Le coeur vaillant

It’s a full moon tonight, which means more idiocy from the feline population of the planet. And, because we’re approaching Halloween, black cats, in particular, will be more idiotic than ever.

I got chatting yesterday afternoon to Bert the dog’s mamma, as we were putting out the recycling at The Front.

Now, Louis Catorze’s interactions with Bert are pretty minimal, which is why you haven’t heard much about him so far. Bert’s garden has lots of trees and shrubs against the fence, making it harder for Catorze to access it, and it also helps tremendously that Bert is getting on a bit, so his eyesight and hearing aren’t what they used to be. Not that this stops Catorze from making trouble when he feels like it; a friend who visited us once said, “I can’t believe what I’ve just seen. First Louis went over that fence [pointing to Bert the dog’s side] and pissed off that dog, then he went over THAT fence [pointing to Oscar the dog’s side] and pissed off THAT dog. Now the 2 dogs won’t shut up. Your neighbours must hate him – and you.”

Anyway, during our chat, Bert was happily sniffling and snuffling around his mamma’s feet. Louis Catorze had been asleep on the sofa but woke up, heard Bert and decided to follow me outside and scream at him.

Yes, I realise that normal feline instinct should spur him to run in the opposite direction from a dog. But this is Le Roi we’re talking about.

Bert’s mamma didn’t appear the slightest bit surprised by the screaming. In fact, she revealed that she often opened her front door to find Catorze on the doorstep, screaming away (at times when we knew he was at The Front but thought he was having a nap under our wisteria plant). And, apparently, if Bert was in the vicinity, our little sod would scream even more and sometimes try to shimmy past Dog Mamma and into the house.

Yesterday’s incident could have ended badly, but Le Roi’s royal arse was saved by the fact that Bert, incredibly, didn’t see or hear him. (No, I don’t understand, either, how anyone could fail to hear this whiny, searing meow that scrapes away at your eardrums like fingernails on a blackboard.) Then Bert’s daddy came out and said hello, which distracted Bert even further, allowing Catorze to tire of the screaming and pitter-patter back indoors.

This isn’t good, is it? Whilst I am glad that Catorze is confident and not a nervous, hunger-striking, pooing-and-peeing wreck, running screaming towards dogs isn’t exactly where I want him to be. I have heard of strategies to make a nervous cat more confident, but … making a fearless/stupid cat rein it in a bit? Is this even a thing?

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Croisons les doigts …

5EF3EADF-1D92-4DCF-9CFF-6045FAB00153At the weekend, whilst we were lying in bed giving him cuddles, Louis Catorze chased his tail again.

We let him do it, just to see how long it would go on (happily it was no more than a few seconds) and to see if we could ascertain whether it was playful or something more sinister, but we couldn’t tell. In fact, we didn’t even really know what we were looking out for; I had this idea that sharp pounces were playful and that smoother, more seamless chasing were sinister but there’s no science in that.

Catorze has been Gabapentin-free and doing well for 2 months now, so it would be devastating beyond belief for him to start displaying symptoms again. Please send the little sod your good wishes: not so much “get well” but “don’t you DARE get sick again.”

La première pluie de l’automne

I adore the autumn equinox: a deeply mystical, spiritual time of year during which we reflect upon the year to date and give thanks for our blessings. As I had the day off work today, my plan was to relax and immerse myself in the magic of this beautiful season; however, the reality was this petite crotte de merde battering at the bathroom door and screaming like an air raid siren, destroying my dreams of a de-stressing spa morning.

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The battering and screaming started as soon as I got into the bath, and I thought, “I plan to stay in here for at least half an hour. He can’t possibly keep this up for THAT long.”

He did. And, naturellement, when I finally opened the door to leave the bathroom after 30 minutes of eardrum assault, he no longer wanted to come in.

Part of the essence of the autumn equinox is deciding what to relinquish in order to grow and prosper. Right now, the only thing on my list is 3.46kg of noisy black fur.

Les escargots

Some cats catch birds, others catch mice and a few catch rats. Louis Catorze has managed all of the above, and more, but his latest thing is to bring teeny-tiny snails into Le Château.

Cat Daddy is quite embarrassed by it and feels that there is more prestige in rodents, with the manliness of the cat being directly proportional to the size of the rodent caught. “Snails are just a joke!” he declared. “Only he could be so slow that a SNAIL is capable of catching up with him and hitching a ride on his fur. I hope you chucked them out in the park at the front. If you chuck them out in the garden, they’ll eat all the kale.”

Oh. Oops. Luckily I remembered where I’d put them and was able to retrieve them because, being snails, they hadn’t got very far.

Here are two of our boy’s gifts, brought one after the other on the same night, pictured with a 20p coin to get a true sense of their teeny-tininess. It seems you can take Le Chat out of France, but you can’t take France out of Le Chat.

Il y a de l’orage dans l’air

Louis Catorze doesn’t like storms. Who knew?

Well, I didn’t. But I do now, thanks to his decision to inform me at regular half-hourly intervals, all the way through last night. And, comme d’habitude, Cat Daddy slept through both the storm and the whining.

I understand that thunder and howling gales aren’t everyone’s thing, but telling me once would have sufficed. And, if you don’t like them, you’d just stay away from them, right? NON! Judging by the wetness of Sa Majesté’s fur each time he woke me up, it seems that, for reasons that I cannot fathom, he chose to keep going out and sitting in the rain for at least 15 minutes before then coming indoors to express his outrage. I just don’t understand it at all.

Just one blog post ago, I was bragging that, perhaps, I had underestimated the little sod’s intelligence. Now I am wondering exactly what planet he’s on.

Cat Daddy: “Probably Uranus.”

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Attention aux courges butternut

Beware of butternut squash, Mesdames et Messieurs. No, not marauding street ones wearing hockey masks and carrying chain saws, but the innocent-looking seeds that you unsuspectingly toss into the compost heap.

Thanks to the amazing richness of the soil around our compost heap, Cat Daddy and I have managed to grow a butternut squash without even trying. This is good, right? Well, the bonus dinner ingredient is quite a result, but the plant is an absolute beast, sprawling everywhere like a flesh-eating triffid and suffocating everything in its path. And nobody seems to tell you this, but both the stems and the leaves expel tiny, invisible barbs.

I should have guessed that it was a nasty plant when, instead of stepping over it or brushing past it, Louis Catorze would clear it with a massive leap (which won’t be helping his knee one bit). I thought at the time that he was just being dramatic but, if an idiot like Catorze is prepared to take such pains to avoid this plant, there is obviously a reason. Even a cautious cat absentmindedly brushing past could find itself speared but, should your cat have a more gung-ho temperament and be inclined to frolic around in your vegetable patch, this could spell very bad news indeed.

Given all the health issues we already have with Catorze, we really didn’t want to be picking painful barbs out of his skin, too. So Cat Daddy got to work destroying the evil plant and sweeping the barbs off the path (which was quite some feat given that they are invisible), whilst I chopped up the monster tendrils into more manageable pieces for the garden waste bag. All that is left now is the main stem bearing the single fruit.

And Le Roi sat and slow-blinked at us throughout these measures intended for his protection, watching us get painfully skewered and disembowelled. It would appear that he is not as stupid as we thought.

Here he is, snuggling up to the butternut squash and continuing, inexplicably, to remain a barb-free zone. I’m prepared to bet Le Château on the fact that he won’t sit this nicely with the pumpkin I have bought for his official Halloween portrait.

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Le livre d’or

IMG_9957Thanks to our lovely new friend from Mexico, Louis Catorze now has a visitors’ book.

Cat Daddy: “Visitors’ book? Not even we have a visitors’ book!”
Me: “Yeah, but, to have a visitors’ book, you need visitors. Who’s coming to see us in the next couple of weeks?”

[Silence, tumbleweed, crickets]

The magnificent book is a work of art like no other, with textured letters on the front cover, spiral binding, stylish ribbon closure and photos of the little sod. There are also thick, onyx-black pages for pilgrims to write declarations of devotion to the Sun King, using special white and metallic pens also gifted by our generous guest.

The only problem was how to backdate entries from the throngs of pilgrims who have already been? Luckily, upon learning of the visitors’ book, they have taken matters into their own hands by vowing to return to Le Château to see Catorze again and write messages to him. We already have a provisional booking for 2 people for late September, and I suspect that October will be insane as everyone starts to crave their Halloween vampire kitty fix.

I thought about ending this blog entry with: ‘Book soon to avoid disappointment’. However, Cat Daddy says he would prefer to go with, ‘A small, black portion of disappointment will be served on arrival’.