Je m’occupe de Maman

Can cats feel love? If they could speak, I doubt very much that they would be able to agree on what love is – after all, humans don’t. But Louis Catorze, who is usually a confirmed non-giver of shits, shocked me senseless this weekend by showing a sweet side of him that I have never seen before. (Cat Daddy says he sees it all the time, when they have Boys’ Club together after I’ve gone to bed. Good for him/them.)

Yesterday morning I slipped and fell on the stairs. (Mum, if you’re reading this, don’t worry: I AM FINE.) To my utter astonishment, the first person on the scene was Louis Catorze, who came hurtling through the cat flap upon hearing my scream and hovered around me, sniffing and nuzzling. He then pitter-pattered upstairs to his daddy, and my first thought was, “Typical: even in my hour of need, he’d rather be with his favourite human.”

But it turned out that the little sausage had actually gone to get help. Cat Daddy had been awakened by my yelp but later told me that Louis Catorze had been bouncing around the bed, seeming agitated. This photo shows nothing more than an incidental yawn, but I like to think Louis Catorze is screaming, “Papaaaaaa! Au secooooooours!”

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“How weird that he heard you from outside, and that he came to fetch me,” Cat Daddy said.

And not only that but, having successfully alerted his daddy, he also pitter-pattered back downstairs and hung around to see how I was.

So, whilst I don’t know whether cats can feel love, it seems that even thick ones are capable of thinking, “You may only be my second favourite human, but I still want you to be ok.”

J’adore rouler

As you know, after what happened to our darling Luther, we are very nervous about Louis Catorze being allowed out at The Front. However, recently he’s ramped up his efforts to escape in a big way: previously he used to bolt the minute anyone opened the door, but now he actually tries to trick us by casually and disinterestedly lounging when we open the door, waiting until our guard drops and THEN bolting. So clearly he’s not so thick.

Recently we’ve started to allow him very limited, supervised Front sessions on days when the traffic is quiet. My reasons for doing so are because I fear that the silly sod will accidentally end up stuck out there one day, and will be too stupid to know where his home is. Cat Daddy, on the other hand, is more concerned about the cultural enrichment of his boy; in fact, I have a video of him holding Louis Catorze up to the front window and saying, “There’s a whole world out there, Louis. I wish you’d take more of an interest in your surroundings!” (I can’t post the video here because Cat Daddy becomes exasperated with his boy’s inertia and says a rude word at the end.)

Unfortunately, the supervised access to The Front hasn’t really enhanced Catorze’s quality of life so far, because he doesn’t take the time to look; all he does is run outside chirping, roll around on the cold concrete (I KNOW) and come in again.

Cat Daddy filmed him recently (a still from that film is attached below), demonstrating that, quite frankly, they are both weirdos. I am just thankful that nobody wandering past saw either of them.

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Les puces

This is my 100th blog post! I’m quite astounded that an ordinary black cat who doesn’t do much has inspired me to write 100 times (and Cat Daddy says he is, too). To mark this auspicious event, what better subject matter than … flea treatment. Quel charme!

“Flea treatment?” said Cat Daddy, looking perplexed. “FLEA TREATMENT? As it’s your 100th post, shouldn’t you write about something … you know … a bit nicer?”

“Such as what?”

“Well, what has Louis done this week? Anything interesting or new?”

Silence, then tumbleweed, then crickets. So flea treatment it is.

If you’ve been following Le Blog since the beginning, you will know about Louis Catorze and tablets. Yes, I know. So you can imagine my joy when some clever person invented Broadline, an anti-worm and anti-flea combo-solution in liquid form that can be dropped onto the back of the neck and that negates the need for worming pills.

Catorze is pretty good with dropper-style flea treatment, due to being so thick that he has no idea it’s happening, even mid-splurge. Occasionally he gives me the look as if to say, “Erm, excuse-moi … did you just …?” but then reverts to, “Nah, never mind.”

The first thing that struck me about the Broadline was the size of the applicator: it’s like a snooker cue. There is zéro chance of hiding it in one hand and discreetly sidling up to Catorze, as I was able to do with the teeny tiny Advocate tube; he’s thick, but he’s not blind (although we did once have to get the vet to confirm, as we were genuinely unsure).

And, whilst the quantity of liquid claimed to be just 0.9ml, it looked like rather a lot. Oh dear.

Application time came and, as expected, Louis Catorze noticed and wasn’t hugely pleased. But he didn’t run and hide: in fact, he came into the living room and snuggled us both afterwards.

Here he is, with that telltale neck smear:

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Someone suggested recently that perhaps Louis Catorze was FINALLY coming around to the fact that we do all these things to try to help him. I really hope this is true – although I suspect that he was actually trying to rub the Broadline off onto us.

Papa est déçu

Last week Cat Daddy ordered a trendy little drinks trolley from a swish furniture website, and, ever since, he has been going on and on about it to anyone who cares (and a few people who don’t).

This morning he had to pop into work for a bit, and he came home with a huge package in his arms. “It’s here!” he cried, unable to contain his joy. “And, would you believe, the delivery driver arrived at work just as I was leaving! How about that for good timing?” He grabbed a pair of sharp scissors, sliced deftly through the sticky tape and pulled the lid open.

Inside the box was not a drinks trolley, but an enormous sack of Acana Pacifica cat biscuits.

Cat Daddy’s face crumpled and dropped. “What?” he faltered. “This?”

“Erm, didn’t you wonder why it was rattling so much when you were carrying it home?” I asked, pretending to wipe my nose with a big tissue to hide my laughter.

“Well, yes,” he replied, “but I thought it was just the polystyrene packaging Wotsits shaking around. I can’t believe I just carried THIS all the way home!” He sank onto the sofa, still in disbelief at the magnitude of this disappointment; never have I seen such utter heartbreak on his face.

And Louis Catorze couldn’t have chosen a better/worse moment to pitter-patter into the kitchen, tail aloft, sniff the sack of food and promptly pitter-patter out again, as if to say, “Merci pour l’effort, Papa, but you needn’t have bothered.”

I wanted to take a picture of the parcel and post it here, but Cat Daddy got all cross when I suggested it and I wasn’t allowed. But, before he was able to chuck the packaging out, I caught Le Roi exploring it:

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No doubt when the trolley arrives – date to be confirmed – there will be further photos, this time with Catorze perched elegantly on top. (Cat Daddy got cross when I said that, too.)

Quelle est cette odeur agréable?

Curious things are afoot once again at Le Château: last week, Louis Catorze trotted in through the cat flap, tail aloft, smelling from top to toe of lime essential oil, and he’s smelled of it ever since.

We pondered the following possible explanations:

1. He has been rubbing up against some sort of strange plant.
2. Someone who uses lime-scented body lotion or perfume has been snuggling him during the day, whilst we are at work.
3. He’s annoyed the crap out of some poor person, who has sprayed their surroundings with an anti-cat concoction after reading that cats hate citrus.

We like to think it’s option 2. But, knowing Louis Catorze, it’s far more likely to be option 3. We can understand someone being exasperated with him to the point of desperate measures; we know that feeling very well. And, judging by the lime dearth in the supermarket, it seems that Catorze is displeasing either all of the people some of the time, or some of the people all of the time:

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Not that any of this bothers him in the slightest; he’s kite-high on his steroid shot so, to be quite honest, we could dunk him in anything right now and he wouldn’t notice or care. And it’s made cuddling him in bed so much more pleasant.

A friend of mine asked me how I felt about someone else snuggling Louis Catorze when we’re not around. I guess some people may not feel at ease with this, but, as long as he’s happy and he’s not being given any food, I don’t mind. I even thought about Sellotaping his Atopica and syringe to his body, with a polite note asking the unknown snuggler, while they’re about it, if they’d kindly oblige. Deux oiseaux, and all that.

The same friend also asked how I felt about the idea of someone spraying citrus all over the place to keep Catorze out. Cat Daddy chimed in, “If he’s even HALF as annoying to them as he is to us, I’ll hand them the spray myself.” Right.

I don’t suppose Le Mystère du Citron Vert will ever be solved – Roi mysteries never are, #becauseRoi – but, for now, I shall take heart in the fact that he’s never smelled better. Lime with a hint of flowers certainly beats his usual aroma of overripe-Brie-meets-dead-sheep.

Où est mon argent?

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I have a week off work, and I was so looking forward to sleeping late and drinking tea in bed with my 2 boys. Sadly, Catorze had other plans.

