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. She receives creative input from the Real Cats and clerical assistance from She of Little Talent (old SoLT, a.k.a. Roby Sweet). Comments or complaints should be addressed to Miss C rather than to old SoLt (Ms. Sweet). Ms. Sweet accepts no responsibility for Miss C's opinions.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Cats of the Week: New Moon and Twilight in Baltimore

Cat of the Week--Cuddlywumps Cat Chronicles

Each week in this space, we feature an older adult or senior cat (7 years +) in need of adoption or sponsorship. Mature cats make great companions, and unlike kittens, they (probably) won’t climb the curtains! Adopt an older cat, and help them enjoy the best years of their life.

Cats of the Week: New Moon & Twilight #seniorcats #catadoption #BaltimoreHumaneSociety

Today we’re introducing brother-and-sister pair Twilight and New Moon. This great pair are both 7 years old. Twilight is a buff-colored tabby female, and New Moon is a black and brown tabby male. They are very close and enjoy snuggling together. Twilight is the more outgoing of this awesome twosome, and it would be great for New Moon if they could be adopted together to keep the snuggles and companionship going. Besides just being together, they enjoy watching the goings-on outside the window.

Twilight and New Moon are currently at the Baltimore Humane Society. Learn more about them here and here.

Can’t adopt? You can still help! Check out Sammy’s Cat Necessities Fund, which provides money for everyday and medical needs of cats at the Baltimore Humane Society. You can also make a general donation or sponsor a particular animal on this page. Every little bit helps!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Book Review: Distillery Cats

Distillery Cats, by Brad Thomas ParsonsToday we review the short illustrated book Distillery Cats: Profiles in Courage of the World’s Most Spirited Mousers, by Brad Thomas Parsons, with illustrations by Julia Kuo. Some cats have important jobs, of course, and some of those jobs are in distilleries and breweries. It makes purrfect sense: Brewing and distilling rely on grains such as wheat, rye, barley, and corn, and those are the very things that attract mice and rats, which can ruin the supplies. So, quite a few establishments have discovered that cats can take care of the rodent problem. One of the world’s most famous distillery cats was Towser the Mouser, who patrolled Scotland’s Glenturret Distillery for 24 years (1963–87), in which time she caught 28,899 mice. She recently had a caskof whisky named after her.

Distillery Cats profiles 30 US-based cats who patrol breweries and distilleries from Seattle to New York. We’ve picked out a few of our favorites to share. There’s Cho, the head mouser at Sound Spirits in Seattle. He is a 7-year-old black cat (perhaps we should call him a distillery panther?) whose name is from the chemical formula of ethanol (C2H6O) and whose superpower is “being handsome all the time.” There’s Cork (“Corky Pants”), the shipping box specialist at Olde York Farm Distillery and Cooperage in Hudson, New York. She’s a one-year-old tortie whose superpower is “camouflage,” and yet she can’t stop the distillery ducks from following her around.

Of course we have to mention cats from our home state of Maryland. First up are HellRazer and the DuClaws of Baltimore’s DuClaw Brewing Company. They’re a quartet of young tabbies who mostly play a lot (but we’re sure they scare the bejesus of mice too). You can follow them on Instagram. And then there’s Vocal of the Tenth Ward Distilling Company in Frederick. Vocal is a four-year-old gray and white male whose superpower is “making an entrance” and who keeps a tally of pests he has killed (mice are top of the list). He shows up on Tenth Ward’sInstagram from time to time.

Each cat profile in the book is accompanied by an illustration and that cat’s most important stats: their age, sex, coat color and/or breed, job titles, superpowers, favorite toys, best friends.… You get the idea. Many of these cats have duties that go far beyond mousing. They’re also brand ambassadors who enjoy hanging out with visitors and are a highlight on public tours. Several of them have their own social media accounts too.

Our verdict

We loved Distillery Cats, and we have flipped back through its pages several times since we read it, just enjoying some of the stories again. I forgot to mention that the book includes drink recipes from the featured distilleries (old SoLT isn’t a drinker, so this part was of less interest to her) as well as cat quotes from the likes of Mark Twain and Edward Gorey. The cat profiles are a joy to read, and the illustrations are a delight. The book is nicely designed as well and has a lot of visual appeal, though the text may be a little small for some readers (we read the print version, but it is available for Kindle too). If you love cat stories, hardworking (and hard-napping) cats, and/or beer and spirits, we think you’ll love this book. And if you happen to have anyone who fits that description on your Christmas list, Distillery Cats would make a great gift.

