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, July 25, 2017

Cats of the Week: Chloe in Baltimore

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During the month of July, several shelters in our home state of Maryland are offering free cat and kitten adoptions through the Maryland 2000 program. Most of the young kittens won’t have any trouble getting a lot of attention, but there are also so many older cats in shelters just waiting to be welcomed into a loving forever home. That’s why each week in this space, we feature a mature adult or senior cat (7 years +) in need of adoption or sponsorship, and in July, all of our featured cats will be from Maryland. 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’d like to introduce Chloe. She is an 8-year-old gray and white ladycat who enjoys conversation and bird watching. Seriously, if you’re looking for a talkative cat, Chloe is your girl. We understand she can converse on any topic. She even enjoys chirping in response when someone reads to her. She also enjoys watching birds at the feeder and chasing a wand toy. Chloe is independent but likes to get pets from her human. We think she has such a sweet face!

Chloe 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!



Ravens fans!

The Baltimore Humane Society is raffling off 2017 season tickets! Raffle tickets start at $10. What a great way to support homeless pets in the Baltimore area while getting a chance to win those season tickets you’ve been dreaming of.

Monday, July 24, 2017

App Review: Avatar Maker: Cats

Avatar Maker: Cats_icon

Today we review an app that we found to be a lot of fun, even though it is not a game. It is called Avatar Maker: Cats, and it lets you create a cat avatar that is as tame or as wild as you want it to be.

How it works


Avatar Maker: Cats_blank cat
The blank cat you start with
in Avatar Maker: Cats.
You start with a blank cat and then select a background—we counted 26 different backgrounds to choose from, including domestic scenes, outdoor scenes, and fantasy scenes. You can come back later and change the background if needed. Then you start building your cat, choosing everything from coat color and pattern to the style and color of ears and eyes, ruff, tail, paws, and mouth. If you’re making a flying tiger or an angel kitty, you can add wings. And your cat can wear jewelry and hats and can even sport tattoos or, for those warrior cat types, slashes and scars. Your completed cat can easily be saved to your device as an image. We’ve made and saved several avatars and haven’t found an actual use for them yet, but who cares? The fun is in creating them.

A couple drawbacks

Avatar Maker: Cats_domestic cat
Our attempt at a realistic domestic cat. This fellow
has a question about the food he has been served.
While we have enjoyed Avatar Maker: Cats a lot, there are a couple drawbacks. First, since there is only one blank cat to start with, and the body style just feels like that of a large wild cat, we found it hard to make a cute kitty. Of course, we enjoy the big cats too, but sometimes you just want a cute kitty, you know? (Note: We have just noticed that there is an Avatar Maker: Cats 2, which looks like it offers a smaller, cuter cat body. We’ll be checking that out soon!) The second drawback is with the ads. We don’t mind having ads in apps, but the ads at the bottom of the screen in this app always obscure something. In landscape mode (the mode that’s best for viewing the different options for designing your cat), the ads cover the cat’s paws. In portrait view, the ads take up space that could be used to display more of the design options; there is just a very small space to see the styles of eyes, ears, and so on, which we think makes it harder than it needs to be to pick the perfect one for your cat. (Note: we use the app on an iPad; it might look different on another device.)

In general, we found that when we had trouble seeing or using anything in this app, rotating the screen helped. For example, the color picker is much easier to use in portrait view.

Avatar Maker: cats_wild cat with wings
You can make your cat as crazy as you want.
Coming up with out-of-this-world creatures is
a lot of fun!

Our verdict

Avatar Maker: Cats is a fun app. We enjoyed making crazy-looking cats of a sort that do not exist in nature and trying to make more realistic-looking felines you might find in your living room. With all the choices, there are nearly endless possibilities for making all kinds of cat characters. We did wish for some options in body style, and we found that neither landscape nor portrait view is "purrfect" for seeing and using all the options. Still, we have had a lot of fun creating all sorts of cats.

The app is free and is available for Android and iOS devices. We played on an iPad.


Recommended!

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!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Sunday Selfie: Webster at Ease

Today we join the Sunday Selfies blog hop, hosted by The Cat on My Head, with this picture of Real Cat Webster. It seems (to Webster) that Real Cat Paisley has been getting all the attention lately, what with her recovery gown and all, and Webs is sure that it must be his turn now. Well, he is right!

Real Cat Webster_selfie in pet bed July 2017


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Saturday, July 22, 2017

Caturday Art: Paisley Times Two

Welcome to our Caturday Art. This week someone, who shall remain nameless, couldn't stop herself at just one version of our art, so she went for two. Actually, what happened was, she made the first one and thought it was intriguing but possibly too "out there" for some of the Caturday Art crowd, so she made another that is slightly less weird. Still weird, but less so. Here's the really weird one:

Real Cat Paisley--Supertrippy
This started in Dreamscope, with a filter that, for obvious reasons, is called Supertrippy. Then she added a Polaroid frame in PicMonkey. Old SoLT thinks the result is cool, and perhaps with some more fiddling to take out some of the background clutter, she would totally hang it on her wall, but...well, she should really be medicated. Some of us thought it was creepy!

So, she tried this:
Real Cat Paisley--Nebula
 This one started in LunaPic, with the Nebula art effect. Then in PicMonkey, old SoLT added Bokeh and Light Trails textures, she fiddled with the saturation and temperature, and added a circular frame, which she offset to remove the bothersomely bright computer screen on the right.

The original you've seen before if you've been reading the blog this week:

Real Cat Paisley in Cone of Shame


This is our contribution to the Caturday Art blog bop, hosted by Athena and Marie.

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Friday, July 21, 2017

Friendly Fill-Ins for July 21

Friendly Fill-Ins badge
Today we one Friday feature for you: 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. My favourite thing on my daily to-do list is anything I actually manage to do that day. Usually my “daily” lists are about three days long. This is because I feel particularly ambitious and able to do impossible things in the mornings. I don’t accept reality until about 2:30 in the afternoon.

2. My least favourite thing on my daily to-do list is all the stuff that’s left over at the end of the day, which is often most of the stuff on the list.

Real Cat Paisley’s answers
3. I could really do without this heat wave we’re having. I stay in the air conditioning (I’m the smartest!), but it is so tiring having to listen to everyone complain about how hot it is. Even the dog is complaining.

4. I would love to have more treats. I think I deserve a lot more than I’m currently getting. Here’s what happens when Webster and I get treats:
Mommy: You can each have four treats.
Me: FOUR?! Are you kidding me? I’ll DIE if I only have four treats! I need 1,752 treats, at least!
Mommy: Here you go—one, two, three, four.
Sound of poor, starving little kitty cat crying as she munches her four measly treats…

Real Cat Paisley with nip nanner
Real Cat Paisley with her nip nanner, wishing she had some treats.


Thursday, July 20, 2017

Review of After Surgery Wear E-Collar Alternative for Cats

A message from Miss C: I am turning the blog over to old SoLT today for a product review. Try not to be too disappointed with the low quality of her writing (really, it’s barely intelligible, but I think you can make it out if you concentrate).

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through them, we could get a little coin for our kibble account.

 Searching for an alternative to the dreaded Cone of Shame


Real Cat Paisley in e-collar
Real Cat Paisley did not like the cone at all, and she was
having a hard time getting used to it.
When Real Cat Paisley had minor surgery recently, we were so worried about the surgery results that we barely thought about her having to wear an e-collar (a.k.a. the Cone of Shame) until her stitches were removed. Well, the surgery turned out fine, but the cone was another matter. Paisley had a hard time eating and drinking with it on (she kept banging the cone into the food dish and water fountain, and she couldn’t really reach the food/water). I started taking the cone off at mealtimes, but I still worried that she wasn’t able to get enough water throughout the day. She also kept running into doorframes and furniture and knocking over … everything. Plus, she just wasn’t “Paisley.” Where was the tortitude?

We thought we had a Suitical recovery suit that we had tried on Webster a couple years ago, but after looking everywhere for it and not finding it, we gave up and decided to buy something new. (There was nothing wrong with the Suitical. We just wanted something more colorful for Paisley.) Searching “e-collar alternative for cats” on Amazon brought us to a recovery gown from After Surgery Wear.

It takes two to put a recovery gown on a cat

Real Cat Paisley on cat tree wearing recovery gown
Real Cat Paisley was able to jump and
play normally in the gown.
I was home alone when the gown arrived, and I immediately started trying to put it on Paisley. This was before I read the part of the instructions that say it’s best to do this while the cat is still under anesthesia! Paisley was fairly patient, but it was hard to get her legs through the holes and tie the ties before she just walked out of it. Plus, as I realized later, I was putting it on backwards (oops!), so even once I got it all tied up, Paisley was able to wiggle out of it. Tip: The gown doesn’t work if you put it on backwards!

After reinforcements arrived, we made another attempt, and with some effort, we got Paisley in the gown, whereupon Paisley tried to walk and … fell over. Tip: The ties don’t have to be super tight! Loosening the ties helped, but it still took some time for her to get comfortable enough to walk normally. Her gait was a bit stiff the whole time she wore the gown (about a week and a half), but overall she was able to get around just fine—she could run and play normally and jumped onto chairs and the cat tree with no problem.

Paisley’s life was much more comfortable without the cone. She was able to eat and drink, wash her face, play, use the litter box … plus, she was much cuter in the gown than in the cone! The gown’s online description says the fabric allows for air flow so the wound can heal, but I still undid a couple of ties every two days or so to check Paisley’s incision. It healed up nicely and without any problem at all.






Experience the excitement of putting a little gown on a cat in this trailer!




Pros and cons of the e-collar alternative gown

Pros
Real Cats Webster and Paisley together on the pet bed
Real Cat Webster needed a day or so to adjust to Paisley being
in the gown. The first day, he didn't really want to eat next
to her. But soon  they were best buds again.

  • Allows for normal or near-normal mobility and activity.
  • Keeps abdominal wounds covered so the cat can’t lick them and nothing can get in them.
  • Sizing is easy. We got a small, which should fit any average-sized cat. 
  • Allows normal litter box use. (Obviously Paisley is a female, but I’m pretty sure it will work okay for male cats too. Male dogs are another matter; you have to undo a couple of the back ties so the dog can “go.”)
  • Machine washable.
  • Really cute!
  • Offers endless opportunity to make dumb jokes about “those darn drafty hospital gowns.”

Cons

  • It took two people to get the gown on our cat. 
  • Makes it a little harder to keep a close eye on the pet’s wound.
  • Cats that don’t like to have “stuff” on them would probably “freeze” in the gown. Whether this is better or worse than the cone would depend on the individual cat.

For Paisley, this gown was absolutely perfect, and so much better than that dumb old cone. It made everyone’s life a little easier while her incision site healed, and she was so much happier in it. Plus, the cuteness was almost unbearable.


Recommended!


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Cat of the Week: Maggie in Baltimore

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During the month of July, several shelters in our home state of Maryland are offering free cat and kitten adoptions through the Maryland 2000 program. Most of the young kittens won’t have any trouble getting a lot of attention, but there are also so many older cats in shelters just waiting to be welcomed into a loving forever home. That’s why each week in this space, we feature a senior cat (7 years +) in need of adoption or sponsorship, and in July, all of our featured cats will be from Maryland. Mature cats make great companions, and unlike kittens, they (probably) won’t climb the curtains! Adopt a senior cat, and help them enjoy the best years of their life!

Adopt Maggie--Baltimore Humane Society
Meet Maggie! She is kind of shy, what with the stress of being in a shelter after living in a home for 10 years. Once she gets to know you, Maggie enjoys sitting in your lap and watching TV. She also enjoys cuddling and watching cat TV (a.k.a. the window). Maggie lived with another cat who bullied her, so she might be most comfortable as an only cat in a quiet home where she can just relax and be herself.

Maggie 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, July 17, 2017

Book Review: If the Haunting Fits, Wear It


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On this Mysterious Monday, we consider the latest installment in Rose Pressey’s Haunted Vintage series. It’s called If the Haunting Fits, Wear It, and as we’ve come to expect from this series, it is a thoroughly fun story to get lost in.

Vintage clothing expert, ghostly companions, and cat go to Kentucky Derby

If the Haunting Fits, Wear It, by Rose Pressey
Cookie Chanel owns a vintage clothing boutique called It’s Vintage, Ya’ll, in Sugar Creek, Georgia. Cookie knows vintage. She also knows ghosts, and she knows one ghost, Charlotte, really well, because Charlotte is pretty much always with her. As the book opens, we find Cookie in an attic searching for vintage clothing. What she finds, though, is something she did not expect: another ghost. This one is named Maureen. Maureen has been murdered, and she decides that Cookie would be the perfect person to help find her murderer. It’s not as though Cookie hasn’t done this before (solving murders for ghosts is sort of her side gig), but this case might just have to wait until she gets back from the Kentucky Derby, where she’ll be providing fantastic vintage items for Danielle, who is backing one of the horses. So she heads off to Kentucky in her classic car with two ghosts and her cat (more on the cat later).

Things become more complicated (you knew this would happen!) when Cookie finds a dead body at the Derby, and the deceased (murdered, naturally) turns out to be the jockey who was supposed to ride Danielle’s horse in the big race. His ghost joins the two ghosts already accompanying Cookie, so now she has an otherworldly trio trailing her while she tries to solve this new murder. Could Cookie be working for a murderer, or did one of the other likely suspects do the jockey in? And will Cookie get through this case without becoming a ghost herself? Along the way, there are quite a few laughs, some heart-in-your-throat moments, and yes, a somewhat troubled romance.

Wind Song the cat is a Ouija wiz

The cat in this series is Wind Song, a lovely white kitty who has certain … abilities. Wind Song can communicate by using the planchette of a Ouija board. She can also use tarot cards. Also, she is Cookie’s grandmother. I don’t mean Cookie has a cat in her family tree (but wouldn’t that be fun?); I mean Grandma Pearl’s spirit is in the cat. Also the cat is in the cat. It’s kind of complicated.  With her special abilities, Wind Song is instrumental in solving cases by providing information, even if it takes some effort to figure out what it means. Plus, sometimes she has to go take a nap before all the questions are answered. Because she’s a cat.

Our verdict

If the Haunting Fits, Wear It is thoroughly enjoyable. I will tell you that fashion is really not our thing, but it does not matter, because the Haunted Vintage series is not about fashion. It’s about characters we enjoy getting to know and mysteries we love trying to solve. The vintage fashion aspect adds a layer of detail to Cookie and her life that deepens the story. (But if you are into fashion, each chapter opens with a tip on finding, buying, and wearing vintage fashion.) Wind Song the cat (a.k.a. Grandma Pearl) also makes this series special and memorable. The cat actually appears in only a few scenes in If the Haunting Fits, but she does play an important role in the plot by providing information via her Ouija board skills. Brilliant!

We highly recommend If the Haunting Fits, Wear It as a fun read with memorable characters and a one-of-a-kind cat!

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, July 16, 2017

Sunday Selfie: Paisley Is Too Busy

Old SoLT was so ridiculously excited when Real Cat Paisley sauntered into the office yesterday. "We can do your selfie!" she exclaimed. (I am not exaggerating; she actually exclaimed. It was embarrassing.) Well, Paisley had other plans.


"Do you want to just look up for a second to take your selfie?" old SoLT asked, to which Paisley replied, "Can't. I am far too busy."

