La chasse de trésor

Cat Daddy is back after his 2-week business trip to the States, and he came home laden with gifts including this fabulous cushion cover.

imageI had a feeling that his return would either calm Louis Catorze down a little or send him into an even more excitable and annoying frenzy. I was right about one of those.

The little sod won’t leave his papa alone and has been yelling, climbing all over him and staring at him with crazed, psycho eyes. And, as we all know, some cats are known to bring gifts to staff on such occasions as returning after an absence, but Le Roi has taken it a step further and has devised a sort of twisted treasure hunt.

On the morning of Cat Daddy’s return, I had to clean 2 perfectly round, 5p-sized drops of fresh blood from our bedroom floor. There were no other smears or trails, just 2 solitary drops. Yet a thorough inspection of Louis Catorze – well, as thorough an inspection as he would allow without slicing me up – revealed that he was neither hurt nor in distress.

This could only mean that the blood came from another entity. And there was every chance that this entity could be somewhere within the walls of Le Château.

My mistake was cleaning up the blood before Cat Daddy had seen it because, bien sûr, he didn’t believe me when I told him about it. His theory is that it could have been nail varnish (?), ignoring my protests of “But I only own 1 bottle of nail varnish and it’s glittery silver, not red” and the rather more pertinent “I think I know the difference between nail varnish and blood.”

So this thing, whatever it may be, remains unknown and unfound, despite our best efforts (or, rather, MY best efforts, as Cat Daddy refused to help me look for an imaginary corpse that had shed imaginary blood). And I know that, if we fail to find it by sight, in time it will deploy the next clue: the come-hither stench of death, to help us locate it by smell. Let’s hope Cat Daddy finds it before I do.

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Plus claire la lumière, plus sombre l’obscurité

What a week it’s been at Le Château. Events include a grovelling apology from me to Ocado on behalf of you-know-who (pretty sure it should be you-know-whom?), a reply from Ocado claiming the right to hazard pay for their traumatised drivers (I think they were only half-joking), and another somewhat unfortunate incident.

On Wednesday night there was a knock at the door at 10:30pm: Marius-Olivian driving the Lemon van, a whole week early?

However, when I checked my Ocado order again I realised that he was actually on time, and that I had messed up: I’d accidentally booked the delivery for this week instead of next week. So, not only was there no room in the fridge for the food because I hadn’t sufficiently run down supplies, but Cat Daddy was still away and there was a greater risk of Catorze-Ocado carnage.

Naturellement, as soon as I opened the door, notre ami shot out and began sniffing around the Ocado crates, getting in the way of Marius-Olivian as he was unloading. He called out, “Go back in, kitty!” Louis Catorze took no notice.

After Marius-Olivian left, waving Catorze a jaunty goodbye as he did so, I felt somewhat relieved; getting in the way of the unloading, whilst not very helpful, wasn’t nearly as bad as him sending yet another driver fleeing in fear. But, alas, the night was not over. It was at that point that the little sod discovered the motion-activated porch light at Bert the dog’s house next door, and the next few minutes went something like this:

1. Cat activates light
2. I reach to grab him
3. He scuttles off out of reach and refuses to be caught
4. I turn around to go indoors
5. Cat activates light again
(Repeat indefinitely, or until one party collapses from frustration and fatigue.)

I couldn’t just go to bed and leave him to annoy yet another set of neighbours – he’s already made us quite unpopular enough – so I was forced to wait until he had finished his game. And he only decided to stop after hearing the local fox’s mating/war cry (still not sure which) and having the uncharacteristically good sense to realise that, if he didn’t come in, he might be eaten.

I can’t cope with this monster on my own. Thank goodness there is only 1 more sleep until Cat Daddy comes home.

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Une livraison spéciale

When you order groceries online from Ocado, there’s a section at the end where customers can warn delivery drivers of potential hazards – steps, thorny shrubs, excitable dogs, that kind of thing. I never imagined I would ever need to write anything, but Louis Catorze’s love of boys – Ocado drivers are almost always male – has taken his nuisance level to new heights lately.

We had a delivery at the weekend and normally the little sod is very pleased indeed to see Ocado drivers but, this time, presumably because Cat Daddy has been away for a few days and he has been deprived of male company as a result, he totally lost his shit. As soon as I opened the door to unsuspecting Deyan driving the Apple van, Catorze decided to race in and out of the door and thunder up and down the stairs multiple times. It’s surprising how loud a 3.5kg cat on bare floorboards can be.

Deyan had clearly never seen anything like it, commenting that the cat was going crazy; then, after going through my receipt and taking my plastic bags back, he made a swift exit. And this is not the first time we have had such an experience: in the past I have had to apologise to quite a few other Ocado drivers including Amil driving the Onion van, who glimpsed a furry cat toy that notre ami had dropped in the hallway and thought it was a rat, and Gary, also driving the Apple van, whom Le Roi almost tripped up in his haste to snuggle him.

One day, Ocado will be able to just turn up, deliver in peace and leave, but I don’t think that day will be anytime soon. In the meantime, I think this wording should cover all eventualities:

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Rouler par terre

I often read about other cats and their humans’ struggle to administer the flea medication, and I am usually lucky with my boy because he’s too daft to see it coming.

However, Louis Catorze has found a breathtakingly annoying way of getting his own back: once he’s been splurged with the stinky, sticky fluid, he races upstairs and rolls it off onto our clothes and/or sheets.

