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.

Monday, March 31, 2014

What Happens When a Cat Swallows a Diamond?

Miss Cuddlywumps reviews the mystery The Diamond Cat by Marian Babson

What does happen when a cat swallows a diamond? Author Marian Babson shows us one possibility in The Diamond Cat, a fun, amusing mystery set over a stormy holiday weekend.

Bettina, fortyish and single, is cat-sitting for four neighbors, much to the consternation of her cat-hating mother, Mrs. Bilby. I would not want to know Mrs. Bilby in real life, but as a character she is a perfect source of tension. She is the kind of human who refuses to be happy, preferring instead to be cynical, demanding, and overly critical. She is not all bad, though; she does seem to care for Bettina, and even for some of the cats, in her own begrudging way. Bettina, meanwhile, dreams of one day opening a cattery where she can board cats for paying clients and even have a cat of her own. But this is an “impossible dream” because she is thoroughly stuck under her mother’s pressing thumb.

There are some other humans in the story, but the really interesting characters are the cats. They are:

  • Adolf, with a black patch of fur over half his face, one green eye, one yellow, a black nose and a small black mustache making him resemble a certain 20th-century German dictator, for whom he is named.
  • Pasha, the unhappy Persian who is supposed to be a stud “worth his weight in diamonds” but is actually impotent.
  • Enza, the independent little tabby who is expecting a litter of kittens.
  • Bluebell, the blue-eyed Balinese belonging to Bettina’s best friend and next-door neighbor.

The cats are all tired of being shut up in the house, and so are happy when Mrs. Bilby opens the door (despite Bettina's protests) and lets them all outside. They are even more happy when they discover a dead pigeon on the patio but become less happy when Bettina takes the pigeon away from them. The bird has a small tube attached to its leg, meaning it is a carrier pigeon. Someone somewhere is waiting for their pigeon to come home, and Bettina realizes that particular someone must be especially anxious to find the bird, considering what is hidden in the tube: a fortune in diamonds.

Soon strange people are all over the neighborhood, wading through flooded yards, gazing at rooftops, knocking on doors. And then the first body is found and things get really interesting. All the while, Bettina has those diamonds in her pocket and has no idea what to do with them. Adolf knows what to do, though: He swallows a diamond and adds to Bettina’s troubles. Now she has to monitor him to make sure the diamond passes safely through.

Pasha mopes. Adolf obstinately refuses to pass the diamond. Bluebell, most unfortunately, discovers a second body. Next come tragedy, intrigue, threats, and resolution.

Friday, March 28, 2014

5 Ways to Honor Your Cat on Respect Your Cat Day

A guide to proper cat care, from Miss Cuddlywumps

Webster deserves some respect.
Today’s the day to give him his due.
Photo by She of Little Talent.
I recognize that many of you humans are completely befuddled by us cats. Instead of respecting and honoring us like the divine creatures we are, you hold us like babies and talk to us in gibberish. Sometimes we pretend to enjoy this, but not today, because today is Respect Your Cat Day. Time to give us our due. Here are some tips to get you started.

  1. When your cat wakes you in the morning, arise punctually and without complaint. Thank the cat for waking you, because without the cat you would suffer the unhealthy consequences of overabundant sleep, and we don’t want that.
  2. Don’t stalk your cat with a camera waiting for him or her to do something “cute.” We are not here for your amusement.
  3. When your cat asks for treats, give your cat treats. Simple.
  4. Cat sitting in your favorite chair? Do not, under any circumstances, move the cat. It won’t kill you to sit on the floor for once.
  5. Cat sleeping soundly in your bed right where your head/torso/legs should be? Do not, under any circumstances, move the cat. Either contort your body gracefully around the cat or…go to the floor. Please take a pillow and blanket for your comfort (but not the cat’s favorite blanket, please).