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.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Cat of the Week: Be Mine in Washington, DC

Be Mine, aka Miners, the cat
Does your lap feel empty?
Be Mine (aka "Miners") would love to come sit on it!
She is a 12-year-old female cat waiting for adoption
in Washington, DC.
Welcome, friends. Just a reminder that June is Adopt a Cat Month, and this month we are kicking off a new feature, where each week we’ll feature a senior cat available for adoption. Older cats make great pets: they can be wonderful companions and good lap warmers, and they’re unlikely to climb the curtains. Even if you can’t adopt one of the featured cats, keep seniors in mind when you do adopt.

Be Mine, aka Miners, the cat
Miners watches what she eats so
she can stay in shape.
These days, she's really into
grain-free foods!
This week, we’re introducing you to a beautiful 12-year-old lady named Be Mine (known as “Miners” to her foster parents). Miners is a people-focused feline who enjoys curling up in a nice soft lap. She would prefer to be your only pet so she can get all the lap time!

Miners has had her thyroid removed and has to be on a strict diet so she doesn’t gain weight. A grain-free diet seems to be just the trick.

Do you have space in your home (and on your lap) for a sweet older lady?


Find out more about Miners here.

Cat of the Week: Matches in Washington, DC

Welcome, friends. Just a reminder that June is Adopt a Cat Month, and this month we are kicking off a new feature, where each week we’ll feature a senior cat available for adoption. Older cats make great pets: they can be wonderful companions and good lap warmers, and they’re unlikely to climb the curtains. Even if you can’t adopt one of the featured cats, keep seniors in mind when you do adopt.

Matches is a lovely 9-year-old girl who
needs a new loving home.
Photo from Washington Humane Society-
Washington Animal Rescue League.


This week we’d like you to meet Matches, a 9-year-old torbie who is quite a big girl. Matches needs a new home because her former guardian could not care for her any longer. She is a bit shy, but if you are gentle and patient with her, she will warm up and even flop over for a belly rub!

Matches is currently in foster care through the Washington Humane Society–Washington Animal Rescue League. Learn more about her here.


Matches adoptable cat_Washington Humane Society
Matches is not small! She also has a lot of love to give.
Photo from Washington Humane Society-
Washington Animal Rescue League.

Do you know an adoptable senior cat who should be Cat of the Week? Let us know!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Meow from New York: Cats on Stamps at World Stamp Show 2016

Today we are very pleased to welcome Marci Jarvis to our blog. Marci is a member of the Cats on Stamps Study Unit (COSSU) and editor of its award-winning newsletter, Cat Mews. Marci was smart enough to schedule her trip to the recent World Stamp Show in New York so she could attend the COSSU gathering held there. She of Little Talent was not smart enough to do this, and so we’ve asked Marci to step in and let us know how it went. Here’s what she said:

Report from the field

Three very talented and successful ladies responsible for a beautiful collection of United States Postal Service (USPS) feline stamps were guest speakers at the Cats on Stamps Study Unit Event held at the Javits Center during the World Stamp Show-NYC 2016.
Presenters at the Cats on Stamps Study Unit gathering,
World Stamp Show, May 31, 2016, Javits Center, New York City.
From left to right: USPS Stamp Illustrator Nancy Stahl,
USPS Stamp Photographer & Designer Sally Andersen-Bruce,
and Hope Tarr, PhD, pet advocate.
Photo courtesy of COSSU.


The 2010 Adopt a Shelter
Pet stamps, photograped
for USPS by
Sally Andersen-Bruce.
USPS stamp photographer and designer Sally Andersen-Bruce captured the lovely expressions on her 2002 Spay/Neuter kitten and puppy stamps and the ten 2010 Adopt a Shelter Pet cats and dogs. As she explained, it wasn't always easy to calm a nervous cat or dog.

Pet advocate Hope Tarr, PhD, founder of the Prevent a Litter Coalition (PalC), was instrumental in persuading the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee to choose the important social awareness issue of spaying and neutering pets to be a topic on stamps. The result was the 2002 Spay/Neuter duo. Hope is currently promoting Marian's Dream that provides care services for cats and dogs.

Artist Nancy Stahl has
illustrated some of our favorite
USPS stamps, inlcuding this
Amur tiger cub issue.
Nancy Stahl has illustrated numerous stamps for the USPS. Her four cat designs were issued in many formats and varieties. beginning with the iconic New York Public Library lions in 2003 and the blue Florida panther in 2007. The Amur tiger cub for Endangered Species in 2011 has raised over $2 million for conservation groups in the U.S. and has also been distributed abroad. The American bobcat is her most recent motif.

The guest speakers posed for photos and participated in a Q/A session.

The editor for Cat Mews, the journal of the Cats on Stamps Study Unit, presented a musical video, “The Tiger in Philately,” describing the life of the tiger using a wide array of philatelic materials.

Visit the group's website to learn more about collecting cats on stamps: http://www.catstamps.info.

 


Wrapping up

Thanks, Marci! Nancy Stahl’s cat designs are some of old SoLT’s favorites, so she’s sorry to have missed this gathering.


And, readers, take a moment to hop over to the Cats on Stamps website. I bet you’ll see some stamps there that make you say, “Wow!”

You can also learn more about collecting cats on stamps from our post Collecting Cats on Stamps: A Fun Way to Learn about Cats and a Whole Lot More.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Cat of the Week: Toby at Bideawee, New York City

Say hello to Toby, an 11-year-old looking for a loving home.
Photo courtesy of Bideaee.

Hello, friends. Today we remind you that June is Adopt a Cat Month, and this month we are kicking off a new feature, where each week we’ll feature a senior cat available for adoption. Older cats make great pets: they can be wonderful companions and good lap warmers, and they’re unlikely to climb the curtains. Even if you can’t adopt one of the featured cats, keep seniors in mind when you do adopt.

This week, we introduce Toby, a handsome 11-year old gentleman currently at the Bideawee shelter in New York. Toby had just one guardian his whole life, and when she passed away, Toby went to the shelter. Understandably, he took a while to adjust to this new life. What he really needs is for some really terrific cat person to come and give him a loving, stable home. It might take him some time to feel comfortable in a new place, but once he adjusts, you’ll have a laid-back but playful boy. Toby could also live with another friendly adult cat.

Take a look at this video:



Learn more about Toby here.

Got love? Yes? So does Toby!
You two should get together.
Photo courtesy of Bideawee.



Do you know an adoptable senior cat who should be Cat of the Week? Let us know!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Book Review: Breaking Cat News

You know how sometimes you’re watching a good show, and all of a sudden the network interrupts with “breaking” news that really could wait until the regular newscast? It’s annoying, right? But think of how much less annoyed you’d be if the report was delivered by a cute cat and the news was something like “The man is taking a nap on the couch.”

That would be great, wouldn’t it? I know. That’s why we’re so happy to be sharing this new book with you today. It’s called Breaking Cat News: Cats Reporting on the News That Matters to Cats, by Georgia Dunn, who is basically a genius.

It’s a cat comic

Breaking Cat News is a book of comics in which three cats report on news that is actually interesting.  Lead anchor Lupin and field reporters Puck and Elvis bring you fascinating stories like “The woman is in a room we can’t get into,” “The people have gone insane,” and “The people bought a different kind of kibble.”

This is hard-hitting stuff, folks.

Dunn got the idea for this series when one of her cats knocked some stuff off a shelf and the other cats came to investigate, as cats will do. Basically, if you have cats, you will likely recognize most of the situations Lupin and friends encounter.

Better than people news

People news is not usually fun. Cat news is fun. And hilarious. She of Little Talent started laughing out loud on page 3 of this book and pretty much didn’t stop until the end. Well, except for the part where she cried a little because one story was particularly touching and reminded her of the Real Cats in a sweet way (this is also the point where Real Cat Webster got a new nickname—Little Spoon). Old SoLT still tears up every time she thinks about it.

The verdict

Breaking Cat News is just plain fun. Old SoLT read it one afternoon when she was sad about some things happening on the people news. It made her laugh and laugh (except for that little crying part, but that was okay too), which made her feel a lot better. The artwork is simple but cute. We love the  drawings of the cats in their little suits (they are reporters, after all, and they’re all boys, and boy reporters wear suits).

Our only complaint is that it was too short!

Fortunately, the fun does not have to end, because you can follow the Breaking Cat News Team online, which we suggest you do. We also suggest you read this book.


Very highly recommended!



A note on the "Paws Up" system: Miss C gives either one or two paws up. One paw is for a good read; two paws is for a great read. She never gives three or four paws because that would require her to lie on her back...and Miss C does not do that!

But it now!


Saturday, June 18, 2016

Happy International Box Day 2016!


Happy International Box Day, everyone! We are all so excited to be joining cool cats Mudpie and Gertrude in celebrating this very special day. What better way to kick off a weekend than with cats and boxes? Let's get right into it!

First, Real Cat Webster is here hanging out in this box that's a squidge too small for him. The fact that it's a box for a Weight Watchers exercise product made no impression on him at all. His only exercise was squeezing into the box! Way to go, Boo!




And here we have Real Cat Paisley, who's always the first cat to check out a new box. Paisley spends so much of her time hanging out in boxes, no one even bothers to take her picture, because in a box is just where she always is. Here's one very rare "Paisley in a box" shot pulled from deep among the gazillions of cat photos on old SoLT's phone. Nice peeking, Paisley!


Our thanks go to Mudpie and Gertrude for sponsoring International Box Day 2016!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Breaking News: Cats Understand Physics

Professor Cat with blackboard and gravity equation

You’ve probably heard the jokes about cats being “gravity testers” (you know, a cat knocks something off a shelf to “test gravity”). Until now, this has merely been a source of amusement for humans. But recently, scientists in Japan found that cats actually know a thing or two about physics. Because cats are brilliant.

The study

Researchers at Kyoto University videotaped 30 domestic cats while someone shook a can and then turned it upside down. I know, it sounds weird, but there’s a little more to it than that. Sometimes, the shaking was accompanied by a rattling noise; sometimes it was not. Sometimes an object fell out of the overturned can; sometimes no object fell out.

The cats spent more time looking at the can when there was a noise with it. They also spent more time looking when there was a noise but nothing came out of the can and when there was no noise but something did come out of the can.

It does mean something

I know, it still sounds weird. But the study shows that "cats use a causal-logical understanding of noise or sounds to predict the appearance of invisible objects,” one of the researchers said. That's science-speak for this:

If the can makes a sound, the cat expects there to be something inside it. If the can makes a sound but then there’s nothing in it, the cat knows something is wrong. Likewise if the can makes no sound but then something falls out of it. Those two situations are incongruent with the laws of physics. In other words, those situations are weird, and cats know it.

How do cats use this ability?

Basically, using sound to figure out where an unseen object (like a mouse) is can help cats hunt. The cat hears something rustling about and, even if the cat can’t see what’s making the sound, she knows something must be making it.

As I said earlier,

Cats. Are. Brilliant.


Also, gravity still works. This cat checked it out thoroughly:



Source

Springer. "Cats seem to grasp the laws of physics: Cats' expectations are based on what they hear." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160614114410.htm (accessed June 17, 2016).

Picture credits

Newton Gravity Law: Stock photo by Marek via Adobe Stock. 
Cat in graduation hat: Stock photo by Chris Brignell via Adobe Stock. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Cat of the Week: Theodore in Washington, DC

Welcome, friends. Just a reminder that June is Adopt a Cat Month, and this month we are kicking off a new feature, where each week we’ll introduce a senior cat available for adoption. Older cats make great pets: they can be wonderful companions and good lap warmers, and they’re unlikely to climb the curtains. Even if you can’t adopt one of the featured cats, keep seniors in mind when you do adopt.

Meet Theodore. He's 10 years old and currently in foster care
through the Washington Humane Society-Washington Animal
Rescue League. Clearly, he knows how to accessorize.
Photo from Washington Humane Society-Washington Animal Rescue League.


This week we’d like you to meet Theodore, a cuddly 10-year-old boy who needs some extra-special love. Theodore has trouble with his kidneys, so he will need special attention from his new guardian. His diagnosis doesn’t stop him from living life to the fullest though, and in Theodore’s case, that means snuggling up with a nice person who will pet him and rub his belly. We understand he can purr like nobody’s business!

Theodore is in foster care through the Washington Humane Society–Washington Animal Rescue League. Learn more about him here.

Theodore is rocking that sweater! Looks like he's
all dressed up for his new home.
Photo: Washington Humane Society–Washington Animal Rescue League



Do you know an adoptable senior cat who should be Cat of the Week? Let us know!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Book Review: The Madness of Mercury

Today we present a brief review of The Madness of Mercury, the first book in the new Zodiac mystery series by Connie di Marco. I am just going to say straight out that we were doubtful that we would enjoy a mystery that is all wrapped up in astrology and “Mercury retrograde” and “lunar returns” and such stuff. So we were pleasantly surprised to find that this is a well-written and nicely plotted book that is not only for astrology buffs.

The plot

Julia Bonatti is an astrologer who’s used to dealing with what she calls the “mundane issues” of her clients’ lives: advising them on the timing of vacations, investments, relationship decisions. You know, the kind of thing you’d go to an astrologer for.

But then she goes to visit Evandra Gamble, an elderly woman whose niece, Dorothy, is Julia’s client. Evandra is convinced that Dorothy—who is caring for Evandra and her sister, Eunice—of trying to kill her. She must be confused, perhaps suffering from dementia, right? Neptune  is affecting her Mercury, and…

I’m going to stop that thought right there, because I still don’t know what effect Neptune has on Mercury. All you need to know is that Julia sees some things in Evandra’s chart that make her think there could be real danger. The sudden death of the gardener adds an ominous note. But where could the danger, if there is any, be coming from?

All of this is in addition to Julia’s other problem: the cult members who’ve taken it upon themselves to rid San Francisco of sin, starting with the “witches” and such—meaning Julia and other astrologist types. Soon Julia and her cat, Wizard, are forced out of their apartment, and she’s losing clients due to the nutty people picketing the front of her building with signs that say things like “Burn the witch!”

The cat

But back to our main concern, the cat. Wizard is a large black fellow who enjoys snuggling with Julia and remains remarkably unfazed through the various moves he endures, but other than that, we don’t learn a lot about him. So if you pick up this book thinking it will be a “cat mystery,” you might be disappointed.

The verdict

Honestly, we hoped for more cat in this book too, but we pretty much got over it because we enjoyed the story and the writing so much. Connie di Marco gives us a lot of just plain beautiful writing, with descriptions that make scenes and characters come alive. You don’t have to be into astrology to enjoy The Madness of Mercury; you only have to be the sort of person who enjoys a good story well told.

Recommended!



But it now:



Friday, June 10, 2016

Pet Blogger Bloopers Roundup: June


Hello, friends. It's time again for the Pet Blogger Bloopers Roundup--and we're already into the June edition. This is a blog hop hosted by The Lazy Pit Bull, and we're having a lot of fun participating, joining other bloggers on the second Friday of every month to post the results of photo shoots gone wrong. Fortunately, She of Little Talent takes lots of bad photos.

This month we're visited by Real Cat Webster once again, as he shows off his modeling skills while She of Little Talent was writing an app review. All old SoLT wanted was for Webs to sit still and gaze at the iPad with an expression of wonder and curiosity. Yeah, right. He walked around it, stepped over it, pointed his butt at it--all while old SoLT struggled to manage her camera with one hand while also trying to not fall off her balance-ball chair. It was hilarious.

You're pointing at the screen, so that means you want
me to go over here, right?

No? You want me to step over top of it? Okay!

Old SoLT did eventually get an acceptable photo, which she used in this app review.


Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Cat of the Week: Wall E at Bideawee, New York City

June is Adopt a Cat Month, and we are starting a new thing, where each week we’ll feature a senior cat available for adoption. We remind you that older cats make great pets: they can be wonderful companions and good lap warmers, and they’re unlikely to climb the curtains. Even if you can’t adopt one of the featured cats, keep seniors in mind when you do adopt.

Wall E cat Bideawee shelter
Look at that sweet face. Wall E is an older
gentleman who just needs to be loved.
Photo courtesy of Bideawee.


This week’s cat is a very sweet boy currently at the Bideawee shelter in New York City. Wall E is 15 years old and very shy. He was found on the streets of Manhattan. It may take some time for him to open up to a new person, but Wall E really wants to be loved, and he has lots of love to give in return. He would do best in a quiet home with an adopter who is experienced and cat savvy.

Just look at this video:



Don’t you want to run right down to meet Wall E? Learn more about him here.

Wall E is waiting to meet you!
Photo courtesy of Bideawee.


Do you know of an adoptable senior cat who should be Cat of the Week? Let us know!

Monday, June 6, 2016

App Review: Purr


Today’s brief review is for an app called Purr. This app is billed as an “adorable, live-action cat simulator,” and it’s free to download from the App Store.

You may be wondering what one does with a live-action cat simulator. Well, basically you choose one of five cats—two are available for free, and the other three cost $1.99 each. When you choose your cat, you get a looped video of the cat lounging on a sofa. You can pet the cat by stroking the screen, causing the cat to purr and occasionally meow. As you pet the cat, her comfort level (measured in heart-shaped balls of yarn) rises. You will also feel the screen vibrating, which does feel a lot like petting a purring cat. If you have real cats in the vicinity, the meowing might drive them batty as they try to figure out where the new cat is.

Real Cat Webster helped with this review. Here he
is looking at Basil, one of Purr's two free cats.
The game’s website says Purr is meant to be relaxing and was developed so that people with cat allergies could enjoy petting a cat. We did enjoy petting Basil, a handsome black-and-white kitty. We hoped that the cats would do a little more though, like play or expect to be fed. Most of the cats were filmed against an unattractive solid-color background, a different color for each cat. Basil is shown against a more colorful background, which is one reason we picked him as our favorite.

Purr, from Particle Spectrum Labs, is available for iOS devices only. The download is free, and you can make in-app purchases to get additional cats. If you are allergic to cats or stuck in some horrible catless place, Purr could give you a good, quick cuteness fix. Just don’t expect the app to do more than purr and meow, ’cause that’s all it does. We hope that future updates might include a little more complexity, and some more attractive backgrounds.