Real Cat Paisley looking at rug

"Please? Can you just glance at the camera?" old SoLT begged, to which Paisley replied, "No. Sorry. I am chasing my shadow right now. Catch me later."

Paisley looking at rug_2

So, old SoLT waited until later:

Real Cat Paisley selfie_July 16 2017

Pop Quiz!


Q: What's missing from these photos? (You may have to scroll down just a bit for the answer!)

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

Sunday Selfies blog hop badge


Quiz Answer: The recovery gown, of course. Paisley got her stitches out on Monday. Everything is 100% fine. She was really happy to have the gown off! Watch for our review of the recovery gown this coming Thursday.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Caturday Art: Paisley Stamped

We're joining Athena's Caturday Art blog hop with this image of Real Cat Paisley:


Real Cat Paisley with stamp filter


Old SoLT did this by cropping the original and applying the stamp filter in Photoshop, playing around with the settings until she got a result that looked something like a block print. She has loved linoleum and woodblock prints ever since she took a printmaking class in high school a long, long time ago. The frame was added in PicMonkey.

Here is the orginal:

Real Cat Paisley_April 2017



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Friday, July 14, 2017

Words with Webster: Catshark, Plus Friendly Fill-Ins

We have two fun features for you this Friday. First up is Words with Webster, in which he tells us about something…sharky. Also, be on the lookout for three bonus words. This is followed by Friendly Fill-Ins.

Words with Webster

Words with Webster badge
Hi, all! It’s me, Real Cat Webster. Welcome to Words with Me. Today’s word is “catshark.” I picked this word because today, July 14, is Shark Awareness Day, and I thought you should be aware that there is such a thing as a catshark.

There are over 150 species of catshark, and they’re called catsharks because of their eyes, which look sort of like cats’ eyes. The scientific name of their family doesn’t mean “catshark” though. It’s Scyliorhinidae (bonus word #1!), which is from a combination of two Greek words. The second word is “rhinos” (“nose”) and the first one is either “Scylla”[1] or “skylos” (“dog”).  We are sort of making up the “skylos” explanation, but we think it makes sense because—and this is  little bit confusing—some catsharks are called dogfish (go figure; also, bonus word #2!).

Catsharks are found in warm seas. These are really little sharks, usually under 2.5 feet long. Catsharks eat things like fish, octopus, and squid. Their eggs are called “mermaid’s purses” (bonus word #3!). And catsharks can have over 110 rows of teeth!

To find out more about catsharks, check out this article from the excellent PBS show Nature.

A cat shark in the Celebes Sea, Malaysia.
Adobe Stock.
And finally, sharks are really cool animals and they’re an important part of the ocean, so please don’t eat soup made from their fins or anything awful like that. You can learn more about different kinds of sharks from the Shark Research Institute.

Happy Shark Awareness Day!

Friendly Fill-Ins

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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 are from Ellen of 15andmeowing, and the next two  are from Annie of McGuffy’s Reader. Old SoLT answered all the questions this week.

1. My inner child is often also my outer self! But only with people I know really well. A lot of people think I’m really serious.

2. My favorite month is October, because it I love the fall.

3. My favourite commercial is… I like the whole series of Progressive commercials with Flo, because she cracks me up.

4. Personally, I don't care for papayas. To me, they smell like dirty socks!



[1] Some sources claim “Scylla” means “shark,” but we are not convinced. Scholars, please weigh in.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Norwegian Forest Cat: The Official Cat of Norway

Norwegian Forest Cat: Made in Norway!The Norwegian Forest Cat is a cat after my own heart because it has been around for a long time and has appeared in the mythology of its country of origin. Obviously I am speaking of Norway, and the mythology is Norse. But I am getting ahead of myself. Let’s meet the cat first.

A sturdy, affectionate, and gregarious breed


Norwegian Forest Cats are known for being affectionate, gregarious, and intelligent. They will even greet their people at the door. “Wegies,” as they are called in some circles,[1] adapt to change more easily than many other cats.

Norwegian Forest Cats, or Wegies, are well
adapted to cold weather.
Photo by Pieter Lanser [CC-BY-2.0],
via Wikimedia Commons.
They are sturdy cats, and generally healthy. With their insulated double coat that has water-resistant guard hairs over a warm undercoat, Wegies can be happy going for a stroll in the snow. Their tufted paws are also helpful in snow. They have a ruff, a bushy tail, and ears that  are heavily furnished (which means they have hair growing from inside their ears—an undesirable trait in humans, but a desirable one in some cats!). Wegies’ almond-shaped eyes can be gold to emerald green in color. Their coat can be nearly any color, but so far as we know, there are no chocolate, lilac, or pointed Wegies.

Norwegian Forest Cats are slow to mature, only reaching full size at about 5 years old. For females, “full size” is typically 9–12 pounds; for males, 12–16 pounds. They don’t need as much grooming as you might expect (a once-a-week brushing is usually enough), though they do shed their winter coat in the spring, so more grooming is needed at that time (the Cat Fanciers’ Association describes this as the “annual molt”). Wegies like to be with people and are good with children. In the wild, they spend a lot of time up in trees, so they would like to have something nice and tall to climb on at home.


And now, the history and mythology

The Norse goddess Freya in her chariot pulled by two
blue cats. They don't look much like Skogkatt here,
but that is what they are believed to represent.
© Patrimonio | Dreamstime.com - FreyaNorse Goddess Photo
In Norway, where it is a naturally occurring breed, the Wegie is called Skogkatt (“forest cat”). They have been around a long time and apparently arose from shorthaired cats brought into parts of northern Europe by the Romans. The thick coat, furry paws, and other features typical of Skogkatt developed over a period of some years as the cats adapted to their environment.


Norse mythology has several references to large cats that we think must by Skogkatt. For example, the Prose Edda (ca. 1179–1241) mentions that the goddess Freya has two large cats that pull her chariot (these cats happen to be blue; see our post “The Goddess Freya’s Cats” for more). Another story features a cat so huge, even the great god Thor could not lift it. Cats were important in Norse culture and were often given to young women as wedding gifts, presumably because of their association with Freya, the fertility goddess.

The Norse goddess Freya in her chariot pulled by two blue cats named Bygul and Trjegul. © Patrimonio | Dreamstime.com - FreyaNorse Goddess Photo
Norwegian Forest Cats love to climb!
If you get one, you must provide
climbing opportunities.
Photo via Adobe Stock.
The Danish clergyman Peter Clausson Friis (1545–1614) lived in Norway and described three types of lynx: a wolf lynx, a fox lynx, and a cat lynx. His “cat lynx” is thought to be the Skogkatt.  Somewhat later, in the 19th century, the cats appeared in fairy tales penned by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe. These authors wrote of “fairy cats” or “huldrekatt.” Huldrekatt lived in the forest and had long, bushy tails, so we suppose they must have been Skogkatt.

The modern history of the Norwegian Forest Cat

In 1938, a Wegie made the breed’s first appearance at a cat show, in Oslo. World War II interrupted the breed’s development though, and it was the 1970s before a standard was described and a breeding program began. In 1973, two purebred Wegies, named Pippa Skogpuss and Pans Truls, were bred and had two kittens. Pans Truls would later be recognized as THE Skogkatt—the standard by which all others would be judged.

The first Norwegian Forest Cats to officially reach the United States arrived in 1979 (although they may have reached North American shores much earlier, in the late 10th century with the explorer Leif Erikson [d. 1020]). They reached the United Kingdom a few years later, in 1986.

Today, these beautiful, people-oriented cats are beloved by their humans as they take a little Viking flair everywhere they go.

Learn more!

We've written about the Skogkatt before, in the posts "What Kind of Cat Would Santa Claus Have: Part 1" and "Did Vikings Have Cats?"

Sources

"About the Norwegian Forest Cat." The Cat Fanciers' Association website. http://cfa.org/Breeds/BreedsKthruR/NorwegianForestCat.aspx.

