A note about The Cuddlywumps Chronicles

This blog is written and maintained by Miss Cuddlywumps, a fluffy-tailed calico cat who is both classically educated and familiar with mysteries. Comments or complaints should be addressed to Miss C rather than to author Roby Sweet. Ms. Sweet accepts no responsibility for Miss C's opinions.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

In Memory of Those Who've Crossed the Rainbow Bridge

Over the Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Graphic

Where would humans be without pets? Permanently lost, that’s where. I know it’s hard for you when one of us leaves this life, and during that hard time you might feel lost, but know that we never leave you—not really. Nothing can undo the ways we’ve changed your life, and nothing can erase the love you feel for us. In those moments when you really need us, just search your heart, and you’ll find us right there, where we’ll always be.
 Today we remember Bucky, the sweetest, gentlest dog ever; Darya, who loved Sunday afternoon naps with her mommy; CJ (not pictured), the cat who watched over old SoLT when she was ill and who was known to lose his composure in sun puddles; Tyler, who loved his Garfield toy and also enjoyed playing hide-and-seek with his mommy; and Shannan, Miss Goofy, who met life with a puppy’s spirit, even to her last day.

August 28 is Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day. To read more tributes to pets who've crossed that bridge, check out other posts in the blog hop hosted by Deborah Barnes of Zee & Zooey's Cat Chronicles.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Caturday Art: Paisley Turns Purple

Today we're excited to join Athena's Caturday Art blog hop once again, this time with a picture of Real Cat Paisley checking out the new cat tree. She of Little Talent set herself loose in Photoshop, where she went a little nuts applying filters and effects to achieve this result, in which Paisley has turned purple. Old SoLT did not mean to turn Paisley purple and was not trying to turn Paisley purple, but she got pretty excited when it happened. 

This is the original photo:

Hop on over to see lots more Caturday art!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Why the Cat Always Falls on Her Feet: A Native American Tale

Many tales have been told of the culture hero Manabozho (or Nanabozho, Wenabozho, Michabo… his name took on many spellings). This hero is known among the Anishinaabe people (also known as the Ojibwa or Chippewa). This story concerns Manabozho, a snake, and a cat.

One day, as Manabozho was walking from one place to another through the forest, he became so overcome with weariness he had to lie down to rest. He saw a tree with soft moss growing under it, and there he lay down and quickly fell asleep, lulled into a peaceful rest by the pleasing sounds of the forest’s birds, insects, and leaves.
Illustration of green forest with a deer

As Manabozho slept, a large poisonous snake came slithering through the undergrowth. When it saw Manabozho lying defenseless under the tree, it hissed, “Yesterday this man warned that stupid cat that I was about to strike her, and she got away. ‘Watch out, little cat, watch out!’ he said. Idiot. I could have eaten that cat, if not for this man. Well, today I will kill him. Then we’ll see who should watch out!”

The snake slithered closer, but suddenly Manabozho stirred. “Watch out, little cat, watch out!” he mumbled in his sleep. The snake stopped, waiting and ready to sneak away if the man woke. But, seeing Manabozho sleeping on soundly, the snake again began his approach, slowly and taking care to make no sound as his scales slid among the leaves and twigs that littered the earth. Then, when it was close enough, the snake coiled its long body and raised its horrible head. Its eyes focused on the spot on Manabozho’s arm where it intended to strike.

Manabozho slept on.

illustration of black cat looking down angrily

Now, up in the branches of the tree was a little cat—the very cat whom Manabozho had helped the day before. The cat’s eyes widened as the snake drew closer and closer to her friend, and her tiny body shivered when the slithery creature made ready to strike. What could she do? The snake was so large, and she was so small… But Manabozho had saved her, and so, without another thought, the little cat leapt from her branch, landing on the snake’s head in the moment he began his strike.

illustration of black snake coiled to strike
The snake hissed in fury. “Sssstupid cat!” He would have struck at her, but she immediately leapt once again at his head, and again, and again. The snake’s fury proved no match for the little cat’s bravery. Soon enough the snake lay dead.

Manabozho slept on.

When Manabozho awoke, it was to find the little cat sitting next to the dead snake. He understood right away that the cat had saved his life. Wanting to thank her and reward her for her bravery and friendship, he said, “How can I honor you? Your sight and hearing are sharp and keen. You can run swiftly. Ah, I know… From this day, you shall be known as a friend of Man, and you will always be welcome in Man’s home. And, since you leapt from the tree to kill the serpent, as long as you live, you shall leap where you will, and you shall always fall upon your feet.”


This story has been adapted from Florence Holbrook, The Book of Nature Myths (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1902); and Frank de Caro (ed.), The Folktale Cat (Little Rock: August House, 1992).

Picture credits

Kot by monikakosz via Adobe Stock. Snake by Lenan via Adobe Stock. Forest with deer by artnovielysa via Adobe Stock.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Back to School Vocabulary Word: Pre-Furred

Hi, all! It's Real Cat Webster taking over the blog today for a special back-to-school feature. I know everyone is eager to start learning again after a summer of long naps, so we'll jump right in with a new vocabulary word!

Today's word is Pre-Furred. This is an adjective used to describe clothing that you've folded on the same sofa your pets sleep on. It is formed from the root "fur" and prefix "pre." It can be used in a sentence like this:

Old SoLT has a drawer full of pre-furred shirts.

I suppose you could use this word as a verb, as in

I'm going to pre-fur all my underpants,

although that just sounds weird.

Please take careful note of the spelling of this word. Do not confuse it with the similar-sounding but totally unrelated word preferred! Pre-furred is not preferred!

That's all for now. Be sure to tune in next time, when we'll learn about a possible consequence of having pre-furred clothes: Angora T-shirts.

(Yes, this will be on the final.)

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Cat of the Week: Madeline in Washington, DC

Each week in this space, we feature a senior cat in need of adoption or sponsorship. Please remember all the great older cats in shelters. They make great companions, and they (probably) won’t climb the curtains!

Madeline, a gray tabby cat, in pawprint frame

Today, please welcome this sweet lady named Madeline to the blog. Sadly, Madeline found herself in a shelter because her owner could not care for her anymore. You can just imagine how difficult it would be to adjust from being a beloved pet to just another cat in a cage. Madeline has begun to settle in though, and she enjoys being petted. Madeline is 11 years old but still has lots of love to give. Plus, she is well practiced at being a great pet. If you’re looking for a lovely, loving cat, Madeline could be your girl!

Meow...Can you give me a loving new home?
Photos: Washington Humane Society.
Madeline is currently at the Washington Humane Society’s Oglethorpe Street location. Please click here to learn more about her.

Monday, August 22, 2016

App Review: Cat Hotel

Ever thought it might be fun to run a hotel full of cats? Well, oddly enough, there is an app called Cat Hotel in which you get to do just that, and She of Little Talent and I have played it for a few weeks so we can tell you exactly how much fun it is.

In the game, your job is to feed and water the cats, keep the litter box clean, give each cat a medical exam and sometimes some medication, and groom and play with the cats. In return, you earn coins that you can use to buy new things for the hotel. There is a slight learning curve at the start, but once you’ve got the routine down, the game is very easy to play.

Fun interactive play

Our favorite part of Cat Hotel is that you don’t just press a button to do things. To groom one of the cats, you grab the brush (virtually, of course) and then brush it across the cat’s fur. To play with a cat, you choose a game (feather-wand toy, laser pointer, or a game where the cat gets to smash a series of items on a shelf), and then you have to interact with the game correctly or else it won’t work and you’ll end up with a disappointed cat. For example, to play with the feather wand, the game will show you a pattern to trace across the screen. If you do it correctly, the cat gets to chase the toy. If you do it wrong, the cat just gets confused. The patterns range from a straight line to a W. Old SoLT messed up the straight line more than once, so don’t assume this will be easy!

A few downsides

The interactivity was our favorite part of Cat Hotel, but we do have a few not-favorite parts. First, on our iPad, the game tends to crash every time we hit the icon to put the guest cat to bed for the night. This is more than a little bit annoying. Also, while the cats are cute and it’s fun to play with them, it quickly begins to feel like you are doing the same things with the same few cats over and over again. You can buy lots of decorations for the rooms, as well as upgraded toys and even different cat breeds, but we found that the game got boring before we accumulated enough coins to buy much.

We wish there were more of a management challenge to this game and/or more variety to the things you get to do with the cats. For example, keeping track of three cats at a time (each with slightly different needs) would be more fun than doing the same routine over and over with just one cat at a time. The Cat Hotel description promises that you will be able to watch the cats play together, implying that you will be hosting several cats at a time, but we played every day for nearly three weeks and still had just one cat in our hotel. We think the game would be more fun if it got more varied and more challenging early on.

All that said, old SoLT does enjoy grooming the cats and playing with them. It’s kind of relaxing to play for a couple of minutes at the end of a busy day, she says.

Cat Hotel is free to play, but you can spend real money on coins to buy new stuff for your hotel. The game is available from Google Play and the App Store.

A note on the "Paws Up" system: Miss C gives either one or two paws up. One paw is for a good app; two paws is for a great app. She never gives three or four paws because that would require her to lie on her back...and Miss C does not do that!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Caturday Art: Miss Darya

Today we join Athena's Caturday Art blog hop once again, this week with an oldish photo (ca. 2000) of She of Little Talent's beloved tabby Darya (1988-2006). When she crossed that Rainbow Bridge, Darya had been with old SoLT for literally old SoLT's entire adult life. She was around before we all had phones in our cameras, so there aren't too many pictures of her, but this is old SoLT's favorite. She pixelated it just a touch and added a frame from PicMonkey. She would have done more arty things with it, but she was surprised how hard it was for her to make changes to the photo she loves so much!

Here's the original: