Mon jardin est ton jardin

After a whole morning and a whole afternoon of bending, twisting, swearing, smashing glass and wanting to slash at our own flesh with the broken bits, Cat Daddy and I finally finished assembling the garden furniture. (We were told that it “would bolt together easily”. It did not. Never believe anyone who tells you such rubbish.)

We had a feeling that, before we would have the chance to try it out, a cat would get there first. However, we didn’t expect THIS:

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Cat Daddy’s response was, “At least he did it before we’d put the cushions on.” I say a cheeky sod is a cheeky sod, irrespective of whether his arse is cushioned.

I wonder if there is such a thing as a world record for the greatest sum of money ever spent on a cat tree for someone else’s cat? Ginger Impinger would like to start the bidding at £1199.

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La deuxième prise du château

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This was supposed to be a relaxed and peaceful bank holiday weekend. However, our furry overlords had other ideas: just after I left for work yesterday, Equipe Oscar dealt Equipe Catorze a blistering equaliser. It’s now officially 1-1 in the battle of whatever it is that they’re battling about.

It seems that Louis Catorze finally dépassed la limite and Oscar, having decided that enough was enough, shimmied past the plant pot blockade at the end of his garden and set paw on Roi-occupied domain. After chasing the Sun King into Le Château, Oscar enjoyed not one but several laps of honour around Le Jardin whilst his antagonist watched him through the patio doors.

Dog Daddy tried to retrieve him, but he wouldn’t have it. (Well, have YOU ever succeeded in interrupting a punch-proud dog in the middle of a victory parade, especially when there’s a fence between you?) The more he was called, the more he ignored – so, after some text discussion between a frantic Dog Mamma and myself, Dog Daddy eventually had to let himself into Le Château with their spare keys and haul Oscar’s arse back home.

Cat Daddy more or less slept through the whole thing.

Louis Catorze is utterly unbothered by yesterday’s events, and is continuing to enjoy Le Jardin as much as he ever did. And both we and Oscar’s folks have laughed – a lot – about this. But, just to avoid any possibility of réinvasion, we will be planting a prickly, fast-growing shrub in the area where the perimeter was breached. La sécurité d’abord.

Le nouveau jardin

Life is good at the moment. The bank holiday weekend is almost here, Oscar the dog’s folks are still talking to us, and Cultivate London have just about finished working on Le Jardin (“during” and “after” photos attached).

They are absolute perfectionists and have been doing it all properly, taking out every trace of cruddy old plants and putting fancy new stuff down. We now have a lovely selection of flowers and herbs for Louis Catorze to dig up and/or chew, and the little sod has already started on the mint: yesterday he regurgitated a whole, intact mint sprig, complete with leaves and flower buds.

Le Roi has been a constant companion/pest to the gardeners throughout their labours, inspecting everything, flirting and rolling at their feet.

I was initially concerned that they would get impatient with notre ami, and I could understand that maybe they wouldn’t want a stupid, annoying cat getting in their way. However, when I heard them greet him with “Hello again, mate!”, and when they proceeded to give me a detailed account of how much time he’d spent outside, which plants he’d sniffed and which spot he’d visited for les toilettes royales, I knew it was probably ok. (They didn’t call it “les toilettes royales” though.)

The fact that he’s so friendly is, no doubt, because people have been kind to him throughout his life. What a lucky little Roi he is.

Le dîner chez Oscar

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This weekend we were invited to dinner by Oscar the dog’s folks.

When we lived at Le Palais, Louis Catorze used to take a “Ta maison est ma maison” approach: if we were invited to dinner by neighbours he would hop over the fence and join us. (Yes, he would actually come INTO the house and have a good old explore as we dined.) We were curious to see what would happen if our hosts had a pet, and suspected it would go one way or the other. In this case it was the other.

