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.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Words with Webster: Thermoneutral Zone, Plus Friendly Fill-Ins

We have two fun Friday features for you today. First up is Real Cat Webster, who has a  scientific 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 “thermoneutral zone.” I know, technically that’s two words, but just go with it, okay? It’s also called TNZ for short, so let’s just call it that from now on. If you’re curious like I am (you’ve heard of curiosity and the cat?), you are probably wondering what TNZ is. Well, I found out from part of a scientific paper that it’s “the range of ambient temperatures without regulatory changes in metabolic heat production or evaporative heat loss.”

Whatever that means, right?

In plain English, the TNZ—and I’m speaking strictly in relation to cats, because that’s all that really matters—is a range of temperatures where a cat doesn’t have to use any energy to get cooler or warmer. In other words, it’s when the temperature is absolutely purrfect. For cats, this Zone of Purrfection is between 85 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit (or 86 to 97 degrees, according to some sources). In the past couple of years, you may have come across this tidbit in various stories about why cats love boxes. One possible explanation is that a box holds in some body heat and helps the cat maintain that Zone of Purrfection. Purrsonally, I don’t care much for boxes, so I can’t say whether this is true or not.

I looked into the history of “thermoneutral” in the Oxford English Dictionary and found out it goes back to the 1960s. The quotes are all scientific and stuff, like this one from Respiration Physiology:
The thermoneutral skin temperature zone for fasting adult sheep has been found to be 33–35°C as determined by immersion in a water bath. (I.30, 1966)
That just makes me wonder what they did to the poor sheep, because I’m guessing that sheep did not ask to go on a fast or be immersed in a water bath.

Anyway, “thermoneutral” is from the Greek θερμός (thermos, meaning “hot”) and the French/Latin neutral/neutralis (meaning “not taking part in war; not taking sides” and “neither masculine nor feminine; not belonging to either side,” respectively).

As long as I was in the OED, I looked up “zone,” and then I got kind of confused because there are a whole bunch of definitions. The one that best fits our needs is “a definite region or area … distinguished from adjacent regions by some special quality or condition (indicated by a defining word or phrase).” The quotes for this meaning were all boring scientific things, so I picked this one from ca. 1500 that’s about zones of the earth:
For thre zones shal he fynde Where no man may lyue in one kynde One is hote and colde are two. (Hist. K. Boccus & Sydracke)
“Zone” is from the Latin zona, from the Greek ζώνη, meaning “girdle.”

So, the TNZ for cats might also be called the Girdle of Purrfection, which I think is a much better name thermo-whatever.

And now, after all that scientific stuff, please enjoy this picture of a cat in a box, enjoying his or her Girdle or Zone of Purrfection:

Tabby cat in box #catsinboxes #cute

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. The best part of where I live is the sunroom with my cat tree and lots of windows.

2. The worst part of where I live is there’s a dog here.

Old SoLT’s answers:
3. If I had a lot of money, I would create a sanctuary where homeless senior cats could live out their days comfortably, with good food, veterinary care, and of course lots of love.

4. My favourite article of cold weather clothing is my flannel-lined jeans. They are awesome when walking the dog on a cold day!


  1. Your sunroom sounds beautiful, even (especially) with a dog. I like the Senior Housing for Cats idea. I used to want to do that, too. But, I do so many bottle kittens, that maybe that.
    I am not sure what your health issues are, but I am glad you got help. I'm glad you are here, too! Hugs!

  2. That was an interesting lesson, I do feel bad for the sheep though- better than doing that to cat though :)Thank you both for participating in the fill-ins, great answers. The sun room does sound nice. I love your idea for #3, that is an excellent plan. I just finished reading your first book and will be writing about it on Monday- I loved it :)

  3. Well, whodathunkit? TMZ, right on! Am thinking my perfect temp is around 74 degrees; ahhh, purrfect!

  4. Hmmm ... that's interesting. I always assumed Bear would be uncomfortable in that temperature range. I know their temperatures on average are higher than ours - but most humans would consider that temperature range too warm/uncomfortable.

  5. That's so interesting! Way too hot for me though. Guess I'm not as cat-like as I've always thought. (So glad you're back! We've missed you. Hope you had a restful vacation.)

  6. Yes, we do like it warm but warm is not here. Your fill-ins are excellent. I have never seen fur-lined jeans but would like some...thank you very much. Size XL would be great for my ever growing winter bod.


  7. Thanks for reminding me to get out my flannel lined jeans for our walk today, because we are nowhere near that Girdle of Purrfection - it's only 19 degrees out right now! :)

  8. Mommy says etymology rocks her socks! Seems as I have no idea of what the heck etymology is I will retreat to my box or TNZ and mull over why....
    And I love your answers...purrticularly the sunroom with the cat tree. I WANT A SUN ROOM!