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.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Book Review: Me and My Cat


Today we’d like to introduce you to one of our favorite books so far this year: Me and My Cat, a children’s book by award-winning author Michael Dahl, with art by Zoe Persico.

The book

This charming book is about a little girl and her cat and all the fun things they like to do together, like running and jumping. It’s also about the things that are different about them: The girl likes to dive and swim; the cat, not so much. “Cats have their own way of having fun, but we always like being together,” the girl says.

The overriding message is one of respect: A cat is cat. A cat is not a person or dog, and to be friends with a cat, you have to respect her for who she is—a cat. The book ends with a note from the cat offering tips for how to treat a cat, with an emphasis on being gentle and respectful, which we think is good advice for relations with all creatures: feline, human, or otherwise.

We especially love Zoe Persico’s illustrations of an expressive, fluffy gray-and-white tabby who looks like he’s having an absolute ball. With this art, there’s a smile on every page.

The verdict

Some days, we feel like we have heard just one too many jokes about how cats are scheming jerks set on world domination. Me and My Cat is a refreshing antidote to such claptrap. A cat can be the best kind of friend, if you are a good friend to the cat.

Me and My Cat is for ages 3–5 years. It will be released in hardback on August 1, 2016.


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!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Clear the Shelters 2016

Hi, all! Today is Clear the Shelters 2016, the day we all work together to help shelter animals find new forever homes. Pets make life better. We are excellent companions, and we're good for your health too. If you don't have a pet, we encourage you to take some time today to visit a shelter near you. You might just find a new best friend! And when you think "pet," don't think only "dog" or "cat." There are lots of rabbits, guinea pigs, even reptiles that need loving homes.

Of course, we here at Cuddlywumps Cat Chronicles are partial to cats, and senior cats in particular, and we live in the Washington, DC, region...so we offer the following three mature cats to whet your appetite for adoption. All of these cats are at the Washington Humane Society's Oglethorpe Street location.


Boogie is an 8-year-old male who has been in the
shelter for a while and would really like to go to a
nice home. Maybe yours?
See Boogie's page here.
Photo from Washington Humane Society.

Roxanne is an 8-year-old female who has such
lovely coloring. See her page here.
Photo from Washington Humane Society.

Smush is a 9-year-old black and white female.
Isn't she a beauty?
Visit Smush's page here.
Photo from Washington Humane Society.

Meet these and other great pets at Washington Humane Society's Adoption Center located at 71 Oglethorpe Street, NW Washington, DC 20011. The event's hours are 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

To see more adoptable cats (in DC and New York), check out our Adoptable Cats category. Let's clear those shelters!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Cat of the Week: Pepper (New York)

Each week in this space, we feature a senior cat in need of adoption or sponsorship. Please remember all the great older cats in shelters. They make great companions, and they (probably) won’t climb the curtains!



Today we meet Pepper, a 10-year-old tabby girl looking for a home with the help of Bideawee shelter in New York City. This loving girl is a little shy until she gets to know you, and even then she remains a very sweet, laid-back cat. Pepper needs someone who will be as gentle and loving with her as she’ll be with them. Sound like you? She gets along with other cats too, so she might be the perfect companion for another friendly cat.


Find out more about Pepper here.

Do you know a senior cat who needs some extra attention? Let us know!

Monday, July 18, 2016

App Review: Cat Simulator

Cat Simulator logo

We weren’t sure what to expect from an app that promises to simulate a cat. If you have cats, you’ll know what I mean. Cats sleep a lot, and when we’re not sleeping, we’re gazing out a window or sitting on something soft and meditating. That would not make for a very exciting game. So what does Cat Simulator do?

Breaking stuff

Basically, you are a cat and your goal in life is to break stuff. You get points for breaking stuff, and if you earn enough points, you open a new level, where you can break more stuff. You also collect coins, which you can use to upgrade to different, more powerful cats, including a baby cheetah, a mummy, and a Mighty Cat (basically, if the Incredible Hulk were a cat, he’d be Mighty Cat). This game can be played in multiplayer or single-player modes. We played as a single player.

Graphics from Cat Simulator
Fun? Yes! Cat
Simulator is a fun game
with great graphics.
At first, we were not impressed. Because cats in real life do not go around constantly breaking things (see opening paragraph). But as we played further (and got better at the game), we realized it’s fun to break things. We’d break a bunch of vases and then look around for more things to break. We’d look at a microwave and wonder, How can I break that?