This is how the first part of our evening panned out:

19:50 – Arrive
19:51 – Drinks in garden
19:52 – Oscar spots Louis Catorze through the fence and the barking starts
19:54 – Louis Catorze spots us, has a brief ” … the hell are you doing THERE?” moment, then continues to stare at Oscar, who continues to bark
19:55 – Dog Daddy hauls Oscar’s arse into the house
20:00 – Louis Catorze seizes his chance and crosses the border
20:01 to 20:15 – Lots of meowing, rolling and nuzzling as Louis Catorze can’t quite believe his luck: not only has he taken control of enemy territory and banished his foe, but he has succeeded in getting his foe’s humans to stroke him
20:16 – Louis Catorze climbs onto the roof of Oscar’s folks’ summer house
20:17 – With Catorze safely out of reach, Dog Mamma and Dog Daddy let Oscar back out again
20:18 to 20:23 – 5 minutes of Oscar frantically searching every inch of the garden like a truffling pig, utterly flummoxed as to how he could smell a cat yet not see it, whilst Louis Catorze observes him from his lofty perch (see photo)
20:24 – Idiot Catorze meows and gives away his hiding place
20:24 plus 1 second – Upon hearing the meow, Oscar’s head whips round like one of the velociraptors from Jurassic Park
20:24 plus 2 seconds – All hell breaks loose with Oscar, now white-hot with rage, bouncing up and down in an attempt to reach Le Roi
20:25 – Dog Daddy hauls Oscar’s arse back into the house and, at the same time, the mighty Sun King, ruler of nations and commander of armies, realises he can’t get down from the roof, so he is plucked to safety by Cat Daddy and tossed undignifiedly back over the fence to his rightful side of the border
20:26 – Peace

It did get better after the separation of the warring factions. But the jury is still out as to whether we will be invited back.

Les ballons d’or

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Cat Daddy says he doesn’t believe me when I tell him that Ginger Impinger is not neutered.

There are two very clear pieces of evidence proving my argument, but he thinks I have imagined them. I was a little insulted at his assumption; I know my balls and I know that GI’s are very much present (although maybe I shouldn’t have said it quite like that to him). But, without photo evidence, and without encouraging GI too close for comfort, I can’t prove that I am right.

I think that Cat Daddy, like a lot of men, feels queasy at the idea of neutering and equates it to castration in human males; whenever I raise the subject of GI and his balls, he crosses his legs and changes the subject. But there’s no escaping the fact that every vet on the planet is in favour of neutering, not only because it keeps down the population of stray cats but also because neutered cats are less likely to wander or fight. They may even be less prone to disease, including certain types of cancer, if neutered.

The thing is that, although neutering a cat is the responsible and humane thing to do, it’s not a legal requirement. Telling GI’s folks to neuter him would be akin to telling a parent how to raise their child (although there are many times when I have wanted to do that, too). Yet he shouldn’t really be out and about with his bits still on; even if he doesn’t happen to meet any unneutered females outdoors, I can well imagine him having the culot to break into houses to seek them out.

So my threefold mission is to somehow find out where the little sod lives, befriend his humans and bring about the subject of neutering in a roundabout yet tactful way. Quel travail.

Au secours!

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Having spoken to another lady whose cat has regular steroid shots, I have discovered that some shots just “take” well but others don’t. It seems there’s no reason for it, and that it’s just the way things are.

To give you a picture of exactly what I mean, imagine last month’s steroid shot as watered-down lager, whereas last week’s one is more like absinthe with a sprinkling of amphetamines. Louis Catorze is behaving just like a bloke doing shots on a stag night, all shouty and annoying, lurching around like he owns the world.

He hasn’t stopped screaming since the day after the shot, and has been waking us up early in the morning for no reason whatsoever. He has a ferocious appetite, the like of which I’ve never seen before. And I’ve just had to move darned fast to stop him from launching himself at my feet and embedding a layer of cat hair in my not-quite-dry nail varnish.

His thinning fur is filling out beautifully, he has no scabs and his coat looks thick and glossy, not that this is of any consequence as he’s constantly rolling in dirt (see picture) and covering himself in crud again. We’re exhausted from listening to him and from the lack of sleep and, quite frankly, at times we’re scared witless.

Please send ear plugs, a cattle prod and holy water to TW8 tout de suite.

On se méfie

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We decided not to bathe Le Roi after all.

Well … when I say “decided not to”, I mean “were too scared to”. You’ve read about The Vet Incidents, therefore you know full well what a horror he can be. So, instead, we asked the vet’s advice when we took the little sod for his monthly steroid shot yesterday.

Between all Louis Catorze’s whining, struggling and kicking, the vet suggested that we sponge him down with plain water if he became too grotty. She also added tactfully, “The only problem with washing cats is that some of them don’t tolerate it.” Which is polite vet speak for, “Try it, and you will die.” Oh dear.

In other vet news, the next fun medical event in Catorze’s life, in a couple of months’ time, will be a blood test to check how his body is handling the steroids. Our vet knows what to expect and is preparing her battle gear already.