Le Roi de Neige

Snowmageddon has hit London! For those who are outside the UK, this is something that happens when snow is forecast: schools close, the transport system grinds to a halt and nobody dares to travel anywhere without carrying a spade and a torch. Yet, when the time comes, it’s just a light, feeble, anti-climactic dusting far from the apocalyptic blizzard we expected, and countries such as Canada and Sweden laugh at us for being so pathetic.

When it comes to snow, cats tend to fall into one of two camps:

1. YOUPI!
2. NON

Louis Catorze, of course, does both. At 7a.m. I was greeted by clear evidence of his nocturnal gaddings-about, as shown below … but, when we came home from work, the whole lot was covered by a perfect, pristine layer of new snow, showing that he had promptly switched to NON mode and not moved his lazy arse all day.

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He was, however, soon back to YOUPI! and slipped out for more wintry frolics at The Front when Cat Daddy was putting out the rubbish this evening. We had no idea he was there until Bert the dog’s daddy knocked to tell us, adding that he could hear the screaming from his front room. You cannot IMAGINE our deep, deep shame.

“Apparently there’s more chaos forecast for later this week,” Cat Daddy said just now. I hope he means the snow.

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Longue vie et prosperité

Since Valentine’s Day there have been no further sightings of Le Rat. Nor have there been any sightings of its much larger parents, whom my mum has convinced me are out there somewhere.

For a bit of fun, and in the hope that our collective mind over matter might speed things along a little, I started a sweepstake among my fellow cat freaks, with a small prize going to the person who correctly predicted the day that Louis Catorze eventually caught Le Rat. But, unfortunately, it has backfired catastrophically: whilst Le Château remains a rodent-free zone, the cats of some of the sweepstake entrants have had a right old hunting hootenanny. And one or two of the humans aren’t very happy and hold me responsible.

This turn of events means one of two things has occurred:

1. The Mothership* has malfunctioned
2. The Mothership is functioning perfectly well, merci, and the universe is unfolding as it should

*You are all aware of The Mothership, oui? The mysterious alien craft responsible for beaming sinister commands to the feline population via their microchips? Yes, we’re all TOLD that microchipping is to track them if they get lost, et patati et patata, but we know better, don’t we?

Cat Daddy is highly amused by the nationwide rodent-killing spree. “They say that rodents are the only creatures which could survive an apocalypse,” he said, “but it sounds as if the cats belonging to the sweepstake people would be ok, too. Louis Catorze wouldn’t last a minute. In fact, if there were an apocalypse, the rodents would probably eat HIM.”

Let’s hope that the hunting hootenanny is just a temporary phase. Otherwise I fear that the apocalypse might happen sooner than we think.

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L’Année du Chien

Chinese New Year officially begins today and it’s the Year of the Dog, which will be rather displeasing to many of our feline overlords. However, Louis Catorze, being quite cordial towards dogs even if the feeling isn’t mutual, has both accepted this with good grace AND chosen to make a peace offering to his sparring partner next door:

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Whilst I am not a great believer in the western zodiac, nor in the characteristics attributed according to one’s date of birth, Chinese New Year made me curious about Louis Catorze’s corresponding Chinese horoscope animal. And, being born in 2010, it turns out that he is likely to be … a Tiger. No joke. (Cat Daddy spat his tea all over his laptop when I told him.)

This is what l’internet says about those born in the Year of the Tiger:

– Brave [Catorze takes on larger animals of any kind, without hesitation, so OUI]
– Competitive [although this rather depends on the nature of the competition; if it’s “Who can be the biggest and most annoying crotte de merde in the land?” then OUI]
– Self-confident [OUI]
– Charming [OUI]
– Well-liked by others [provided we don’t count dogs or Ocado delivery drivers among the “others”, then OUI]
– Impetuous [see “Brave” above: OUI]
– Over-indulged [I suppose having a house built and furnished to his specifications, food flown in from Canada and a savings account for his healthcare could possibly, by some people’s interpretation, be seen as “over-indulged”, so OUI]

Louis Catorze wishes everyone, especially all dogs, a joyous and prosperous year ahead. And he would love to know all about your feline overlords’ Chinese horoscope animals and whether the characteristics are a good match!

Beurk, le rat!

It’s Valentine’s Day, and many of us will have received gifts in honour of this auspicious Hallmark day. My gift, however, is delayed.

Here is a picture of it:

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Oui, Mesdames et Messieurs: here at Le Château, seeing a live rodent isn’t just seeing a live rodent. It’s Louis Catorze’s equivalent of those despatch confirmation emails, saying, “Your parcel is on its way.”