Highly recommended!

Two Paws Up--A Great Read!

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

The link below is an Amazon Associates link. If you purchase the book through this link, old SoLT and I could get some coin for our kibble account. Thank you!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Mythmakers Preview, plus Sunday Selfie

As promised, today we present the first chapter of our new book, The Mythmakers. We hope it whets your appetite for more!

Chapter 1


This is not going to be okay, Rory Roberts thought as she squirmed in the back seat of the deputy’s patrol car. The metal of the handcuffs felt cold and hard against her wrists and hurt as though it were pressing directly against bone. With her hands behind her back, she could not get comfortable. No matter which way she turned, some part of her body was scrunched or pulled. Her whole left side felt bruised from when that nutjob tackled her in her own backyard—at one thirty in the morning, no less—and her shoulders strained as she turned so she could see her little stone cottage, which the car was parked in front of. Then there was the fact that she was dressed only in her pajamas, robe, and L. L. Bean boots—perhaps not the most appropriate attire to be arrested in.

At a polite distance down the sidewalk, Rory’s neighbors stood watching, their faces lit by the flashing red and blue lights of sheriff’s department vehicles. They shuffled and whispered in the cool fall night, stealing glances in at Rory. They must all think I’ve lost my mind, she thought. One next-door neighbor, Mrs. Crabtree, scowled at her. Odd that the old woman’s husband wasn’t there. But whether Mr. Crabtree was there or not, the Mrs. would tell the sheriff, the press, and anyone else who would listen that she’d seen this coming for a long time. She never had liked Rory, for reasons Rory couldn’t comprehend. Laura Williams, Brooksford’s biggest worrier, stood shaking her head. She’d say that she’d seen it coming too, but she would attribute Rory’s sudden outburst of violence to stress and overwork rather than some defect of character. Madison Gunther, the town’s mayor and one of Rory’s best friends, stood alone among the crowd, a blank stare on her face. Was she having flashbacks to the night her husband had been arrested for trying to kill Rory? Well, what goes around comes around, I guess, Rory thought.

She turned her head to look up into the front window of her cottage, where her cat sat gazing out on the scene. The cat was a large, fluffy-tailed calico named Miss Cuddlywumps, though everyone called her Miss C. She was mostly white, with large patches of black and orange splashed over her head and back. Her tail had a distinctive white tip. Rory locked eyes with the cat. Who would take care of her? Frantically, Rory looked around for Lee Cooper, her other next-door neighbor and also her lifelong best friend. Ever since she had first come to this town as a little girl visiting her grandparents, she’d hit it off with the boy next door. Their friendship had lasted over forty years, but where was Lee now?

The driver’s door was opened, and Deputy Sergeant Opal Washington slid into the seat. Before Opal could say or do anything, Rory was asking, “Who’s going to take care of Miss C? My cat? I can’t just leave without someone to take care of my cat.”

Opal looked into the rearview mirror to meet Rory’s eyes. The deputy’s eyes were wide and kind, her skin caramel brown, and her voice was soothing when it came. “Don’t worry about Miss C. Your friend Lee is in there, and he’s said that he’ll watch over her. I take it he has a key to your place?”

“Yes, but—”

“Then don’t worry about it, Ms. Roberts. He’ll take care of things for you.”

After trying again to adjust herself to be more comfortable, Rory asked, “Could you just loosen the handcuffs? Please? Come on, Opal, you know I haven’t actually done anything wrong. I don’t know what that girl’s telling you, but I did not do anything to her friend.” She thought it best not to mention that this friend now lay dead in her backyard, stabbed with a knife Rory had been found holding.

Opal’s look hardened. “Sorry, Ms. Roberts. Sheriff Davis says everything is to be done by the book. No special favors for you.”

No special favors. Well, what was the point of dating the county sheriff if you couldn’t get any special favors when one of his deputies arrested you for something you didn’t do? Rory huffed, her patience wearing thin.

“Where is the sheriff? If I can just talk to him, we can straighten everything out.”

