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.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Caturday Art: Paisley in Purple

This week in Caturday Art, old SoLT turned Real Cat Paisley into something purple:

#caturdayart #lunapic

She did this in LunaPic, with the Daisy art effect (51%) and the Monster art effect (64%). We like the wavy parts it put in Paisley's fur!

And here's the original:


And now it's time for Friendly Fill-Ins, brought to us by 15 and Meowing and Four-Legged Furballs! The first two are answered by old SoLT this week, and the next two by Real Cat Paisley.

Old SoLT's answers:
Friendly Fill-Ins

1. My favorite scent is the smell of fresh garlic hitting olive oil when I'm cooking.

2. I hope to get some rest this weekend. I've ended up being double-booked for the past three weeks, and while it's great to have the work, it's wearing me out!

Real Cat Paisley's answers:
3.The sound of the pull tab on a can of cat food being opened is music to my ears.

4. Home is where my mommy is. And where my food is.

We're also joining the Caturday Art Blog Hop, hosted by Athena and Marie!

Caturday art Blog Hop

Friday, June 22, 2018

Words with Webster: Pard

We have one fun Friday feature for you today, as Real Cat Webster shares a really old wild cat word. And then we have a reminder for you about next Friday!

Words with Webster

Words with Webster

Hi, everybody! It’s me, Real Cat Webster. Welcome to Words with Me. Today’s word is “pard.” This is sort of like last week’s word, “manticore,” because I got the idea for it when Mommy was typing the heraldry post for Miss C. Anyway, “pard,” according to my favorite dictionary, Merriam-Webster’s, is an archaic term for a leopard. The Oxford English Dictionary says it can mean a panther, a leopard, or “an animal resembling these.”

This word has basically been around since the days of ye Olde English, which was before the year 1100. Here is one of the Old English quotes listed in the OED:
Ofer ealle þa niht ðe we ferdon þæt us symle leon & beran & tigris & pardus & wulfas ure ehtan. ([tr.] Alexander’s Letter to Aristotle, 16.234)
Besides the pards, this quote also has lions and tigers and bears. Oh my! (And it has wolves too.)

It was really exciting to see a Shakespeare quote for “pard”:
Then, a Soldier, Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the Pard. (about 1616, As You Like It (1623) ii. vii. 150)
And I’m adding this 19th-century quote just because I like it:  
With the tread of the velvet-footed pard when he creeps upon his prey. (1845, J. H. Ingraham, Scarlet Feather ix. 58)
According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, “pard” comes from the Latin pardus and Greek pardos (both meaning “a male panther”). And those could come from a possibly Iranian source that also led to the Sanskrit prdaku-s (“leopard, tiger, snake”) and Persian palang (“panther”).

Leopard mosaic Roman
This leopard is leaping in a Roman mosaic from Cyprus.
Photo via Adobe Stock.

And in case you’re wondering, yes, I did look up “leopard,” but it was so interesting I decided to save it for my next column, which will be right here on July 6!

Pet Photo Fails

And now here is your friendly reminder that the Pet Photo Fails Blog Hop happens next Friday! So get your not-quite-right pet photos ready to share, and come hop with us. All pets are welcome!

Pet Photo Fails Blog Hop

Thursday, June 21, 2018

The Story of the Key Marco Cat

Key Marco Cat
The Key Marco Cat.
Artifact Catalogue No. A240915, Department of Anthropology, NMNH, Smithsonian Institution.
Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.
Have you ever heard of the Key Marco Cat? Chances are you may have seen an image of this famous Florida artifact, even if you didn’t know what it was. The Key Marco Cat is a human/feline figurine about six inches high. It was carved from buttonwood by an artisan of the Calusa culture. According to notes from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, the figure is dated to AD 1400–1500 or AD 700–1500.

Where is Key Marco and who were the Calusa?

Key Marco is the name of an archaeological site near Marco Island, a city on Florida’s southwest coast. According to the city’s official website, the Calusa people arrived in Florida “at least 4,000 years ago” (or about 2,000 BC). Besides being a “tall, handsome people … known for their fierce and warlike nature,” they were skilled woodworkers, as evidenced by the artifacts that were found in an 1896 excavation.

The Calusa lived on shell mounds and in huts raised above the water. They weren’t welcoming toward European explorers, and in 1521, an expedition led by Ponce de Leon landed in the area and was attacked by Calusa warriors. Ponce de Leon was wounded in the thigh (by a spear or poison arrow—accounts vary) and later died in Cuba.

The Calusa themselves were wiped out by diseases brought by Europeans.

The area of Florida where the
Calusa lived.
By Bryan Strome (www.firstnationseeker.ca)
[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

The Key Marco Cat

The 1896 excavation we mentioned was the Pepper-Hearst Expedition, led by an anthropologist named Frank Hamilton Cushing (the expedition was named for its sponsors, Dr. William Pepper and philanthropist Phoebe Hearst).  Cushing excavated at a small muck pond he called the Court of the Pile Dwellers. There he found the remains of buildings, woven mats, pottery, utensils such as spoons, and carved masks and figures, including an alligator head, a deer head, and of course the now-famous cat. Many of the wooden objects had still-vivid paint colors when they were first brought out of the wet conditions that had preserved them. But this was before archaeologists had good conservation techniques for wooden objects, and the painted colors soon faded.

