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.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Cat of the Week: Cuma in Westhampton

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June is Adopt-a-Shelter-Cat Month. At this time of year, “kitten season,” the young kittens get a lot of attention. But there are lots of older cats in shelters just waiting to be welcomed into a loving forever home. That’s why each week in this space, we feature a 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 a senior cat, and help him or her enjoy the best years of their life!

Adopt Cuma! Bideawee westhampton, NY
On this last Tuesday of the month, we are reintroducing Cuma, a lovely 11-year-old tabby who is currently at Bideawee’s Westhampton, New York, location. We featured her once before, but she is still waiting for a forever home. Cuma is very sweet but sometimes gets too excited. She needs someone who will be patient and help her chill out in her new home, where it might take some time for her to bond with a new person. Cuma came to the shelter because the other kitties in her former home were sometimes mean to her, and her person wanted her to be safe. Because she can become overexcited, she would do best in a home with no children.

Who's ready to give Cuma the loving home she's been waiting for?

Can’t adopt but still want to help Cuma and other cats at Bideawee? Learn how you can sponsor a pet, become a Bideawee member, or make a donation.

Do you know an adoptable senior cat who needs some extra attention or an organization that works with senior cats? Let us know!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Book Review: All Cats Are Grey in the Dark

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Today on Mysterious Monday, we are very pleased to introduce a new-to-us series, the Celtic Witch mysteries, by Molly Milligan. All Cats Are Grey in the Dark is the third book in the series, and the first one we’ve read. Judging by this volume, this is a most excellent series for readers who like a little witchcraft with their mysteries.

Welcome to Wales; meet the hedge-witch and her cat

All Cats Are Grey in the Dark (Book 3 in the Celtic Witch mysteries), by Molly Milligan
The story takes place in Wales, and the book starts with a paragraph about how to pronounce Welsh. Our note on that paragraph is “Got It! Ha ha!” So, we did not learn how to speak Welsh (although, joking aside, the explanation is helpful; it’s just a lot to remember) or pronounce gwfhygyff.[1] This in no way reduced our enjoyment of the story, which is well plotted and filled with characters who are, well, characters.

Our protagonist, Bron, is a Welsh witch—a “hedge-witch,” to be exact. We looked this up and learned that a hedge witch is, according to several websites, “a solitary practitioner of the herbal arts.” So, Bron isn’t part of a coven or group that gets together to do witch stuff. In this book though, she has been roped, however unwillingly, into participating in a course called “Unfurl Your Inner Spirit.” This course is the sort of thing that takes place in a remote area, an area with yurts and a cauldron. You just know this thing is bound to go sideways, and it does go rather seriously sideways when one of the participants ends up dead. Poisoned. But by whom?

It seems that nearly everyone is a likely suspect, because nearly everyone had reason to want the victim dead. Bron investigates, with help from her cat, Harkin, who is also her magical partner. Bron and Harkin have a connection, and he can send images to her mind. Not that they always make sense to her. Harkin is not a constant presence in the book, but he is a major player and is important to the plot, just the way we like it.

Details, details

Another thing we like about this book is, it’s full of the sorts of details that add a sense of realism you can’t get from simply describing things. For example, after the death is discovered, Bron finds that the emergency personnel have wrapped a red blanket around her, and she wonders what she’s supposed to do with it once they’ve gone. Is she to turn it in somewhere, or what? That moment put is right there in the scene and wrapped us in a red blanket, while it also gave us a glimpse into Bron and what she was thinking and feeling. There are not too many writers who do this sort of thing really well, and Milligan does.

Yet another of our favorite things is the book’s “unglamorous” look at being a witch. This is not Hollywood witch stuff, where a wand is waved and something magical happens. Here, witches are said to be often “cold, damp, uncomfortable and slightly unsure of what to do.” The otherworldly realm Bron touches is powerful—and dangerous. She and Harkin do not come through it unscathed. The real question is, will they both come through it alive?

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!

[1] Not an actual Welsh word. Or, if it is a Welsh word and it’s some kind of especially unpleasant curse word, we’re really, really sorry.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Sunday Selfie: Paisley in Profile

For today's Sunday Selfies blog hop, hosted by The Cat on My Head, Real Cat Paisley wanted to catch herself looking relaxed but thoughtful. This took several tries, the first several of which all came out like this:

Real Cat Paisley_failed selfie

But finally she got one that she's happy with:

Real Cat Paisley in profile

Paisley is scheduled for surgery on Monday to remove the lump that might or might not be a mammary tumor. We are all quite anxious for the results. Prayers appreciated!

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Saturday, June 24, 2017

Caturday Art: Cat World Domination Day

Today we join Athena's Caturday Art blog hop with this illustration for Cat World Domination Day 2017*:

Real Cat Webster eats the world

This picture was inspired by Real Cat Webster, who has been on a steroid for the past couple of weeks, and it seems to have increased his appetite just a tad (like, he sleeps next to his food dish now).

*No planets were harmed in the making of this post.

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Friday, June 23, 2017

Words with Webster: Felis silvestris lybica, Plus Friendly Fill-Ins

We have two fun features for you this Friday. First up is Words with Webster, in which he tells us something scientific. This is followed by Friendly Fill-Ins.

Words with Webster

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Hi, all! It’s me, Real Cat Webster. Welcome to Words with Me. Today’s word is Felis silvestris lybica. This is the scientific name for the African Wildcat, which is the wildcat that all us modern domestic cats are descended from. These cats live in Africa, obviously, but are also found from the Arabian Peninsula all the way up to the Caspian Sea. They live in all kinds of habitats. If you want to know a lot more about them, visit the International Society for Endangered Cats. We’ll also have more about them next Thursday, so stay tuned.

But today we’re talking about words, so let's look at the actual name, Felis silvestris lybica (F.s. lybica for short). These three words are the genus, species, and subspecies for the African Wildcat. I checked in Mommy’s Latin and Greek dictionaries to find out what they mean:
  • Felis: Latin for “cat”
  • silvestris: Latin for “wild, untamed” (this word also means “wooded” or “living in woodlands”)
  • lybica: From Libya, which is from the Greek for Africa north of the Sahara. The ancient Greeks got this name from a tribe that lived on the coast of what we call Libya today.

So, basically, the name means “cat, wild, African,” except we usually say it backwards: African wild cat.

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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 old SoLT this week, are from Ellen of 15andmeowing, and the next two, answered by Real Cat Paisley, are from Annie of McGuffy’s Reader.

Old SoLT’s answers:
1. A recurring dream I have is…Well, I don’t really have any anymore. Years ago I used to have plane crash dreams, in which I’d be on the ground and see an airliner crash near me. So that was sort of recurring, but the details were always different. Sometimes I’d be helping rescue people, sometimes there were no survivors. It was always distressing. I also used to have “docu-dreams” that were like little documentaries, with a narrator. And cartoon dreams. These days, I rarely remember my dreams.

2. Turn your ideas into actual blog posts (I keep telling myself)!

Real Cat Paisley’s answers:
3. Mommy is driving me crazy! (He he! You thought I was going to say “the dog,” didn’t you?)

4. Lately, I have been having to get drops in my ears every day, and I do not like it, at all, and that is why Mommy is driving me crazy.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Majimeow: Etiquette Mascot of the Taipei Metro System

Cats could teach humans a lot, if humans would only pay attention. For example, cats know a lot about etiquette. That’s probably why the metro in Taipei, Taiwan, uses a cute cat named Majimeow as the face of a campaign to promote civil behavior in stations and on trains.

Majimeow--wear a mask if you're sick
Wear a mask if you're sick, Majimeow reminds riders in this message.

Majimeow is a white cat with a large, round head. She appears on a series of posters in which she is the victim of others’ thoughtlessness. Majimeow often has a cloud over her head, the result of frustration with her fellow commuters’ behavior. Sometimes tears pour down her face as a result of their rudeness. Commuters are reminded of things like
Majimeow--Move your stuff so others can sit
Move your stuff so others can sit, or else you'll
make the kitty cry.
  • do not block the doors,
  • do not take up an extra seat with your stuff,
  • keep your voice down, and
  • wear a mask if you’re sick.

Maybe if everyone imagines their fellow commuters as cute cats, it will be easier to be considerate of them. You don’t want to make the kitty cry, do you?

We are fortunate that old SoLT’s friend Joseph was in Taipei recently, and he sent us the photos for this post. Thanks, Joseph!

Scroll down to see them all.

Majimeow--let others off first
Let others off the train before you
get on.

Majimeow--move to the center
Don't block the doors! Move to the center
so others can get on the train.

Majimeow--keep your voice down
Shh! Keep your volume down.

Majimeow--remove your backpack please
Don't stick your backpack in others' faces.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Cat of the Week: Ryan in Baltimore

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June is Adopt-a-Shelter-Cat Month. At this time of year, “kitten season,” the young kittens get a lot of attention. But there are lots of older cats in shelters just waiting to be welcomed into a loving forever home. That’s why each week in this space, we feature a 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 a senior cat, and help him or her enjoy the best years of their life!

Adopt Ryan the Cat--Baltimore HumaneToday we’re introducing Ryan. He is a big, quiet guy who is 11 years old. Ryan was a lap cat in his previous home. He can be a little shy with new people, but once he gets to know you a little bit, he loves head rubs and chin rubs. What a great friend he would make for someone!

Ryan is currently at the Baltimore Humane Society. Learn more about him 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!