La sortie d’Halloween

As Halloween approaches, cat freaks the world over debate that all-important question: should we keep our usually-outdoor cats under house arrest on the night of the 31st?

My responses are as follows: do you trust your neighbourhood and its residents? And do you trust your cat? We are lucky enough to be able to give a yes to the former but, sadly, it’s a “Hell, no” to the latter; Louis Catorze ignores the rules, goes rogue when he feels like it and, quite simply, is way too much of a liability.

His big brother Luther, although quite the adventurer, fortunately hated kids. So, when sugared-up hordes of them came a-knocking, we could rely on him to run in the opposite direction.

Louis Catorze is different, and risks life and limb to escape into the jaws of danger at moments when we really aren’t expecting it. On Thursday night, for instance, when Cat Daddy opened the front door to put out some rubbish, Catorze shot out and headed straight for the fireworks in the park opposite Le Château. His wayward arse was eventually hauled to safety, but not before the indignity of being poked out from under a bush with a mop.

And, because Sa Majesté LOVES strange men, he can’t be trusted to steer clear of psychos in the unlikely event of them turning up in our neighbourhood. If he were to happen upon a gang of youths dressed in clown masks and carrying spades and bin bags, he would probably roll at their feet and then happily follow them into the woods, slow-blinking sweetly as they buried the bodies.

So, whilst the little sod will be allowed to come and go freely at The (safe and enclosed) Back, on Halloween night The Front will be as airtight and impenetrable as Kim Kardashian’s new jewellery box. I hope your furry overlords manage whatever containment procedures are imposed upon them, and that you all have a safe and happy Halloween.

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Compétiteur, prêt!

We have now lived through pretty much a whole week of having to medicate Louis Catorze three times a day. (Well, when I say “We”, I actually mean just me; somehow Cat Daddy has declared himself exempt from the task, just by being catastrophically bad at it.)

And, whilst the odd attempt was better than expected, it was mostly as one would imagine: a Mad Max-style, bare-knuckle fight to the death. That is, until a fellow cat freak had the genius idea of dropping the medication onto his fur and letting him lick it off, thus sparing us the jaws of doom. (Thank you, Caroline!)

Mind you, this only worked for a day or so; after that the little sod stopped licking it off, choosing instead to eyeball me menacingly as he let it air-dry on his body. And his rigorous grooming regime meant that it was all brushed out at the end of the day anyway. So we had to suffer his stiff, sticky, unpleasant-to-stroke fur and brush out the mess, whilst he got away with ingesting no medication whatsoever.

I had no choice but to revert back to the gladiatorial combat.

Luckily it’s all over now and Le Roi’s foot has healed, so we can enjoy counting down the final few days before his big night on the 31st. Let’s hope he manages to stay out of trouble until then.

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Joyeux anniversaire, Maman

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Whilst most people spend their birthday morning having champagne in bed, I spent mine reading the instructions of 2 different medications, preparing them and then delivering them to a struggling, kicking bastard of a cat. And, to add to the pressure, we had guests so it was all performed in front of a live audience.

To make matters EVEN worse: one medication requires a 0.3ml dose and the other 0.9ml; one is a simple pipette and the other an utterly suctionless syringe; one states “with food” which makes things tricky because Louis Catorze doesn’t have a specific meal time and, in fact, doesn’t even really like food; one smells like a toddler’s sugar-vomit (not that I have ever been unfortunate enough to experience this, but I imagine it’s just the same). I could go on but I won’t.

Eventually I did the deed, with only a moderate amount of medication spilling onto the kitchen worktop, onto my clothes and (possibly) into my cup of tea. My sister comforted me by remarking that I shouldn’t stress about getting every drop into the cat and that, if any of it managed to fly in his vague direction, that was an achievement. My 3-year-old nephew’s observation, once Le Roi had scarpered: “I think he liked it!” Erm, were you actually WATCHING, kiddo?

Louis Catorze headed straight outside for a mega-sulk in the rain – yes, he would rather be outside getting soaked than be anywhere near me. And, rather than offering to help shoulder the burden, Cat Daddy helpfully added, “I think you might as well carry on being the person that does the meds. I mean, he hates you anyway, so it won’t make any difference.”

La loi de l’emmerdement maximum

How to make your cat sick: brag to all your friends about how well he is. Sod’s Law – or, in this case, Little Sod’s Law – decrees that all will turn to merde after that.

Tomorrow is my birthday, and my family had arranged to come over today for a 2pm birthday lunch at our favourite pub. So, naturellement, Louis Catorze picked 1:30pm to start walking with a limp, shaking his back right foot and swearing at anyone who tried to take a closer look at it.

Whilst I would have been ok with leaving it until the next day given that the little sod was moderately content and not in the worst agony, the vet isn’t open on Sundays. And I didn’t dare leave it until Monday in case it was something awful. So Cat Daddy drew the short straw and agreed to take him to the only available appointment today, which was right in the middle of our lunch.

Usually we are seen on time and are out of the vet’s within 15 minutes. Not today. When Cat Daddy got there there was a dog and a cat in the queue ahead of him, and Louis Catorze managed to rouse the cat into some sort of angry rap battle during the long wait. When that cat was seen, he turned out to be a complicated case and wasn’t out for ages.

The good news is that Louis Catorze only has a minor cut on his foot. The bad news is that Cat Daddy had to pay £80 for the treatment and missed his main course at my birthday lunch. And the even worse news is that we have to give Catorze 2 lots of medication by syringe (an antibiotic and an anti-inflammatory) a total of 3 times a day for a week. This is quite a horrifying thought, not only because he will shred us to pieces but because we haven’t had to assault him with medication for some time now. The trust that had started to build up over the last few months will now be gone in an instant, and he will probably never come near us again.

And oh my goodness: I have just checked the medication, and one of them is a weird powder that has to be transformed into a liquid. So I’ll need to perform some sort of spooky alchemy before I can even give the darned thing to him.

Please wish me luck. I’m really going to need it.

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Le Roi brûlé

Oh my goodness: Louis Catorze has burnt himself.

I have no idea where – I checked him over to the best of my ability, dodging the kicks like an Olympic Tae Kwon Do champion, to find no singed fur or skin – but he came indoors a couple of nights ago in a cloud of that unmistakable, gut-wrenching, burnt hair stench. He wasn’t the slightest bit bothered – in fact, he didn’t even seem to be aware of it – but, unsurprisingly, the thought of him rolling about in flames doesn’t fill me with joy.

So, one word: how? Autumn, the season of garden bonfires, may well be here, but only just. Most gardens are still clinging onto the last remains of summer; we even have tomatoes in ours, and you can’t get summerier than that. None of our neighbours have had bonfires lately, and it’s definitely not from cigarette ash because he doesn’t smell smoky, just burnt. So I can only imagine he has sneaked into someone’s house and pitter-pattered headlong into a candle flame. This is not good.

I asked some of our neighbours whether Louis Catorze had ever tried to get into their houses, and 3 of our 4 closest ones confirmed that he had, on more than one occasion. (And the only reason why the 4th neighbour didn’t give the same response is because they weren’t home when I went to ask.) Bert the dog’s folks, rather alarmingly, informed me that they regularly had to fight to keep Catorze out, and that he would persist in trying to get past their door even with Bert growling away on the other side. Oh dear.

Now … do I let them know that at least one of their barricades has failed? Or is this yet another of those moments where an anonymous neighbourhood poster would be more appropriate? “Warning: combustible French cat on the rampage. Watch out when lighting hobs, bonfires and candles.” That should work, oui?

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La coupe du Roi

Le royal wine glass is no more. Cat Daddy kicked it over last week, smashing it to pieces and dismissing his accident with the words, “Well, we’ve all done it.” (No, we have not. Absolutely nobody else has done it, ever. Only Cat Daddy.)

Anyway, this left us with the onerous task of finding an appropriate replacement, which is not as straightforward as it sounds because Le Roi will not drink from any old glass. So Cat Daddy grumpily put down an old Bodum storage jar thing (minus the stopper) as an interim measure until we found something which Sa Majesté would deem acceptable.

Cat Daddy returned from the kitchen with an assortment of glasses in his hands, ready to try them out one by one. However, to his delight, he was met by the sight of Louis Catorze’s silly snout deep in the Bodum jar as he slurped away.

And that was that; as far as Cat Daddy is concerned, we don’t need to bother looking for a new drinking vessel. I, however, miss the elegance of the wine glass; it was just so much more fitting for a Sun King. I’m sorely tempted to try him out with a few glasses from our collection and, if none of them meet with royal approval, buy him a new one.

So … opinions on this one? Too much?

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La fraternité noire

Today is a rather bittersweet day. I look forward to 1st October all year as it signifies the start of the Halloween countdown and the Season of the Black Cat, but this year it also marks the fact that we have now had Louis Catorze for longer than we ever had his big brother, Luther. That makes me a little sad because, when we adopted Luther, we expected to have much more time with him. Nobody adopts a cat and plans to only keep them for 2 years, 2 months and 10 days.

That said, if Luther were still with us, Louis Catorze certainly wouldn’t be. When we discovered him, he’d already been waiting for a home for 15 months; had we not come along at that point, who knows how long he would have continued to wait? (Cat Daddy just read that bit, rolled his eyes and said, “Some other stupid suckers would’ve come along eventually.”)

We were initially drawn to Louis Catorze because, subconsciously, we wanted another Luther. But, in fact they couldn’t be more different: Luther’s face was chiselled and angular whereas Catorze’s is spherical (see pictures); Luther was sleek whereas Catorze is plushy; Luther wandered for miles and we’d often spot him in parts of the neighbourhood where he had no business going, whereas Catorze tends to stay close by; Luther was a healthy, intelligent thoroughbred whereas Catorze, erm, isn’t. But, over the last 2 years, 2 months and 11 days we have really enjoyed discovering these differences, and now we’re rather glad of them.

So, whilst we won’t exactly be celebrating this day, we will be giving Sa Majesté lots of love, thanking the universe for flinging him our way despite the heavy price we paid, and looking forward to the Season of the Black Cat. We hope you have an equally lovely day with your furry overlords of whatever colour.