La folie du Roi Soleil

Pour l’amour du ciel, Louis Catorze! He’s never exactly done things as most normal cats would do them, but over the last few days he’s taken nutso behaviour to new heights. The photo shows him, this morning, having scaled the bookcase (for the first time ever) to paw at thin air and shout at the ceiling.

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I don’t know what they put in that steroid shot, but they should bottle it and sell it. Oh, hang on …

Cat Daddy keeps telling me that this change has come about purely because Louis Catorze is drugged up to the eyeballs, and that I shouldn’t read too much into it. But, equally, could it be that the improvement in his physical symptoms is simply causing some sort of innate nutsoism to manifest itself? Either way, it’s delightful to see him this way because a shouty, energetic cat is a cat who’s enjoying life. Nothing was more heartbreaking than when he spent all day under the bed, emerging only for occasional food and use of les toilettes.

I had a wonderful response from fellow cat freaks when I opened up the steroids-or-no-steroids debate and, the more I think about it and see my boy’s new-found joie de vivre, the more I’m inclined to consider steroids for him. I’m aware that they could cause complications long-term; however, Louis Catorze isn’t aware of this, nor would he give a shit if he knew. As others pointed out, even if he could think long term (or just think, full stop), what the poor little sod probably wants more than anything is to feel better now.

 

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J’adore les stéroïdes

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It’s only been a few days since Louis Catorze’s trip to the vet, but already he is visibly better. His chin feels ugly as hell but it’s clearly healing, and the fur is filling out nicely around his eyes again. His spirits are also lifting, and he’s gradually getting back to being that sparky, chatty, annoying little sod that we know and love (and sometimes want to slap).

The difference in him is so pronounced that Cat Daddy and I have even been talking about the long-term use of steroids and whether they’re really so bad (especially given that the alternative is itchy skin, sore eyes and weeping open wounds). I am under no illusions that a cat like Louis Catorze will live to 20, or even 10, but I would far rather he live a shortish but happy life than a longer life of physical discomfort and depression. (Yes, he really does become depressed when his symptoms are at their worst.) A steroid shot every few months could even negate the need for his Atopica which, whilst non-steroid, is by no means without its long-term problems, too. And, of course, we wouldn’t have to trap, immobilise and syringe him every few days, which would be wonderful (especially as he has figured out how to wriggle free from my iron-fisted scruffing stranglehold – how he learned that is beyond me).

I never liked the idea of steroids before, but seeing my boy looking so much happier is starting to make me wonder. I guess it’s worth a bit of research and a conversation with the vet at some stage? If any of his followers have any steroid tales to tell, whether good or bad, I would love to hear them.

Du bon comportement

Yesterday we took Louis Catorze to the vet because we were worried about the state of his poor, shredded chin.

Luckily he was in a docile and malleable mood because the builders had been over and he’d spent the afternoon trying to snuggle them, so Cat Daddy had no difficulty getting him into La Cage. And, whilst at the vet’s, other than a mild amount of whimpering, Catorze actually behaved himself. No staff were violently assaulted, no blood was drawn, no dignity was lost (this time).

He needed an antibiotic shot, as I suspected, but also a steroid shot to try and calm the itching and inflammation. I don’t like the idea of steroids – in fact, I don’t really like medication, full stop – but it was either that or increase his Atopica syringings to once a day for a few weeks. The process of trapping and medicating him every 2 days is quite horrific as it is, plus the results we’ve seen so far from Atopica are reasonable but not great, so we really didn’t see the sense in imposing further trauma on him (and us).

An alternative to the steroid injection, the vet said, was a course of steroid tablets. Louis Catorze and tablets? Non, non et trois fois non.

There was barely a murmur from Le Roi on the way home and, when we released him from La Cage, astonishingly, he trotted happily out with his tail up. He then spent the rest of the evening cuddled up on the sofa with us. (Cat Daddy just read that bit over my shoulder and muttered, “Yeah, but it’s not gonna bring that £60 vet fee back, is it?” I can’t argue with that.)

I really hope that being such a good boy is a sign that Louis Catorze is feeling better.

La tristesse durera

If Louis Catorze and I were a celebrity couple, we’d have broken up ages ago due to “Conflicting Work Schedules”; we’re simply not home and awake for long enough, and at the same time, to really make the most of each other. However, today, most unusually, he actually wanted to hang out with me during the day. And, because this was the first time in ages that I could look at him in proper daylight (the lighting in Le Château, like Le Roi himself, is not the brightest), I got to see the shocking state of his dear little face. Look away now if you’re in any way squeamish.

