weekend we had 2 fabulous days with 2 sets of Catorze fans, and the funny thing was that we had so much more in common with them than just cats. Each time felt like welcoming good friends into our home, and Louis Catorze, who is great with new people, happily greeted his public with snuggles and dived headlong into the fabulous toys they had brought for him.

We’re pretty exhausted right now but profoundly grateful for the fact that our itchy black cat has brought us new friends. And Louis Catorze is now taking bookings for décembre …

Les Jeux de Chatière recommencent

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It was my birthday yesterday. Louis Catorze’s gifts to me were to knock all the bottles off my bedside table at 5am, and to continue using the cat flap to go out but inexplicably cease using it to come in.

CatFlapGate actually began the previous evening: when I came home, Louis Catorze was yowling outside and clawing at the patio door. “He’s been doing that for ages but, whenever I go to open the door, he runs away,” said Cat Daddy, who had arrived home before me. “I don’t know whether something’s wrong with the cat flap or he’s just being a stupid arse.”

The former isn’t wholly out of the question, especially as the cat flap has started buzzing recently. But, if I were a betting woman, I’d put money on the latter. Cat Daddy, however, didn’t agree. “He wouldn’t keep it up for this long unless something were really wrong,” he insisted. “And look at his face: he looks stressed. I really think we should have a look at the cat flap. Maybe it’s jammed. Or maybe there’s a snake or something stuck in it and Louis is too scared to go through.”

Right.

I gave the cat flap a good clean in case the dirt was putting him off (unlikely, as he happily drinks from cruddy buckets in the garden and rolls around in century-old cobwebs). I wanted to change the batteries but we didn’t have any new ones, so I switched the setting to manual by taking out the old batteries and taping down the latch thing. It made no difference. The little sod continued to shriek like a lunatic outside, rearing up on his hind legs, his eyes saucer-wide with anguish.

Then, when we gave up and went to the living room to watch TV, he came in. Sigh.

What on earth would make him suddenly decide to play this game? It’s not as if any other cats’ behaviour could have influenced him (he doesn’t have any friends). So why, then?

Maybe some of his fan club, two of whom are visiting this weekend, will be able to shed some light on this?

La chatière

There has been a cat flap malfunction here at Le Château. Whilst it still permits Louis Catorze to come and go as he pleases, it now makes a buzzing sound as he passes through. I had intended to contact Sureflap to ask them how to stop it, but I’ve had so much to do that I’ve not had a chance. That said, it doesn’t seem to be bothering him in the slightest; in fact, it’s quite funny hearing it and imagining Louis Catorze swiping his security pass and buzzing himself in.

Hearing it throughout the night doesn’t amuse us quite so much, though. It’s not especially loud – certainly not loud enough to permanently disturb our sleep – but it’s certainly made us aware of how many times Louis Catorze goes in and out whilst we’re asleep. He used to spend the whole night in our bed with us, but recently he’s become more adventurous and he’s started to go gadding about outside between 11pm and 6am. Occasionally he’s on our bed when we wake up but, more often than not, he’s still outside. Then, after I leave for work, he returns to bed, clambers all over Cat Daddy and hollers in his ear, and I receive a flurry of annoyed texts calling Louis Catorze some very rude names and threatening to lock him out all night.

There was something reassuring about knowing that our boy was with us all night, and I feel distinctly less comfortable at the prospect of him gallivanting around the neighbourhood. But, short of locking him in overnight (which I know he would hate), there’s not much I can do about it. The fact that The Back is very enclosed, far from cars and dogs, comforts me a little. As does the fact that Louis Catorze is too stupid to get into any proper trouble.

So, unless he comes home shredded to smithereens or otherwise traumatised, I think I shall just leave him to it. I can’t say I see the appeal of the cold autumn outdoes versus a cosy, warm anti-allergy bed with eye-wateringly expensive John Lewis duvet cover, but then I don’t suppose this will be the last time Louis Carorze does stupid shit that nobody can understand.