La chaleur est là

Le Château, its contents and its occupants are melting in the heat. We have dealt with heat before, of course, but, when it’s so hot that packets of salted peanuts in our kitchen cupboards start to ooze oil – which doesn’t sound that bad but, in reality, it’s like the initial signs of a poltergeist haunting and is creepy as hell – it really is the end of days.

But it’s all right for some, who are able to lounge languidly in their cool chaise longues. The glamorous piece of cat furniture that you see was a gift from one of Louis Catorze’s wonderful supporters and, because it’s positioned on the ground floor by the patio doors AND raised off the hot ground, it’s the coolest spot in the house. On sticky nights, when it’s too uncomfortable to snuggle in bed with us, Sa Majesté heads here instead.

Le Roi is also partial to having a freezer-cold bottle of vodka rolled up & down his body when temperatures soar (see photo from the archives), but Cat Daddy has imposed strict conditions on this. “It’s the chaise longue or the cold vodka massage, not both. Let’s not go overboard.”

Exactement. We don’t want the Sun King becoming too pampered.

 

Le petit coin, partie deux: cette fois-ci c’est personnel

The vegetable patch is fighting back. Or, rather, Cat Daddy is, after catching Louis Catorze digging around yet again. The sweetcorn plants were eventually salvaged – you can spot the dug-up, flung-around ones straight away as they are much smaller than the other ones – but, this time, one of the passion flower vines has gone. And by “gone” I don’t simply mean “been uprooted”: I mean utterly vapourised without a trace, as if the plant never existed.

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As you can see, Cat Daddy has taken his role of Defence Minister very seriously indeed. And, yes, those are plastic forks. One of Le Blog’s lovely followers recommended them as a protective measure, so I passed the tip onto Cat Daddy; and whilst I had somehow imagined them being placed the other way up in the earth, handles pointing upwards, I can understand why Cat Daddy chose this way, for maximum pointy surface area to threaten la derrière royale.

Will it work? It’s not looking promising, I must say. Even during the impaling process Louis Catorze was ever-present, slaloming between the sticks and forks like a prize-winning Border Collie at one of those sheepdog competitions, not even deterred when Cat Daddy tried to jab him in the arse with a stick of bamboo. So his chances of staying away now that the sticks are static, are slim-to-zéro.

So now Cat Daddy and I need to agree on our next steps should the bamboo and forks not work. My idea: citrus peel and netting. Cat Daddy’s idea: inhumane bear traps and poison-tipped barbed wire.

L’amitié perdue, l’amitié retrouvée

Last weekend, as Cat Daddy arrived home, a lady in the street stopped and said, “Excuse me: is this the home of Louis Catorze?”

You just couldn’t make this up, could you, Mesdames et Messieurs?

When Cat Daddy shamefacedly confirmed that she had the correct house, she introduced herself: “I’m Ginger Impinger’s mum.”

Actually, “Ginger Impinger’s NEW mum” would have been more accurate: after concerned reports emerged on a local forum of an increasingly thin and unkempt GI appearing at various houses in the neighbourhood, a rescue organisation trapped, chipped and snipped him and treated him for a few minor surface ailments. Sadly, whilst he was under house arrest at the rescue’s veterinary surgery, not a single poster went up locally regarding his whereabouts, indicating that the poor boy didn’t have any people (or, at least, none who cared enough), but the happy news is that he is now in a lovely new home.

The TW8 network of who-knows-whom is tighter than a gnat’s behind, so his new mamma and I have been able to find and message each other. And, because Le Blog documents virtually every one of her boy’s visits to Louis Catorze, she has been able to read all about their exploits together. The large area that he covered came as something of a surprise, but GI’s mamma was also comforted by the fact that, throughout his time on the run, he had a little playmate and a safe haven of sorts at Le Château.

She loved the name “Ginger Impinger”, too, and I think she may even have been half-tempted to keep it, were it not for the fact that, if a place is officially one’s home, strictly speaking one can’t impinge. The name she has chosen for him is Dosti – “friend” in Hindi – which is highly appropriate as he was such a good buddy to Catorze, coming to collect him for little jaunts together, dropping him safely home afterwards and generally showing us all that an unneutered (as he was then) male isn’t always the ubiquitous bullying troublemaker.

The meaning of “Dosti” has a bittersweet tinge when I think that Louis Catorze will be losing his only friend; now that he has a permanent home he is not going to be visiting us anymore and, if he does, I am to let his mamma know immediately because, understandably, she doesn’t want him wandering that far. But we have now gained a new friend in his mamma and, most importantly, dear little Dosti finally has the family he deserves. Here is the lucky boy, relaxing in his new place:

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Thanks to Cat Daddy, Le Château now has a vegetable patch. Or, as Louis Catorze calls it, “les toilettes”.

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Now, I am not one of those people who panics at the thought of the slightest germ, but I have a particular aversion to the rear ends of cats. So, the less I have to do with them, the better. The thought of excretory solids, liquids or gases is grim enough, but the prospect of such substances coming into contact with FOOD is absolutely the worst thing in the world.

“Relax! It’s fine! Animals poo and wee on crops all the time,” said a friend of mine. Maybe. But there’s a huge difference between an incidental bit of bird plop or horse manure in an arable field, and a demonic little beast repeatedly using your vegetable patch as his outdoor latrine just to annoy you. The sweetcorn plants that my mum gave us lasted less than 12 hours in the soil before they were decimated. Cat Daddy didn’t mince his words in his text to me that morning: “Little shitty boy has dug up one of the sweetcorn plants to shit. He’s a shitting pest.”

“At least his poo will put other cats off using the place as a toilet,” said another friend. “Your own cat’s poo is far better than the poo of a thousand random cats, isn’t it?” Erm, not really. Poo is poo, irrespective of which cat arse expelled it. Unless we’re talking quantity, of course, because a thousand cats would obviously produce rather more than one.

Anyway, the sweetcorn problem is now halved because Catorze has dug up 3 out of 7 plants and reburied them so deeply/far away that we don’t even know where they are anymore. I think we need an electric fence for Catorze. And maybe Valium for ourselves.

Aucune solution, que des problèmes

It’s been almost 2 weeks since Le Mur was constructed on our western border but, unfortunately, it hasn’t turned out to be the peacekeeping tool for which we had hoped.

In terms of obscuring Oscar and Louis Catorze from one another when they are on ground level, it has done its job. However, as we all know, cats have the huge advantage of being able to jump. And, because Le Mur is able to fully support Catorze’s weight (whereas the previous fence wasn’t), it means that the little sod is able to do this:

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In actual fact this shows him chirping sweetly and running to me for cuddles, having heard me open the door to take the picture. However, the unfortunate camera angle doesn’t reflect this and, instead, he looks like a determined, steely killing machine with his eyes locked on his enemy. And I suppose that’s what Oscar sees every time.

Worse yet, we had a brick barbecue built a couple of days later (also pictured), and Le Roi has decided to make use of this as a handy step-up to Le Mur. And, on windy days, when Le Mur is a little shaky and he can’t risk being whipped off his perch and dropped into the danger zone, Louis Catorze balances on the barbecue with his back feet, lifts himself up with his front feet and pokes his head through the trellis, safe in the knowledge that he has a solid base but also ensuring that Oscar will still get maximum annoyance from the sight of his stupid little face.

One day I will get a photo of this, because it’s the funniest thing in the world. I don’t suppose Oscar would agree, though.

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Donald Trump would be so proud of Oscar the dog: not only has he built a wall, but he has managed to get the humans to pay for it.

Except that it’s actually a 5ft fence, not a wall. And its purpose is mainly to keep the Sun King out of sight from Oscar, because of ever-deteriorating relations between the two parties.

Our previous wooden picket fence really wasn’t up to the job of separating the warring factions. Oscar would catch sight of Catorze through the slats and bark like a lunatic; Catorze would run to the fence, stare at him and meow back; this would drive Oscar doubly mad and more barking would ensue; Catorze would meow back again … and the two of them would continue in this fashion like a noisy, furry, 2-part perpetual motion machine until one, the other or both were undignifiedly hauled indoors.

Oscar’s thirst for revenge was eventually such that he began to pummel at the fence, which weakened progressively over many months and eventually gave way. Dog Mamma and Dog Daddy placed a multitude of obstacles and barriers in his way but, having learned and memorised where the weak spot was, Oscar was an unstoppable force. He would choose to strike when his folks were busy doing other things and sometimes actually succeeded in getting through, so I would have to call the Dog Parents and escort their boy off our premises.

And so the opaque fence was born.

Louis Catorze had great fun flirting with the men who put up the fence – they commented that he had kept them company throughout the construction process – but was highly displeased to find that he could no longer survey enemy territory. However, as you can see, he found a solution. Here he is on his new viewing platform – Oscar’s summer house – and, if you zoom in, you can just about make out his cheeky little open mouth, mid-meow. (Oscar is below, out of shot, snapping and circling like a hungry saltwater crocodile.)

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So, as one war ends, another begins. Being the Sun King’s peacekeeping force isn’t easy.

L’amour est le meilleur des médicaments

Louis Catorze has been on the reduced dosage of 2 x 25mg of Gabapentin a day for almost 2 weeks now, and he is showing no recurrence whatsoever of his symptoms.

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Better yet, he has started to eat Pill Pockets, so no more Greco-Romaning! Merci à Dieu et à tous ses anges! (If you don’t know what Pill Pockets are, they are tiny, edible, plasticine-like cups into which you stuff pills before squishing them to seal the opening shut. No, Louis Catorze wouldn’t eat Pill Pockets before. But he does now. Are you all keeping up so far, Mesdames et Messieurs?)

Whilst I don’t like to criticise the one and only thing that is successfully getting medication into the little sod, the ingredients list makes me twitchy and uncomfortable. Wheat flour: bad. Mixed tocopherols: no idea what these are, but they sound bad. Dried corn syrup: basically sugar, so REALLY bad.

I never thought I would see the day when I willingly gave my boy wheat and sugar. Mind you, the manufacturers know their target market: desperate people like me who have no option because nothing else works. They could make Pill Pockets out of heroin and asbestos and, if it meant our cats would just eat the goddamn pills and spare our lives, I reckon most of us would still buy them.

All being well, pill-wise we only have the rest of May (2 per day) and the whole of June (1 per day) left. The end is in sight. That’s what’s keeping us going.