His under-chin area is a mass of what looks like both dried and partially-dried blood, and I suspect it needs cleaning but I daren’t try myself for fear of making it worse. Every so often he rubs his chin against my knuckles and whimpers, presumably because it hurts, and, the last time he did this, he rubbed so vigorously that the skin broke and clear fluid went all over my hand. Quite frankly this made me feel ill, but I’d rather he scratched in a controlled way against my soft fingers than in a frenzied way with his sharp claws whilst itch-yelping. Ugh. The sacrifices we make for our “pointless pieces of fur” (which is what Cat Daddy calls Louis Catorze when he’s cross with him).

The only reason I’m not rushing him to an emergency vet right now is because, inexplicably, he’s purring, relaxed and happy to be around me. In fact, he won’t leave me alone. But I think he’s going to have to go to the vet at some point next week.

Please wish him – and the poor veterinary staff – good luck.

On peut détruire ce qu’on a écrit, mais on ne peut pas le déécrire

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Poor Catorze isn’t looking so good these days. His right eye has lost so much fur all the way around that he looks like Alex Delarge from A Clockwork Orange. And, last night, the dreadful itch-yelp returned; this is the ear-splitting sound that he makes when he scratches and breaks the skin.

We’re doing everything as we did in September/October, when he was looking his best, so we have no idea whatsoever why things have turned to merde now. It’s frustrating beyond belief. But the good news is that it’s not affecting his mood in the way it has before; although he’s lost a little of his Chat Noir sparkle, he still manages to find the inclination to cuddle us on the sofa in the evenings. And he has taken to having Post-Meds Cuddles with Cat Daddy whenever he medicates him (whereas I just get claws and teeth when it’s my turn).

We have tried so hard to find a pattern to Louis Catorze’s flare-ups and have failed so far, but this will be the third November in a row which has seen a downturn in his condition. (He wasn’t with us in November 2013 but, having seen the awful photos taken in January 2014, it would make sense that November was around the time things began to slide, to reach their nadir 2 months later.)

There is clearly something in the house or the winter environment that is less present at other times of the year and, whatever it is, it was present both at Le Palais and at his previous foster home too. I just wish I knew what the heck it could be.

Sous mon parapluie, pluie, pluie

This afternoon and evening they issued a severe weather warning in some parts of the U.K.: gales, heavy rain, possible flash flooding, you name it. How typical, then, that Louis Catorze should choose today to slip unseen out of the house whilst Cat Daddy was chaining up his bike outside, and end up stuck out at The (Forbidden) Front for ages.

On my arrival home, after working late, I was greeted by a yowling black cat in the front garden, and I knew immediately that no other cat would be stupid enough to be out in this weather. Luckily for Catorze, when our new media unit arrived we dumped all the packaging temporarily in the front garden, along with the old unit (I know – we’re a classy bunch) so he had been using it as a kind of makeshift Anderson shelter. And it was somewhat reassuring to know that he’d probably been there the whole time and hadn’t felt the slightest inclination to go wandering.

Le Roi is now safe, dry and pitter-pattering about Le Château, chirping and trilling. “It sounds like he’s asking us to switch off the storm so that he can go out,” said Cat Daddy. “Well, even if I could, I wouldn’t. He doesn’t deserve it. He’s a little shit.”

On parle du loup

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Louis Catorze’s new favourite place to sleep is the laundry basket. This is not ideal, by any means, as dead skin cells on dirty clothes are like an all-you-can-eat banquet to dust mites, but I guess it’s slightly preferable to the Forbidden Greenhouse. (I asked Cat Daddy if we could lay a clean towel on top of the pile of clothes in the laundry basket, to prevent Louis Catorze’s body from making contact with the dirty clothes. He said no.)

Unfortunately the allergy is back, in spite of our sustained efforts with the anti-allergy and anti-dust mite measures. The edges of his eyes are starting to look thick, bald and puffy again, and his chin area is quite horrible to look at and touch. On the positive side, it doesn’t seem to be affecting his spirits too much and he’s still managing to drive us insane with his stupid shit.

His latest “thing” is to become super-vocal, and by this I don’t simply mean he meows more: he’s taken to howling when he comes into the room, simply to announce his arrival, and he actually flings his head back with his chin pointing to the sky, like a coyote baying at the moon. It’s quite hilarious to watch at times. Mind you, I wish someone would tell him that 4am is not one of those times. And, naturellement, Louis Catorze won’t do it whilst being filmed.

This week he needs to have a fur sample retested by the bioenergetics company, and his pendant – which I’ve only just found again after he kicked it under the bed – reprogrammed in line with the new results. I don’t know how they will do it or whether it will help, but, as the silly sod has over-scratched and drawn blood yet again, I need to do SOMETHING.