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, September 28, 2018

Pet Photo Fails: Oldies But Goodies

Hi, all! Welcome to the September edition of Pet Photo Fails.

Old SoLT is still seriously not feeling well, what with the infections and kidney stones she has been fighting. The good news is that the stones are finally gone, the infections are finally gone, and the pain she's having now seems to be from the stent she has, which is supposed to come out today. We hope that if all goes well, she will be on the mend by next week.

But that is next week, and this is this week, and old SoLT has not taken a single photo of anything this month, so she has no fresh photo fails. Instead, We're sharing these two classics from last year. The first one is Webster not cooperating, and the second is Paisley not cooperating:

Now it's your turn! Just post your not-quite-right pet photos and link up here to join in the fun. All pets are welcome. The Linky will be open until 11:59 p.m. Monday (eastern time). We can't wait to see those photo fails and laugh at them commiserate with you over how hard it can be to take a good pet photo.

Not ready for this month's hop? No problem! Mark your calendar for next month's hop, which will be on September 28.



Friday, August 31, 2018

Pet Photo Fails: Paisley, Unfocused

Welcome to the August edition of Pet Photo Fails!

We have just one fail for you this month, because old SoLT has not been feeling well for a whole month now and hasn't taken many pictures. She found out she has a kidney stone that might be sort of stuck, and she will probably feel better after she has it removed, but we don't know when that will be yet.

Anyway, here is a blurry photo of Real Cat Paisley 

Now it's your turn! Just post your not-quite-right pet photos and link up here to join in the fun. All pets are welcome. The Linky will be open until 11:59 p.m. Monday (eastern time). We can't wait to see those photo fails and laugh at them commiserate with you over how hard it can be to take a good pet photo.

Not ready for this month's hop? No problem! Mark your calendar for next month's hop, which will be on September 28.


Saturday, August 18, 2018

Caturday Art: Webster in the Cat Tree Cubby

This week's Caturday Art features Real Cat Webster in one of his favorite spots: the little cubby hole in the cat tree.


Old SoLT used the Floating effect at 40% in LunaPic. She tried adding a bunch of other things on top of that, but nothing looked quite right, so she decided to stop. She did bump up the contrast and brightness in Photoshop, though.

Here's the original:


We're sorry we haven't been around much lately, but old SoLT is still not feeling all that great. I hope she gets better soon, because I have lots of stuff to tell you about!

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

Caturday Art Blog Hop

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Cat of the Week: Shaz

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.

Adopt Shaz!This week, we’re excited to introduce Shaz, an excellent Siamese cat in need of a new home. Shaz is a 9-year-old male whose original person had health problems and could no longer care for him. Shaz’s dad wants everyone to know that he is a great cat and an excellent friend. He also enjoys hanging out with the ladies, and we’re pretty sure they enjoy hanging out with him too, because he is super handsome! This gentleman will make a terrific companion for some lucky person.

Shaz 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!

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Caturday Art: Sleepy Webster

This week's Caturday Art features Real Cat Webster doing one of his very favorite things: going to sleep.


Old SoLT did this with a combination of Lunapic and PicMonkey effects. In Lunapic, she used the Sketch 4 art effect, followed by just a touch of the Landscape effect (26%) to put some color back in. Then in PicMonkey, she added the Frost effect and a drop-shadow frame.

And here is the original:


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


Friday, August 10, 2018

Words with Webster: Henry’s Pocket, Plus Friendly Fill-Ins

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

Words with Webster


Hi, everybody! It’s me, Real Cat Webster. Welcome to Words with Me. Today’s word is “Henry’s pocket.” I picked this word because I just thought it was interesting. It is also not in the dictionary, which makes it kind of hard to find its origins or give examples.

But anyway, the important thing is that Henry’s pocket is that little pouchy thing on the bottom part of a cat’s outer ear. It’s also called the “cutaneous marginal pouch,” but “Henry’s pocket” is so much more fun to say. Some kinds of dogs and other animals have these little ear pouches too.

