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, August 30, 2016

Cat of the Week: Joel (Westhampton, NY)

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!

Tabby-and-white cat (Joel) curled in pet bed with teddy bear
Herrroo! I'm Joel (I'm the one on the right). You can
bring me home, and I promise to play and do fun stuff with you!
Photo courtesy of Bideawee.



I'm extra handsome when I spread out, aren't I?
Photo courtesy of Bideawee.
Today we introduce you to Joel, a big 11-year-old boy who is a real “people cat.” Joel loves people, and he is very active and sometimes excitable. This cat likes to play! He entered the shelter because of allergies in his former family. Joel would need to be an only cat, and he would do best in a home without young children.

Joel is currently at Bideawee’s Westhampton, NY, location. Learn more about him here.


Do you know an adoptable senior cat who needs some extra attention or an organization that works with senior cats? Let us know!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Book Review: Into the Grey

There are a few cat-themed mystery series that we have been dying to read and review, and Clea Simon’s Dulcie Schwartz mysteries have been right at the top of the list. I am very pleased to report that we have finally gotten a chance to read one of these books, and the wait was worth it.

The story

When a book begins with a line like “I could kill so-and-so,” you sort of know where the plot is headed, at least initially. This is the line uttered by Dulcie Schwartz, only with “Roland Fenderby” in place of “so-and-so.” Fenderby is a rather gross academic who can’t seem to keep his hands off the young ladies and who has recently insinuated himself onto Dulcie’s dissertation committee, where she most certainly does not want him. Dulcie is in the cauldron of finishing her dissertation when this Fenderby fellow has the audacity to criticize her work as being “a tad shallow.” And then he has the audacity to get himself murdered in a way that could suggest that Dulcie is the killer. The nerve of some people.

With Fenderby’s untimely death, Dulcie is off on a quest to identify which of various disaffected people killed him. Not everyone is happy about her insistence on investigating—the police, for example, and her boyfriend, Chris. Dulcie is also visited often by the spirit of her deceased cat, Mr. Grey, who provides advice that is a little less clear than she needs it to be. She also has a living feline, Esmé, a lively tuxedo cat who gives the book a pleasing feline presence.

As she goes about her amateur sleuthing, Dulcie also carries on with her academic research. She could be on the verge of an important discovery in the crucial box of literary fragments Fenderby had sequestered so Dulcie couldn’t consult them any longer. No one knows why he would set those items so deliberately out of Dulcie’s reach, but now that he’s out of the way…

Dulcie gets pulled in many directions in this book—between her own impulses, her friends’ advice, Chris, the police, Mr. Grey… There is no clear direction for her, although we’re pretty sure that whatever Dulcie thinks she should do is probably wrong. And she will no doubt get herself into all kinds of trouble, and possibly danger.

The verdict

As I said earlier, we have been wanting to get into this series, and we are so glad we finally made time for it. We loved the complexity of the plot, and we loved all those many moments we found ourselves saying “No! Don’t do that!” when Dulcie was about to get into some sort of trouble. How this woman has managed to stay alive and out of prison, we are not entirely sure. Grey is so appropriate for this story, in which Dulcie faces so much uncertainty and none of her dilemmas are black and white. We also enjoyed going along with her on her academic quest in the depths of the library. What fun! While Into the Grey can be enjoyed on its own, we are trying to devise a way to set aside time to pick up the series from its beginning, because we feel like we’ve missed a lot and we want to find out more about this Dulcie Schwartz and her feline companions.

If you are not into academic research, if you don’t get all tingly over the possibility of discovering some new little thing in a box of old papers, then this might not be the series for you. But if you do feel a shiver over the prospect of poring over obscure documents, if part of you salivates over all the things you could learn if only you had time for grad school, and if you can’t imagine learning anything without a wise feline as your guide…then you should dive in to the Dulcie Schwartz series.


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!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

In Memory of Those Who've Crossed the Rainbow Bridge


Over the Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Graphic


Where would humans be without pets? Permanently lost, that’s where. I know it’s hard for you when one of us leaves this life, and during that hard time you might feel lost, but know that we never leave you—not really. Nothing can undo the ways we’ve changed your life, and nothing can erase the love you feel for us. In those moments when you really need us, just search your heart, and you’ll find us right there, where we’ll always be.
 Today we remember Bucky, the sweetest, gentlest dog ever; Darya, who loved Sunday afternoon naps with her mommy; CJ (not pictured), the cat who watched over old SoLT when she was ill and who was known to lose his composure in sun puddles; Tyler, who loved his Garfield toy and also enjoyed playing hide-and-seek with his mommy; and Shannan, Miss Goofy, who met life with a puppy’s spirit, even to her last day.