This morning we were woken at 8:00 by yelling (not for any real purpose, just for fun), then again 30 minutes later by the postman banging on the door to deliver a package that wouldn’t fit through the letterbox. When I went back upstairs to bed, Cat Daddy rolled over and murmured sleepily, “What was in the package? Don’t tell me it was more shit for that bloody cat?”

I did as he asked and refrained from telling him.

The “shit for that bloody cat” turned out to be anti-flea treatment and a further supply of Atopica, accompanied by an invoice for £103. We’re quite used to seeing enormous Catorze-related bills, so I wasn’t too concerned by this initially. But, when I transferred the £103 from our savings account into my current account to pay the invoice, I realised that le royal sick fund had definitely seen healthier days.

During the reign of Luther – who was once described by the vet as “a picture of health” – the fund flourished and grew to in excess of £800, because Luther never needed veterinary treatment apart from his routine booster jabs. His little brother, on the other hand, halved the fund within 18 months, and now it contains under £300. When I told Cat Daddy how much was left, he called Louis Catorze a rude, unrepeatable name and grumpily agreed that we would need to double up the monthly standing orders going from our current accounts into the sick fund.

I realise that this must sound like a request for money, but rest assured that it really isn’t. So please don’t donate to us or collect money on our behalf*, firstly because we knew what we were getting into when we took Catorze on, but also because he is one of the lucky ones whose slaves can just about manage. I have already mentioned elsewhere on this blog that cats cost money, but it’s worth repeating – and, whilst I would never discourage anyone from taking on a special needs cat, anyone considering it needs to hear the harsh truth about the cost.

The good news is that, if you take on a cat with known medical issues, the rescue centre will almost always offer discounted or free aftercare treatment; for instance, we get reduced-price Atopica if we buy it from Louis Catorze’s ex-rescue (yes, the eye-watering sum of £103 INCLUDED our discount!). If you’re struggling with a new diagnosis for a sick kitty, it’s always worth approaching rescues and animal charities and asking about cost-price medication, even if your cat came from elsewhere.

*Lilly’s Legacy, on the other hand, is a rescue group that helps stray and missing cats and is in desperate need of funding. If you would like to make a donation to cats who are genuinely in need, their PayPal account address is lillyslegacy@hotmail.com

Le Roi nous fait chier

On dark, cold, moonless nights with howling winds, most people have the sense to remain indoors, especially if they’re not well. I, however, decided last night to leave the toasty-warm cocoon of Le Château and haul a protesting, itchy black cat to the vet for his steroid shot.

The vet is a lovely lady who is sweet to Catorze and talks to him gently in her cat lady voice, and, the last time we saw her, whilst he didn’t exactly behave impeccably, he did allow her to live. We were full of confidence about this visit as Le Roi is generally fine with injections; it’s the meticulous examination of orifices and membranes that he finds objectionable (can’t say I blame him), and that wasn’t on the agenda for the evening.

Luckily we’d got him there at about the right time, just as his condition was starting to turn but before it had reached the grimness of broken skin, weeping wounds and scabs. And that fact was pretty much the only positive.

Louis Catorze decided that, yes, he may well have tolerated les injections before, but that was before. This time he had changed his mind, struggling, kicking and hissing as if demonically possessed, with the three of us barely managing to contain him. The injection finally succeeded on the third or fourth attempt, with Louis Catorze fighting so hard that the needle came out bent at an angle. (I wanted a photo but refrained from asking in case it sounded insensitive.)

We couldn’t understand what had gone wrong. The vet suggested that perhaps Louis Catorze had been taken by surprise by the previous month’s shot, whereas this time he was recalling what had happened before and steeling himself for it. If this is true, it doesn’t bode well for what I had hoped would be dignified trips to the vet in lieu of thrice-weekly Atopica assaults. There is, apparently, the option of giving the injection under the skin as opposed to deep within the muscle (which is the painful bit), but it’s not as effective; if we’re bothering to drag his arse there and jab a needle into him, we may as well do it properly.

Little sod’s short-term memory appeared to work in his favour upon our return home; he trotted out of La Cage, up-tailed, and, ever since, has been happily pitter-pattering in and out of the house, annoying Oscar the dog, having cuddles on the bed and so on. I wish his treatment were as simple as his outlook on life.