Responses to the photo of my impending delivery have been as follows:

Oscar the dog’s mamma: “A baby rat, I reckon. I think it’s rather cute. But I still wouldn’t want it in my house.”
Cat Daddy: “A RAT. Where the hell is HE when we need him?”
My mum: “They say that, in London, you’re never more than 3 feet away from a rat. You’d better keep your door shut when you go outside, even if it’s just for a few minutes.”

Super. Merci.

It’s not a question of WHETHER Louis Catorze will catch it – because we know that he will – but WHEN. And, unfortunately, there will be no way of tracking this package, and I guess I can forget about choosing a one-hour delivery slot. Knowing Catorze, Le Rat will be dropped onto my pillow in the dead of night, still squealing, with one or more limbs/organs hidden elsewhere in Le Château for me to find later.

Joyeuse Saint Valentin à tous!

Lancer un pavé dans la mare

If you have never seen those “Photos taken seconds before disaster struck” picture gallery things, this interpretation should be self-explanatory:

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I took this photo mainly because I never imagined Louis Catorze would take on an enormous beast of a wood pigeon the same size as him. And, in the unlikely event of him trying, I thought he would be far too slow to actually succeed. C’était faux: not long afterwards, despite le pigeon distancing itself by settling on a different part of the furniture, le petit voyou charged down the garden path and managed to get his paws to it.

Cat Daddy raced outside and grabbed a broom to try and separate the pair of them. He managed to poke le pigeon out of evil Catorze’s grasp, but the poor, traumatised bird flapped its way into a corner from where there was no escape … and Catorze, despite being thicker than a concrete milkshake, knew this, and circled like a hungry shark. I then had to go out to try and catch him but he refused to be caught, forever dancing tantalisingly out of my reach, but luckily this gave Cat Daddy enough time to trap le pigeon in a cardboard box and place it in the safety of the park opposite.

My best friend, who was over for lunch at the time, hooted with laughter at the whole spectacle. (She is a dog person, and this confirmed why.)

Cat Daddy and I may need to be more consistent in our approach to dealing with the little sod. Our mixed messages are probably WHY he’s such a little sod.

Me: “Bad kitty. That poor bird.”
Cat Daddy: “Call yourself a hunter? That was the most pathetic effort ever.”

Le crime de lèse-majesté

Cat Daddy and I decided not to bother with Dry January this year because, if you’re denying yourself something you like, January is just too difficult a month in which to attempt it. So we’re giving Dry February a go instead. February is just that little bit brighter and more hopeful, so embarking upon tough challenges somehow doesn’t seem quite so onerous. (Plus February is shorter.)

A friend recommended the “Dry January and Beyond” app to help track my progress, and it’s great apart from one thing: try as I might, I can’t enter my name into my profile. When I go into the settings and click on the name-changing bit, nothing happens. Now, this may not sound like la fin du monde, but I have selected one of my favourite Roi photos for my profile picture … and the generic default name alongside his photo is “null null null”. Which, unfortunately, is (pretty much) the French for “rubbish, rubbish, rubbish”.

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Cat Daddy thinks it’s the funniest thing ever to have the words “rubbish, rubbish, rubbish” next to a photo of Louis Catorze. “It’s what I’ve been telling you for ages!” he hooted. “But so what? It’s not as if he knows he’s being called rubbish.”

IT’S (KIND OF) FRENCH. HE’S FRENCH. OF COURSE HE WILL KNOW.

“Or,” Cat Daddy continued, “if YOU don’t care about being called rubbish, you could just upload a photo of yourself instead.”

[Silence, tumbleweed, crickets]

“Oh. My. God. You don’t HAVE any photos of yourself, do you? Your camera roll consists ENTIRELY of cat photos!”

Oh. Ahem.

Anyway, I have contacted the good citizens of Dry January and Beyond to ask them how to change the name, although, naturellement, I have pretended that it’s I who objects to being called rubbish. I couldn’t really say “My royal French cat, Sa Majesté Louis Catorze, Le Roi Soleil, is highly offended at the très mal-fortunate juxtaposition of le portrait royal et l’insulte” because that might have sounded silly.

As for Catorze, I am hoping that his spelling is better than his, erm, other intellectual capacities, and that the slightly offish orthographe* will delay his realisation somewhat. Calling a monarch “rubbish” – three times, no less – is surely an act of high treason, punishable only by the guillotine?

*nul = adjectif masculin
nulle = adjectif féminin