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.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Book Review: Jamie Quinn Mystery Collection


Mysterious Monday

On this Mysterious Monday, we bring you a review of three books in one: it’s the Jamie Quinn Mystery Collection, by Barbara Venkataraman. The collection includes the first three books in the series: Death by Digeridoo, The Case of the Killer Divorce, and Peril in the Park, all set in Hollywood, Florida, and featuring family lawyer Jamie Quinn and her favorite private investigator, Duke. And of course there is a cat, whom we’ll tell you about a little later.

Death by Digeridoo

Jamie Quinn Mystery Collection, by Barbara Venkataraman
In this installment, Jamie’s cousin, Adam, is accused of murdering a former rock star named Spike with—you guessed it—a digeridoo. Adam has Asperger’s syndrome, making the ensuing investigation a little more difficult. Jamie gets drawn into the investigation because, even though she doesn’t practice criminal law, Adam obviously needs a lawyer immediately. Fortunately Jamie has a best friend, Grace, who’s also a lawyer and gives great advice. And she knows a PI, Duke, who can help investigate. Now the question is, which of Spike’s associates would hate him enough to kill him, and how will Jamie protect Adam long enough for her to find the answers?

 The Case of the Killer Divorce

Since she practices family law, Jamie often works with clients seeking a divorce. In this installment, her client, Becca, is going through a divorce and custody battle, when her husband suddenly dies. And unfortunately for Becca, she had told her husband she’d kill him if he tried to take the kids. Also, it looks like it was her sleeping pills that did him in. Can you say, “Suspect number one”? Again, Jamie investigates, but she does have to wonder if Becca might just be guilty after all. This story also introduces Kip Simons, Jamie’s high school heartthrob, who’s back in town and is very interested in her. But will he stay interested once he finds out Jamie’s not into lots of outdoor adventures?

Peril in the Park

The third story brings Jamie’s new boyfriend, Kip, firmly into the picture. Kip’s new job puts him in charge of all the county parks—and in the middle of a lot of discord in the parks department. A lot of people are angry at him, the parks are being vandalized, and then someone calling themselves ICU sends Jamie a threatening email with pictures of her and Kip, meaning they are being followed. Kip is also acting kind of weird, so that Jamie knows he’s keeping some things from her—it’s all just “work stuff” that he can’t talk about, he says. Things ramp up when a murder occurs at a Renaissance festival … and then when Kip disappears, well, it sure looks like someone is trying to get him out of the way.

The cat

The cat in this series is a kind of cranky 12-pound gentleman named Mr. Paws. He was Jamie’s mother’s cat, and Jamie took over his care and feeding after her mother died. At first, Jamie and Mr. Paws do not like each other. So much so that Jamie temporarily changes his name to Mr. Pain in the Ass. When her mother was alive and Jamie would visit, Mr. Paws would hiss at her—and Jamie hissed back. We're happy to say that this relationship evolves through the series. In Killer Divorce, Mr. Paws starts purring and crawling into bed with Jamie. And in Peril in the Park, he becomes her dependable companion when she’s home. He’s still cranky though!

Our verdict

We liked each of these stories a lot, and we enjoyed Jamie and her friends. Duke and Grace are both fun characters, as is Jamie herself. She is so relatable, and she seems like she’d be a great person to hang out with. Our favorite of the stories was Peril in the Park, because we found it the most suspenseful of the three, but each story is a good, quick read with fun twists, humor, and mystery. One thing I did not mention yet is the ongoing story of Jamie’s attempts to locate her long-lost father. This thread was actually one of our favorite things about the series as we hoped for things to work out for Jamie to first find her father and then be reunited with him. We did wish for more cat, as Mr. Paws makes only occasional appearances and isn’t important to the plot. I do have to withhold one paw because of that (we are a cat-centric blog, after all), but we still would recommend Jamie Quinn to any reader looking for a light-reading, quick-paced cozy mystery filled with some pretty great human characters!





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!

We received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. We wouldn’t tell you it was good unless we really liked it!


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!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Sunday Selfie: Webster Gets Bored

This week, old SoLT was trying to help Real Cat Webster take his Sunday Selfie, but she took so long about it, he got really bored and did this:

Real Cat Webster yawns


We're joining the Sunday Selfies blog hop, hosted by The Cat on My Head.

Sunday Selfies blog hop

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Caturday Art: Christmas Needlework Kitties

For this week's Caturday Art, old SoLT borrowed an idea from our friends at Sweet Purrfections. She took a summery photo and made it Christmasy by using the Christmas Needlework effect from LunaPic. Then she put it on a green background and added the ribbony bits in Photoshop.

The Real Cats on the cat tree, Christmas needlepoint effect

We're joining Athena's Caturday Art blog hop!

Caturday Art blog hop

Friday, December 15, 2017

Words with Webster: Fur, Plus Friendly Fill-Ins

We have two fun Friday features for you today. First up is Real Cat Webster, who has a fuzzy word to share. After that, it’s on to Friendly Fill-Ins!

Words with WebsterWords with Webster


Hi, everybody! It’s me, Real Cat Webster. Welcome to Words with Me. Today’s word is “fur.” I picked this word because it got really cold at our house this week, and boy was I glad for my fur coat! So of course, first I went to my favorite dictionary, Merriam-Webster’s, which said that fur is “the fine soft thick hairy covering or coat of a mammal usually consisting of a double coating of hair that includes a layer of comparatively short soft curly barbed hairs next to the skin protected by longer smoother stiffer hairs that grow up through these.” That sounded a little more complicated than I was expecting, but I guess fur is not as simple as I thought.

Anyway, next I went to the Oxford English Dictionary, which defined fur like this: “The short, fine, soft hair of certain animals (as the sable, ermine, beaver, otter, bear, etc.) growing thick upon the skin, and distinguished from the ordinary hair, which is longer and coarser.” In this sense, “fur” has been in use since about 1430, when it showed up in a poem by John Lydgate:


The shepe…berythe furres blake and whyte. (“Horse, Goose & Sheep,” in Polit. Relig. & Love Poems)

I even found a 1608 Shakespeare quote for “fur”:

This night wherin…The Lyon, and the belly-pinched Wolfe Keepe their furre dry. (King Lear viii. 13)

According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the word “fur” apparently came from the Old French forrer, meaning “to line, envelop, encase.” The word seems to have first appeared in English around 1300 as a verb that meant to line a garment (with fur). The Etymology Dictionary traces the word back through Proto-Germanic fodram (“sheath”) to the Proto-Indo-European root pa- (“to feed, protect”). And that might be from about 5,500 years ago.

That is a long journey for one little word!

An orange tabby cat's fur_Adobe Stock


Friendly Fill-Ins

Friendly Fill-InsAnd now it’s time for Friendly Fill-Ins, from 15andmeowing and McGuffy’s Reader. They are a fun way to learn a little bit about the authors of the blogs you read. The first two questions, answered by Real Cat Paisley this week, are from Ellen of 15andmeowing, and the next two, answered by old SoLT, are from Annie of McGuffy’s Reader.

Real Cat Paisley’s answers:
1. Snow is pretty, but it makes all the people in my house complain a lot. They should be like me and just take a nap with it snows.

2. I hope Mommy’s getting me something great for Christmas, because I certainly deserve it!

Old SoLT’s answers:
3. One holiday memory that I cherish is running downstairs early one Christmas morning (extremely early—I think it was just barely past midnight) and finding my very first bicycle next to the tree. So of course I jumped right on it (not knowing how to ride yet) and immediately fell over into the tree. Still not sure how I managed to not knock the tree down!

4. I always thought that Santa was totally magical. How else could he get in and out of all those houses without getting caught?


Thursday, December 14, 2017

Jólakötturinn: The Icelandic Cat Who Might Eat You for Christmas

For regular readers of this blog, the words “Christmas” and “cat” probably bring up thoughts of all the neat presents you’re getting for your cat(s) this year. Or maybe you picture your cat(s) sleeping peacefully under the tree or climbing less peacefully up the tree. In any case, the cat is innocent and sweet (yes, even when climbing the tree!). But in Iceland, the Christmas Cat, or Jólakötturinn or Jólaköttur, is a different animal altogether.  The Jólakötturinn is a monster of a cat that will eat you unless you have met one specific requirement.

A giant cat that wants to see your new Christmas clothes

The Jólakötturinn is said to be a giant cat bigger than a house. It is active on Christmas night, when it prowls from house to house, looking in windows and inspecting kids’ Christmas gifts. If a child has received new clothes, he or she is safe. But for children who have not received new clothes, the outcome is a little more unpleasant. First, the Jólakötturinn eats the child’s Christmas dinner; then it eats the child.

Why the focus on new clothes? Well, according to the tradition, if you finish your work on time, you get new clothes for Christmas. But if you’re lazy and put your work off so you can’t finish on time, no clothes for you, and you can be expecting a visit from the Jólakötturinn. Children are also encouraged to be generous to less-fortunate kids who might not otherwise receive new clothes for Christmas; that way, those less-fortunate kids can also be safe from the Christmas Cat.

Jólakötturinn , the Icelandic Yule Cat: Some Points to Remember #Jólakötturinn #YuleCat

Where did this idea come from?

The legend may be as old as the Dark Ages, but it apparently wasn’t written down until the 19th century. According to “The Yule Cat,” people worked hard to finish the work required to process the autumn wool before Christmas. Those who helped with this work received new clothing; those who didn’t, received nothing. The threat of the Jólakötturinn could offer some extra encouragement to those who were otherwise not inclined to work.

Jólakötturinn is not alone

The Jólakötturinn is not the only child-eating monster in Iceland’s Christmas lore. The beast is said to live in Iceland’s mountains with the giantess Grýla and her sons the Yule Lads. Grýla is believed to devour children who have misbehaved (a notion that gives a whole new meaning to Santa’s “naughty list”). The Yule Lads are pranksters (or child eaters, depending on the darkness of the version you believe) who steal food and play pranks on people. In modern times, they also leave presents in children’s shoes. For children who have been bad during the year, the Yule Lads leave behind rotting potatoes (and you thought coal was bad!).

So, this Christmas, as you sip hot cocoa and pet your cat while you gaze happily at the Christmas tree, make sure you’re wearing at least one new article of clothing to prove your industriousness, or don’t be surprised if you get a rather unpleasant visit from a giant cat!

Sources

Cellania, Miss. “8 Legendary Monsters of Christmas.” Mental Floss. December 16, 2015. http://mentalfloss.com/article/54184/8-legendary-monsters-christmas.

Lewis, Danny. “Each Christmas, Iceland’s Yule Cat Takes Fashion Policing to the Extreme.” Smithsonian.com. December 19, 2016. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/each-christmas-icelands-yule-cat-takes-fashion-policing-extreme-180961420/


“Yule Cat”, Wikipedia, last edited December 7, 2017, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yule_Cat.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Cat of the Week: Chevy in Baltimore

Cat of the Week

Each week in this space, we feature an older adult or senior cat (7 years +) in need of adoption or sponsorship. Mature cats make great companions, and unlike kittens, they (probably) won’t climb the curtains! Adopt an older cat, and help them enjoy the best years of their life.

Cat of the Week: Chevy at Charm Kitty Cafe, Baltimore

Today, please say hello to Chevy. Chevy is a handsome black-and-white gentleman who is 8 years old. He is a big boy, and he loves getting attention and pets. His tastes are simple: all he really needs to be happy is a comfy bed, yummy food, and lots of love. He enjoys a little catnip as well! Chevy has lived with another cat and kids before. He’d love to settle in with a new family soon.

Chevy is currently at Charm Kitty Cafe in Baltimore, Maryland. Learn more about him here.


Can’t adopt? You can still help! Check out Sammy’s Cat Necessities Fund, which provides money for everyday and medical needs of cats at the Baltimore Humane Society. You can also make a general donation or sponsor a particular animal on this page. Every little bit helps!

Monday, December 11, 2017

Book Review: That Olde White Magick


Mysterious Monday


On this Mysterious Monday, we bring you our review of That Olde White Magick, by Sharon Pape. This is book 3 in the Abracadabra mystery series, and it is the first book in the series that we have read.

The plot

That Olde White Magick, by Sharon Pape
Kailyn Wilde is a sorcerer who lives in New Camel, New York, where she owns a magic shop called Abracadabra. She is surrounded by quite the interesting cast of characters. There’s her aunt Tilly, who conducts psychic readings in her tea shop; her deceased mother and grandmother, who show up as clouds of energy; Merlin the sorcerer (yes, the one from the King Arthur legends); a reporter boyfriend (sort of) who has recently been freaked out by her magical abilities; and a whole bunch of cats.

These characters are all dropped into the middle of a mystery when a board member is found murdered just before she was to vote on a zoning issue to allow (or not) a new hotel to be built at the edge of town. Kailyn is determined to find out who killed the woman, and it seems the best way to do that is to figure out who would benefit from eliminating the dead woman’s vote on that zoning issue. But when she gets too close to the answer, someone wants her out of the way…

The cats

The main cat in this book is Sashkatu, who used to be the familiar of Kailyn’s mom. He’s older and has arthritis, and he and Kailyn are not exactly the best of friends yet, but they’re working on it. Kailyn has five other cats as well, whom Sashkatu is still getting used to. There’s also Isenbale, Tilly’s Maine coon. All the cats love Merlin—they cannot get enough of him, and they all congregate around him whenever he’s in the room. The cats don’t really play a big part in the plot, but we still think they’re pretty neat. I should clarify that the cats themselves don’t play a big direct role, but Kailyn does use their fur once to clog up some pipes so she has an excuse to call the plumber who is one of her suspects. She also makes up a story about a missing cat to give herself an excuse to visit the police station. So you could say the cats are important in their own way.

Our verdict

We loved Sharon Pape’s characters. Merlin is a favorite, and we especially enjoyed the bits of modern life he chooses to embrace. He won’t wear modern clothes except when he’s forced to, but he loves pizza (really, who doesn’t?) and cowboy movies (so he says stuff like “pardner” a lot; it’s hilarious). The tension between Kailyn and her reporter boyfriend over her identity as a sorcerer is well done. Just how would an “ordinary” person react to finding out their significant other can cast actual spells on people? We also enjoyed the way Kailyn’s mother and grandmother show up; the clouds of energy are more believable than full-bodied apparitions.

The story these characters are in is pretty terrific too. When we found out who the real killer was and the circumstances of the crime, we were truly surprised. And Kailyn’s life-threatening moments—and how she gets out of them—are some of the best we’ve read in a while. The climax of That Olde White Magick is edge-of-your-seat reading that left us smiling. Sure, we wished the cats played a bigger role in the story, but they do their part just by being there and acting catlike.

Recommended!

Two Paws Up!--A great Read

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!

We received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. We wouldn’t tell you it was good unless we really liked it!

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!


Sunday, December 10, 2017

Sunday Selfie: Paisley at Work

Real Cat Paisley spent a little (a very, very little) bit of time in the office this week, and she took this selfie to prove she was there:

Real Cat Paisley at work_Dec 2017


We're joining the Sunday Selfies blog hop, hosted by The Cat on My Head.

Sunday Selfies blog hop

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Caturday Art: Colorful Paisley

The weather has been kind of dreary at the Cuddlywumps Cat Lodge the past day or so, and we decided to do something really colorful for Caturday Art. Old SoLT took a photo of Real Cat Paisley into Dreamscope and used the Watercolor Cartoon effect on it--and it only took about 20 minutes (!). Then she put it on a blue background with a satin effect in Photoshop, and voila!



We are joining the Caturday Art blog hop, hosted by Athena and Marie!

Caturday Art blog hop

Friday, December 8, 2017

Words with Webster: Crepuscular, Plus Friendly Fill-Ins


We have two fun Friday features for you today. First up is Real Cat Webster, who has an enlightening word to share. After that, it’s on to Friendly Fill-Ins!

Words with WebsterWords with Webster

Hi, everybody! It’s me, Real Cat Webster. Welcome to Words with Me. Today’s word is “crepuscular.” I picked this word because we cats are crepuscular. According to my favorite dictionary, Merriam-Webster’s, it means “active in the twilight.” Cats are most active at dawn and dusk (those are the times me and Paisley get the crazies sometimes and run around a lot), so that’s why we’re crepuscular. Other crepuscular animals are rabbits, deer, possums, skunks, bobcats, fireflies, and owls.

“Crepuscular” has been used to describe the habits of animals since at least 1826, according to this quote from the Oxford English Dictionary:

Crepuscular insects. (William Kirby and William Spence, An introduction to entomology; or, Elements of the natural history of insects, IV. Xlix.525)

I know, that was a really boring quote, right? So I went back earlier, to 1668, the earliest recorded use of “crepuscular,” with the meaning “resembling twilight; dim, indistinct,” and found this quote:

And perhaps I might have lost the Crepuscular remains of my Sight. (Royal Society Philosophical Transactions 3.730.)

Well, it’s not Shakespeare, but I guess it’ll have to do.

Cat by the sea at twilight. Image via Adobe Stock.

Our word today came to English straight from the Latin crepusculum, meaning “twilight, dusk.”

Finally, here’s a fun fact Mommy remembers from her eight-grade science class: Those cool shafts of light you see sometimes when the sun shines through clouds are called "crepuscular rays."

Crepuscular rays over the Baltic Sea. Image via Adobe Stock.

Friendly Fill-Ins

Friendly Fill-insAnd now it’s time for Friendly Fill-Ins, from 15andmeowing and McGuffy’s Reader. They are a fun way to learn a little bit about the authors of the blogs you read. The first two questions, answered by old SoLT this week, are from Ellen of 15andmeowing, and the next two, answered by Real Cat Paisley, are from Annie of McGuffy’s Reader.

Old SoLT’s answers:
1. The best part of last week was I finally got over the cold I had.

2. The worst part of last week was I had a bad cold most of the week.

Real Cat Paisley’s answers:
3. Napping is a Winter project that I will be working on.

4. A holiday gift that I always buy for someone is nothing—Mommy never lets me have any money, and I can’t get her credit card out of her wallet!


Thursday, December 7, 2017

Science Says Dogs Are Smarter Than Cats…Does It Matter?

By now you may have heard the latest news in the seemingly never-ending conflict between “dog people” and “cat people”: study results that were first reported last week* showed dogs have more brain power than cats. Specifically, dogs were found to have more neurons in their cerebral cortex than cats have. The cerebral cortex is the outer part of the brain, where thinking happens, so how many “little gray cells” you have in it is important.

Comparing carnivores’ brains

The researchers, including Suzana Herculano-Houzel, an associate professor of psychology and biological sciences at Vanderbilt University, looked at the brains of eight species of carnivores: bear, lion, ferret, racoon, mongoose, hyena, and (obviously) cat and dog. They wanted to compare the number of neurons vs. brain size between the species. Dogs were found to have about 530 million cortical neurons, vs. 250 million for cats.

What does this mean? Herculano-Houzel—an admitted dog person—was quoted as saying, “I believe the absolute number of neurons an animal has, especially in the cerebral cortex, determines the richness of their internal mental state and their ability to predict what is about to happen in their environment based on past experience.” She also said, “Our findings mean to me that dogs have the biological capability of doing much more complex and flexible things with their lives than cats can.” Behaviors like this, I guess:

Dog sleeping on his back_Adobe Stock


I’m kidding (you know I’m kidding, right?). We love dogs. We’re just not sure all that supposed brain power is doing dogs much good, at least in terms of their ability to live a civilized life. After all, while we cats play with our catnip mice and nap in our comfy beds, dogs are barking, drinking from the toilet, and rolling in the smelliest, most vile things they can find, after which they have to get a bath. Now I ask you, is that smart?

Two dogs in the bathtub_Adobe Stock

Dogs and cats are not the same

But what does 530 million cortical neurons vs. 250 million cortical neurons really mean? Well, we take it as further evidence that cats and dogs are not the same. Without descending into yet another argument over who’s better, who’s smarter, who’s more loyal, more loving, more comforting, more fun, more purry, more whatever-is-important-to-you, can we agree that cats are cats and dogs are dogs and they’re all great … just for being who and what they are?

Those  numbers of neurons tell us a lot, but they don't tell us everything. There are brilliant dogs and brilliant cats, and there are dumb dogs and (I hate to say it) dumb cats. There are also some pretty dumb people (despite their 16 billion cortical neurons), and there are plenty of people of average or above-average intelligence who (again despite all those neurons) get outsmarted every day by their cats and/or dogs. 