If we shut all internal doors, and if it’s dry outside, he races outside and rolls it off onto our patio. The rolling not only smears our patio with ugly, oily marks, but the dirt sticks to his damp fur … and then he pitter-patters back indoors and rolls off the revolting grease-dirt combo onto our clothes and/or sheets.

This picture sums up both the horror of it all and the ambivalence of the little sod.

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And, sadly, short of putting him in a box for 24 hours following his treatment, I see no solution to the problem. How do you deal with your furry overlords and flea treatment? Right now I’m quite envious of anyone whose cat flees to an unknown outdoor location and remains there until dusk (by which time the fur is dry).

La patrouille de France

Ever since Le Jour du Rat, rather than snuggling up with us all evening, Louis Catorze has been spending increasing amounts of time outdoors. We initially didn’t pay too much attention to this, assuming he was relaxing on one/both of his outdoor cat thrones. However, a few days ago we discovered that he is not sleeping, nor even horizontal, but upright and wide awake. And he sits staring for hours at the same spot (a gap under the fence that separates Le Château from the school at the back).

I know that stance; I recognise it from the Luther administration. It turns out that Louis Catorze is not being lazy, antisocial or whatever: in actual fact, the little sod is on Rodent Duty. Although I have not (yet) seen him haul any (more) rodents through the gap, I know that this is what’s going on.

Oh Seigneur.

His big brother Luther once brought in a mouse and it lived happily in our kitchen for months; this meant many, many nights of duty, with Luther sitting patiently, eyes glued the spot under the kitchen unit. Friends eventually started placing bets on when he would catch Mousey – yes, actual bets with actual money – with one person believing he wouldn’t do so for THREE YEARS. Luckily it wasn’t quite as long as that (although it felt like it).

The only thing that distracts Louis Catorze from his sentry post is me getting my phone out to photograph him; as soon as he sees it he runs towards me, chirping and trilling. So the photos that you see are actually of Luther, cool and resolute, thinking, “You’re going to have to come out sooner or later, Mousey. I’ve got time.”

And, eventually, Mousey did come out and was caught. I hope Catorze will not have the same success.

Pas de nouvelles, pas de nouvelles

What an insane week it’s been at Le Château: I am back at work after a whole summer off, Cat Daddy has been away on business and is preparing to go again next week, we’ve had a dead mouse in the bathroom and Le Roi’s booster jabs were due today.

But the one piece of great news is that, because Louis Catorze is not any medication at the moment, he was able to go to our local vet and have a standard vaccine, rather than enduring a 90-minute round trip to the rescue centre vet for the special non-live vaccine that only they can supply. Until now he’s had to have that because Atopica isn’t compatible with standard booster injections and so, unsurprisingly, I opted for the 90-minute round trip rather than risk a freakishly psycho FrankenRoi. It feels like a luxury not to have to do that anymore.

“I wonder if the vet will compliment him on his appearance?” I shouted in the car, so that I could be heard over Catorze’s screaming. “He’s looking really good at the moment.”

“Yeah, but it’s all relative,” Cat Daddy yelled back. “Of all the cats that she sees, where do you think he would rank on a scale from 1 to 10?”

Silence, tumbleweed, crickets. Even Catorze shut up at that point.

Anyway, after Louis Catorze’s initial “Quoi? Here again? I thought we were done with this place?” everything went ok. He has beefed up to a whopping 3.49kg, which came as a surprise to the vet as cats usually LOSE weight during a break from steroids. There was the usual yelling and swearing (from him) when his ears were examined, and the procedure had to be aborted when he unveiled an ingenious new trick: bending forward and wedging his head between his thighs so that his ears were inaccessible. (Imagine a cat preparing to do a forward roll but not actually rolling, and just remaining in a tight ball. Little sod.)

We’re home now and the post-vet sulk appears to be a thing of the past, with Louis Catorze instantly forgiving us (or forgetting) and happily pitter-pattering about our feet. I hope this peace is a taste of the weekend to come; we could all do with it.

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Le personnel domestique est de retour

Cat Daddy and I have been away for a few days; this was our first mini-holiday in years, due in part to my inconsistent health but also to the fact that Louis Catorze used to require medication every other day, and we didn’t think it fair to make a neighbour or a cat sitter do battle with him. We returned home on Friday to a strikingly glossy, healthy-looking Roi who was delighted to see his daddy again. (Me, not so much.)

Oscar the dog’s folks looked after him magnificently well in our absence, and we are super-grateful to them. (They came here to feed him, obviously; he didn’t go and live with them, although part of me thinks it would have been funny to try it.) Not only were we able to go away with peace of mind, knowing that the little sod would be loved, but their kindness also meant I didn’t have to write the embarrassing advert: “Wanted: cat sitter for tiny black cat with annoying voice that could strip paint. Must be prepared to referee turf wars with dogs and dispose of rats, birds, slugs and other assorted wildlife, living, dead or somewhere between the two.”

As you can see, normal service has very much resumed, with both daddy-love and newspaper impingement in progress. And Cat Daddy has come up with a solution to the newspaper problem: take advantage of the lack of binding or staples in a newspaper and separate it as soon as you see the cat approaching. Just make sure you end up with the decent half, and that the cat sits on the boring property bit.

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