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.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Review of After Surgery Wear E-Collar Alternative for Cats

A message from Miss C: I am turning the blog over to old SoLT today for a product review. Try not to be too disappointed with the low quality of her writing (really, it’s barely intelligible, but I think you can make it out if you concentrate).

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through them, we could get a little coin for our kibble account.

 Searching for an alternative to the dreaded Cone of Shame


Real Cat Paisley in e-collar
Real Cat Paisley did not like the cone at all, and she was
having a hard time getting used to it.
When Real Cat Paisley had minor surgery recently, we were so worried about the surgery results that we barely thought about her having to wear an e-collar (a.k.a. the Cone of Shame) until her stitches were removed. Well, the surgery turned out fine, but the cone was another matter. Paisley had a hard time eating and drinking with it on (she kept banging the cone into the food dish and water fountain, and she couldn’t really reach the food/water). I started taking the cone off at mealtimes, but I still worried that she wasn’t able to get enough water throughout the day. She also kept running into doorframes and furniture and knocking over … everything. Plus, she just wasn’t “Paisley.” Where was the tortitude?

We thought we had a Suitical recovery suit that we had tried on Webster a couple years ago, but after looking everywhere for it and not finding it, we gave up and decided to buy something new. (There was nothing wrong with the Suitical. We just wanted something more colorful for Paisley.) Searching “e-collar alternative for cats” on Amazon brought us to a recovery gown from After Surgery Wear.

It takes two to put a recovery gown on a cat

Real Cat Paisley on cat tree wearing recovery gown
Real Cat Paisley was able to jump and
play normally in the gown.
I was home alone when the gown arrived, and I immediately started trying to put it on Paisley. This was before I read the part of the instructions that say it’s best to do this while the cat is still under anesthesia! Paisley was fairly patient, but it was hard to get her legs through the holes and tie the ties before she just walked out of it. Plus, as I realized later, I was putting it on backwards (oops!), so even once I got it all tied up, Paisley was able to wiggle out of it. Tip: The gown doesn’t work if you put it on backwards!

After reinforcements arrived, we made another attempt, and with some effort, we got Paisley in the gown, whereupon Paisley tried to walk and … fell over. Tip: The ties don’t have to be super tight! Loosening the ties helped, but it still took some time for her to get comfortable enough to walk normally. Her gait was a bit stiff the whole time she wore the gown (about a week and a half), but overall she was able to get around just fine—she could run and play normally and jumped onto chairs and the cat tree with no problem.

Paisley’s life was much more comfortable without the cone. She was able to eat and drink, wash her face, play, use the litter box … plus, she was much cuter in the gown than in the cone! The gown’s online description says the fabric allows for air flow so the wound can heal, but I still undid a couple of ties every two days or so to check Paisley’s incision. It healed up nicely and without any problem at all.






Experience the excitement of putting a little gown on a cat in this trailer!




Pros and cons of the e-collar alternative gown

Pros
Real Cats Webster and Paisley together on the pet bed
Real Cat Webster needed a day or so to adjust to Paisley being
in the gown. The first day, he didn't really want to eat next
to her. But soon  they were best buds again.

  • Allows for normal or near-normal mobility and activity.
  • Keeps abdominal wounds covered so the cat can’t lick them and nothing can get in them.
  • Sizing is easy. We got a small, which should fit any average-sized cat. 
  • Allows normal litter box use. (Obviously Paisley is a female, but I’m pretty sure it will work okay for male cats too. Male dogs are another matter; you have to undo a couple of the back ties so the dog can “go.”)
  • Machine washable.
  • Really cute!
  • Offers endless opportunity to make dumb jokes about “those darn drafty hospital gowns.”

Cons

  • It took two people to get the gown on our cat. 
  • Makes it a little harder to keep a close eye on the pet’s wound.
  • Cats that don’t like to have “stuff” on them would probably “freeze” in the gown. Whether this is better or worse than the cone would depend on the individual cat.

For Paisley, this gown was absolutely perfect, and so much better than that dumb old cone. It made everyone’s life a little easier while her incision site healed, and she was so much happier in it. Plus, the cuteness was almost unbearable.


Recommended!