So go figure.

This all just goes to show that it's not how many neurons you have, it's what you do with them that counts.

Dog and Cat resting together_Adobe Stock



Source


David Salisbury, “Sorry, Grumpy Cat—Study Finds Dogs Are Brainier Than Cats,” Research News @ Vanderbilt, November 29, 2017, https://news.vanderbilt.edu/2017/11/29/grumpy-cat-study-dogs/.


* The full article will appear soon in the open-access journal Frontiers in Neuroanatomy.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Cat of the Week: Houdini Moose

Cat of the Week


Each week in this space, we feature an older adult or senior cat (7 years +) in need of adoption or sponsorship. Mature cats make great companions, and unlike kittens, they (probably) won’t climb the curtains! Adopt an older cat, and help them enjoy the best years of their life.

Adopt Houdini Moose, Baltimore Humane Society


Today we’d like you to meet Ms. Houdini Moose. Ms. Moose, or just Houdini, is a petite kitty who is 7 years old. As you can see from her black and white coat, she is prepared for any formal occasion. We think she would love to be relaxing in a new loving home for a quiet New Year’s Eve celebration—just her and her family, maybe sharing a niptini toast to ring in the new year. She loves treats too!

Houdini is currently at the Baltimore Humane Society. Learn more about her here.

Can’t adopt? You can still help! Check out Sammy’s Cat Necessities Fund, which provides money for everyday and medical needs of cats at the Baltimore Humane Society. You can also make a general donation or sponsor a particular animal on this page. Every little bit helps!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Cat App Review: Cat Bomb

You know how sometimes you get all excited about a new app because it looks like so much fun, but when you start using it, it’s so annoying it makes you want to hiss? That sums up our experience with Cat Bomb. 

The basics

Cat Bomb is an app that lets you “photobomb with cats for IG, FB, Snapchat.” In other words, it adds cats to your photos. This is a noble goal, we think, because what photo wouldn’t benefit from the addition of a cat or two? You can even replace people’s heads with cats’ heads for that “cat in a business suit” or “cat in overalls” effect. At least, supposedly you can.

When you open the app on your iPhone, you have the option of opening an existing photo on your device or taking a new one. Then you click the plus sign to go to the menu of available cats. All well and good, and you select a cat from the 15 that are available in the free pack. You select, say, the handsome tuxedo cat in the bottom row. But oh no ... you then find out that you can’t have that one—not until you give the app a five-star review! An app you haven’t even used yet, and it wants a five-star review already!

Everyone say it with me, “Hiss!”

Real Cat Paisley being photobombed by cats from Cat Bomb
Here, Real Cat Paisley is photobombed by the paltry three
cats that are actually free in Cat Bomb.
Turns out the only cats you can use without doing a review are the first three. The others in the “free” pack require a review—of five stars. Just to clarify, if you are required to give something in exchange for something else, technically it isn’t free.

Beyond the “free” cats, the app also includes six packs of cat photos, available for 99 cents each. There’s a Fat Pack (fat cats), a Kittens Pack, and a Cat Heads Pack (which has those neat heads you can add to people’s bodies or whatever). We didn’t try any of these because we were so annoyed by the free pack, but in principle we don’t object to paying for extras in an app or for the full version of a “lite” app we enjoy. We do understand that app developers have to pay their rent and stock their fridges like the rest of us. And I will say that the actual cat photos available are really cute, so we can see having a lot of fun with them.

Our verdict

We love the concept of Cat Bomb—it sounds like a lot of fun, and the cat photos are cute. However, we really think the developers (Visual Playground Apps) should rethink their restriction on the “free” pack. At the very least, they should make it clear when you open the pack that only the first three cats are free. Currently, you don’t find that out until you click on one of the non-free cats. This, wethinks, is deceptive. And asking for a five-star review right off the bat is just too much. We don’t give five-star reviews on apps that demand them. What we do with those apps is delete them and give them

Half a Paw Up--An Okay App

  

For the record, Cat Bomb is available for iOS devices. We played on an iPhone 7.

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!