Beyond breaking stuff

Okay, there is more to Cat Simulator than a cat breaking stuff. Each level presents you with a new scene: the downstairs of a house, the yard, another house, a market, a restaurant. Your goal is to earn as many points as possible within a set time. You get points for breaking things, but you also get to do things like open refrigerators, fill bathtubs, and (our favorite so far) knock a human out with a pool ball. The game also records your romps through breakable objects so you can replay your exploits and share them with friends.

Of course, with each level, it becomes more difficult to rack up enough points to move on. This means you have to create a plan: What combinations of things can you break to earn big points?

Cat 007, from Cat Simulator
"Bond. Fluffy Bond, 007." Cat 007 is just one of
many cats you can play with.

The verdict

I’m glad we gave Cat Simulator a chance, because it becomes more fun the more you play. We played on an iPad and experienced smooth gameplay. We had trouble controlling the cat at first (our poor cat kept turning in circles and falling off things, and it took a while to get the hang of jumping and going forward at the same time). But as we got beyond the first couple levels, we started to appreciate the challenge of the game. The graphics are excellent, and the cats are really cute.

Plus, it’s fun to giggle at the sound of breaking glass.


Cat Simulator, created by Swift Apps, is available as a free download for Android and iOS devices.


Two Paws Up: A Great App!

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

Friday, July 15, 2016

10 Cat Names from Greek Myth: Gods and Goddesses


Because naming a cat is no easy thing (at least it shouldn’t be—and yes, I’m talking to all you people who name your cats "Kitty"), we are pleased to bring you the first in a series of cat names from Greek myth. Today’s post covers gods and goddesses. Many are obvious, but we hope there are one or two here that you haven’t thought of. Enjoy!


Gods

Hello, Hades?
1. Zeus: Head god in charge (sort of, and if you know anything about Greek myth, you know what I mean). Good name for the cat who is lord over all he surveys, except when he isn’t. Also for the cat who flings thunderbolts.
   
2. Hades: Lord of the Underworld. Maybe for a barn cat who’s a champion mouser. Or for any cat with an underworldy air about him.

3. Apollo: Associated with music, prophecy, and the sun. A name for the cat whose looks and stature just say “Greek god.” Especially appropriate if his hobbies are singing and napping in sun puddles.

Got a cat who hangs with horses?
Name him Poseidon. Most
people will be mystified.
4. Poseidon: God of the sea. Also associated with earthquakes and horses. For that rare cat who loves water and horses, or for the active cat who creates mini-earthquakes in your home.


Goddesses

5. Hera: Zeus’s main gal. For the cat with a jealous streak. Or for a cat who loves peacock feathers.

6. Demeter: Goddess associated with crops and fertility. For the cat who can’t get enough cat grass. Also, you could call her Demi for short.

7. Artemis: The hunter. For the cat who periodically gifts you with a little dead thing, or for the cat who’s great at “killing” catnip toys.

Clearly, this kitty loves crafts.
Athena.
8. Athena: Goddess of warfare (especially defensive) and craftsmanship. For the cat who defends her spot atop the cat tree against all threats, foreign and domestic. Also for the cat who’s always creating messes out of your craft supplies.

9. Persephone: Queen of the Underworld. She’s also the daughter of Demeter. For an underworldy sort of cat who likes to slink among the shadows.

10. Hestia: Goddess of the hearth. For the cat whose hobby is sleeping in front of the fire. She’s the kind of cat who becomes the soul of your home.
The cat who lounges by the fire and is the soul
of your home.
Hestia.


Bonus content! Names for pairs of cats

Zeus/Hera: For your favorite male/female pair.
Hades/Persephone: For the male/female pair who’s got that underworldy thing going on.
Demeter/Persephone: For the mother/daughter pair.
Apollo/Artemis: For the brother/sister pair.


Photo credit: All images from Adobe Stock.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Cat of the Week: Marie


Each week in this space, we feature a senior cat in need of adoption or sponsorship. Please remember all the great older cats in shelters. They make great companions, and they (probably) won’t climb the curtains!



This week we’re introducing you to a very special girl named Marie. Marie is a sweet 9-year-old girl who is ready to be someone’s new best friend. She has recently lost the sight in both of her eyes, but that is not stopping her from being a pawsome feline. She’s looking for a loving human who enjoys cuddling and spending quiet time together.



Marie is being fostered in the DC area through Washington Animal Rescue League–Washington Human Society. Learn more about her here.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Book Review: Trouble at the Cat Café

Today we bring you a review of a delightful book for younger readers. Trouble at the Cat Café, by Katrina Charman, is a story of family and friends pulling together to accomplish the unexpectedly complicated task of opening a brand-new cat café. It’s a story of not giving up even in the face of difficult obstacles. And most importantly from our perspective, it’s a story about people who really love cats and want to help them.

The story

Our main character, Isla, is just entering secondary school—you know that age, when it’s so easy to dream big. Isla’s dream is to open a cat café, and she has her whole family—her mum, her gran, older sister Tilda, and younger brother Milo—on her side. Poppy’s Place is to be a sort of refuge where people can relax and mingle with cats while enjoying tea or coffee and some of Gran’s delicious baked goods. And who knows, some of the guests might just decide to adopt one of the cats they meet.

The only trouble (well, the first bit of trouble) is that everyone is just so busy. Starting secondary school is no easy thing, and Isla worries about whether she’ll make new friends—this is complicated when some mean girls (you know the ones) make fun of her for liking cats. She has to wonder if her sister’s “just be yourself” advice is going to work out. Plus, Mum is so tied up with her work as a veterinary nurse, she barely has time to start on all the paper work that has to be done before Poppy’s Place can open.

About that paper work (the second bit of trouble)… There are just so many forms to fill out, so many boxes to tick. And the “to-do” list always seems to grow faster than the “done” list. So many things to buy, things to clean, things to paint, things to plan. There’s a garden to clean up, a cat playground to build. For Isla, there’s a new friend to make. And then there’s the official inspection (the third bit of trouble), just days before the grand opening.

Isla and family get through it all with teamwork—and with plenty of help from friends, too.

Caring for cats

Our favorite part of this book was how Isla demonstrates her intuitive cat-care skills and her love for cats. She doesn’t just hang up cute cat posters in her room; she makes a plan to help cats and gets her whole family involved in making it happen. We love that!

We also enjoyed Lucy Truman’s illustrations, of which the cats were our favorite part (of course) because they are just so cute.

This book is the second in a series, but it stands fine on its own; you can enjoy this volume even if you haven’t read the first.

Trouble at the Cat Café is set for release on July 14 and will be available through Amazon UK. We really hope the publisher will distribute it in the US or make it available as a Kindle book so it can be accessed more easily by US readers. There's lots of young cat lovers on this side of the pond too!

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!




Friday, July 8, 2016

Pet Blogger Bloopers Roundup: July


Hello, friends. It's time again for the Pet Blogger Bloopers Roundup--and can you believe it's July already? 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.

Naturally, old SoLT wanted to do something special for the Fourth of July this year, so she decided to put patriotic scarves and bows on the pets. Adorable, right? Well, mercifully she did not go overboard, so the Real Cats and Resident Dog did not get overdecorated. Even more amazingly, she got decent photos pretty quickly. That means we don't have tons of hilarious bloopers to share. Still and all, it's not easy to get a good picture of Paisley. As evidence, I offer these:

This one isn't bad, but wouldn't it be nice if Paisley's
whole head had made the shot?

And Paisley has a habit of moving at just the wrong time,
so old SoLT does get a lot of blurry photos.

The Cat Bastet Debates the Jackal


Our subject today is an Egyptian fable from the Christian era (that’s from 30 BC to AD 640, give or take). The fable was recorded on papyrus that has been badly damaged, so unfortunately we don’t have the whole story. What we do have tells the story of a debate between a cat and a jackal. It goes like this:

There once was a giant cat, a representative of the Egyptian goddess Bastet. There once was a small jackal. One day these two met and began to talk about philosophy (as you do).

The cat’s argument

The cat said, “The gods are in charge of everything, and they will always reward good and punish evil. If anyone harms even a tiny lamb, that person will meet with retribution—eventually. Even when the sky is dark with clouds, the sun is always shining and will always break through, scattering the clouds and bringing light and joy—eventually.”

The jackal’s argument

“Boy, what a load of hooey!” the jackal retorted. [These were possibly not his exact words, but you get the idea.] He went on, “In this world, the strong will always triumph over the weak. Just look at how the lizard eats the insect, the bat eats the lizard, the snake eats the bat, and the hawk eats the snake. As for evil, your measly little prayers have no power over an evil man.” [Again, possibly not his exact words.]

The cat’s passion

The two argued back and forth, with the jackal offering reasoned arguments while the cat said some more stuff about good always winning—eventually.

In fact, the cat was so ineffectual in her arguments that sometimes she could do nothing but “fall into a passion”—that’s what the translated papyrus said. We imagine this would look something like an antiwar protester beating someone over the head with his peace sign. Only with claws. The little jackal naturally had a certain amount of respect for the cat’s claws.

The end

Unfortunately, that’s all that can be gotten from the damaged papyrus. Who won the debate? Perhaps we’ll never know, though it seems the writer may have been on the jackal’s side.

Sources

Katharine M. Rogers, The Cat and the Human Imagination: Feline Images from Bast to Garfield (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1998), 10.


A. Weidemann, Popular Literature in Ancient Egpyt, transl. by J. Hutchison (London: David Nutt, 1902), 14–16.

Stock images of cat and jackal via Abode Stock.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Cat of the Week: Clover


Each week in this space, we feature a senior cat in need of adoption or sponsorship. Please remember all the great older cats in shelters. They make great companions, and they (probably) won’t climb the curtains!

Clover the calico cat
Hey, you got room for a cat?
Eight-year-old Clover would like a nice, quiet
home where she'll get lots of love.
Photo courtesy of Bideawee.

This week we meet Clover, a beautiful calico girl at Bideawee’s Westhampton, New York, location. She is 8 years old and very laid-back. Clover might be a little shy at first, but once she gets to know you a little bit, she will eat up your attention!

Clover would prefer a quiet home. She gets along with other cats, so if you’re looking to create a multi-cat household, Clover might fit right in!
clover the calico cat
Clover likes other cats too!
Photo courtesy of Bideawee.

Learn more about Clover here.


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Book Review: Lawyer for the Cat

Most cats don’t have lawyers. Most cats don’t need lawyers. But any cat who needed a lawyer would be fortunate to have one who is as diligent, honest, and conscientious as Sarah Bright Baynard, a.k.a. Sally, the protagonist of Lee Robinson’s thoroughly enjoyable new book, Lawyer for the Cat.

In her twenty-five years as a lawyer, Sally Baynard has seen a lot; she’s “represented the full spectrum of humanity,” as she puts it. But never has she had the great good fortune to represent a cat. Until a retiring judge appoints her as a trust enforcer whose job it is to…

But wait. I might have lost you at “trust enforcer.”

See, what happened is, a woman named Lila Mackay died, leaving a will with very specific instructions for how her cat, Beatrice, is to be cared for. Lila had named three people who might be good caregivers for Beatrice, who is to be provided “the same lifestyle, routine, and emotional environment as she has become accustomed to in [Lila’s] care.” In other words, she is to be treated as a cat should be treated. The caregiver will live in Lila’s beautiful but remote home with Beatrice and will receive $50,000 per year as long as Beatrice lives.

Sally’s job as trust enforcer is to interview the candidates and choose one. Until that choice is made, Sally also gets to take care of Beatrice (who, by the way, is a lovely black cat).

I say “gets” to take care of, but I don’t think Sally sees it as the great privilege it is. She’s got a lot going on already—taking care of her mother, who has Alzheimer’s, and trying to figure out what to do with Tony, the dishy veterinarian who is getting tired of Sally’s unwillingness or inability to pursue a closer relationship with him.

So nothing is simple. Sally’s character is far from simple. She’s not all warm and fuzzy, and she doesn’t fall in love with Beatrice. Sally, in her diligent manner, does her duty toward Beatrice, and she does it with the cat’s well-being in mind. But she’s not the kind of cozy character for whom the cat mends her broken relationships and basically just fixes everything wrong in her life.

Sally has a depth, a complexity, that we appreciated. Her life is messy, and she doesn’t really know what to do with large parts of it. We like her, because she is just so real. We also like that she takes this unusual situation so seriously. As I said, any cat who ever needed a lawyer would want one just like Sally.

We found Lawyer for the Cat to be a quick, enjoyable read, and one that’s hard to put down. It’s a page turner not because it’s suspenseful (although there is some of that, along with humor and heartache) but because it’s just a good story well told. Yes, we would have liked to see more of the cat, but in the end, we were just happy to know that Beatrice had someone like Sally looking out for her.

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!


Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy 4th of July!

Miss Cuddlywumps and the Real Cats wish you all a very happy and safe holiday!


By the way, there's a new Resident Dog, Layla. She wanted to get in on the action too!