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.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Caturday Art:

Today we're joining Athena's Caturday Art blog hop once again. This week Real Cat Paisley is getting in on the action, with some help from LunaPic and PicMonkey:

Image of Real Cat Paisley with LunaPic filter applied

To get this result, old SoLT applied the Paper Folding effect in LunaPic, applied a color tint, and then did some work with the color changer. Then it was over to Pic Monkey for the frame. Here's the original:

Photo of Real Cat Paisley up close

Caturday Art blog hop button

Friday, January 20, 2017

App Review (Cat Snaps) and Friendly Fill-Ins

Real Cat Paisley's best selfie.
So far.
From the Cat Snaps app.
We have two fun features to close out the work week. First up is our review of an app called Cat Snaps, and then we have Friendly Fill-Ins.

App review: Cat Snaps

 Cat Snaps is an app that lets your cat take his or her very own selfies. It’s basically one of those games that puts a moving dot or other object on your device’s screen, and whenever the cat taps the screen trying to catch the dot, the camera snaps a picture.

Old SoLT downloaded this to try on her iPad, but she was not optimistic because she’s tried iPad games out on the Real Cats before, and they paid no attention whatsoever. This time was different though, as you can see from this video:

And...Real Cat Webster's least-blurry selfie.
From the Cat Snaps app.
Both Real Cats had a ball playing this game, and they collected a bunch of selfies in a very short time. (You can also put the game in “play mode” to let the cats play without taking pictures.) The game makes a squeaking sound that goes along with the movement, and that was what got their attention first. Then they just could not get enough of trying to catch the little dot.

We think Cat Snaps is a lot of fun. The Real Cats played it on an iPad, but it’s also available for Android. The game is free to download, and you can have your cat play with six different-colored dots and take and save photos. You can also purchase a “Critter Pack” for 99 cents. The pack includes three different bugs, three mice, and three balls of yarn.

Highly recommended by the Real Cats!

Friendly Fill-Ins for January 20

Friendly Fill-Ins button
And now to 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, are from Ellen of 15andmeowing, and the next two, answered this week by Real Cat Webster, are from Annie of McGuffy’s Reader.

Old SoLT’s answers
1. Watching TV interviews with young celebrities and having no idea who they are makes me feel old. It reminds me of one time when I was in high school and talking with my mom about a singer who was popular at the time (don’t remember who it was), and Mom said she’d never heard of this person. I could not understand how anybody could not have heard of So-and-so. Now I understand!

2. Laughing makes me feel young.

Real Cat Webster’s answers
3. I have a very loud purr. Everybody loves it.

4. Being brushed is the best thing ever!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Felix the Cat and the Tomcatters of the US Navy

Felix the Cat with Charlie Chaplin; still from "Felix in Hollywood"
Felix the Cat with Charlie Chaplin in
“Felix in Hollywood” (1923).
Public Domain.
 Some cats are cultural icons, and the white-faced black cat named Felix is certainly one of them. Felix the Cat has been around for nearly a century now, and his image has appeared in many contexts, including as a military mascot. Today we take a brief look at Felix the Cat as an emblem gracing the patches and planes of the US Navy’s Strike Fighter Squadron 31.

Why Felix?

Felix the Cat holding bomb with lit fuse
Insignia for US Navy Fighting
Squadron 6 (later VF-31),
ca. 1935.
National Air and Space Museum.
Felix the Cat first appeared as "Master Tom" in a 1919 short directed by Otto Messmer. Felix went on to star in many more films, using his clever smarts to outwit basically everyone he encountered. The generation that fought World War II knew him as “a courageous feline who would never give up,” Laura Vocelle writes (p. 327). Plus, the word felix in Latin means “lucky” or “successful.” So it is really no surprise that Felix’s image and attitude were adopted for military insignia.

An F4B-4 with Felix the Cat emblem.
An F4B-4 with Felix the Cat emblem.
Photo by Bill Larkins 
[CC BY-SA 2.0, via WikimediaCommons.

Origins of the Tomcatters

The strike fighter squadron now known as VFA-31, or the Tomcatters, began back in 1935 as the VF-1B Shooting Stars. The squadron went through several designations (the US Navy site lists them all), with Felix displayed on the squadron’s planes and patches almost from the beginning. He is shown running while holding a bomb with a lit fuse. Felix the Cat became the squadron’s official mascot in 1946. They became known as the Tomcatters in 1948.

Lieutenant “Butch” O’Hare in a Grumman F4F-3 Wildcat,
Lieutenant “Butch” O’Hare in a Grumman F4F-3 Wildcat,
with the Felix the Cat emblem visible on the left.
Photograph taken at Naval Air Station, Hawaii,
April 10, 1942.
US Navy. Public Domain.
The squadron was at Pearl Harbor, aboard the USS Enterprise, on December 7, 1941, and was involved in several crucial battles in the Pacific. Lieutenant Commander Edward “Butch” O’Hare, the navy’s first flying ace and the first navy man to receive the Medal of Honor in World War II, flew with the squadron.

After World War II, VF-31 was involved in the Korean War and Vietnam War.

F-4J Phantom lands aboard the USS Saratoga, January 8, 1980.
F-4J Phantom lands aboard the USS Saratoga, January 8, 1980.
It's hard to see, but Felix the Cat is about midway along the plane.

By Service Depicted: Navy Camera Operator: Robert l. Lawson
(ID:DNSN8204480) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Into the 21st century

VFA-31 and Felix the Cat have flown over Afghanistan and Iraq during the recent conflicts in those countries. These days, their headquarters is Naval Air Station Oceana, and they’re flying the F/A-18E Super Hornet.