That little pouch at the bottom of this cat's ear is
Henry's pocket. No one knows quite what it's for.
Public domain image by Mattes, via Wikimedia Commons.
Humans like to name things, so they have named this little pouch, but none of them seem to know for sure what its function is. One possibility is that the pouch helps cats detect high-pitched sounds. No one seems to know why it’s called Henry’s pocket either. We have no idea who named it that or when. All in all, Henry’s pocket is kind of a mysterious thing.

One thing that is not so mysterious is that nasty little parasites like to hang out in Henry’s pocket, so you and your vet should keep an eye out for them!

Friendly Fill-InsFriendly Fill-Ins

And now it’s time for Friendly Fill-Ins, from 15andmeowing and The Four-Legged Furballs. Real Cat Paisley took on the first two this week, and old SoLT did the next two.

Real Cat Paisley’s answers:
1. I have faith in the Cat Food Gods because they eventually make sure I get some tasty food. Sometimes it takes a while, though. Please see my answer to #2 for an example.

2. Yesterday, I finally got some tasty food after several days of icky food. The gods must have slept through the first part of the week or something.

Old SoLT’s answers:
3. My favorite place to be is sort of theoretical because I almost never get to go there . . . but I love the beach.

4. If I was granted one wish, it would be to live closer to the shore so I could enjoy walking on the beach more often than once a decade.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

The Nine Lives of a Cat, 1860 Style

Nine Lives of a Cat, 1860
Today we’re sharing something we just discovered yesterday on The Public Domain Review (a great resource if you’re looking for public domain material). What we found is an 1860 book called The Nine Lives of a Cat: A Tale of Wonder. It was written by Charles Bennett and published in London by Griffith and Farran. Bennett bills this tome as a “tale of wonder … told for children,” but it’s hardly the sort of children’s tale that would pass muster today.

Things were different for cats--and kids--back then

When we first meet the cat who is the star of the story, we see her stealing a fish. Then we learn that the cat pays a disproportionate penalty for this offense:
But when she was young,
Poor Kitty was hung;
Fortunately, though, this is a resourceful cat who keeps a knife in her pocket, so she manages to free herself. Now she’s down to eight lives.

And that is pretty much how the story goes: The cat suffers some potentially deadly calamity only to escape with her life, thanks to her own ability and cleverness. Some of these near-death experiences are the result of the cat’s own actions. She is burned while trying to snag meat off the fire and falls off a house while chasing a mouse, for example. But, disturbingly, she is also nearly done in three times by the deliberate actions of humans. One person attempts to hang her, as we’ve already seen; one attempts to drown her; and one attempts to shoot her. The disturbing part of these incidents is not that they happen at all, but that they’re mentioned so casually. The boy who tries to drown the cat isn’t described as “naughty” or “wicked” or any of the HBO words we might use; he’s just a kid having some fun.

Nine Lives of a Cat
Here, the cat falls of a house but survives by landing on her feet.

We do have to wonder if any 19th-century children were inspired by this or similar stories to try to harm cats or other animals. We suspect the answer is yes, but sadly, we also suspect that not much inspiration would have been needed in an age when violence toward animals was so accepted that it could be included in a children’s story without comment.

We’re glad humans—many of them, anyway—see things differently today.

In case you’re wondering, the cat lives to an old age and finally dies. Not exactly uplifting, although the author does remind us that the cat had lived nine lives, so we guess that’s something.

We suppose there is a moral to the story, but we’re not quite sure what it is. We're willing to entertain ideas in the comments.

Read with caution

If you’re interested in exploring how cats were portrayed in the past—or what children’s books were like in the past—we think The Nine Lives of a Cat is worth a look. None of the illustrations are horribly graphic, but we know some of you find any depictions of animal abuse upsetting. If you fall into that category, you should definitely skip this book. For others of you, we recommend taking a look at it not because it’s a great read—we thought it was awfully clunky and mostly not very enjoyable—but because it’s a piece of cat history. Also, the “Catalogue of New and Popular Works” at the back of the book is pretty interesting all by itself.