August 28 is Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day. To read more tributes to pets who've crossed that bridge, check out other posts in the blog hop hosted by Deborah Barnes of Zee & Zooey's Cat Chronicles.


Saturday, August 27, 2016

Caturday Art: Paisley Turns Purple

Today we're excited to join Athena's Caturday Art blog hop once again, this time with a picture of Real Cat Paisley checking out the new cat tree. She of Little Talent set herself loose in Photoshop, where she went a little nuts applying filters and effects to achieve this result, in which Paisley has turned purple. Old SoLT did not mean to turn Paisley purple and was not trying to turn Paisley purple, but she got pretty excited when it happened. 




This is the original photo:



Hop on over to see lots more Caturday art!


Friday, August 26, 2016

Why the Cat Always Falls on Her Feet: A Native American Tale

Many tales have been told of the culture hero Manabozho (or Nanabozho, Wenabozho, Michabo… his name took on many spellings). This hero is known among the Anishinaabe people (also known as the Ojibwa or Chippewa). This story concerns Manabozho, a snake, and a cat.



One day, as Manabozho was walking from one place to another through the forest, he became so overcome with weariness he had to lie down to rest. He saw a tree with soft moss growing under it, and there he lay down and quickly fell asleep, lulled into a peaceful rest by the pleasing sounds of the forest’s birds, insects, and leaves.
Illustration of green forest with a deer

As Manabozho slept, a large poisonous snake came slithering through the undergrowth. When it saw Manabozho lying defenseless under the tree, it hissed, “Yesterday this man warned that stupid cat that I was about to strike her, and she got away. ‘Watch out, little cat, watch out!’ he said. Idiot. I could have eaten that cat, if not for this man. Well, today I will kill him. Then we’ll see who should watch out!”

The snake slithered closer, but suddenly Manabozho stirred. “Watch out, little cat, watch out!” he mumbled in his sleep. The snake stopped, waiting and ready to sneak away if the man woke. But, seeing Manabozho sleeping on soundly, the snake again began his approach, slowly and taking care to make no sound as his scales slid among the leaves and twigs that littered the earth. Then, when it was close enough, the snake coiled its long body and raised its horrible head. Its eyes focused on the spot on Manabozho’s arm where it intended to strike.

Manabozho slept on.

illustration of black cat looking down angrily

Now, up in the branches of the tree was a little cat—the very cat whom Manabozho had helped the day before. The cat’s eyes widened as the snake drew closer and closer to her friend, and her tiny body shivered when the slithery creature made ready to strike. What could she do? The snake was so large, and she was so small… But Manabozho had saved her, and so, without another thought, the little cat leapt from her branch, landing on the snake’s head in the moment he began his strike.

illustration of black snake coiled to strike
The snake hissed in fury. “Sssstupid cat!” He would have struck at her, but she immediately leapt once again at his head, and again, and again. The snake’s fury proved no match for the little cat’s bravery. Soon enough the snake lay dead.

Manabozho slept on.

When Manabozho awoke, it was to find the little cat sitting next to the dead snake. He understood right away that the cat had saved his life. Wanting to thank her and reward her for her bravery and friendship, he said, “How can I honor you? Your sight and hearing are sharp and keen. You can run swiftly. Ah, I know… From this day, you shall be known as a friend of Man, and you will always be welcome in Man’s home. And, since you leapt from the tree to kill the serpent, as long as you live, you shall leap where you will, and you shall always fall upon your feet.”

Sources


This story has been adapted from Florence Holbrook, The Book of Nature Myths (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1902); and Frank de Caro (ed.), The Folktale Cat (Little Rock: August House, 1992).

Picture credits

Kot by monikakosz via Adobe Stock. Snake by Lenan via Adobe Stock. Forest with deer by artnovielysa via Adobe Stock.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Back to School Vocabulary Word: Pre-Furred


Cream and white tabby cat posing with a dictionary

Hi, all! It's Real Cat Webster taking over the blog today for a special back-to-school feature. I know everyone is eager to start learning again after a summer of long naps, so we'll jump right in with a new vocabulary word!