Given their distinguished history, we can’t help but think that the smart, cunning cartoon cat named Felix might have brought them some luck.

Two F/A-18 Super Hornets in flight
Two F/A-18 Super Hornets over Afghanistan,
December 15, 2008. You can see the Felix the Cat
emblem on the tail of the near plane (note the Santa hat).
By Staff Sgt. Aaron Allmon, U.S. Air Force
[Public domain], via WikimediaCommons.


US Navy. STRKFITRON Three One. “History.” 2013.  http://www.public.navy.mil/AIRFOR/vfa31/Pages/History.aspx

L. A. Vocelle. Revered and Reviled: A Complete History of the Domestic Cat. Great Cat Publications, 2016.

Wikipedia. “VFA-31.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VFA-31

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Cat of the Week: Katy in Washington, DC

Each week in this space, we feature a senior cat in need of adoption or sponsorship. Please remember all the older cats in shelters. They 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.

Today, please meet Katy, a lovely black-and-white girl who is very sweet and enjoys having a nice lap to lounge on. Katy is 8 years old and has an adult cat’s maturity to balance out her playful side. She landed in the shelter because her people had to move and could not take her with them.

Katy is currently at the Humane Rescue Alliance’s Oglethorpe Street adoption center. If you're in the DC area, stop by and meet her, or learn more about her here.

Can’t adopt but still want to help? Learn how you can sponsor an animal at the Humane Rescue Alliance, or check out this page to learn other ways to donate.

Do you know an adoptable senior cat who’d make a great Cat of the Week? Let us know!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Cat Classics on Film: The Black Cat (1981)

Edgar Allan Poe’s excellent story “The Black Cat” has inspired several film adaptations, including this one from 1981, directed by Lucio Fulci and starring Patrick Magee and Mimsy Farmer. I am going to just tell you straight up that this particular style of horror film (i.e., weird) is not our favorite. We’re also not big fans of blaming stuff on black cats and making them out to be basically evil creatures. That said, we try to give The Black Cat a fair shot.

See, there’s this psychic who controls a cat (sort of)…

Poster for The Black Cat (1981)
The setting is an English village, where a series of odd events is taking place, all tied to a black cat. The movie opens with a cat’s-eye view of a man headed off to go fishing, only to lock eyes with this black cat and then crash his car in rather spectacular fashion. One point for the cat.

Next, we meet an American woman (played by Mimsy Farmer) who is traipsing across the countryside in heels (as you do) taking photographs. She discovers an open crypt with skeletons lying about, chained from the ceiling—you know, the normal sort of thing—and she is not freaked out by this at all.

I sort of forget the order of things at this point, because it was about here that we started to think the whole movie would be a series of weird, tangentially connected events. Anyway, we meet a young couple looking for a quiet make-out spot, only they end up locking themselves in an airtight room in a secluded boathouse (do not try this at home), whereupon the black cat sneaks in and steals the key. He also apparently breaks the ventilation system, so now the room really is airtight, and the couple slowly die. At least they’re together.

We also meet this creepy old guy, Robert Miles (played by Patrick Magee), who is apparently trying to communicate with the dead. He seems to have a hate-hate relationship with the mysterious black cat, who scratches him repeatedly, and it later becomes clear that Miles is controlling the cat (or is he?), for reasons of vengeance (don’t try this at home either).

The American photographer gets roped into taking police photos of a deceased man who was unfortunately impaled on a spiky thing (courtesy of the black cat again). She notices some scratches on his hand, which are exactly like the scratches she’d seen earlier on Miles. This gets her thinking. Could this series of unfortunate events all be related to…a cat?

Killing the cat is not helpful

After yet another death (flaming woman jumps through window), Miles decides to take care of this cat problem, by drugging the cat and then hanging it. But the cat’s death only makes things worse, and now things get really weird, ending with Miles trying to also “take care of” the pesky American by bricking her up in the cellar (yes, she gets rescued).

The question in the end is whether Miles controlled the cat or the cat controlled Miles or… Oh, I don’t know.

If you like weird horror things…

Yes, if you enjoy this kind of weird horror flick, then you might really enjoy this version of The Black Cat. Honestly, it is not our cup of tea. We found the story disjointed and frankly not very enjoyable. The movie uses frequent close-up shots of eyes, human and feline, which just got on our nerves after a very short time. Well, the feline eyes were nice; the human eyes were often just…icky. Still and all, this is a horror film of a certain sort, and icky comes with the territory.

On the bright side, Real Cat Webster really enjoyed watching the rather handsome black cat, especially in the film’s opening moments. Too bad the cat was bent on killing people.

The Black Cat is rated R and has some nudity, adult situations, and people dying in various ways. This is not our favorite kind of movie, but, judging it for what it is, I will give it one paw.

A note on the "Paws Up" system: Miss C gives either one or two paws up. One paw is for a good movie; two paws is for a great movie. 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 movie through this link, old SoLT and I could get some coin for our kibble account.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Sunday Selfie: Paisley Makes a Donation

Today we're joining the Sunday Selfies blog hop, hosted by our friends at The Cat on My Head. Old SoLT finally got Real Cat Paisley to sit for a portrait recently when she was sorting through some t-shirts to donate. Here is the result:

Have a relaxing Sunday, and check out more great selfies on the hop below!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Caturday Art

Today we're pleased to be joining Athena's Caturday Art blog hop once again. This week old SoLT chose a picture that provides photographic evidence of Resident Dog Layla coexisting with a cat (Real Cat Webster, in this case).

This image was created in LunaPic, with the Van Gogh effect and some work with the color changer. The frame was added in PicMonkey.

Here's the original: