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.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Book Review: The Little Red Cat Who Ran Away and Learned His ABCs

The Little Red Cat Who Ran Away and Learned His ABCs

Old SoLT never thought that what she really needed in her life was an ABCs book, because you know, she’s known her ABCs for a while now. But it turns out that this picture book from Patrick McDonnell (of the Mutts comic strip) is the perfect thing to bring a smile on a rainy day. Yes, even for a grown-up (the recommended age range is 4-8 years).

This little tome is called The Little Red Cat Who Ran Away and Learned His ABCs (the Hard Way). It has no text (unless you count the 2 letters on each page—an upper and lowercase A, B, C, or whatever). That means you get to have a lot of fun making up the story.

Our story starts like this:

Once upon a time, there was a little red cat who liked to go for a run every day, as she was in training for her first half marathon. One day, she was running happily along when suddenly, there was a giant alligator in her path (A is for alligator!). The alligator chased the little red cat, causing her to run faster than ever before, shaving whole seconds off her previous best split time. The alligator chased the cat right past a tree that had an angry brown bear in it (B is for bear!). The angry bear, who really did not care for alligators because of that time one had bitten his great-aunt Maud on the nose, chased them both past a chicken coop (C is for chicken!)…

And you probably get the idea. The next pages bring a dragon, an unexpected egg (E is our favorite page), and fire (from the dragon).

Old SoLT has loved Mutts for years, so seeing more of Patrick McDonnell's work is always a treat. And of course we love that this book gives young children and their parents a chance to make up the details of the story. What fun!


Highly recommended (no matter your age)!

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!



Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Meow Like a Pirate!

When the Real Cats signed on for a cruise on a pirate ship with a skeleton crew, they weren't expecting the crew to be actual skeletons. Also, the skeletons weren't expecting, well, cats...

The Real Cats join a pirate ship with a skeleton crew


Happy Meow Like a Pirate Day!


Talk Like a Pirate Day 2017


(Skeleton pirate image via Adobe Stock.)

Monday, September 18, 2017

Cat Classics on Film: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958)

Cat Classics on Film

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Just so you know, there are no cats in this movie, unless you count the MGM lion at the beginning. I was very disappointed, because I expected to see a film about a cat overcoming his or her problems, but this movie is really just people screaming at each other in fake southern accents. Not entertaining. Definitely not a cat movie. Oh sure, Elizabeth Taylor’s character says she feels “just like cat on a hot tin roof,” and Paul Newman calls her "Maggie the Cat," but that doesn’t make her a cat.

Anyway, lots of people like Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and consider it a classic. I did not like it at all, and even old SoLT didn’t much care for it, even with Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor. She said the people were annoying, and she mostly just wanted them to shut up. The end was kind of good though, and we did enjoy seeing Burl Ives, who plays Big Daddy.

If you like watching people yell at each other, then you might like this film. Just don’t expect to see any cats, because you are not going to see any.

Zero paws up.

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, September 17, 2017

Sunday Selfie: Webster's Struggle

Real Cat Webster was very excited to do Sunday Selfies this week. He was so excited, he had some trouble holding still long enough to take the picture:

Webster's selfie attempt #1

Then he held still for a second, but he was confused and sat down facing the wrong way:

Webster's Selfie Attempt #2

Then he faced the right way and sort of almost held still, but he still moved a little, so the selfie is kind of blurry. Old SoLT tried to make it look better by doing a couple Photoshoppy things because the color came out weird too, but now it looks okay:

Webster's selfie attempt #3

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

Sunday Selfies blog hop


Saturday, September 16, 2017

Caturday Art: Totally Tangerine

For this week's Caturday Art, we went to Dreamscope once again, looking for something lighter, brighter, and a little less weird than what we've done lately. We tried the Tangerine Seascape filter, and all of us are in love with the results:

The Real Cats, totally tangerine

The frame is from PicMonkey. Here is the original (alert readers may recognize it from Sunday Selfies a few weeks back):

The Real Cats looking in opposite directions


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

Caturday Art blog hop

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 have broken zero bones, but I did nearly dislocate a finger the other day--while performing the extremely dangerous and death-defying activity of turning off a light switch.


2. When I go out to breakfast, I order whatever I happen to be in the mood for, usually an omelet or pancakes or, at IHop, an omelet and pancakes (as if I need both!).

Real Cat Paisley's answers:
3. As Summer officially comes to an end, I am sad about the loss of my really good middle-of-the-day sun puddle, because the sun is lower now, and it hides behind a tree instead of shining in my window.

4. Before this year is over, I really need to scare the dog a whole bunch more. I touched noses with her two days in a row this week, so now she is totally confused about my intentions. She is primed for a good scare!



Friday, September 15, 2017

Cover Reveal: The Mythmakers

After nearly a year of work, old SoLT is in the final stages of getting our latest mystery, The Mythmakers, ready for publication. Today we reveal the cover. The story takes place in the fall, so the cover has a fall theme:

Front

Back

From the back cover:

Lately, things have been quiet in the tiny, historic village of Brooksford, Maryland. The residents got through Halloween with no “shenanigans,” as the mayor would say, and now they’re headed into a peaceful Thanksgiving season. But Rory Roberts knows better. She knows something is off from the moment the first amateur filmmakers arrive at the edge of town, and her feelings prove true when their “documentary” leads to a violent death in Rory’s backyard, with Rory herself as an early suspect.
Now, Rory and her classically educated calico cat, Miss C, with help from their friends, must work through their limited list of suspects to determine who the real killer is. They may find clues in an online horror movie showing the moments leading up to the crime, but that video also causes more trouble for Brooksford when it quickly goes viral, drawing crowds of unwanted tourists into town, and straight to Rory’s normally quiet cottage. Will Miss C’s classical education be up to the challenge of deciphering the 21st-century clues in this crime, or will her and Rory’s meddling only push the killer to strike again?

Need to catch up on the Miss Cuddlywumps Investigates series before The Mythmakers comes out on November 15, 2017? Visit us at Cuddlywumps Publishing!

Miss Cuddlywumps Investigates

Thursday, September 14, 2017

A Visit to the National Capital Cat Show

This past Saturday, old SoLT and her mom visited the National Capital Cat Show, held at the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly, Virginia. Old SoLT has been to this show a couple times before, but it's been several years since she was there. Not surprisingly, there were lots and lots of cats. She regrets that she did not get more and better photos (Ms. I-Forgot-to-Change-the-Camera-Settings ... forgot to change the camera settings; don't ask her to photograph your wedding).  But these will give you an idea:



There were lots of adoptable kitties, like this cute tabby:

sleeping tabby--National Capital Cat Show 2017

And these little fellows (you have to look really closely to find the black & white kitten):

Gray/white kitten--National Capital Cat Show 2017

There were plenty of dress options for the well-dressed cat:

Cat dresses--National Capital Cat Show 2017

And you want to talk about cat toys? Just about any kind of cat toy you can imagine was available for sale. Which makes the Real Cats wonder, "Why didn't we get any new toys?"

Cat toys for sale--National Capital Cat Show 2017

Old SoLT always enjoys seeing how the show cats have their shelters decorated:

Decorated cat shelter_National Capital Cat Show 2017

She also enjoys the displays about different cat breeds. The Bombay display was one of her favorites, because it had a Halloweeny theme:

Bombay cat display--National Capital Cat Show 2017

The Turkish Angora display was another favorite:

Turkish Angora display--National Capital Cat Show 2017

The show also included a show, of course, and old SoLT took a few pictures of the judging, but they came out too blurry for public viewing. (When using "the good camera," you have to remember to check the settings!) There was also a feline agility course, and old SoLT got to see a little kitten learning how to run it.

And that was the National Capital Cat Show. If you've never been to a cat show, you really should find one near you and make plans to go to it. It's so much fun to see all the different cats--breeds that you don't see very often, and maybe some you've never heard of. Plus you can shop for toys and things for your cat and t-shirts, jewelry, and lots of other things for yourself. You can also learn about local rescue groups and how you can help them. You might even adopt a new cat!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Cats of the Week: Milly May and Spencer



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.


The need is even more urgent in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. The Baltimore Humane Society will be accepting homeless animals from areas affected by the flooding. So many of us feel pulled to help in any way we can.… Well, if you adopt today, you’ll be opening a space in the shelter for one of those Harvey animals. If our Cat of the Week doesn’t hit the mark for you, check out the other awesome adoptable animals at the Baltimore Humane Society!

Adopt Milly May and Spencer!

This week we’re featuring a bonded pair we've shared before, but they're still waiting for that special someone who'll take them both home. Milly May is an 8-year-old female, and her brother Spencer is an 8-year-old male. They’re both pretty laid back, and they are really into comfy beds and head rubs. Sometimes the simple things are the best, right? They have lived with a child and a dog before, so they could make great cats for a family. 

These two must be adopted together, which means if you bring them into your home, you'll be opening up two spaces in the shelter. Plus, two cats are way more fun than one cat. Watching the cats' interactions can often be better than television!

Milly May and Spencer are currently at the Baltimore Humane Society. Learn more about them here and 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, September 11, 2017

Book Review: Body on Baker Street



On this Mysterious Monday, we are pleased to bring you our review of the second book in one of our new favorite cozy mystery series. The book is Body on Baker Street, and the series is the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop mysteries, by Vicki Delany.

The plot

Body on Baker Street, by Vicki Delany
Gemma Doyle is part owner of the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium, a little shop on Cape Cod where one can find just about any book or trinket that has anything to do with Sherlock Holmes. Right next door is Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room, run by Gemma’s best friend, Jayne. Wouldn’t it be delightful to stock up on books at the bookshop and then pop over to the Tea Room for tea and nibbles, perhaps followed by a walk along the beach? This is why we think these should be real places.

The bookshop is hosting a talk by renowned best-selling author Renalta Van Markoff, who writes a series in which Holmes and his supposed landlady are having an affair. Her books are loved by many and hated by a few who take their devotion to the canon of Sherlock Holmes a bit too far. On the day of the big event, things are going wonderfully—well, except for the assortment of semi-crazy people who follow in Renalta’s wake. Anyway, things are going okay until Renalta suddenly drops dead in the middle of her talk. Gemma immediately suspects poisoning, and of course she is right, because she is brilliant. Unfortunately, her friend Donald, a devoted Sherlockian, becomes a prime suspect, and he asks, begs, Gemma to investigate and prove his innocence. The question now is, which of those semi-crazy people might have murdered Renalta? Could it have been the one who dresses like her, the one who claims she plagiarized her work, or perhaps the rather beige personal assistant who is constantly verbally abused by her? Or is it someone else entirely?

The cat

Of course there is a cat, and we think he is rather marvelous. He’s a black cat named Moriarty, loved by everyone except Gemma. This is because Moriarty cozies up to just about anyone—except Gemma. It is only fitting that Gemma should have a nemesis named Moriarty. We only wish that he played a more central role in resolving the mysteries, but then we suppose that might be out of character, given his, um, scratchy relationship with Gemma.

Our verdict

We loved the first book in this series (Elementary, She Read), and if anything, we enjoyed this one even more. We were just so pleased to meet Gemma and Moriarty again and catch up on the goings-on at the bookshop. Gemma is a character much like Sherlock himself: She’s usually the most brilliant person in the room, she knows it, and she’s not shy about letting others know it, often in a way that insults people or otherwise ticks them off. Let’s just say her people skills are…a work in progress. And she is working on them in Body on Baker Street (but she still ticks plenty of people off, much to our delight). We particularly enjoyed the “famous author visits and is murdered” plot, and the characters surrounding the famous author are just perfect. Plus, Gemma solves the case in a very Sherlockian fashion, which will never fail to make us happy. Moriarty has his share of fun too, and the antagonistic relationship between him and Gemma is growing on us. We very much look forward to the next book in this series to see how things develop.

Highly 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, September 10, 2017

Sunday Selfie: Dinnertime!

This is dinnertime with old SoLT. When you eat chicken in this house (and you can see what a classy place it is--no dinner jacket required!), you attract an audience. Here, Real Cat Webster and Resident Dog Layla pay rapt attention to every bite.

Roby Sweet with Webster and Layla at dinnertime

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

Sunday Selfies blog hop badge


Saturday, September 9, 2017

Caturday Art

For this week's Caturday Art, old SoLT was hoping to get something kind of fantastical out of a picture of Real Cat Webster. We have two versions. This first one used the Infty filter in Dreamscope:

Real Cat Webster_Infty filter

And then, because old SoLT couldn't leave well enough alone, she took the above picture into Photoshop, where she lowered the brightness, bumped up the contrast, and messed about with the hue and saturation until she got something she sort of liked. We think this is the nighttime version of the first picture:


And here's the original:

Real Cat Webster on cat tree

Of course we're joining in on Athena's Caturday Art blog hop!

Caturday Art blog hop

Friday, September 8, 2017

Words with Webster: Paw, Plus Friendly Fill-Ins

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

Words with Webster


Words with Webster
Hi, all! It’s me, Real Cat Webster. Welcome to Words with Me. Today’s word is “paw.” This is another one of those words that we all know, but I was kind of surprised by some of its earliest uses. To explore this word, first I looked in my favorite dictionary, Merriam-Webster, which said that a paw is “the foot of a quadruped (as the lion, dog, or cat) having claws; broadly :  the foot of an animal.”

Next I went to the Oxford English Dictionary, which said that a paw is “the foot of an animal having claws and pads. Also: the hand of a monkey or ape.” So far so good, but that is actually the second definition in the OED. The first is this: “the foot or claw of a bird; the foot or claw of a dragon. Now rare.”

The foot of a bird or dragon? Really??? (This is the part that surprised me, in case you can’t tell.)

The earliest written occurrence of “paw” is from about 1330:
To dragouns þer layen..Þat on was rede so þe fer..Euerich powe a span long. (Osgar Duncan Macrae-Gibson, Of Arthour and of Merlin)
Real Cat Webster's paw.
Cute, right?
Yeah, I didn’t understand that either. So I went on to the more familiar meaning, which appeared about 1440 (though from a work that may have been composed around 1350):
So come a lyonne..And in hir pawes scho hent the childe. (Sir Isumbras)
At least now we have a lion. I understand that.

“Paw” was borrowed from the Old French “powe” or “poe,” meaning “paw, fist.” Further etymology is uncertain, says the OED, but the word could have its ultimate roots in a pre-Roman and pre-Celtic language.

Next time you think about how cute your cat’s paws are, think about how they are kind of related to dragons’ feet!

Fierce dragon
Do your cat's paws resemble this dragon's, um, paws ?
Image via AdobeStock.

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 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. September bucket list: 1) eat, 2) nap, 3) scare dog. Hey, I’m finished!

2. If I came with a warning label, it would say “Prone to pouncing without warning”!

Old SoLT's answers:
3. Truth be told, I have no interest in Game of Thrones, and I am sick of hearing about it (but I loved the first two books, so go figure).

4. I would rather work on my own books and blog than do my “job job.”

Thursday, September 7, 2017

The Monastery of Saint Nicholas of the Cats

Cats in History


We cats have been renowned through the centuries for our ability to hunt small, harmful animals, like mice and rats. But we’ve also been used to hunt snakes. One rather famous instance in which cats were used to hunt snakes occurred at the Monastery of Saint Nicholas, located near Akrotiri on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. This story begins way back in the fourth century, so it’s no surprise that there are some different versions of it. We’ll tell you about the ones we found.

Satellite image of Cyprus
This satellite image of Cyprus shows the approximate
location of Akrotiri.
Photo Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team,
NASA/GSFC [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Version 1: The patronage of Saint Helena

Monastery of St. Nicholas of the cats in 2017. Photo  © A.Savin, Wikimedia Commons
A portion of the Monastery of St. Nicholas of the Cats today.
Photo © A.Savin, Wikimedia Commons.
According to this version, which we found on Atlas Obscura, Saint Helena was the patron of a monastery on Cyprus. Construction of said monastery began in AD 327, but there were soon some problems. Slithery problems.  As the legend goes, a horrible drought had hit the island, and numerous venomous snakes sort of took over the monastery site (I don’t mean one of them declared himself foreman; I mean they became so numerous as to be dangerous). The construction workers left—understandably, we think—and so work on the monastery stopped.  Helena (who was also the mother of Constantine, by the way), naturally wanted work to continue, so she hit on the inspired idea of importing a bunch of cats and setting them loose on the snakes. She acquired some cats (we’ve heard it was 1,000 cats) from Egypt and Persia, and she trained them with two bells: one to call them to dinner, the other to send them off to hunt snakes. The scheme worked, although many of the cats ended up injured from their battles with the snakes (which, we remind you, were venomous).

Version 2: The visit of Saint Helena

A cat from the Monastery of St. Nicholas of the Cats. Photo © A.Savin, Wikimedia Commons.
A rather handsome tabby at the Monastery of
St. Nicholas of the Cats.
Photo  © A.Savin, Wikimedia Commons.
This version we found on the Ring of Christ website (where you can see more photos of the monastery and its cats). In AD 327, Saint Helena was on her way to Jerusalem, and she stopped by the monastery, which had been founded two years earlier. But she arrived only to find the place overrun with the very same venomous snakes mentioned above. Cyprus had been suffering through a drought for 17 years, and the snakes went wherever there was water, which tended to be where there were people. (We have also seen 36 years and 40 years given as the duration of this famous drought. From this, we deduce that no one really knows how long the drought lasted.) Helena had the idea to import cats, and she got together with the governor and arranged for the cats to be brought in. But in this version, it was the monks who actually trained the cats to react to the bells.

Firsthand accounts of the snake-hunting cats

Over the years, many visitors stopped by the Saint Nicholas Monastery, and some of them wrote of what they saw there. For example, one F. Suriano wrote in 1484,
I heard a marvellous thing. From the said city of Lymisso up to this cape the soil produces so many snakes that men cannot till it, or walk without hurt thereon. And were it not for the remedy which God has set there, in a short time these would multiply so fast that the island would be depopulated. At this place there is a Greek monastery which rears an infinite number of cats, which wage unceasing war with these snakes. It is wonderful to see them, for nearly all are maimed by the snakes: one has lost a nose, another an ear; the skin of one is torn, another is lame: one is blind of one eye, another of both. And it is a strange thing that at the hour for their food at the sound of a bell all those that are scattered in the fields collect in the said monastery. And when they have eaten enough, at the sound of the bell they all leave together and go to fight the snakes.  (F. Suriano, in Excerpta Cypria: Materials for a History of Cyprus, trans. by Claude Delaval Cobham [Cambridge: University Press, 1908] 48–49, https://archive.org/details/excerptacypriam00cobhgoog)

Also in the 15th century, a Dominican named Felix Fabri visited Cyprus in 1480 and 1483, and mentioned the monastery “surrounded by serpents” but protected by cats.

A cat from the Monastery of St. Nicholas of the Cats, Photo © A.Savin, Wikimedia Commons.
This cat from the monastery may have some battle scars on his face from snake hunting, though we can't
tell for sure. Writers who visited the monastery in centuries past reported seeing many scarred cats.
Photo  © A.Savin, Wikimedia Commons.

What kind of snakes are we talking about?

There are 10 species of snakes on Cyprus (or eight or nine, depending on how the scientists classify them). Three of these are venomous, but only one is really dangerous to humans. That one is the Cyprian blunt-nosed viper, which is highly venomous and especially dangerous because when it bites, its teeth stay behind in the wound, continuing to inject venom. This bite can be fatal to a human if not treated.

The other poisonous snakes are the Montpellier snake and the cat snake (so named because its eyes resemble cats’ eyes). The Montpellier snake’s bite can cause mostly localized reactions in humans, and treatment should be sought. The cat snake has its fangs in the back of its upper jaw and is not able to inject a human with venom.

The church of the Monastery of St. Nicholas of the Cats, ca. 1973.
The monastery's church as it appeared in 1973.
Photo by Shirazibustan [CC BY-SA 4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.
We of course don’t know exactly which species caused so much trouble for the monastery builders, but if it was in fact the blunt-nosed viper, that seems like quite a large snake for a cat to handle, as they can grow from four to nearly six feet in length. We would guess that in fact there were several types of snakes (both venomous and nonvenomous) that moved into the area in response to the drought, and the cats were sent after all of them.

Saint Nicholas today

In 1570, the Ottomans conquered Cyprus and the monks had to leave. The original monastery is no longer there, but there is a more modern monastery on the site, now run by nuns, who first arrived in 1983. Again, we have slightly different stories: Either the nuns reintroduced cats to the church grounds, which had again become overrun with snakes, or they took up care of the cats that were still around. In any case, today the nuns care for the cats and paint icons.

And yes, the adventurous traveler can still visit the Holy Monastery of Saint Nicholas of the Cats. You can even buy homemade preserves from the sisters who live there. Just watch out for snakes!

A cat from the Monastery of St. Nicholas of the Cats, Photo © A.Savin, Wikimedia Commons.
One of the cats living at the monastery. If I were a snake, I would not mess with this cat.
Photo  © A.Savin, Wikimedia Commons.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Cat of the Week: Star in Baltimore

Meet our 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.

The need is even more urgent in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. The Baltimore Humane Society will be accepting homeless animals from areas affected by the flooding. So many of us feel pulled to help in any way we can.… Well, if you adopt today, you’ll be opening a space in the shelter for one of those Harvey animals. If our Cat of the Week doesn’t hit the mark for you, check out the other awesome adoptable animals at the Baltimore Humane Society!




Adopt Star!


And now, please say hello to Star, an all-white kitty who is 8 years old. She is quite talkative and very affectionate, though she is known to be independent too. We think the shape of her face is so pretty! Star loves to curl up on someone’s lap, so if you're dreaming of a lap cat, she could be your girl. She has lived with another cat and with older kids before. Her hobbies include scratching posts and little fuzzy mice.

Star 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!

Are you a dog lover? (It’s okay; we understand if you are—sort of.) Well, if you love dogs and are in the Baltimore area, make plans now to attend DogFest 2017 on Saturday, September 16. You can get discounted tickets online through September 14.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Book Review: A Tale of Two Kitties

Mysterious Monday

On this Mysterious Monday, we bring you our review of the latest in Sofie Kelly’s Magical Cats series, A Tale of Two Kitties. This series features two of our very favorite mystery-solving cats: Owen and Hercules.

The cats

A Tale of Two Kitties, by Sofie Kelly
Yes, we usually begin with the plot, but this week we just cannot wait to tell you about these cats. Owen is a gray tabby who has a thing for a catnip toy called Fred the Funky Chicken. He can also disappear at will, and not the way most cats do, by hiding under furniture or in the deep, dark corner of a closet. No, Owen literally disappears into thin air. Then there’s Hercules, a handsome black and white fellow who has an excellent name from Greek mythology—although the name took a sort of zig-zaggy route from Greek myth to this cat, via Kevin Sorbo. Hercules can walk through walls, which is pretty handy (paw-y?) for a cat, because you know how humans are always trying to keep us out of places. These boys are pretty smart (almost as smart as I am, I daresay), and they have a talent for helping their person, Kathleen, solve crimes in the town of Mayville Heights, where she works at the local library.

The plot

And that brings me to the plot.

We love stories that are rooted in the past somehow, and that is exactly what is going on in A Tale of Two Kitties. First, a collection of old photos and undelivered mail is discovered during renovations to the post office. Then a fellow named Victor Janes shows up in town. This is significant because of an affair from years ago, in which Victor ran off with his twin brother’s wife. The wife was killed in a car accident shortly afterward, and now Victor is deathly ill. Could he be in town to make amends with his brother before he succumbs to his illness? Unfortunately, Victor misses his chance, because his twin, Leo, is found dead. Murdered, naturally. And it’s Owen the vanishing cat who lets Kathleen know something is wrong and leads her straight to where the body is.

Turns out, there is no shortage of people who could have wanted Leo Janes dead, and one of those people is a friend of Kathleen’s. She and the cats have to help prove his innocence. Both boys help her find clues, and Owen … well, you’re going to have to read the book to find out what Owen does.

Our verdict

Magical Cats is one of our favorite series. We so enjoy Owen and Hercules—because they are not just generic cats added to the story as part of the scenery. No, these cats have little personality quirks that make them just as real and well-rounded as any of the human characters. The superpowers? We accept without question that a cat could vanish before our eyes or walk through a wall. Why not? A Tale of Two Kitties also presents a perplexing mystery, with a pleasing number of twists, turns, and promising leads that turn into dead ends. As mentioned above, we like a story that is somehow rooted in the past, and this one surely is, what with the treasure trove of old photos and letters that were hidden away for some reason, as well as the years-old infidelity whose repercussions are still being felt.

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!