Today's word is Pre-Furred. This is an adjective used to describe clothing that you've folded on the same sofa your pets sleep on. It is formed from the root "fur" and prefix "pre." It can be used in a sentence like this:

Old SoLT has a drawer full of pre-furred shirts.

I suppose you could use this word as a verb, as in

I'm going to pre-fur all my underpants,

although that just sounds weird.

Definition of pre-furred with a fur-covered t-shirt

Please take careful note of the spelling of this word. Do not confuse it with the similar-sounding but totally unrelated word preferred! Pre-furred is not preferred!

That's all for now. Be sure to tune in next time, when we'll learn about a possible consequence of having pre-furred clothes: Angora T-shirts.

(Yes, this will be on the final.)

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Cat of the Week: Madeline in Washington, DC

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!

Madeline, a gray tabby cat, in pawprint frame


Today, please welcome this sweet lady named Madeline to the blog. Sadly, Madeline found herself in a shelter because her owner could not care for her anymore. You can just imagine how difficult it would be to adjust from being a beloved pet to just another cat in a cage. Madeline has begun to settle in though, and she enjoys being petted. Madeline is 11 years old but still has lots of love to give. Plus, she is well practiced at being a great pet. If you’re looking for a lovely, loving cat, Madeline could be your girl!


Meow...Can you give me a loving new home?
Photos: Washington Humane Society.
Madeline is currently at the Washington Humane Society’s Oglethorpe Street location. Please click here to learn more about her.

Monday, August 22, 2016

App Review: Cat Hotel


Ever thought it might be fun to run a hotel full of cats? Well, oddly enough, there is an app called Cat Hotel in which you get to do just that, and She of Little Talent and I have played it for a few weeks so we can tell you exactly how much fun it is.

In the game, your job is to feed and water the cats, keep the litter box clean, give each cat a medical exam and sometimes some medication, and groom and play with the cats. In return, you earn coins that you can use to buy new things for the hotel. There is a slight learning curve at the start, but once you’ve got the routine down, the game is very easy to play.

Fun interactive play

Our favorite part of Cat Hotel is that you don’t just press a button to do things. To groom one of the cats, you grab the brush (virtually, of course) and then brush it across the cat’s fur. To play with a cat, you choose a game (feather-wand toy, laser pointer, or a game where the cat gets to smash a series of items on a shelf), and then you have to interact with the game correctly or else it won’t work and you’ll end up with a disappointed cat. For example, to play with the feather wand, the game will show you a pattern to trace across the screen. If you do it correctly, the cat gets to chase the toy. If you do it wrong, the cat just gets confused. The patterns range from a straight line to a W. Old SoLT messed up the straight line more than once, so don’t assume this will be easy!

A few downsides

The interactivity was our favorite part of Cat Hotel, but we do have a few not-favorite parts. First, on our iPad, the game tends to crash every time we hit the icon to put the guest cat to bed for the night. This is more than a little bit annoying. Also, while the cats are cute and it’s fun to play with them, it quickly begins to feel like you are doing the same things with the same few cats over and over again. You can buy lots of decorations for the rooms, as well as upgraded toys and even different cat breeds, but we found that the game got boring before we accumulated enough coins to buy much.

We wish there were more of a management challenge to this game and/or more variety to the things you get to do with the cats. For example, keeping track of three cats at a time (each with slightly different needs) would be more fun than doing the same routine over and over with just one cat at a time. The Cat Hotel description promises that you will be able to watch the cats play together, implying that you will be hosting several cats at a time, but we played every day for nearly three weeks and still had just one cat in our hotel. We think the game would be more fun if it got more varied and more challenging early on.

All that said, old SoLT does enjoy grooming the cats and playing with them. It’s kind of relaxing to play for a couple of minutes at the end of a busy day, she says.

Cat Hotel is free to play, but you can spend real money on coins to buy new stuff for your hotel. The game is available from Google Play and the App Store.



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!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Caturday Art: Miss Darya

Today we join Athena's Caturday Art blog hop once again, this week with an oldish photo (ca. 2000) of She of Little Talent's beloved tabby Darya (1988-2006). When she crossed that Rainbow Bridge, Darya had been with old SoLT for literally old SoLT's entire adult life. She was around before we all had phones in our cameras, so there aren't too many pictures of her, but this is old SoLT's favorite. She pixelated it just a touch and added a frame from PicMonkey. She would have done more arty things with it, but she was surprised how hard it was for her to make changes to the photo she loves so much!


Here's the original:





Friday, August 19, 2016

6 More Cat Names from Greek Myth: Heroes and Heroines

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 Fluffy), we are pleased to bring you the second in a series of cat names from Greek myth. Today’s post covers six of our favorite heroes and heroines.


Heroines 

Pretty cat who could be named Helen
Could this face launch a thousand ships? Just call her Helen!
Helen: The Greek world's most beautiful woman. Abducted and taken to Troy, whereupon her face "launched a thousand ships" (and a little thing called the Trojan War) as the Greeks set off to get her back. For the cat who is beautiful but a little bit naughty—or, better, for the cat who gets blamed for things that aren’t really her fault at all.

Penelope: Wife of Odysseus who for years waited faithfully for her husband to return from the Trojan War. For the faithful cat. Also just a pretty name, and it can be shortened to Penny.

Got a talkative tortie?
Could be Cassandra!
Cassandra: The prophet who was cursed to not be believed. Good for the cat who talks a lot, whether anyone listens or not. Also can be shortened to Cass or Cassie (or Miss C!).

 


Heroes

black cat in front of remains of a Greek temple
"No, I won't fight in your dumb war, because you
hurt my feelings," says Achilles the cat.
Odysseus (or Ulysses): Hero of The Odyssey who spent 10 years trying to get home after the Trojan War—and not because he wasn’t trying. For the determined, clever cat who just doesn’t quit.

Achilles: Great Greek hero who withdrew from the Trojan War when his honor was slighted. He eventually returned, but only after his dear companion was killed. For the proud cat who acts tough but whose feelings are easily hurt.


orange cat wearing do-rag and lifting weights
Got a cat who is in great
shape and can slay monsters with
ease? Herakles!
Herkales (or Hercules): A hero and son of Zeus, known for his great strength and for completing 12 seemingly impossible labors (his penance for killing his wife, which wasn’t really his fault because Hera—Zeus’s wife and not Herakles’s mother—caused him to go mad [long story!]). For the cat of great strength and stature, or for the cat whose human was really into Hercules: The Legendary Journeys.


For more cat names from Greek myth, see 10 Cat Names from Greek Myth: Gods and Goddesses.

Photo credits: All images via Adobe Stock.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Cat Classics: The Cats of Ulthar


You may recall some months ago we reviewed an app called The Cats of Ulthar. This game is based on a short story of the same title by H. P. Lovecraft, and we just finally got around to reading the original story. It is a cat classic that is worth knowing about, and if you’re into weird things, it’s well worth reading.

H.P. Lovecraft’s weird cat story

Photo portrait of HP Lovecraft, 1915
H.P. Lovecraft in 1915.
Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.
H. P. Lovecraft (1890–1937) was an American author who had the great misfortune of being largely unappreciated during his lifetime. He is known now for his weird, gothic-tinged horror fiction and is considered a significant influence upon that genre. Stephen King has cited Lovecraft as an influence.

“The Cats of Ulthar,” written in 1920, is the short tale of a place where it is forbidden to kill a cat. In this village, there is an old couple who, for reasons we prefer not to know, have a habit of killing their neighbors’ cats. A band of wanderers arrives, and among them is a young orphan boy who has a cherished black kitten. When the kitten goes missing…well, let’s just say the boy fixes things for the village’s cats once and for all.

Weird, mystical, horrifying…but not gross

Lovecraft has woven a sense of the mystical through every sentence in this story, which will take you only a few minutes to read. It is not the sort of graphic, violent horror that makes you want to unsee the words you have just read. Instead, “The Cats of Ulthar” wraps itself through the folds of your brain and leaves seeds of creepiness to sprout and grow. In other words, it’s pretty terrific, and we think it’s worthwhile to track down a copy of the story, which appears in several editions of Lovecraft’s complete fiction and online. If creepy, weird stuff is your thing, Lovecraft may just be your guy.


Oh, and if you ever happen to find yourself in a place called Ulthar, don’t upset the cats!


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

On Black Cat Appreciation Day, a Tribute to Jack, a Great Black Cat

Jack the black cat lying on his back
Jack loved to lie on his back in the kitchen doorway. He loved
to lie on his back anywhere, actually.
Today, on Black Cat Appreciation Day, we’d like to take some time to tell you about Jack, an exemplary black cat and one of the best cats ever. His story is a reminder of how excellent cats can be, and of how you should appreciate their excellence every day because you never know when you might lose them.



He came in the fall

It was late fall, going on winter, when the handsome black cat who would come to be known as Jack started showing up at She of Little Talent’s back door. Old SoLT was very sick at the time, on the list for a lung transplant, and the last thing she or her family needed was a new cat. But…

This cat was persistent. He returned day after day. At first, food was set out for him. Then, as the weather turned colder, the humans in the house bought a heated cat house for him. The cat was never crazy about that little house. He started pawing at the humans’ back door like he wanted inside, but when anyone opened the door, he’d run away. Then one day he didn’t run away; he stepped inside tentatively but panicked when the door was shut behind him. The next day he came in again. And again. Each time, he’d stay a second longer before clamoring to return to the cold outside.

By this time, the cat had an unofficial name, Jack, given him by old SoLT’s mother. (Old SoLT, by the way, wanted to name him Snowball, which was possibly one of the worst ideas she has ever had.) No one knew if the cat was male or female, but everyone called him Jack.
Jack and Webster became best buddies.
Though Jack was younger, he somehow
seemed like an older brother to Webs.

Not everyone wanted a new cat

Here you might be expecting me to tell you how old SoLT was the driving force behind welcoming Jack into the family. But that’s not how it was. In fact, old SoLT was the one who did not want a new cat. I remind you that old SoLT was ill, and one of the great joys of her life during that time was being able to watch the birds visiting the feeder on the back deck. Only “this stupid cat” (that’s how she thought of him) kept hanging around and scaring them off.

In the end, though, she could not say no to a cat, especially once Jack got into her heart just a little bit.

Jack arrives

On one of Jack’s forays into the house, an attempt was made to catch him for a trip to the vet. There was no question anymore of leaving him to face the winter outside. That cat was going to be rescued, whether he wanted to be or not. The first attempt failed and ended with poor Jack clawing frantically at the door to be let out. On the second attempt a few days later, though, something seemed to have changed for Jack. He was calmer, more willing to stay inside. Old SoLT’s dad even got him into the carrier and took him to the vet, where he was given a clean bill of health.

Now, the family already had two perfectly good cats (the Real Cats), and somekitties were not thrilled to have a new member in their midst. Jack stayed in his own room for a while, and when he was given free range throughout the house, there was some hissing at first. But (at least as old SoLT remembers it) it wasn’t long before he was a full-fledged member of the family. He became a best buddy to Real Cat Webster, and even Real Cat Paisley formed a friendship with him, surprising everyone.

Even Paisley got to be friends with Jack, and they
would often curl up together to sleep.

A cat unlike any other

There was something unusual, special, about Jack. First of all, he was just extraordinarily handsome in his jet-black coat, which he wore proudly. But he was much more than a good-looking cat. He had presence, something more than physical. His spirit was so strong it filled the room when he walked in. Jack was the quintessential old soul. He spent a lot of time with old SoLT in the difficult months after her lung transplant, purring and kneading the blanket and just generally making her feel better.

And so it went for a couple of years.

The day it ended

Then, on a Sunday afternoon one year and a couple of months ago, everyone in the house realized they hadn’t seen Jack for hours. An indoor search was launched, food was brought out, but Jack did not appear. The search moved outside, his name was called, the treats container was rattled, but still no Jack. As suddenly as he’d appeared at that back door, he was gone.

At first, the people held out hope that Jack would come back. Maybe, despite has apparent satisfaction with his indoor-only life, he’d felt the need for a day or two in the sun. Food was set out and other cats appeared to eat it, but Jack did not. Old SoLT did spot him a couple of times while she was out walking the big, exuberant dog, but she never got a chance to get close to him. A neighbor claimed to have seen him. But then, as days turned to weeks and a hot summer set in, no one saw him again.

Jack liked to find interesting places to rest. Here
he makes himself comfortable in old SoLT's
underwear drawer.
Life went back to how it had been in the pre-Jack days: It was fine. Well…it was tolerable, though there was a hole that seemed considerably larger than you might expect a twelve-pound cat to leave. Old SoLT got used to doing without her nightly chats with the poised young cat who had seemed so old and wise. She got used to not seeing the tips of his ears sticking up behind her computer monitor as she worked. She got used to worrying with every thunderstorm, every oppressively hot day, and then every cold, snow-filled day. Was Jack somewhere safe and protected?


Old SoLT still worries about Jack, she still misses him, and that is why, on this Black Cat Appreciation Day, we are taking time to tell his story and encourage readers to welcome black cats into their lives. You never know when that cat with the coal-black coat might turn out to be the wise friend you didn’t even know you needed.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Cat of the Week: Cuma (Westhampton, NY)

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!

Tabby cat in a frame of silhouetted black cats
Meow. I'm Cuma. I need a patient person who will let me be me and
help me relax. Are you ready to chill with a complex cat?

Photo courtesy of Bideawee. Frame from Graphic Stock.

Today we’d like you to meet Cuma, a lovely tabby who is currently at Bideawee’s Westhampton, New York, location. Cuma is a 10-year-old female who is very sweet but sometimes gets too excited. She needs someone who will be patient and help her chill out in her new home. She would do best in a home with no children.

Cuma is the official greeter at
Bideawee's smaller cattery.
She's ready to greet you!

Photo courtesy of Bideawee.

Learn more about Cuma here. And check out her video too:





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


Monday, August 15, 2016

Book Review: Crepes of Wrath

I’m going to open this review by stating the obvious: Reading too many cozy mysteries with food connections could lead to weight gain, so consider yourself warned. Next, I’ll say this: Sarah Fox’s Crepes of Wrath had us at “mocha mascarpone crepes.” And I’ll add: This series debut is one yummy book, plus it has a cat—and recipes!

The story

Picture a place called Wildwood Cove, on Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula. Picture a pancake house called the Flip Side (that serves up things like mocha mascarpone crepes and churro waffles). Hard at work in the Flip Side is one Marley McKinney, whose “normal life” is in Seattle, but with her cousin Jimmy in the hospital with double pneumonia, she’s stepping in to keep his pancake business running. She’s also taking care of his house and his cat, an orange tabby named Flapjack.

That all sounds rather idyllic, but Crepes of Wrath is a murder mystery, so…

Poor Cousin Jimmy. He’s found dead—murdered—and everything changes for Marley. Suddenly she has heavy decisions to make—like what should she do for the rest of her life? This is further complicated by the presence of her old flame Brett, who is as single and handsome as ever. Oh, and of course Marley gets involved in trying to find Jimmy’s killer. His property—the land his home is on—is valuable, but is it valuable enough to kill for? Or did one of Wildwood Cove’s shady characters do him in for some reason? Was Jimmy involved in an art-theft ring that turned deadly?

So many questions. And Marley herself may be in danger from someone she can’t identify and for reasons she doesn’t understand. It seems she is reminded at every turn that she is an outsider, and not everyone is welcoming. It’s a good thing she has Flapjack to step in and give some purrs when Marley needs them.

The verdict

Where to start? When I called Crepes of Wrath “yummy,” I was referring to more than the food. The setting is rich, as is the cast of characters, and the plot kept us guessing until almost the end. The final confrontation between Marley and the killer kept us turning pages at a furious pace. Our only complaint is that Flapjack the cat doesn’t play a major role in the plot. But, I guess you can’t really have a cat hanging around in a pancake house. Fur in the batter, and all that. Marley’s oblique reference to Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot made us so happy we pretty much forgot that the cat wasn’t a major player.

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!

The link below is an Amazon Associates link. If you purchase the book through this link, old SoLT and I could get some coin for our kibble account. Thank you!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Caturday Art: Green Webster

We have had our eye(s) on Athena's Caturday Art blog hop for some months now, and finally She of Little Talent has found the time to get artistic with a photo of Real Cat Webster. Old SoLT knows just enough about Photoshop and Illustrator to be dangerous and rather ineffective, so don't get your hopes up. She used those programs instead of free photo editors because that's what she has on her computer. Here goes:


What she did was use an emboss filter in Photoshop and then simply place a green rectangle over it with the opacity turned way down. Three more rectangles were used for the frame. Why green? Hey, it's summer! Why only one color? Hey, she's not talented!


Here's the original photo:

close up of Webster, a cream and white tabby cat





Friday, August 12, 2016

Pet Blogger Bloopers Roundup: August


We have been having a lot of fun this year sharing She of Little Talent's awful photos on the Pet Blogger Bloopers Roundup, a blog hop hosted the second Friday of every month by The Lazy Pit Bull. (Finally, a pet blogging event celebrating pure ineptitude--old SoLT has been waiting her whole life for this!)

For August, it pleases me immensely to share what I am calling the Worst Pet Photo Ever. I call it the worst ever because, no matter how hard you look, you will not find a pet of any sort in this photo. You will find a colorful bit of a rainbow cat dancer in the lower right portion, so we feel somewhat justified in calling this a "pet" photo. Also, it was taken completely accidentally while She of Little Talent was trying to sneak up on Real Cat Paisley, who was being totally cute at the time. And no, old SoLT did not get a cute photo of an actual cat from the incident. This is all she managed:


Worst Pet Photo Ever?
Old SoLT's foot. This was supposed to be a cat photo,
but I guess you'll just have to take my word for that.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Cat of the Week: Shalom (Baltimore)

Shalom, an 11-year-old tortie cat
Photo courtesy Baltimore Humane Society.
Each week in this space, we feature a senior cat in need of adoption or sponsorship. Please remember all the older cats in shelters. They make great companions, and unlike kittens, they (probably) won’t climb the curtains!

This week, we’d like you to meet a lovely tortie named Shalom. Shalom is 11 years old, and she is a gentle, often timid lady. However, she is also independent and not afraid to speak her mind (as you’d expect from any good tortie!). She recently became very lonely and more vocal when her longtime feline companion was rehomed, and she is now at the Baltimore Humane Society. Shalom needs a special person to care for her and fill the empty place in her heart—someone who is loving and gentle and enjoys long conversations about life. Sound like you?


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Cat of the Week: Amy (Bideawee, Westhampton, NY)

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

Amy is an orange and white tabby

Amy the cat sitting on office chair
Need help in your home office?
Amy is an experienced cat with
excellent qualifications!
This week, take a moment to meet Amy. As you can see, Amy has beautiful coloring, and we understand she has a vivacious personality to match. At over 13 years old, Amy is an experienced cat. She knows her way around this whole cathood thing, and she has lots of love yet to give. Just don’t expect her to be dull, because Amy has some extra spice in her personality that ensures she is never, ever boring.

Amy is currently at Bideawee’s Westhampton, New York, location. Learn more about her here.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Book Review: The Little Grumpy Cat That Wouldn’t (Grumpy Cat)

Remember Little Golden Books? Those picture books with the instantly recognizable golden spine? Yes? Well, now Grumpy Cat has her own Golden Book, and it is…not awful. Grumpy Cat might think everything fun is just awful, but her book is fun and not awful at all.

As you might expect, The Little Grumpy Cat That Wouldn’t is filled with rich illustrations accompanied by short bits of text that are perfect for reading aloud. There are even opportunities for doing different voices, if you’re into that sort of thing. (She of Little Talent read the book to the Real Cats and did cute little voices that sort of all sounded the same. At least she tried. The Real Cats slept right through it.)

The story is typical Grumpy Cat. She is an adorable little cat who is just plain grumpy. She doesn’t like anything or anyone. She does not want to play with any of the cute animals in her world. You know how sometimes you’re in a low funk and just want to curl up and binge watch your favorite show, but some happy fools keep trying to make you do “fun” things with them? That is awful and so annoying, and that is what Grumpy Cat is facing. She wants to be alone, and she finally gets her wish. My question is, is she happy at the end? Discuss.

Okay, getting back to our review…The Little Grumpy Cat That Wouldn’t is a beautiful book. Steph Laberis’s colorful illustrations are superb and are a joy to look at. And the story’s end does leave plenty of room for discussion. Is it good that Grumpy Cat finally got what she wanted, or is it kind of sad that she drove her friends away by refusing to engage with them? Or are they just really crappy friends for not giving her some space from the start? I leave it to you to decide after reading the book.

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!