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Sunday Selfie: Webster, Interrupted

For this week's Sunday Selfie, old SoLT ran around the house frantically on Saturday afternoon asking, "Who wants to do a selfie?" Well, Real Cat Webster was just barely interested enough to strike a pose:


Real Cat Webster, Dec. 2, 2017

Old SoLT wanted to try out some different poses, but then this happened:

Layla interrupts a photo shoot by peeking through the railing

Yes, that's Resident Dog Layla poking herself through the railing at the top of the steps and trying to get in on the selfie-taking. Note how pleased Webster looks.

We're joining the Sunday Selfies blog hop, hosted by The Cat on My Head.

Sunday Selfies blog hop


Saturday, December 2, 2017

Caturday Art: Webster Finds Something

After old SoLT was ill for most of the past week, we are very pleased to be back in the blogging game just in time for Caturday Art.

Some fun things happened this week. The first fun thing was that some Christmas presents came. The second fun thing was that Real Cat Webster found the Christmas presents and picked out the one that's his (it may or may not have catnip in it!). Fortunately, old SoLT was on hand to take photos, and one of them is the basis for our art.


This first one is the Brave effect from Lunapic, with a frame from PicMonkey:
Real Cat Webster_Brave effect

And this one is the Rave effect in Lunapic, also with a frame from PicMonkey:

Real Cat Webster_Rave effect


Here's the original:

Real Cat Webster finds his Christmas present

The Christmas present is hidden in a better place now!

We're joining the Caturday Art blog hop, hosted by Athena and Marie.

Caturday Art blog hop

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Cat of the Week: Ghandi in Baltimore

Cat of the Week

Each week in this space, we feature an older adult or senior cat (7 years +) in need of adoption or sponsorship. Mature cats make great companions, and unlike kittens, they (probably) won’t climb the curtains! Adopt an older cat, and help them enjoy the best years of their life.


Today, we’re introducing an older gentleman named Ghandi. He is 11 years old, medium-sized, with mostly white fur with some black accents. Ghandi is described as very sweet and not too active, but he loves a good cuddle session. Just look at that inquisitive face!

Ghandi is currently in a foster home through the Baltimore Humane Society. Learn more about him here.


Can’t adopt? You can still help! Check out Sammy’s Cat Necessities Fund, which provides money for everyday and medical needs of cats at the Baltimore Humane Society. You can also make a general donation or sponsor a particular animal on this page. Every little bit helps!

Monday, November 27, 2017

Book Review: CatStronauts: Space Station Situation

CatStronauts: Space Station Situation
Today we bring you a brief review of the latest in the adventures of the CatStronauts. Space Station Situation is book 3 in the series of graphic novels by Drew Brockington. As with the previous two books (Mission Moon and Race to Mars), this one is a lot of fun and contains plenty of adventure and science, all presented in one colorfully appealing page after another.

This time, the CatStronauts are on a mission to fix the Hubba Bubba Telescope. The telescope is critical for cats on Earth (including of course the World’s Best Scientist) to understand why everything is suddenly being hit by meteor showers. All in a day’s work for the CatStronauts … but after a mishap leaves Waffles, the talented pilot, floating alone in space, he becomes so terrified he is unable to go on with the mission. In fact, he quits the CatStronauts altogether and returns to Earth to retire.

The remaining CatStronauts soldier on, repairing the telescope and finally revealing the source of the constant meteor showers: an asteroid on a collision course with Earth. A plan is devised to save the planet, but only one cat on Earth has the ability to carry it out: Waffles. Now he must face his fears and return to space. Will he be able to carry the dangerous mission through?

Our verdict

We sort of already gave you our verdict in the first paragraph. We love this series, and we have eagerly anticipated Space Station Situation. The pages of the CatStronauts books beg to be read a second, third, and fourth time, because there are so many little details in the art that you don’t notice the first time through, when you are mostly taking in the story. Our only wish was for a page at the start of the book reminding us of who the characters are. This would be especially useful for readers who might happen to pick up this book without having read the first two. But that is a minor complaint.

We were never really fans of graphic novels before we picked up the first CatStronauts book, but the genre is definitely growing on us. Drew Brockington’s art is cute but not “cutesy,” the stories are engaging, and each book has a serious theme underlying all the fun. In Space Station Situation, the theme is facing your fears and not giving up. The book is recommended for ages 8–12, but old SoLT is 40 years past that (give or take), and she found it delightful (in other words, parents and grandparents will like it too). So, if you love cats and have even the vaguest interest in outer space, or if you know an 8- to 12-year-old who fits that category, we highly recommend Space Station Situation and the previous books in the series!