“I’m sure he’ll be talking to you once we get you processed.”

“Processed? You mean fingerprinted and photographed, like a criminal?” Rory’s voice rose in pitch and volume as panic flooded through her.

“Everything is to be done by the book,” Opal insisted.

“I want to call my father, before any of this processing.” Surely Rory’s dad, a retired prosecutor from a couple of counties over, would be able to make this right and get her released before they took the processing too far.

“When we get to the station, you can make your call. Until then, just sit tight.”

Rory squirmed in the seat some more, prompting Opal to say, “I’m telling you, Ms. Roberts, this’ll be a lot easier for everyone concerned if you just sit tight and calm down.”

“But, Opal—”

“Just calm down. It’s going to be okay.”

No it’s not. It’s not going to be okay, Rory thought. Deep down, she’d known it from the start of this whole, weird episode.

Text copyright Roby Sweet, 2017.

The whole book will be released on November 15! Need to catch up on the series before then? Get the set of Books I-IV for 20% off from the Cuddlywumps Publishing site!

And now for our Sunday Selfie...

We're not sure what Real Cat Webster was doing with his head under the sofa, but this is how we found him. He insisted we help him take a selfie so he could see what he looks like with his head under a piece of furniture.

We're joining the Sunday Selfies Blog Hop, hosted by The Cat on My Head.

Sunday Selfies Blog Hop

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Caturday Art: Psycho Kitty

Today we continue our series of Halloween-themed Caturday Art with another fake movie poster. This one sounds pretty scary!

Psycho Kitty poster

Today's design is available on a magnet and a card in our Zazzle Halloween shop!

We're joining Athena's Caturday Art blog hop.

Caturday Art blog hop

Friday, October 13, 2017

Words with Webster: Kitten, Plus Friendly Fill-Ins

We have two fun Friday features for you today. First up is Real Cat Webster, who has a familiar word to share. After that, it’s on to Friendly Fill-Ins!

Words with Webster

Words with Webster
Hi, everybody! It’s me, Real Cat Webster. Welcome to Words with Me. Today’s word is “kitten.” I picked this word because of the word(s) a few weeks ago, “Saturn’s Kittens.” At first I figured everybody knew what a kitten is, but then I thought, “What if someone doesn’t?” So, I looked in my favorite dictionary, Merriam-Webster’s, and it said a kitten is
a (1) :  a young cat  (2) :  a cat less than nine months old — used especially in relation to competitive showing
b :  an immature individual of various other small mammals
Then I went over to the Oxford English Dictionary, where I learned that “kitten” has been around for a really long time—over 600 years. With the meaning “a young cat,” the word first appeared in print (as far as we know) in 1377:
Þere þe catte is a kitoun þe courte is ful elyng. (William Langland, The vision of William concerning Piers Plowman)

I thought we’d better move ahead about 200 years to Shakespeare:
I had rather be a kitten and cry mew, Then one of these same miter ballet mongers. (Henry IV, Pt 1 III.i.125, 1598)
That’s better; at least I understand the first part of that quote!

The English word “kitten” seems to have come from the Anglo-Norman “kitoun” or “ketun,” which is in turn from the Old French “chitoun” or “cheton,” an “obsolete variant of French ‘chaton.’”

Since it’s getting close to Halloween, I thought we should end with a black kitten, so here is a quote from Merlin, or The early history of King Arthur, from 1500, although the text was composed around 1450:
He caste his nett in to the water, and drough oute a litill kyton as blakke as eny cool.
Black kitten on a jack-o'lantern, #kitten #jackolantern #blackcat #Halloween

Friendly Fill-Ins

Friendly Fill-Ins, McGuffy's Reader & 15andMeowing
And now it’s time for Friendly Fill-Ins, from 15andmeowing and McGuffy’s Reader. They are a fun way to learn a little bit about the authors of the blogs you read. The first two questions, answered by Real Cat Paisley this week, are from Ellen of 15andmeowing, and the next two, answered by old SoLT, are from Annie of McGuffy’s Reader.

Real Cat Paisley’s answers:
1. Keep calm and take naps. Obviously.

2. An empty food dish disappoints me.

Old SoLT’s answers:
3.  Peppermint tea is my favorite afternoon drink right now. The mintiness gives me a little boost that I need after lunch (when, let’s face it, it would be way more fun to take a nap than go back to work!).

