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.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween!



Happy Halloween from your friends at The Cuddlywumps Cat Chronicles


All of us here at The Cuddlywumps Cat Chronicles wish you a safe & happy Halloween!

Old SoLT will be taking a much-needed break over the next week while she's out of town visiting her Gramma. We'll try to catch up on visiting our friends' blogs then. See you soon!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Cat Classics on Film: The Legend of Hell House (1973)

Cat Classics on Film


Today’s Cat Classic, The Legend of Hell House, directed by John Hough, is a haunted house movie that we did not find to be especially frightening. The cat is not a major player, and his supposedly horrifying scenes are (a) not horrifying and (b) kind of nonsensical. Nevertheless, Halloween is coming, and if you’re looking for a kind-of-good haunt film, this one is worth a look.

The plot

The Legend of Hell House
The movie is based on the book Hell House, by Richard Matheson, who also wrote the screenplay. It opens with physicist Lionel Barrett (Clive Revill) meeting with a millionaire to investigate whether it is possible to survive after death. The millionaire offers Barrett a large sum of money to spend one week investigating at a place called the Belasco House, also known as Hell House or the Mount Everest of haunted houses. Eight people have died in past investigations there, and the last time a team investigated that house, 20 years earlier, only one person made it out alive and sane. That survivor, a physical medium named Fischer (Roddy McDowell), will be joining the new investigation. Also going to the house are Barrett’s wife, Ann (Gayle Hunnicutt), and a mental medium, Florence Tanner (Pamela Franklin).

They arrive on an appropriately foggy evening, and it soon becomes clear that this place is weird. Tanner, the mental medium, begins experiencing things right away. She comes to believe she’s being contacted by the son of the house’s mysterious owner, Emeric Belasco. Belasco, reportedly six feet five inches tall and a violent sadist, disappeared after several people were massacred in the house. Lots of ghostly things happen, such as furniture moving and things being thrown.

The black cat outside Hell House--The Legend of Hell HouseTension grows between the investigators as Tanner keeps having close encounters with what she thinks is Belasco’s tortured son (the others are skeptical of this), and Ann Barrett seems to be taken over by something that drives her to try to seduce Fischer. Fischer, meanwhile, refuses to open himself to allow whatever is in the house to affect him; he intends only to survive the week and collect his paycheck. And Dr. Barrett is busy measuring things and setting up the device that will drive the psychic energy completely out of the house. Let’s just say this “housecleaning” scheme does not work entirely as planned.

The black cat in The Legend of Hell House

The cat

This movie includes a somewhat gratuitous black cat. And not just any old black cat. No, this is a killer black cat. Sort of.

Anyway, the cat is first seen when the team arrives at the house. A handsome black cat appears outside, sitting there among all the fog and gloom. Later, the cat is seen outside again, this time walking past the house. Then, somehow the cat gets inside the house and attacks Tanner in her room. The stuffed stunt cat used for these scenes is not especially convincing, and the cat paws seen reaching under the door are almost laughably fake. Tanner claims that the cat was obviously possessed by Belasco’s son, and of course no one believes her.

Stuffed stunt cat attacks medium--The Legend of Hell HouseLater, Tanner finds the cat dead, and we do see a brief shot of the bloody body. The stuffed stunt cat played this scene about as well as he played the attack scene, so we did not find it particularly convincing, and you see the cat for such a short time, you may be left asking, “Wait—was that the cat?”

At the movie’s end, the black cat is again seen outside and very much alive…so go figure.


Our verdict


We did not find The Legend of Hell House scary or even all that engrossing. This isn’t the kind of film that grabs you and gets inside your head, which is probably a good thing, because that Belasco guy was a real creep. The cat does not play a big role and is of course uncredited. If you’re watching this movie mostly for the cat, you will likely be disappointed…unless you really want to be entertained by the stuffed stunt cat. Much of this film was as unconvincing to us as that stunt cat was. Which is not to say we didn’t enjoy watching it; it has a 1970s horror vibe that is fun in small doses, like around Halloween, with a big bowl of popcorn with candy mixed in. But if you want a great classic haunted house film, we think you’d be better off watching House on Haunted Hill (the 1959 version starring Vincent Price).

One Paw Up--A Good 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, October 29, 2017

Sunday Selfie: Paisley Models Her Dracula Cape

Real Cat Paisley did a brief gig as Dracula, or Catula, this Halloween season. Of course she wanted to get a good selfie during a break in production:


Real Cat Paisley in her Dracula cape

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

Sunday Selfies blog hop

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Caturday Art: Catula

This week for Caturday Art, we bring you the last of our fake spooky movie posters. Today's poster has Real Cat Paisley starring as the Count in Catula.

Caturday Art: Catula poster

This poster is inspired by several posters for the 1931 classic Dracula, mostly this one:

Dracula 1931 poster


Today's designs are available on a card and magnet from our Halloween Zazzle shop:

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

Caturday Art blog hop


Friday, October 27, 2017

October Bloopers, Plus Friendly Fill-Ins

We have two fun Friday features for you today. Real Cat Webster is taking a break (i.e., he and old SoLT could not think of a good word for Words with Webster this week!), so we decided to share some recent bloopers that we think you will enjoy. Then it's on to Friendly Fill-Ins.

Bloopers

First up is Real Cat Webster, who really likes to help old SoLT visit our blogging friends by, you know, sitting on the laptop. Old SoLT was trying to get a Sunday Selfie of him, but this was the best she could do. Can you tell whose blog they were visiting?

Real Cat Webster sitting on laptop

It's hard to get pictures of Real Cat Paisley because she WILL NOT HOLD STILL. She'll be sitting there all pretty and perfect, and then, just as old SoLT pushes the magic button, Paisley turns her head:

Real Cat Paisley with blurry head

The same thing happened here, but perhaps not as badly: 


And finally, I am excited to share what is probably old SoLT's worst video ever. She thought she was getting cute video of Paisley playing. Unfortunately, she got her buttons mixed up, so she recorded the boring parts and stopped recording for the cute parts. We think you'll get a kick out of this "footage" anyway:


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. I would like to interview Jackson Galaxy, because he is so cool and kind and he loves cats.

2. I would like to be interviewed by Miss Cuddlywumps, because no one asks more insightful questions. Also, she said she'd scratch me if I didn't say that.

Old SoLT’s answers:
3. Halloween night, I usually pass out the candy, and I love seeing the little kids in their costumes.


4. Once Halloween is over, time seems to move even faster than before, so Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year's are here in the blink of an eye!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Prehistoric Cat News: Saber-Toothed Cats Lived in Europe Longer Than We Knew

Cats in History


An interesting news item flashed across our computer screen last week, concerning new findings on ancient cats. Big cats. With big teeth. It seems that some of these cats in Europe went extinct hundreds of thousands of years later than previously thought, and that means these cats could still have been around when modern humans stepped foot onto the European continent.

What cats are we talking about?

Homotherium compared to human. That's a big cat!
Homotherium, with human for size comparison.
By Dantheman9758 at English Wikipedia [CCBY 3.0], via WikimediaCommons.
The cats in question are called Homotherium (that’s their genus name). They were lion-sized saber-toothed cats that originated in the Old Word and also lived in the New World. They were related (but quite distantly, it turns out), to what you probably think of when you think “saber-toothed cat”—Smilodon fatalisS. fatalis is the species whose remains have been found in California’s famed La Brea Tar Pits. In North America, both Homotherium and Smilodon are known to have survived until the Late Pleistocene, or until about 10,000 years ago.

The picture is different in Europe, though, where Homotherium was thought to have disappeared by about 300,000 years ago.

New study finds new dates

But that old picture changed recently, with the results of an ancient-DNA study. A team led by Johanna Paijmans of the University of Potsdam in Germany examined DNA from a unique fossil: a Homotherium jaw bone found in the North Sea off the coast of the Netherlands that has been firmly dated to just 28,000 years ago (which, you’ll notice, was many, many thousands of years after the cats were thought to be extinct). Their work confirmed that the fossil is in fact from Homotherium, which means that these cats were living in Europe a lot longer than we knew. And that means that "when the first anatomically modern humans migrated to Europe, there may have been a saber-toothed cat waiting for them," Paijmans says.
Homotherium reconstruction. These cats survived in Europe many thousands of years longer than previously thought.
Homotherium reconstruction.
By Sergiodlarosa (Own work) [CCBY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia  Commons.

Just imagine that welcoming committee!

And by the way, why are we telling you this? Well, because we cats all have a common ancestor from way back in the distant past, and that means that Homotherium is the (extremely) distant cousin of your housecat. Just think of that next time you're telling your cat it's not time to eat yet!

Source

Current Biology, Paijmans et al.: "Evolutionary History of Saber-Toothed Cats Based on Ancient Mitogenomics" http://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(17)31198-3 , DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2017.09.033

Read more


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Cat of the Week: Kitty 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, please say hello to Kitty. Kitty is a 7-year-old lady who sports a lovely black coat. She is described as sweet and happy, and she loves getting attention. A petting session will get her purr motor going, and she is an expert at “making biscuits.” Kitty has lived with another cat before with no problems. She also lived with a snake before, and that didn’t go so well. Kitty has indicated that she would like to find a snake-free home, because those slithery things are creeeepy and very scary!

Kitty 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, October 23, 2017

Book Review: Frankencat



On this Mysterious Monday, we bring you a brief review of Frankencat, a Whales and Tails mystery by Kathi Daley. This is book 13 in the series. We read and enjoyed the first book in this series, Romeow and Juliet, but then we sort of lost track of the books (they come out so quickly!). So we were happy to catch this one in time for Halloween.

The plot

Frankencat, by Kathi Daley
Caitlin Hart and her friend Tara O’Brian run a coffee bar/bookstore/cat lounge called, appropriately, Coffee Cat Books. They are holding a book discussion on Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein when a suddenly violent storm hits, knocking out the power and breaking up the meeting. But with the help of a mysterious cat who bolts in suddenly, Cait discovers one of the group members, Paula Wainwright, lying dead in the storeroom, a knife in her chest. The back door is locked from the inside, so no one else could have gotten in and out without someone knowing, so it seems that one of the group members has murdered Paula during a break in book group. Cait and Tara, with help from local law enforcement, set to work to find out which one it was. To do so, they must interview everyone who was there, and anyone else they can find who was connected to Paula.

The cat

The cat in this book is Frank, a brown tabby who has been sent to Cait to help her figure out who killed Paula. This is apparently a regular thing for Cait, which we thought was fun. Cait communicates with Frank by asking questions; he meows if the answer is yes. Frank doesn’t appear in many scenes in the book, but he is instrumental in pointing Cait toward some important clues (the body, for one).

Our verdict


While we love the concept behind Frankencat, and the book does have some pleasingly unexpected twists from Paula’s past, we found that there were just too many potential suspects to keep track of. Since the main method of investigation involves interviewing book group members, much of the story is told through long stretches of dialogue that were often not riveting enough to hold our interest. That said, the solution to the mystery was not what we’d expected at all, so we were pleasantly surprised by that turn. And the overall structure of the mystery—by which I mean the sequence in which Cait receives bits of relevant information—is nicely done. Plus, the book is set at Halloween time and has a pretty great cat!

One Paw Up--A Good 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, October 22, 2017

Sunday Selfie: Webster & Webster

Real Cat Webster spent a fair amount of time in the office this week, and he took a moment one day to do a quick selfie. He thought this would be kind of cool because the computer monitor in the background was showing a Caturday Art that he was in.

Sunday Selfie: Real Cat Webster on desk


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


Saturday, October 21, 2017

Caturday Art: The Bride of Frankencat

This week, we continue our collection of fake movie posters with this entry for The Bride of Frankencat:


The Bride of Frankencat poster

This design is sort of based on this poster for the excellent movie The Bride of Frankenstein:

The Bride of Frankstein poster


Today's design is available on a magnet and greeting card in our Zazzle Halloween shop (these are affiliate links)!






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


Friday, October 20, 2017

Words with Webster: Tocks, Plus Friendly Fill-Ins

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

Words with Webster

Words with WebsterHi, everybody! It’s me, Real Cat Webster. Welcome to Words with Me. Today’s word is “tocks.” I think most of us know that “tocks” is a cute short term for “buttocks.” When I went to the dictionary to get the official definition, I found out that “tocks” isn’t even in there! Mommy uses, like, 12 different dictionaries for her job, and I looked up our word in all of them (even the medical dictionary!), and the only one that had it was the Urban Dictionary, which Mommy said is not the most authoritative source in the world—but hey, I had to use something, right? So, the Urban Dictionary’s top definition for “tocks” is
Slang for buttocks, particularly if the buttock of reference are teeny tiny or particularly cute.
Since our word comes from “buttocks,” I decided to use that word’s origins to get the deep history of “tocks.” So to the Oxford English Dictionary I went (yes, I looked up “tocks” there, and no, it wasn’t there). So, with the meaning “one of the two protuberances of the rump (of men and beasts). Usually in pl.,” our word first appeared in print way back in 1300 or thereabouts:
The heles atte buttokes, the kneon in aither eye. (Fragm. Popular Scottish, 320)
Whatever that means, right? There’s a quote from Chaucer (ca. 1405), but it sounded kind of dirty, so I decided to share this Shakespeare quote instead:
A Barbers chaire that fits all buttockes. (All’s Well That Ends Well, II.ii.16, ca. 1616)
Things got interesting—and confusing—when I tried to learn the origins of “buttock.” The OED says it’s from adding a suffix onto “butt,” but when I looked up “butt” (“the thicker end of anything”), it only showed up in print in the late 15th century, which is almost 200 years after “buttock.” And “butt” is “of obscure etymology.”

I took a nap then to clear my head, and when I woke up, I checked the Online Etymology Dictionary, which said that “buttocks” is
probably from Old English buttuc “end, short piece of land,” from Proto-Germanic butaz, from [Proto-Indo-European] root bhau- “to strike.”
By the time I read all about proto-this and proto-that, I couldn’t remember why I was looking up “buttocks” in the first place. Oh yeah.… It’s Tock-Tober!

Webster #TockTober pose


Paisley #TockTober pose
  

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. If I was a ghost, I would haunt Mommy, because she would probably enjoy it and I would like to still be around her. Also I would haunt the dog, because it would scare the bejesus out of her!

2. I always look cute and dainty when I drink out of our water fountain.

Old SoLT’s answers:
3. My favourite scary story is The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

4. I will be so glad when it finally cools off for the season. This fall has had way too many 80-degree days!


Thursday, October 19, 2017

Cat Classics on Film: Ghost Cat (2004)

Cat Classics on Film

Today’s Cat Classic on Film might be called “The Cat Movie of Many Titles.” This is because, as you may have guessed, it has been known by a few titles—three, actually: Mrs. Ashboro’s Cat, Ghost Cat, and The Cat That Came Back. The disc we got from Netflix was titled Ghost Cat, so we’ll go with that title.

Ghost Cat, starring Ellen Page and Baretta the cat
Before we really get started, I should tell you that this is not a scary movie. It is instead a rather sweet story that is suitable for family viewing. Old SoLT thought she was getting us a good Halloween movie, but Ghost Cat is not Halloweeny at all. It does have an awesome senior kitty who protects her friends from beyond the grave, but not in a frightening way. Now, let’s move on.

The plot (may contain spoilers)

Natalie Merritt (Ellen Page) is a teen, her mother has died, and she and her dad, Wes, are moving to the town where her mother lived when she was Natalie’s age. Wes is a writer working on a book about ghosts of the American Revolution, and he expects to get some good research done in this town. Oh, and he does not believe in ghosts.

Anyway, Wes and Natalie end up buying a great old house where a woman named Ruth Ashboro had lived with her cat, Margaret. Ruth recently died, and Margaret, who was 15 years old, died soon after. (The movie actually starts a little before this, and Natalie meets the very much alive Ruth and Margaret, with whom she forms an immediate bond.) We soon learn that Ruth’s nephew, Boyd, has money trouble and is expecting to inherit $50,000 from his aunt. Too bad she had other plans for that money...

Nearby is a farm that is not a farm; it is an animal rescue run by Ruth’s friend Brenda. Brenda is behind on her mortgage and is getting big pressure from a developer to sell the land. This is where Ruth intended her money to go. Natalie gets involved in helping around the place, along with the two boys who live next door to her. The older boy, Kurt (Shawn Roberts), stirs Natalie’s heart, and a little romance starts (everything stays totally innocent though). Somewhat predictably, the same thing happens between Wes and Brenda.

The cat

Meanwhile, some strange things have been happening back at the house. Natalie keeps hearing strange sounds, and things keep getting knocked off shelves. It is exactly as if a cat were doing some kitty antics. Well, this is of course Margaret, a wonderful gray and white cat. The part of Margaret was played by Baretta the cat. We haven’t been able to find out anything more about Baretta, which is unfortunate because she is so important to the plot and she plays her part so well.

Margaret was known to have woken Ruth once to save her from a fire, and now in her ghostly form, one night the cat wakes Natalie to lead her to the animal rescue, where evil nephew Boyd has tried to kill the animals. She also leads Natalie and the neighbor boys to where Ruth had hidden that $50,000. With that money delivered to Brenda, the animal rescue is saved and the developer can just buzz off. Only, he and evil nephew Boyd have one more trick up their sleeves, one that will require the ghostly Margaret to save the animals (not to mention Natalie and Kurt) and make sure the developer and the evil nephew get their comeuppance.

I should mention that Margaret is not the only animal in this film. There is also Comfort the dog (played by a dog named Harley), as well as several puppies, dogs, cats and kittens, bunnies and more at Brenda’s animal rescue. It is really quite nice to see them all.


Our verdict


Ghost Cat was not the movie we were expecting to see, but it is such a sweet story it’s impossible not to like it. Of course we loved Margaret (excellent work, Baretta!). There is really nothing surprising in the plot, and for the adults in the audience, it probably won’t bring you to the edge of your seat for any reason. However, we imagine that younger viewers would find some of the pivotal moments pretty thrilling (especially the scene in which the animals have to be rescued from a burning barn). Basically, Ghost Cat is great for family night, or those nights when you’ve just had it with the real world (which is happening to old SoLT with increasing frequency) and you want to escape into a story that’s not too messy and turns out happily.

One Paw Up--A Good 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!




Finally, the following clip has nothing at all to do with the movie, but we got a kick out of it and wanted to share:


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Cats of the Week: New Moon and Twilight in Baltimore

Cat of the Week--Cuddlywumps Cat Chronicles

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.

Cats of the Week: New Moon & Twilight #seniorcats #catadoption #BaltimoreHumaneSociety


Today we’re introducing brother-and-sister pair Twilight and New Moon. This great pair are both 7 years old. Twilight is a buff-colored tabby female, and New Moon is a black and brown tabby male. They are very close and enjoy snuggling together. Twilight is the more outgoing of this awesome twosome, and it would be great for New Moon if they could be adopted together to keep the snuggles and companionship going. Besides just being together, they enjoy watching the goings-on outside the window.



Twilight and New Moon 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, October 16, 2017

Book Review: Distillery Cats

Distillery Cats, by Brad Thomas ParsonsToday we review the short illustrated book Distillery Cats: Profiles in Courage of the World’s Most Spirited Mousers, by Brad Thomas Parsons, with illustrations by Julia Kuo. Some cats have important jobs, of course, and some of those jobs are in distilleries and breweries. It makes purrfect sense: Brewing and distilling rely on grains such as wheat, rye, barley, and corn, and those are the very things that attract mice and rats, which can ruin the supplies. So, quite a few establishments have discovered that cats can take care of the rodent problem. One of the world’s most famous distillery cats was Towser the Mouser, who patrolled Scotland’s Glenturret Distillery for 24 years (1963–87), in which time she caught 28,899 mice. She recently had a caskof whisky named after her.

Distillery Cats profiles 30 US-based cats who patrol breweries and distilleries from Seattle to New York. We’ve picked out a few of our favorites to share. There’s Cho, the head mouser at Sound Spirits in Seattle. He is a 7-year-old black cat (perhaps we should call him a distillery panther?) whose name is from the chemical formula of ethanol (C2H6O) and whose superpower is “being handsome all the time.” There’s Cork (“Corky Pants”), the shipping box specialist at Olde York Farm Distillery and Cooperage in Hudson, New York. She’s a one-year-old tortie whose superpower is “camouflage,” and yet she can’t stop the distillery ducks from following her around.

Of course we have to mention cats from our home state of Maryland. First up are HellRazer and the DuClaws of Baltimore’s DuClaw Brewing Company. They’re a quartet of young tabbies who mostly play a lot (but we’re sure they scare the bejesus of mice too). You can follow them on Instagram. And then there’s Vocal of the Tenth Ward Distilling Company in Frederick. Vocal is a four-year-old gray and white male whose superpower is “making an entrance” and who keeps a tally of pests he has killed (mice are top of the list). He shows up on Tenth Ward’sInstagram from time to time.

Each cat profile in the book is accompanied by an illustration and that cat’s most important stats: their age, sex, coat color and/or breed, job titles, superpowers, favorite toys, best friends.… You get the idea. Many of these cats have duties that go far beyond mousing. They’re also brand ambassadors who enjoy hanging out with visitors and are a highlight on public tours. Several of them have their own social media accounts too.

Our verdict

We loved Distillery Cats, and we have flipped back through its pages several times since we read it, just enjoying some of the stories again. I forgot to mention that the book includes drink recipes from the featured distilleries (old SoLT isn’t a drinker, so this part was of less interest to her) as well as cat quotes from the likes of Mark Twain and Edward Gorey. The cat profiles are a joy to read, and the illustrations are a delight. The book is nicely designed as well and has a lot of visual appeal, though the text may be a little small for some readers (we read the print version, but it is available for Kindle too). If you love cat stories, hardworking (and hard-napping) cats, and/or beer and spirits, we think you’ll love this book. And if you happen to have anyone who fits that description on your Christmas list, Distillery Cats would make a great gift.


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!


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, October 15, 2017

The Mythmakers Preview, plus Sunday Selfie

As promised, today we present the first chapter of our new book, The Mythmakers. We hope it whets your appetite for more!



Chapter 1

Mid-November

This is not going to be okay, Rory Roberts thought as she squirmed in the back seat of the deputy’s patrol car. The metal of the handcuffs felt cold and hard against her wrists and hurt as though it were pressing directly against bone. With her hands behind her back, she could not get comfortable. No matter which way she turned, some part of her body was scrunched or pulled. Her whole left side felt bruised from when that nutjob tackled her in her own backyard—at one thirty in the morning, no less—and her shoulders strained as she turned so she could see her little stone cottage, which the car was parked in front of. Then there was the fact that she was dressed only in her pajamas, robe, and L. L. Bean boots—perhaps not the most appropriate attire to be arrested in.

At a polite distance down the sidewalk, Rory’s neighbors stood watching, their faces lit by the flashing red and blue lights of sheriff’s department vehicles. They shuffled and whispered in the cool fall night, stealing glances in at Rory. They must all think I’ve lost my mind, she thought. One next-door neighbor, Mrs. Crabtree, scowled at her. Odd that the old woman’s husband wasn’t there. But whether Mr. Crabtree was there or not, the Mrs. would tell the sheriff, the press, and anyone else who would listen that she’d seen this coming for a long time. She never had liked Rory, for reasons Rory couldn’t comprehend. Laura Williams, Brooksford’s biggest worrier, stood shaking her head. She’d say that she’d seen it coming too, but she would attribute Rory’s sudden outburst of violence to stress and overwork rather than some defect of character. Madison Gunther, the town’s mayor and one of Rory’s best friends, stood alone among the crowd, a blank stare on her face. Was she having flashbacks to the night her husband had been arrested for trying to kill Rory? Well, what goes around comes around, I guess, Rory thought.

She turned her head to look up into the front window of her cottage, where her cat sat gazing out on the scene. The cat was a large, fluffy-tailed calico named Miss Cuddlywumps, though everyone called her Miss C. She was mostly white, with large patches of black and orange splashed over her head and back. Her tail had a distinctive white tip. Rory locked eyes with the cat. Who would take care of her? Frantically, Rory looked around for Lee Cooper, her other next-door neighbor and also her lifelong best friend. Ever since she had first come to this town as a little girl visiting her grandparents, she’d hit it off with the boy next door. Their friendship had lasted over forty years, but where was Lee now?

The driver’s door was opened, and Deputy Sergeant Opal Washington slid into the seat. Before Opal could say or do anything, Rory was asking, “Who’s going to take care of Miss C? My cat? I can’t just leave without someone to take care of my cat.”

Opal looked into the rearview mirror to meet Rory’s eyes. The deputy’s eyes were wide and kind, her skin caramel brown, and her voice was soothing when it came. “Don’t worry about Miss C. Your friend Lee is in there, and he’s said that he’ll watch over her. I take it he has a key to your place?”

“Yes, but—”

“Then don’t worry about it, Ms. Roberts. He’ll take care of things for you.”

After trying again to adjust herself to be more comfortable, Rory asked, “Could you just loosen the handcuffs? Please? Come on, Opal, you know I haven’t actually done anything wrong. I don’t know what that girl’s telling you, but I did not do anything to her friend.” She thought it best not to mention that this friend now lay dead in her backyard, stabbed with a knife Rory had been found holding.

Opal’s look hardened. “Sorry, Ms. Roberts. Sheriff Davis says everything is to be done by the book. No special favors for you.”

No special favors. Well, what was the point of dating the county sheriff if you couldn’t get any special favors when one of his deputies arrested you for something you didn’t do? Rory huffed, her patience wearing thin.

“Where is the sheriff? If I can just talk to him, we can straighten everything out.”

“I’m sure he’ll be talking to you once we get you processed.”

“Processed? You mean fingerprinted and photographed, like a criminal?” Rory’s voice rose in pitch and volume as panic flooded through her.

“Everything is to be done by the book,” Opal insisted.

“I want to call my father, before any of this processing.” Surely Rory’s dad, a retired prosecutor from a couple of counties over, would be able to make this right and get her released before they took the processing too far.

“When we get to the station, you can make your call. Until then, just sit tight.”

Rory squirmed in the seat some more, prompting Opal to say, “I’m telling you, Ms. Roberts, this’ll be a lot easier for everyone concerned if you just sit tight and calm down.”

“But, Opal—”

“Just calm down. It’s going to be okay.”

No it’s not. It’s not going to be okay, Rory thought. Deep down, she’d known it from the start of this whole, weird episode.

Text copyright Roby Sweet, 2017.



The whole book will be released on November 15! Need to catch up on the series before then? Get the set of Books I-IV for 20% off from the Cuddlywumps Publishing site!

And now for our Sunday Selfie...


We're not sure what Real Cat Webster was doing with his head under the sofa, but this is how we found him. He insisted we help him take a selfie so he could see what he looks like with his head under a piece of furniture.

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

Sunday Selfies Blog Hop

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Caturday Art: Psycho Kitty

Today we continue our series of Halloween-themed Caturday Art with another fake movie poster. This one sounds pretty scary!

Psycho Kitty poster



Today's design is available on a magnet and a card in our Zazzle Halloween shop!


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

Caturday Art blog hop