Two Paws Up--A Great Read!

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!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Sunday Selfie: Paws at Work

For this week's Sunday Selfie, Real Cat Webster took a picture of his cute little paws at work. Here he is, guarding old SoLT's pen and paper and incidentally preventing her from writing anything down when she needs to (she complains about that ALL THE TIME). You can see what a hardworking cat he is!

Real Cat Webster's Paws at Work

We are joining the Sunday Selfies blog hop, hosted by The Cat on My Head.

Sunday Selfies blog hop


Saturday, November 25, 2017

Caturday Art: Paisley Artified

Sometimes, old SoLT starts to make a Caturday Art in Dreamscope, but it takes so long to render, she ends up using something else that week, and then she sort of forgets she was doing anything in Dreamscope. Then, perhaps weeks later, she tries Dreamscope again and discovers she already has something waiting there for her. That's where this Caturday Art of Real Cat Paisley came from. We don't know which effect it was, but we think it came out pretty good (and only took a month)!

Real Cat Paisley_Dreamscope filter

We're joining Athena's Caturday Art blog hop!

Caturday Art blog hop

Friday, November 24, 2017

Thanksgiving Bloopers

This Thanksgiving Day was a memorable one in old SoLT's house. What started out as a quiet day took a little turn when this happened:


Yep, Real Cat Webster left his paw prints in the pumpkin pie, just like the stars do in Hollywood (only they use cement, I think).

Then, old SoLT was chopping potatoes, and she cut herself just a little bit (don't take your eyes off the blade, old SoLT!), and then she almost fainted. Now, old SoLT has survived cancer and had a lung transplant, so she's no stranger to having blood draws and various invasive procedures, but one little cut on the finger and, Wham! down she goes.

She was fine after a few minutes' recovery. Her mom's recovery took a little longer.

Then, everyone was relaxing after a fine, filling meal, when old SoLT happened to look into the dining room, only to see Real Cat Paisley standing on the table, licking the turkey.

Sadly, we don't have a picture of that, because it was hilarious.

We hope your Thanksgiving was just as memorable as ours!

Friendly Fill-Ins

Friendly Fill-Ins
And now it’s time for Friendly Fill-Ins, from 15andmeowing and McGuffy’s Reader. They are a fun way to learn a little bit about the authors of the blogs you read. The first two questions, answered by old SoLT this week, are from Ellen of 15andmeowing, and the next two, answered by Real Cat Paisley, are from Annie of McGuffy’s Reader.

Old SoLT’s answers:
1. I start to decorate for Christmas/Hanukkah as soon after Thanksgiving as I can get to it. Some years, it’s actually pretty close to Christmas before the tree goes up.

2. I prefer a real Christmas tree because I always enjoyed the whole process of trekking out to find a great tree, and I liked that each year’s tree would be a little different. We have an artificial tree now, and that’s a lot easier and more convenient, but I do miss a real tree.

Real Cat Paisley’s answers:
3. The best thing about the holidays is napping under the Christmas tree.


4. The worst thing about the holidays is one day, the people come along and take my tree away. Not fair!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Cat of the Week: Gabby in Baltimore

Cat of the Week

Each week in this space, we feature an older adult or senior cat (7 years +) in need of adoption or sponsorship. Mature cats make great companions, and unlike kittens, they (probably) won’t climb the curtains! Adopt an older cat, and help them enjoy the best years of their life.



This week, please meet Gabby. She is a very sweet 9-year-old lady who would be so thankful to find her new forever home! Gabby likes to rub up against people and meow, and she is also really into making biscuits and just spending time in a nice, soft cat bed. Oh, and let’s not forget the treats. Gabby loves treats!

Gabby is currently at the Baltimore Humane Society. Learn more about her here.


Can’t adopt? You can still help! Check out Sammy’s Cat Necessities Fund, which provides money for everyday and medical needs of cats at the Baltimore Humane Society. You can also make a general donation or sponsor a particular animal on this page. Every little bit helps!