The Key Marco Cat is a kneeling figure that appears to be half-human and half-feline. The feline part has been called a cougar or mountain lion, but it seems more likely (to us at least) that it was based on the mountain lion subspecies known as the Florida panther (Puma concolor coryi). It was carved with shell scrapers and a shark’s tooth and was then “rubbed with a protective layer of animal fat,” (Smithsonian NMNH).

Interestingly, some Native peoples of the North American Southeast have oral histories of underwater panthers who rule the lower world and thunderbirds who rule the upper world. Could the Key Marco Cat be a representation of one of these underwater panthers? That is a question that may never be answered for certain. The figure is believed to have had religious significance to the Calusa, though.

Where the cat is now and where it’s going

1989 US Airmail stamp of the Key Marco Cat
This 1989 US Airmail stamp featured
the Key Marco Cat.
Copyright United States Postal Service.
All rights reserved,
The Key Marco Cat is now at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC. But later this year, the figure is expected to return to Marco Island along with several other artifacts for “an extended visit” (Naples Daily News) to the Marco Island Historical Museum. The cat will be featured at a grand opening in January 2019.

Meanwhile, in the absence of the actual artifact, the museum has displayed a reproduction by artist Peter Sottong. It will be nice to see the Key Marco Cat go home, even if only temporarily.


Harriet, Howard Heithaus, “The Year of the Cat: Key Marco Cat Returns, This Time to a Home Built for It,” Naples Daily News, April 21, 2018, https://www.naplesnews.com/story/entertainment/arts/2018/04/21/year-cat-key-marco-cat-returns-time-home-built/523476002/

“History,” Key Marco Cat—Calusa Art Reproductions, https://www.keymarcocat.com/history.html.

“Key Marco,” Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Key_Marco

“Old Marco Island,” City of Marco Island Florida, http://www.cityofmarcoisland.com/index.aspx?page=207

“Pepper-Hearst Expedition,” Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pepper-Hearst_expedition

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Cat of the Week: Iris

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.

#adoptablecat #baltimorehumaneToday we’re pleased to introduce this lovely gray tabby with white bib and socks. Her name is Iris, and she is 8 years old. She’s kind of shy and was scared in the shelter environment, but now she’s at Charm Kitty Café, where we hope she’ll meet lots of great people who can help her feel less scared so she’ll be ready for her forever home. Iris will need a patient adopter to give her time to adjust and feel comfortable in a new home. Could that be you?

Learn more Iris about 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, June 18, 2018

Cat App Review: Cat Condo

Cat Condo

Today we’re pleased to bring you our brief review of a cute app called Cat Condo.

In this game, you start off with a small cat condo with a little white kitty cat on each of its platforms. You combine two white kitty cats to create a gray kitten. Then you combine two gray kittens to create a sneaky cat, two sneaky cats to create a Japanese bobtail … and so on, combining cats at higher and higher levels to create new breeds. As you progress, your condo grows with the addition of more and more platforms to accommodate all those cats.

Here are just some of the 40 cats you can unlock in Cat Condo.
The condo grows as you reach higher levels.
Empty platforms will automatically fill with cat carriers holding white kitty cats, and sometimes you’ll get a surprise cat—a sneaky cat, say, instead of the white kitty cat. If you watch an ad, you can upgrade your surprise cat. You also earn coins that you can use to buy higher-level cats so you can progress to the new breeds more quickly. But each time you buy a cat, the price of that type of cat goes up. And of course you can spend real money to make the game go faster.

Cat Condo is a lot of fun at first, as you get to the new breeds quickly. But then it starts to take a long time to create the high-level cats needed to unlock even higher-level cats, and honestly, combining tons of white kitty cats into gray kittens into sneaky cats and so on and so forth gets old after a not very long time. There are 40 cats you can unlock, and after about three weeks of occasional play, we have only gotten to number 15 (a really cute American bobtail).

At least as far as we’ve found, there isn’t much strategy or challenge to this game, so it doesn’t take a lot of concentration. That makes it good if you want something cute and easy to occupy your hands while you watch TV or whatever (since you humans can’t seem to do just one thing at a time these days). But if you want something more engrossing, this is not that game. Still, Cat Condo is mildly distracting, and old SoLT finds it relaxing to check in for a few minutes in the evening to work toward unlocking the next cute cat. Maybe someday, far in the future, she’ll unlock all 40!

Cat Condo is available for iOS and Android devices. We played on an iPad.

One Paw Up! A good app

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!

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Sunday Selfie: Webster Upside Down

This week, Real Cat Webster wanted to try doing his selfie upside down. We think it turned out pretty good:

#SundaySelfie #catselfies

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


Saturday, June 16, 2018

Caturday Art: Paisley in an Abstract World

This week's Caturday Art was a bit of a surprise to old SoLT, as she started this in Dreamscope several weeks ago and just got the results this Friday. She was surprised (a) that it was there at all and (b) that she likes it, because the last one we waited and waited for we didn't even like.


We don't know which filter it is. Heck, old SoLT isn't even sure which original photo it's from--so obviously we won't be showing you the original this week!

We're joining the Caturday Art Blog Hop, hosted by Athena & Marie!

Caturday Art Blog Hop