4. In retrospect, I should have just given up a half hour ago and admitted that I don’t have a good response to this one!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Cat App Review: Cookie Cats Pop

Cookie Cats PopToday we are reviewing a fun game called Cookie Cats Pop. Even the name is fun, right? Well, don’t be fooled by the fun name and cute kitties, because this game can get quite challenging once you get past the lower levels. At least old SoLT has found it challenging—addictively so.

See, there’s this octopus, and she has these kittens…

The story behind the game, as far as we can make out, involves an  octopus in a hot-air balloon who has snatched some kittens to give them a bath. Your mission is to pop bubbles and rescue the poor little kittens. You do this with the help of five cats—Berry, Belle, Ziggy, Smokey, and Rita. The cats have superpowers, but only if they’ve been fed enough cookies. Popping bubbles of the appropriate color feeds the cats cookies, and gets you closer to freeing the kittens.

Well, you know how these things go: The first levels are so easy and so much fun, and the graphics are just so cute, especially when the little kittens are rescued, plus the cats sing to you.… It’s easy to get sucked in. You learn about the boosters that give you a little edge in bursting those bubbles (we wish we could have Cat Vision and Triple Swap all the time!). Anyway, you start to think you’re pretty good at this game. Then the difficulties begin. You hit some levels labeled “hard” (a couple of these we actually found rather easy—or maybe we just got lucky). You fail to rescue the kittens—the poor little kittens who are being given a bath they do not want! Before you know it, you’ve used all your boosters and run out of lives, so you can’t play any more until your lives regenerate.

But hopefully you haven’t used all your boosters (use them conservatively—unless you want to pay real money for more, in which case, use all you want!). Yes, you can get extra cookies, extra moves, and other help by watching an ad, but it may not be the help you’d hoped for. This is another game that hands out coins sparingly, so it’s not like you can play a bunch to build up some coins and buy yourself some supplies. You can either be frustrated about this or accept it and strategize accordingly. We highly recommend accepting and strategizing because this game is just so much fun, even when you’re stuck on a level.

Our verdict

Cookie Cats Pop screenshotI guess I’ve already given away our verdict. We love Cookie Cats Pop. Old SoLT looks forward to the time she can spend playing each evening. She has “watched” quite a few TV shows with no idea what is going on because she is so busy popping bubbles and freeing kittens. Yes, some of the levels are frustrating, and she’s been stuck with no more lives quite a few times (translation: “every evening for the past two weeks or so”). But there’s always tomorrow, when she’ll have a full set of lives again. If you happen to be better at this sort of thing than old SoLT (and really, this would not be difficult), there are now 1,000 levels for you to play, so this game could keep you busy for a little while. Old SoLT is currently stuck at level 93. We doubt she will ever get anywhere near level 1,000.

Cookie Cats Pop is created by Tactile Entertainment and is available for iOS and Android devices. We played on an iPad and had no trouble at all with gameplay. The game is free to download, and you can play for a long time without spending real money.

You can also follow Cookie Cats Pop on Facebook and Instagram.

Highly recommended!

Two Paws Up--A Great App!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Cat of the Week: Whitney in Baltimore

Cat of the Week

Each week in this space, we feature an older adult or senior cat (7 years +) in need of adoption or sponsorship. Mature cats make great companions, and unlike kittens, they (probably) won’t climb the curtains! Adopt an older cat, and help them enjoy the best years of their life.

Cat of the Week: Adopt Whitney!

This week, we introduce a beautiful brown-and-black tiger kitty named Whitney. Whitney is 8 years old, and she has such nice, bold stripes. Her whiskers are pretty special too, we think. She was a little cautious and shy when she first came to the shelter, but now she is at Charm Kitty Café, where maybe she can be more relaxed as she mingles with visitors (you can see another picture of her on Charm Kitty’s Instagram).

Whitney is adoptable through the Baltimore Humane Society. Learn more about her here.

Can’t adopt? You can still help! Check out Sammy’s Cat Necessities Fund, which provides money for everyday and medical needs of cats at the Baltimore Humane Society. You can also make a general donation or sponsor a particular animal on this page. Every little bit helps!