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Cat of the Week: Maggie in Baltimore

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During the month of July, several shelters in our home state of Maryland are offering free cat and kitten adoptions through the Maryland 2000 program. Most of the young kittens won’t have any trouble getting a lot of attention, but there are also so many 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, and in July, all of our featured cats will be from Maryland. Mature cats make great companions, and unlike kittens, they (probably) won’t climb the curtains! Adopt a senior cat, and help them enjoy the best years of their life!

Adopt Maggie--Baltimore Humane Society
Meet Maggie! She is kind of shy, what with the stress of being in a shelter after living in a home for 10 years. Once she gets to know you, Maggie enjoys sitting in your lap and watching TV. She also enjoys cuddling and watching cat TV (a.k.a. the window). Maggie lived with another cat who bullied her, so she might be most comfortable as an only cat in a quiet home where she can just relax and be herself.

Maggie 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, July 17, 2017

Book Review: If the Haunting Fits, Wear It


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On this Mysterious Monday, we consider the latest installment in Rose Pressey’s Haunted Vintage series. It’s called If the Haunting Fits, Wear It, and as we’ve come to expect from this series, it is a thoroughly fun story to get lost in.

Vintage clothing expert, ghostly companions, and cat go to Kentucky Derby

If the Haunting Fits, Wear It, by Rose Pressey
Cookie Chanel owns a vintage clothing boutique called It’s Vintage, Ya’ll, in Sugar Creek, Georgia. Cookie knows vintage. She also knows ghosts, and she knows one ghost, Charlotte, really well, because Charlotte is pretty much always with her. As the book opens, we find Cookie in an attic searching for vintage clothing. What she finds, though, is something she did not expect: another ghost. This one is named Maureen. Maureen has been murdered, and she decides that Cookie would be the perfect person to help find her murderer. It’s not as though Cookie hasn’t done this before (solving murders for ghosts is sort of her side gig), but this case might just have to wait until she gets back from the Kentucky Derby, where she’ll be providing fantastic vintage items for Danielle, who is backing one of the horses. So she heads off to Kentucky in her classic car with two ghosts and her cat (more on the cat later).

Things become more complicated (you knew this would happen!) when Cookie finds a dead body at the Derby, and the deceased (murdered, naturally) turns out to be the jockey who was supposed to ride Danielle’s horse in the big race. His ghost joins the two ghosts already accompanying Cookie, so now she has an otherworldly trio trailing her while she tries to solve this new murder. Could Cookie be working for a murderer, or did one of the other likely suspects do the jockey in? And will Cookie get through this case without becoming a ghost herself? Along the way, there are quite a few laughs, some heart-in-your-throat moments, and yes, a somewhat troubled romance.

Wind Song the cat is a Ouija wiz

The cat in this series is Wind Song, a lovely white kitty who has certain … abilities. Wind Song can communicate by using the planchette of a Ouija board. She can also use tarot cards. Also, she is Cookie’s grandmother. I don’t mean Cookie has a cat in her family tree (but wouldn’t that be fun?); I mean Grandma Pearl’s spirit is in the cat. Also the cat is in the cat. It’s kind of complicated.  With her special abilities, Wind Song is instrumental in solving cases by providing information, even if it takes some effort to figure out what it means. Plus, sometimes she has to go take a nap before all the questions are answered. Because she’s a cat.

Our verdict

If the Haunting Fits, Wear It is thoroughly enjoyable. I will tell you that fashion is really not our thing, but it does not matter, because the Haunted Vintage series is not about fashion. It’s about characters we enjoy getting to know and mysteries we love trying to solve. The vintage fashion aspect adds a layer of detail to Cookie and her life that deepens the story. (But if you are into fashion, each chapter opens with a tip on finding, buying, and wearing vintage fashion.) Wind Song the cat (a.k.a. Grandma Pearl) also makes this series special and memorable. The cat actually appears in only a few scenes in If the Haunting Fits, but she does play an important role in the plot by providing information via her Ouija board skills. Brilliant!

We highly recommend If the Haunting Fits, Wear It as a fun read with memorable characters and a one-of-a-kind cat!

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, July 16, 2017

Sunday Selfie: Paisley Is Too Busy

Old SoLT was so ridiculously excited when Real Cat Paisley sauntered into the office yesterday. "We can do your selfie!" she exclaimed. (I am not exaggerating; she actually exclaimed. It was embarrassing.) Well, Paisley had other plans.


"Do you want to just look up for a second to take your selfie?" old SoLT asked, to which Paisley replied, "Can't. I am far too busy."

Real Cat Paisley looking at rug

"Please? Can you just glance at the camera?" old SoLT begged, to which Paisley replied, "No. Sorry. I am chasing my shadow right now. Catch me later."

Paisley looking at rug_2

So, old SoLT waited until later:

Real Cat Paisley selfie_July 16 2017

Pop Quiz!


Q: What's missing from these photos? (You may have to scroll down just a bit for the answer!)

We are joining the Sunday Selfies blog hop, hosted by The Cat on My Head.

Sunday Selfies blog hop badge


Quiz Answer: The recovery gown, of course. Paisley got her stitches out on Monday. Everything is 100% fine. She was really happy to have the gown off! Watch for our review of the recovery gown this coming Thursday.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Caturday Art: Paisley Stamped

We're joining Athena's Caturday Art blog hop with this image of Real Cat Paisley:


Real Cat Paisley with stamp filter


Old SoLT did this by cropping the original and applying the stamp filter in Photoshop, playing around with the settings until she got a result that looked something like a block print. She has loved linoleum and woodblock prints ever since she took a printmaking class in high school a long, long time ago. The frame was added in PicMonkey.

Here is the orginal:

Real Cat Paisley_April 2017



Caturday Art blog hop badge

Friday, July 14, 2017

Words with Webster: Catshark, Plus Friendly Fill-Ins

We have two fun features for you this Friday. First up is Words with Webster, in which he tells us about something…sharky. Also, be on the lookout for three bonus words. This is followed by Friendly Fill-Ins.

Words with Webster

Words with Webster badge
Hi, all! It’s me, Real Cat Webster. Welcome to Words with Me. Today’s word is “catshark.” I picked this word because today, July 14, is Shark Awareness Day, and I thought you should be aware that there is such a thing as a catshark.

There are over 150 species of catshark, and they’re called catsharks because of their eyes, which look sort of like cats’ eyes. The scientific name of their family doesn’t mean “catshark” though. It’s Scyliorhinidae (bonus word #1!), which is from a combination of two Greek words. The second word is “rhinos” (“nose”) and the first one is either “Scylla”[1] or “skylos” (“dog”).  We are sort of making up the “skylos” explanation, but we think it makes sense because—and this is  little bit confusing—some catsharks are called dogfish (go figure; also, bonus word #2!).

Catsharks are found in warm seas. These are really little sharks, usually under 2.5 feet long. Catsharks eat things like fish, octopus, and squid. Their eggs are called “mermaid’s purses” (bonus word #3!). And catsharks can have over 110 rows of teeth!

To find out more about catsharks, check out this article from the excellent PBS show Nature.

A cat shark in the Celebes Sea, Malaysia.
Adobe Stock.
And finally, sharks are really cool animals and they’re an important part of the ocean, so please don’t eat soup made from their fins or anything awful like that. You can learn more about different kinds of sharks from the Shark Research Institute.

Happy Shark Awareness Day!

Friendly Fill-Ins

Friendly Fill-Ins badge
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 are from Ellen of 15andmeowing, and the next two  are from Annie of McGuffy’s Reader. Old SoLT answered all the questions this week.

1. My inner child is often also my outer self! But only with people I know really well. A lot of people think I’m really serious.

2. My favorite month is October, because it I love the fall.

3. My favourite commercial is… I like the whole series of Progressive commercials with Flo, because she cracks me up.

4. Personally, I don't care for papayas. To me, they smell like dirty socks!



[1] Some sources claim “Scylla” means “shark,” but we are not convinced. Scholars, please weigh in.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Norwegian Forest Cat: The Official Cat of Norway

Norwegian Forest Cat: Made in Norway!The Norwegian Forest Cat is a cat after my own heart because it has been around for a long time and has appeared in the mythology of its country of origin. Obviously I am speaking of Norway, and the mythology is Norse. But I am getting ahead of myself. Let’s meet the cat first.

A sturdy, affectionate, and gregarious breed


Norwegian Forest Cats are known for being affectionate, gregarious, and intelligent. They will even greet their people at the door. “Wegies,” as they are called in some circles,[1] adapt to change more easily than many other cats.

