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, August 29, 2014

Divorce in the 10th Century: Who Got the Cat?

Miss Cuddlywumps considers another old Welsh law about cats

Divorce can be a messy business, and the messiness often extends to a separating couple’s cats. While modern couples might bicker over who should get custody of the cats, those living in West Wales back in the 10th century did not have this problem. That is because the Dimetian Code, one of three codes of Welsh law assembled under King Hywel Dda (Howel the Good), spelled out exactly who got to keep the cat.

The Dimetian Code (also known as the Book of Blaegwyrd) was simple on this point: If the separating couple had only one cat, it went to the husband. If they had multiple cats, one cat went to the husband and the others went to the wife. Their “goods and chattels” were to be divided.

If a divorcing Welsh couple had this many cats,
which one would the husband get?
Photo credit: Rsgranne - Cats cats cats!
(Arrow Rock, Missouri, 20050703) 03 (by-sa)
by Scott Granneman from St. Louis, MO, USA
 - Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons
Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
Now you may be wondering (as I am), If the couple had three cats, how did they decide which one went to the husband? That, my friends, is a question I have not been able to answer. Did the husband get the oldest cat? The best mouser? Whichever one he wanted? We do not know. So it seems that the Book of Blaegwyrd left room for bickering after all.

For more on Hywel Dda’s laws concerning cats, see “It Took a Cat to Make a 10th-century Welsh Hamlet.”  


Van Vechten, Carl. Cats! The Cultural History. Kindle edition. Burslem Books, 2010. First published as The Tiger in the House, 1936. Location 2002.

Encyclop├Ždia Britannica Online, s. v. "Hywel Dda," accessed August 11, 2014, http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/273547/Hywel-Dda.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Winston Churchill Meets a World War II Ship's Cat

Wordless Wednesday

Not so fast, kitty! Winston Churchill keeps Blackie the cat from leaving his own ship, HMS Prince of Wales, to explore an American destroyer. Photo taken during Atlantic Conference, August 1941, by War Office official photographer Capt. Horton. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.