Pickeral, Tamsin. "Norwegian Forest Cat." The Elegance of the Cat: An Illustrated History. Hauppauge, NY: Barron's, 2013.

(Top illustration created with Adobe Stock images.)


[1] The Norwegian Forest Cat is also called an NFC, but “wegie” sounds more like a friendly name and less like a government agency, so we will go with that.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Cat of the Week: Tiny in Baltimore

Cat of the Week badge


During the month of July, several shelters in our home state of Maryland are offering free cat and kitten adoptions through the Maryland 2000 program. Most of the young kittens won’t have any trouble getting a lot of attention, but there are also so many older cats in shelters just waiting to be welcomed into a loving forever home. That’s why each week in this space, we feature a senior cat (7 years +) in need of adoption or sponsorship, and in July, all of our featured cats will be from Maryland. Mature cats make great companions, and unlike kittens, they (probably) won’t climb the curtains! Adopt a senior cat, and help them enjoy the best years of their life!




Today we’re introducing Tiny. He is a handsome gentleman with a gray coat and, despite his name, he is described as a large cat. Tiny is a male domestic shorthair/mix, and he is 7 years old. He had to come to the shelter because his guardian is ill and could no longer care for him. His former person wants him to find a person or family to love him. Tiny is an independent guy, but he does enjoy head rubs. He is pretty quiet and startles easily (the dryer and washing machine scare him), so he would probably do best in a fairly quiet home. He really loves a good cat bed! Tiny is currently at 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, July 10, 2017

Cat Classics on Film: Bringing Up Baby (1938)


What do you get when you combine Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, and a leopard? The short answer is hilarity. The longer answer is the 1938 Howard Hawks film Bringing Up Baby.

The plot

Bringing Up Baby DVD cover
Dr. David Huxley (Cary Grant) is a paleontologist who is on the verge of completing the brontosaurus skeleton he has been working on for four years. All he needs is one more bone (the “intercostal clavicle”), which is being shipped to him. He is engaged to his assistant, Alice, who is thoroughly focused on David’s career. No honeymoon for them! But before the wedding, David is due to play a round of golf with the representative of a wealthy woman with a million dollars to give away—money David needs for his museum. It’s on the golf course that he first meets Susan (Katharine Hepburn), who proceeds to turn his life completely upside down. Because she is nuts, basically—but in the funniest way possible. She has a way of saying crazy things and making them sound almost reasonable.

Susan is not just going to let David go after their first encounter, so she calls him pretending to be frantic because there’s a leopard in her apartment. Gentleman that he is, he rushes over to help her, only to find the leopard, Baby, is completely tame. Not that that makes David feel any better, because he doesn’t even like regular-sized cats. Well, Susan just needs his help to take Baby to her aunt in Connecticut—no matter that David is due to get married that very afternoon. The little trip won't take any time at all.

As it turns out, Susan’s aunt happens to be the wealthy woman with the million dollars, so Susan can help David get that money, right? Ha! Actually, a dog named George (played by Skippy, who also played Asta in the Thin Man films), takes the famous intercostal clavicle and buries it…somewhere. Baby escapes and must be found. Unbeknownst to Susan, a vicious circus leopard also escapes (we won’t even mention the inhumane treatment that most likely caused that leopard to be vicious, and how big cats just should not be used for humans to gawk at in circuses—oops, we mentioned it!).

Meanwhile, just being in Susan’s general proximity is making David look like he’s as crazy as she is. But he’s secretly having a great time, isn’t he? He says, "In moments of quiet, I'm strangely drawn to you, but—well—there haven't been any quiet moments."