Norwegian Forest Cats, or Wegies, are well
adapted to cold weather.
Photo by Pieter Lanser [CC-BY-2.0],
via Wikimedia Commons.
They are sturdy cats, and generally healthy. With their insulated double coat that has water-resistant guard hairs over a warm undercoat, Wegies can be happy going for a stroll in the snow. Their tufted paws are also helpful in snow. They have a ruff, a bushy tail, and ears that  are heavily furnished (which means they have hair growing from inside their ears—an undesirable trait in humans, but a desirable one in some cats!). Wegies’ almond-shaped eyes can be gold to emerald green in color. Their coat can be nearly any color, but so far as we know, there are no chocolate, lilac, or pointed Wegies.

Norwegian Forest Cats are slow to mature, only reaching full size at about 5 years old. For females, “full size” is typically 9–12 pounds; for males, 12–16 pounds. They don’t need as much grooming as you might expect (a once-a-week brushing is usually enough), though they do shed their winter coat in the spring, so more grooming is needed at that time (the Cat Fanciers’ Association describes this as the “annual molt”). Wegies like to be with people and are good with children. In the wild, they spend a lot of time up in trees, so they would like to have something nice and tall to climb on at home.


And now, the history and mythology

The Norse goddess Freya in her chariot pulled by two
blue cats. They don't look much like Skogkatt here,
but that is what they are believed to represent.
© Patrimonio | Dreamstime.com - FreyaNorse Goddess Photo
In Norway, where it is a naturally occurring breed, the Wegie is called Skogkatt (“forest cat”). They have been around a long time and apparently arose from shorthaired cats brought into parts of northern Europe by the Romans. The thick coat, furry paws, and other features typical of Skogkatt developed over a period of some years as the cats adapted to their environment.


Norse mythology has several references to large cats that we think must by Skogkatt. For example, the Prose Edda (ca. 1179–1241) mentions that the goddess Freya has two large cats that pull her chariot (these cats happen to be blue; see our post “The Goddess Freya’s Cats” for more). Another story features a cat so huge, even the great god Thor could not lift it. Cats were important in Norse culture and were often given to young women as wedding gifts, presumably because of their association with Freya, the fertility goddess.

The Norse goddess Freya in her chariot pulled by two blue cats named Bygul and Trjegul. © Patrimonio | Dreamstime.com - FreyaNorse Goddess Photo
Norwegian Forest Cats love to climb!
If you get one, you must provide
climbing opportunities.
Photo via Adobe Stock.
The Danish clergyman Peter Clausson Friis (1545–1614) lived in Norway and described three types of lynx: a wolf lynx, a fox lynx, and a cat lynx. His “cat lynx” is thought to be the Skogkatt.  Somewhat later, in the 19th century, the cats appeared in fairy tales penned by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe. These authors wrote of “fairy cats” or “huldrekatt.” Huldrekatt lived in the forest and had long, bushy tails, so we suppose they must have been Skogkatt.

The modern history of the Norwegian Forest Cat

In 1938, a Wegie made the breed’s first appearance at a cat show, in Oslo. World War II interrupted the breed’s development though, and it was the 1970s before a standard was described and a breeding program began. In 1973, two purebred Wegies, named Pippa Skogpuss and Pans Truls, were bred and had two kittens. Pans Truls would later be recognized as THE Skogkatt—the standard by which all others would be judged.

The first Norwegian Forest Cats to officially reach the United States arrived in 1979 (although they may have reached North American shores much earlier, in the late 10th century with the explorer Leif Erikson [d. 1020]). They reached the United Kingdom a few years later, in 1986.

Today, these beautiful, people-oriented cats are beloved by their humans as they take a little Viking flair everywhere they go.

Learn more!

We've written about the Skogkatt before, in the posts "What Kind of Cat Would Santa Claus Have: Part 1" and "Did Vikings Have Cats?"

Sources

"About the Norwegian Forest Cat." The Cat Fanciers' Association website. http://cfa.org/Breeds/BreedsKthruR/NorwegianForestCat.aspx.

Pickeral, Tamsin. "Norwegian Forest Cat." The Elegance of the Cat: An Illustrated History. Hauppauge, NY: Barron's, 2013.

(Top illustration created with Adobe Stock images.)


[1] The Norwegian Forest Cat is also called an NFC, but “wegie” sounds more like a friendly name and less like a government agency, so we will go with that.