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.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween from the Real Cats

The real cats, Miss Paisley and Webster, are here to wish you a happy Halloween--and to show off their Halloween gear from Barks a Lot Bowtique. The Bowtique features reasonably priced bow ties and flowers in a variety of sizes for cats and dogs. The Real Cats are sure to be sporting some Christmas accessories come December!

Here's Miss Paisley showing off her bat-themed Halloween flower.
It's just a shame that She of Little Talent can't take a decent picture, so
here you can't really tell just how boo-tiful Paisley is.

And here Webster rocks his ghost-themed bow tie.
Bet he can't wait to greet the trick-or-treaters!

Friday, October 30, 2015

The Vampire Cat of Nabéshima

A tale of horror from Old Japan

The vampire cat attacks the lady O Toyo.
This woodblock appeared in the 1871 book Tales of Old Japan.
Today we bring you the story of a prince, a woman, and a cat. This story comes from Japan and was introduced to the West in 1871 with the publication of a book called Tales of Old Japan by Algernon Freeman-Mitford. Here is the highly abridged version:

Once upon a time, the Nabéshima clan had a prince who had a favorite and most beautiful lady named O Toyo. One day they were walking in the garden, not noticing the large cat that stalked them from the shadows. That night, as O Toyo slept, the cat crept into her room and crouched over her, watching. When the lady started awake and screamed at finding the cat there, the beast gripped her delicate neck in its fearsome jaws and killed her. It dragged her limp body to a shallow grave it had already dug, and buried her there, but…

The cat transformed itself into a creature that looked exactly like O Toyo and yet was not O Toyo at all.

The prince of course knew nothing of his lady’s demise or the horrible creature that had taken her place. Their days went on much as before, but the nights were greatly changed. For at night, the creature O Toyo visited the prince as he slept and drained his blood-life. He became weaker and weaker as he suffered from horrible nightmares, and no treatment could cure him. A hundred guards were posted to watch him at night, but at exactly the same time each night they were all overtaken by an irresistible sleepiness. After the guards were all asleep, the O Toyo creature entered the prince’s chamber and continued to slowly take his life.

Then a new guard came. His name was Itô Sôda, and when the drowsiness began to overcome him the first night he watched over the prince, he stuck his knife into his leg and twisted it around to keep himself awake. Thus he was able to see the creature O Toyo coming to harm the prince, which she would not do under the gaze of the faithful guard. Thus over many days, and restful nights, the prince began to recover.

A decision was made that Itô Sôda would kill the creature O Toyo. So one night he went to her room and drew his dagger to stab her, but she was fierce and fought back with a halberd. When Sôda began to get the upper hand, the creature O Toyo threw aside her weapon, transformed before his eyes back into a cat, and fled outside and into the mountains. As the prince recovered, he ordered a hunt, in which the great cat was found and killed.

And that was the end for the vampire cat. 

If you'd like to read the whole, unabridged story, you can find the book online (and free) at Project Gutenberg. Amazon also has several versions of Tales of Old Japan, both in print and for Kindle. 

If you'd like to know a little more about the folklore of cats and vampires, see the post "Vampires and Corpses and Cats--Oh My!"

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Paisley in Her Thinking Bowl

The Real Cats

Miss Paisley in her Thinking Bowl.
Photo by Roby Sweet.
Hello, readers. For National Cat Day, we (She of Little Talent and I) thought it was about time for you to meet "The Real Cats," otherwise known as the cats who actually depend on old SoLT for their care and feeding. What a precarious existence!

Today we introduce Miss Paisley, and what better way to introduce her than in her "Thinking Bowl." It took her months--months!--to learn how to fit herself into this bowl. Now that she knows how to do it, she gets in nearly every day and sits there for just a minute or so looking wise, as well she should.

Besides looking wise in her Thinking Bowl, Miss Paisley's hobbies include conversation and bending people to her will.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Black Cat Practices His Boo

Wordless Wednesday

Ready for Halloween?
This black cat is practicing his Boo,
and maybe you should too.
Illustration ©
Dreamstime.com | ID

Monday, October 26, 2015

The Latest from Simon’s Cat—He’s Off to the Vet

Miss Cuddlywumps reviews Simon’s Cat Off to the Vet…and Other Cat-astrophes

All I can say is Ha, ha, and ha. Or rather that is what She of Little Talent said over and over as she laughed her way through this latest illustrated book from Simon Tofield.

Tofield has a distinct talent for telling stories with pictures (not a single word in this book), and this time he’s using those pictures to show us how a simple trip to the vet can go horribly wrong. You know that moment when the vet or their tech picks up your cat and says, “We’ll just keep him for a little bit to finish the exam,” and you say okay and leave? Well, Simon’s Cat will reveal what can really go on while you’re gone—and trust us, it’s more than you ever imagined. Oh, and if your cat has ever given your vet a little scratch on the hand, you won’t feel so bad about it after seeing this cat’s antics.

Much of the trip to the vet is portrayed in a nicely done color section in the center of the book, but a lot more goes on in this volume than going to the vet. Simon’s Cat has a very busy day as he helps make the bed, helps Simon in the bathroom (if you have a friendly cat, you’ll know what I mean), and then sets off to try to catch a bird. The “fishing” for birds section is one of our favorites, as Simon’s Cat and the kitten have an adventure in, naturally, a box.

It’s easy to get lost in this story, turning page after page to see what happens next. But old SoLT and I found ourselves going back again and again to look at the drawings. Some pages show one scene in detail, but our favorites are the action sequences in which several small, simple drawings cover a page. It’s almost like animation on a still page. The sequence we call “Simon’s Cat vs. the Cone” is especially well done and makes us giggle every time we go back to it.

And speaking of animation, Tofield and his team are also at work on their first full-color Simon’s Cat film, also called Off to the Vet. We’re not sure how they could possibly top the black-and-white shorts (catch them on YouTube), but we’re excited to find out.

Simon’s Cat Off to the Vet is Tofield at his best in print—making us laugh with his deceptively simple visual storytelling that is worth looking at over and over. Highly recommended!

Simon’s Cat Off to the Vet and Other Cat-astrophes is available now for pre-order and will be published in the US by Akashic Books on October 29, 2015.

And in case you just can't wait, please enjoy this video: