La liberté de la presse

Cats and newspapers. Every single time. WHY? I wish I knew what they put in the ink/paper to make newspapers such irresistibly comfortable cat mats.

But, of course, this never happens with old newspapers lying around, nor with ones that you’re not interested in reading. It only happens when you are mid-read and completely gripped by the civil war report (or sex scandal – depending on the calibre of the newspaper).

Cat Daddy thought he’d successfully outfoxed Louis Catorze by keeping a second newspaper handy and deploying that each time the first was sat upon, but the second newspaper is never as good as the first. It is invariably an older copy which Cat Daddy has already read from cover to cover, therefore something of a compromise read. I once suggested that he buy 2 copies of the same newspaper each time he visits the newsagent, but that didn’t go down too well; I got the same look that I get when he catches me putting ice cubes into le royal wine glass on a hot day.

So, unless you are ungallant enough to just shove the cat off, I guess there is no solution to the problem. Not even Cat Daddy is prepared to go that far. The last photo shows him delicately lifting his dear boy’s paws to read underneath them:

Le jeu de trônes

Today’s entry is dedicated to Rachel, a much-loved follower of Le Blog. She was drily witty, interested in people and had the unique skill of making every person feel that their cat was the best and most fascinating cat in the world – yes, even mine, which is quite some feat. Rachel, you would relate to this, especially as your kitties would always sit on things that they weren’t meant to sit on: the clothes that you had put aside for the charity shop, your wheelchair, your pillow (without tucking the tail around the arse – ugh) and so on. We miss you and hope that, wherever you may be, you are happy and surrounded by maddening, shouty, delightful cats. (With tucked tails.)

Good news: we have found a way of stopping Louis Catorze from scratching the footstool. Bad news: we have had to surrender it to him as a cat throne. So now he has a total of THREE cat thrones: 2 outdoor ones, of which Le Roi needs both at once, and the new indoor one. See below for both:

It really was the only solution. Imagine you had the inclination to destroy some brand new furniture: would you destroy your own, or someone else’s? Exactly. Even Louis Catorze has the brains to figure out that trashing your own stuff is stupid; since the footstool officially became la propriété de la monarchie, it hasn’t been scratched once.

Sometimes Le Roi graciously allows Cat Daddy to rest his feet on it, but only if he can sleep on Cat Daddy’s outstretched legs.

Think of it as a quid pro quo but with a slightly selfish bias: “quid pro”, maybe.

Or perhaps even just “quid”.

Les poils d’enfer

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Forget about the Rio Olympics, and forget about chasing Pokemon(s). (Do you add an “s” or is there one noun for both singular and plural, like fish and sheep?)

Here at Le Château we have had our own challenge of physical and mental endeavour: daily brushing of a certain someone who had been looking a bit scruffy and ragged at the start of the summer. (Cat Daddy has just read this and said, “You’d better put that it’s Louis Catorze, in case everyone thinks it’s me.”)

We were spoilt with Luther because, being a Bombay, he didn’t shed. So we never had to brush him, ever. Not so with Le Roi; he moults like crazy, and brushing him is the second most miserable experience imaginable (the first being giving him pills).

Brushing Louis Catorze tests all these components in a way that no Olympic sport ever could:

– Speed, as I try to catch the little sod
– Strength, as I grab hold of the little sod
– Endurance, as I attempt to keep hold of the little sod whilst also trying to brush him
– Super-sharp reflexes, as I dodge the kicks and the Freddy Krueger slasher claws

Of course, when Cat Daddy brushes him, the scenario is rather different:

– One or two unremarkable squeaks
– Cuddles for daddy afterwards

It’s just not fair, is it?

“Maybe he just doesn’t like the way you brush him,” suggested Cat Daddy, helpfully. “He never misbehaves when I do it.”

Très bien pour lui. What does he want: a medal?

(He didn’t get one. But what he did get is the permanent role of Gardien de la Brosse Royale; if he’s so darned good, he can show the rest of us how it’s done.)

Le dimanche sanglant

Whilst last Sunday was officially Olympic Sensational Sunday to most British people, to Cat Daddy and me it will always be known as Le Jour du Rat.

This morning we were talking about the psychology behind cats’ offerings and why they bring them even if they’re well-fed. Some of the theories are as follows:

1. It’s part of an involuntary natural instinct
2. They are gifts borne out of love
3. Cats think we are rubbish hunters, so are attempting to show us how it ought to be done
4. Cats are little shits

What’s puzzling us about RatGate – apart from the rat’s curly hair, which appears to be bothering many Roi followers at the moment – is that the rat looked as if it had been dead for a little while. So … had Louis Catorze killed it ages ago, stored it in some unknown place and then artfully plated it up for his papa, like a Masterchef finalist presenting a piece of 21-day hung steak?

Or – and this is more likely – had the fox killed it and saved it for later, and was Catorze passing off the fox’s efforts as his own?

Either way, I remain traumatised by the whole event, replaying it in my mind over and over again. However, something tells me that Cat Daddy may have moved on:

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A bon chat, bon rat

Just like pre-baked jacket potatoes, cycling superhighways and selfie sticks, outdoor sofas are one of those things that seem like a good idea at the time. But, if you have a cat, you may need to rethink your plans to get one. Outdoor sofas can get covered in all sorts of undesirable matter: paw prints, cat hair, dead rats, that kind of thing. And guess which one of the three greeted Cat Daddy this morning, when he went outside to enjoy his first cup of tea of the day?

When he broke the happy news to me, for some reason I felt the need to go and look to make sure he was telling the truth. He was. There, on his favourite spot on the sofa, was a large, curly-haired (nope, neither have we), 3-legged rat.

(Don’t worry: Cat Daddy found the other leg later.)

There was also evidence that a fox had been in Le Jardin but, from what I have learned about foxes’ hunting habits during the 5+ solid hours that I have since spent Googling the subject, leaving prey behind on a raised rostrum isn’t their style. Although it’s quite possible that a fox killed the rat, the podium presentation has Louis Catorze written all over it.

Whilst I shrank into a corner, weeping quietly and rocking back and forth, Cat Daddy remained admirably stoical as he grabbed the gloves, spade and bin bags. I would dispute his theory that “if Louis Catorze had really done it, he would have brought the rat indoors.” No: he didn’t bring it indoors because he COULDN’T (although I bet he gave it his best shot). This thing was at least 30cm long from nose to tail, and probably a good 1/3 of the little sod’s own body weight. And it certainly explains why he was curiously absent for much of last night instead of snuggling up with us and watching the heptathlon and the long jump.

So the outdoor sofa cushion covers are drying outside and our bed linen is next, because we doubt that notre ami mutuel washed his paws this morning before tricking us into unsuspecting bed cuddles.

Here he is, looking very sorry for all the bother he has caused, with stuff on his face that I really hope are cobwebs but I expect they are some sort of nasty rat granules.

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Le revenant

Last night Cat Daddy, Louis Catorze and I stayed up late and sat outside to watch the Perseid meteor shower.

Whilst Catorze very often sleeps late when we do, on this occasion, unusually, it wasn’t with us, and there was no sign of him when we woke up. Not long after Cat Daddy had left for work, I heard peals of meowing at The Back which I can only describe as joyful; then Louis Catorze appeared, closely followed by his cher copain, Ginger Impinger.

It would appear that the little sods had decided to make a night of it, then my boy had invited his buddy back for a hangover fry-up/croissant and some sugary tea/chocolat chaud. I now know how my mum used to feel when I would say, “Mum, can Tracy stay for dinner?” with Tracy hovering hopefully in front of her, shifting awkwardly from foot to foot and looking at my mum in such a way that she couldn’t really say no.

Whilst there wasn’t much that would change Tracy’s mind about staying, GI saw me and decided that it wasn’t really what he’d signed up for. The photo shows the exact moment when he said, “Aw, dude, your mum’s here! That’s, like, SO not cool!” and even Le Roi appears to be thinking, “Merde – WHY does she have to embarrass me?” So GI was off, and that was that.

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And, for those who are interested, yes, he still has his bits but, curiously, his collar is absent, presumed lost. What a funny, enigmatic kitty he is.

Renaissant des cendres

Cat Daddy and I drove past the vet surgery today.

We both remarked on how strange it was to pass it and not stop by, given that, not so long ago, we were there so often that we’d thought about taking Louis Catorze and our sleeping bags and just living there. Then Cat Daddy said, “Maybe they think Louis has gone to cat heaven.”

Seigneur Dieu!

“Well, we haven’t been in for 3 months. Surely this must have occurred to you?” he continued.

Not once. Not for a minute. But, now that I think about it, I guess that’s exactly what they might have thought. And I don’t suppose it’s common practice for vets to phone and ask after pets that they haven’t seen in a while, mainly because they’re too busy but also just in case they HAVE passed away and the conversation takes an awkward or upsetting turn.

So the first thing I did when we got back was to email the vet and explain that Louis Catorze was very much alive and well. And now she knows that her days of being shouted at and kicked in the face by him are not over by any means.

I bet that has brightened her day no end. And here he is, wearing his best “Je reviendrai” face:

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