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.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Words with Webster: Primordial Pouch, Plus Friendly Fill-Ins

We have two fun Friday features for you today. First up is Real Cat Webster, who has a poochy 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 “primordial pouch.” You know that sort of loose-skin-looking flappy things you might see hanging from your cat’s belly? Those are primordial pouches. Sometimes they’re just called belly pouches, and some people call them “spay sway” because they might be more noticeable after a cat has been spayed or neutered. Spaying or neutering doesn’t cause the pouches, though.

Why do cats have primordial pouches? Well, it could be a defensive thing. Think about all the bunny-kicking cats do when they fight play (or fight). The extra skin gives some protection to all the important stuff inside the cat’s belly. It’s also handy for wild cats who might get to eat a super-size meal once in a while: the pouch lets the stomach expand to hold all that food. This would explain one other term we found used for the pouch: “famine pouch.”

Surprisingly, I couldn’t find “primordial pouch” in the dictionary. I tried looking up “famine pouch” in Merriam-Webster’s online, and the spelling suggestion it gave me was “flaming poppy,” which is really not the same thing.

Anyway, “primordial” is in the dictionary. The Oxford English Dictionary says it means “primitive” (this is the condensed version of the definition). This word is recorded in English from the late 14th century (about 1398). The Online Etymology Dictionary says the word comes from the Late Latin primordialis (“first of all, original”), which came from primus (“first”). We don’t know why people started calling the belly pouch on cats a primordial pouch. Maybe because it seems to be something primitive.

Funny story: Years and years ago (seriously, like almost 30 years ago—deep time), when Mommy first noticed that her cat Darya had spay sway, she thought something must be wrong. So she came up with all kinds of crazy possibilities: Cancer! Poison! Mutation! She can’t remember now how she found out that it was normal, since this was before everyone just googled stuff. Someone must have told her. Back then she really didn’t know much about cats at all!

Bengal cat
Look very closely and you'll see the primordial pouch
on this Bengal cat's belly.
Photo via Adobe Stock.

(Sources: “Cat Anatomy,” Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cat_anatomy;  Nicholas DeMarino, “What Is the Primordial Pouch in Cats?” The Nest, https://pets.thenest.com/primordial-pouch-cats-11178.html.)

Friendly Fill-Ins

Friendly Fill-Ins
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. New catnip toys are the best!

2. I love to sleep on the bed in the spare bedroom, ’cause no one really goes in there.

Old SoLT’s answers:
3. When I was a child, I loved to play with all sorts of blocks, especially Legos.

4. One day, I will get to BlogPaws again. I’ve been having serious BlogPaws envy this week!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

A Call for Veterinarians to Help “Fix” Annual Kitten Invasion

The May Spay Challenge aims to reduce numbers of homeless kittens and help solve cat overpopulation.
Kitten season is coming, and so is Alley Cat Rescue's May Spay Challenge!
Photo via Adobe Stock.

You’ve all heard of kitten season, right? It’s that time of year when temperatures warm, flowers bloom, and animal shelters are inundated with kittens in need of homes.

Many people just call it “spring.”

Kitten season sounds cute and cuddly, but it’s actually a big problem for shelters, not to mention cats. That’s because there are often so many homeless kittens that shelters become overcrowded and overwhelmed. Many cats never make it out of the shelter alive. Annually, some 30% of the over 3.2 million cats that enter US shelters are euthanized.

What can be done to improve those numbers? Well, since many of those kittens who land in shelters are born to free-roaming mothers, Alley Cat Rescue, a national nonprofit dedicated to the welfare of cats, says that one solution is to sterilize outdoor cats.

Fewer fertile cats = fewer kittens born = fewer homeless kittens in shelters

The May Spay Challenge

Obviously, not just anyone can spay or neuter a cat. It takes a veterinarian to do that, and so Alley Cat Rescue has an annual May Spay Challenge to encourage vets to participate in trap-neuter-return (TNR) projects with local rescues. 

Alley Cat Rescue president and founder Louise Holton says, “Most kittens in shelters lose their lives, as shelters cannot cope with the influx. If this was a feline disease, veterinarians would want to end it. But cat overpopulation has an easy simple answer: spay and neuter cats.”

In the May Spay Challenge, vets are called on to sterilize one feral cat per week during the month of May. That can add up to a lot of sterilizations, which means a lot of feline pregnancies prevented and, ultimately, fewer homeless kittens born.

The May Spay Challenge got its start back in 2010. So far, over 1,200 veterinary hospitals in the US, Canada, Israel, Croatia, and South Africa have participated, and over 30,000 feral cats have been spayed or neutered. Alley Cat Rescue expects even greater participation this year.

Veterinary practices are encouraged to take the May Spay Challenge, and individuals can invite their local clinics to participate. Find out more here: http://www.saveacat.org/may-spay-challenge.html


Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Cat of the Week: Rogue One

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 Rogue One! 
Today, we are excited to introduce Rogue One. She is a 7-year-old lady who is nervous in the shelter but nevertheless has a lot of spunk to share with her lucky new person. Plus, take a look at that adorable face... Just think, if you adopt Rogue One, you’ll get to see that face every day!

Rogue One is currently at 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!

Monday, April 16, 2018

Book Review: The Bengal Identity

Mysterious Monday

On this Mysterious Monday, we are pleased to bring you our short review of The Bengal Identity, book 2 in Eileen Watkins’s Cat Groomer mystery series. This book features plenty of mystery, most of it centered around one spectacular cat whose identity is unknown.

The plot

The Bengal Identity, by Eileen Watkins
Cassie McGlone is the owner of Cassie’s Comfy Cats, a grooming and boarding facility in Chadwick, New Jersey. One day a young man comes in asking if he can board his big brown cat there. His house has just burned down, and he is desperate to find a place for the vocal, high-energy cat, whose name is Ayesha. Cassie agrees, but things take a strange turn when she gives Ayesha a bath and discovers that the brown fur color washes out to reveal distinctive spots. It seems that this cat may in fact be a very valuable kitty—a Bengal—in disguise. Things get even more strange when the man who’d brought Ayesha in turns up dead, possibly a murder victim. Could he have been killed by someone who was after Ayesha? And was the mysterious young man protecting the cat or stealing her? And could Cassie, her shop, and her one employee be in danger from whoever might be after this rare cat?

Our verdict

We loved this book from start to finish. This is the first book we have read in the Cat Groomer series, but it was very easy to get into even without knowing all the detail from the first book. The main story is engrossing, and the side plots (the main ones involve a mysterious wild cat; a missing auto mechanic; and Cassie’s veterinarian boyfriend, who’s having problems with his staff) add depth without distracting from Ayesha’s story. The final attempt to take Ayesha was not terribly surprising, but we didn’t mind because the reason behind this whole situation was so … let’s call it infuriating. It was something we could not have imagined. It was disturbing to us and may be extremely disturbing to people who are extra sensitive to mistreatment of animals. Things turn out okay, though, so if you can get through the disturbing part, we think you’ll enjoy how the story ends.


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!

We received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. We wouldn’t tell you it was good unless we really liked it!

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, April 15, 2018

Sunday Selfie: Real Cat Webster Chills

Real Cat Webster took this Sunday Selfie while he was relaxing with old SoLT one evening:

Real Cat Webster Sunday Selfie April 2018

We're joining the Sunday Selfies blog hop, hosted by The Cat on My Head!

The Cat on My Head: Sunday Selfies blog hop

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Caturday Art: Paisley in the Sun

For this week's Caturday Art, Old SoLT wanted to use a picture of Real Cat Paisley in the sun. She decided to play with the sunlight and shadows by bumping the contrast way up in Photoshop and then adding a lens flare and a poster edges filter. Not bad for a measly five minutes' work.

Real Cat Paisley in the Sun, posterized

Then, for something completely different, not to mention brighter, she tried the Delaunay (21%) and Landscape (15%) art effects in LunaPic.

Paisley in the sun_LunaPic

And here is the original:

Real Cat Paisley in the Sun

We are joining the Caturday Art blog hop, hosted by Athena and Marie!

Caturday Art blog hop

Friday, April 13, 2018

Words with Webster: Cat Squirrel, Plus Friendly Fill-Ins

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

Words with Webster

Words with WebsterHi, everybody! It’s me, Real Cat Webster. Welcome to Words with Me. Today’s word is “cat squirrel.” Mommy found this word in the dictionary while she was looking up something else. We never heard of it before that, so we thought it would be a fun word to share. A cat squirrel, according to both Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary and the Oxford English Dictionary, is a common squirrel or an American gray squirrel. Merriam-Webster’s also lists the eastern fox squirrel as a definition.

Cat squirrel, fox squirrel.... Sometimes I wish people would just get their animal names straight, you know?

Anyway, people have been calling one or more kinds of squirrels “cat squirrels” since at least the 19th century. The term first appeared in print in 1826. This quote is from 1855:
The species found in these woods was the large ‘cat-squirrel’ (Sciurus cinereus), one of the noblest of its kind. (M. Reid, Hunters’ Feast xix)
I have promised before to do the word “cat” one day in a post all its own, so I won’t cover it today. “Squirrel” has been around since the early 14th century, according to the Online Etymology Dictionary. It comes from Old French escurueil (“squirrel”), which is from the Latin sciurus and Greek skiouros, and that is a combination of skia (“shadow”) and oura (“tail”). Squirrels create shadows with their tails, I guess.

Aside from their frizzy tails, I don’t think squirrels look a whole lot like cats, so I’m not sure why people called them that. But people are often confused by animals, aren’t they?

Delmarva Fox Squirrel. Photo by US Fish & Wildlife Service. Public Domain.
Does this look like a cat to you? It is a Delmarva fox squirrel.
Apparently, some people call these and other squirrels "cat squirrels."
Photo by US Fish & Wildlife Service, Northeast Region. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Friendly Fill-Ins

Friendly Fill-Ins
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.

Real Cat Paisley’s answers:
1. Mommy keeps me pretty happy most of the time, although sometimes she could pick out better wet food.

2. Having a full belly and a person’s lap to nap on is the secret to happiness if you’re a cat. If you’re a person, I don’t know what you do. Have a cat sit on your lap, maybe.

Old SoLT’s answers:
3. A friend takes you as you are instead of trying to change or improve you.

4. Right now, I am thankful that spring finally seems to be here. Yay!