The leopard(s)

Both Baby and the circus leopard were played by Nissa the Leopard, who was trained by Madame Olga Celeste. According to trivia posted on IMDb, Hepburn and Baby got along well, but Cary Grant was "less fond" of the big cat. A double was used when Grant’s character had to be close to the leopard. Hepburn had one close call, when her swinging skirt caught Nissa’s attention and the leopard lunged for her. Fortunately, the trainer was there to intervene. For safety, Hawks used several optical tricks when filming so that the actors and Nissa would not actually be in close proximity very much. A puppet leopard was also used for some shots. But in the opening moments of this scene, in which Hepburn pets Nissa like a housecat, it’s obvious how comfortable the human actress was around her feline costar:


Nissa had just one other movie role, as a queen’s leopard in Siren of Atlantis (1949).

Our verdict

We do love a screwball comedy, and Bringing Up Baby is one of the best. When we rewatched it for this review, we were delighted all over again to see one zany scene after another. Grant and Hepburn’s torn dress scene (below) has long been one of our favorites. Hard to imagine that this film did badly at the box office, but it is one of those that has become a beloved classic despite its rocky start.



For classic film lovers, Bringing Up Baby is a must-see!


Two Paws Up--A Great Movie!


A note on the "Paws Up" system: Miss C gives either one or two paws up. One paw is for a good movie; two paws is for a great movie. 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 movie through this link, old SoLT and I could get some coin for our kibble account. Thank you!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Sunday Selfie: Paisley Says No

This week, Old SoLT asked Real Cat Paisley if she would do just one more cute Sunday Selfie while she's still wearing her recovery gown. Paisley said no.

Real Cat Paisley selfie w/ back to camera 070917

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

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Saturday, July 8, 2017

Caturday Art: Colorful Paisley

We're joining Athena's Caturday Art blog hop with this colorful picture of Real Cat Paisley:

Real Cat Paisley with Flower effect

We kept it simple this week. Old SoLT used the Flower art effect in LunaPic and then added a gradient background in Illustrator. Here's the original:


Paisley is due to get her stitches out next week, and then no more recovery gown! Yay!


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Friday, July 7, 2017

Words with Webster: Whisker, Plus Friendly Fill-Ins

We have two fun features for you this Friday. First up is Words with Webster, in which he tells us about something that is common to cats. This is followed by Friendly Fill-Ins.

Words with Webster

Words with Webster badge
Hi, all! It’s me, Real Cat Webster. Welcome to Words with Me. Today’s word is “whisker.” I know, we all know what whiskers are, right? They’re those “long projecting hairs or bristles growing near the mouth of an animal (as a cat or bird).”[1] But have you ever wondered when people started calling whiskers, whiskers? Probably not, but I’m still going to tell you!

First off, the Oxford English Dictionary says that the first known use of the word in writing was in about 1425, but it didn’t mean an animal whisker yet. It meant something like a fan or a brush (something that whisks). Our meaning for “whisker” came about in 1678, in the London Gazette. It's about a horse though:
A light gray Gelding,..with an iron mark of a G. on the near Buttock, and two whiskers on the upper lip.

In 1748 came a mention of a cat’s whisker:
A whisker first and then a claw.

And finally, Thomas Henry Huxley wrote an interesting thing about cats’ whiskers in 1881:
The “whiskers” of cats owe their functional importance to the abundant supply of nerves to the follicles in which their bases are lodged.
Close up of a cat's whiskers

To learn more about whiskers, check out when I did the word "vibrissa" last year.

Friendly Fill-Ins

Friendly Fill-Ins badgeAnd 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. My favorite line from a film is “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.” From Jaws, of course.

2. Other than blogs, a website I visit often is … well, I am on Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary all day while I’m working, and usually The Chicago Manual of Style online too. Other than that, Facebook is probably the site I’m on the most…looking at cute animals!


Real Cat Paisley’s answers:

3. When I feel down, I meow a whole bunch until Mommy plays with me or cuddles me.


4. If I could drive a car (which I’m pretty sure I could do, if I could just reach Mommy’s keys!), I would...um, actually I don't know what I would do, but I bet it would be fun!


And now, please enjoy this clip from Jaws. You're gonna need a bigger boat!




[1] Merriam-Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary.