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, January 16, 2018

Cat of the Week: Sox


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.




Our cat this week is Sox. He is an 11-year-old gentleman wearing a fancy gray-and-white tuxedo. Sox is very affectionate and loves getting attention. He also enjoys taking naps on comfy beds. He has lived with kids and other cats before, so he is a very experienced cat. Sox will make an excellent companion for someone!

Sox 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, January 15, 2018

Book Review: The Mutts Spring Diaries


The Mutts Spring Diaries, by Patrick McDonnell
We received The Mutts Spring Diaries right in the middle of a serious cold spell that sent temperatures into the single digits (and just so you know, that is not what winters in our part of the world are usually like). It came like a gust of warm air … happy air … the kind that brings the promise of new life. In other words, it was just exactly what we needed.

In case you are not familiar with it, Mutts is a daily comic strip created by Patrick McDonnell. It features the adventures of a dog named Earl and a cat named Mooch, and it is the one strip we make sure we read every single day. Others we can catch up with at the end of the week, but we just have to see Mutts every day.

The Mutts Spring Diaries is a collection of daily strips from springtime. In them, birds return from hibernation, a bear awakes from his winter’s sleep, spring showers fall, Mooch sheds (in an entertaining way), Mooch follows the example of a caterpillar friend and tries to become a butterfly. We found a chuckle or warm smile on every page. There is also some fun bird-related content at the back of the book: instructions for building a bird feeder from a plastic bottle, a checklist for a bird-watching scavenger hunt, and facts about birds’ eggs and calls.

The book is designed to look like a composition notebook—the kind you might keep a diary in if you happened to be a 7- to 12-year-old (the target audience for this Mutts Kids book). But no animal lover is ever too old for Mutts. The art is delightful, as McDonnell’s seemingly simple pen strokes make Earl, Mooch, and their friends come alive on the page. And the underlying message is always one of kindness and compassion, friendship and love. That is something we will always support.

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!



You might also like:

the Little Red Cat Who Ran Away and Learned His ABCs, by Patrick McDonnell

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Sunday Selfie: Webster's Friday Night, Plus 25 Amazing Facts

Real Cat Webster took this Sunday Selfie on Friday evening. He was sitting on old SoLT so she wouldn't be able to get up and do that thing she needed to do (whatever it was; obviously it was not important, since she can't remember it now). Good job, Webster!

Real Cat Webster's Friday Night Selfie Jan. 2018

And this week we have a special bonus. It's 25 Amazing Facts about Webster. CK over at Stunning Keisha got this started, and it's been a lot of fun learning new things about our online friends, so Webs wanted to give it a go. The questions are supposed to be answered with one word. Webs made some adjustments to follow the rules!

1. Where is your cell phone? Huh?
2. Your hair? Gingerandwhite
3. Your dad? Unknown
4. Your mom? Mommy
5. Your favorite food? Food
6. Your dream last night? Food
7. Your favorite drink? Fountainwater
8. Fear? LoudStuff
9. Favorite shoes? Huh?
10. Favorite way to relax? SitonMommy
11. Your mood? Relaxed
12. Your home away from home? Home
13. Where were you last night? Home
14. Something that you aren't? Mean
15. Muffins? YesPlease!
16. Wish list item? Muffin.
17. Where you grew up? Maryland
18. Last thing you did? Napped
19. Favorite thing to do? Nap
20. Your TV? Mommy’siPad
21. Your pets? None
22. Friends? Paisley
23. Your life? SoGreat!
24. Missing someone? JacktheBlackCat
25. Something that you are? Friendly

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

Sunday Selfies blog hop


Saturday, January 13, 2018

Caturday Art: Paisley with an Acid Boost

For this week's Caturday Art, old SoLT found an old photo of Real Cat Paisley sitting in her Thinking Bowl and tried some different effects with it. First was Acid in LunaPic, followed by Boost in PicMonkey:

Real Cat Paisley_Acid Boost Jan 2018 #CaturdayArt

Then, not able to leave well enough alone, she tried adding Super B&W, trying to get the etching look she likes:

Real Cat Paisley_Acid Boost Super B&W_Jan 2018 #CaturdayArt

This is the original:

Real Cat Paisley in her Thinking Bowl

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

Caturday Art blog hop

Friday, January 12, 2018

Words with Webster: Ginger, Plus Friendly Fill-Ins



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

Words with Webster

Hi, everybody! It’s me, Real Cat Webster. Welcome to Words with Me. Today’s word is “ginger.” I was having a lot of trouble picking a word for today, but then I found out that this is International Kiss a Ginger Day, and there was my word! Anyway, I looked in my favorite dictionary, Merriam-Webster’s, and found out that ginger is “a light reddish or reddish-brown color.” It didn’t say anything about cats specifically, which was kind of disappointing.


But then I went to the Oxford English Dictionary, which did say that “ginger” can mean “a cat with primarily orange-coloured fur, typically marked with stripes.” This meaning has been around since the 1870s, as we can see from this quote:
There is a grey tabby.., a jet black, and a ginger. (Once a Week, May 2, 1874, 396/2)
That’s fine, but the word “ginger” actually goes back a lot further, just with different meanings. Of course originally it referred to the root of the ginger plant. That meaning (with a different spelling) goes waaaay back. Like, to at least 1150:
Nim hwytne stor and senep and gingiber. (Peri Didaxeon 11)
I didn’t understand what that sentence meant, so I found this other quote from Shakespeare:
Yes by S. Anne, and Ginger shall bee hotte y' th mouth too. (Twelfth Night II.iii.112, a.1626 [1623])
Next, it was on to the Online Etymology Dictionary. Turns out “ginger” has traveled a long road, coming to English from Late Latin “gingiber,” Latin “zingiberi,” Greek “zingiberis,” Prakrit “singabera,” and Sanskrit “srngaveram,” a word that seems to refer to the root’s shape. Or, as the Oxford English Dictionary says, maybe “ginger” ultimately came from an unidentified southeast Asian language from a very long time ago.

One thing that still confuses me is why “ginger” refers to orange cats, when all the ginger I’ve ever seen has been sort of creamy-yellow. Oh well.
Ginger cat with book and glasses. via Storyblocks.
This ginger cat is probably looking up "ginger."
Photo via Storyblocks.com.


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 ask Mommy why do we have to have a dog? Life was purrfect with just us cats!


2. My favorite fast food restaurant is … Eww. I don’t eat fast food because it’s not good for me. (Okay, don’t tell Mommy, but I like to lick French fries, and I don’t care where they’re from!)


Old SoLT’s answers:


3. If I could go to any concert of someone still performing, it would be Willie Nelson.

4. My Winter pastime is usually staying inside and drinking warm beverages, because so far this winter has just been too cold for me!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Case of Cat Torture in Maryland Shows Need for Protections for Animals


Hardy the cat recovering in a safe place. Photo via Alley Cat Rescue.
Hardy is getting better and recovering in a
safe place now. Remarkably, he still trusts people!
Photo from Alley Cat Rescue.

Earlier this week the good people at Alley Cat Rescue contacted us with a disturbing story. A wounded gray cat had been brought in to the Prince George’s County (Maryland) Animal Shelter, but this cat’s injuries were not the result of an accident. It was determined that the wounds to his ears, limbs, and tail had been inflicted intentionally. Alley Cat Rescue took over the cat’s care and named him Hardy, meaning “courageous and capable of enduring difficult conditions. This certainly describes Hardy’s brave yet gentle personality,” ACR said in a news update.

What happened to Hardy?

After veterinary examination, it was determined that Hardy suffered for weeks at the hands of a person who, for reasons we may never understand, put rubber bands on his tail and limbs and cut his ears. By the time Hardy was rescued, his tail was necrotic and had to be surgically removed. On three of his legs, the toes were “hanging by threads,” so those toes were also amputated.
Hardy's damaged rear legs and tail. Photo via Alley Cat Rescue.
Hardy's tail and parts of three of his feet
had to be removed because of the damage
caused by his abuser.
Photo via Alley Cat Rescue.

Hardy is recovering now that he is getting good care. The remarkable thing is, despite his tattered ears and damaged limbs and tail, Hardy still trusts people. He will even nudge up against people to ask for some pets.

Hardy is not the only one

Sadly, Hardy’s case is far from unique. According to data cited by the Humane Society of the United States, in 2011 over 1,400 cruelty cases were reported in which the species was given—and remember that is just the tip of the iceberg, because who knows how many cases either weren’t reported at all or did not specify the species. Abuse was most commonly reported for dogs, cats, horses, and livestock.

Cruelty toward animals must be taken seriously

We don’t know exactly what kind of situation Hardy came from, but we can say that animal cruelty does not just affect the animal victim. Alley Cat Rescue says, “Animal cruelty is often an indicator of a violent personality.” This means that those who start out being violent toward animals can later turn that violence on humans. Also, animal abuse and domestic violence often occur together. In one study at a domestic violence shelter, 71% of the women there who had pets said that their abusive partner had threatened, harmed, or killed their pet.


The federal Pet and Women Safety Act would, among other things, change the definition of stalking to include “conduct that causes a person to experience a reasonable fear of death or serious bodily injury to his or her pet.” It would also provide grants so domestic violence shelters could create housing for victims with pets. We think it is important to support this legislation to protect all victims of domestic violence—including pets.


Meanwhile, Hardy is looking for a new, loving home

Alley Cat Rescue is looking for someone to ultimately adopt Hardy and give him the loving home he deserves. Please contact them through their website to learn more.

Prince George’s County Animal Control is investigating Hardy’s case. Anyone who has information on what happened to Hardy should contact them.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Cat of the Week: Smudge in Baltimore


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


Cat of the Week: Smudge #baltimorehumane #catadoption #adoptme




This week, say hello to Smudge. Smudge is 7 years old, and some people say he looks just like a lion! He has medium-length fur, and he enjoys being brushed. He also likes to play with toys, and of course he enjoys tasty treats. Smudge is a sweet gentleman looking for a new family in this new year.

Smudge 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, January 8, 2018

Cat Classics on Film: Alien (1979)

Cat Classics on Film


“In space, no one can hear you scream.” That is the famous tagline of the 1979 film Alien, which, in addition to being a cat classic, is a sci-fi horror classic that has an enduring place in modern popular culture. Alien was directed by Ridley Scott and starred Sigourney Weaver as tough heroine Ripley, who also featured in three subsequent related films: Aliens (1986), Aliens 3 (1992), and Alien Resurrection (1997).

The plot (contains spoilers)


The crew of the commercial towing vehicle Nostromo are on their way back to Earth when they’re suddenly awakened from hypersleep. They pick up a mystery signal coming from a strange planet, and they make a detour to investigate.  While on the surface of the planet, one of the crew (Kane, played by John Hurt) discovers a group of large egg-like things. Turns out they are in fact eggs, and Kane ends up with a, um, creature attached to his face. This is a problem. Kane, alive but unconscious, is taken back aboard the Nostromo, but there seems to be no way to remove the creature from his face. He does wake up eventually, after the creature detaches itself. It now appears to be dead and Kane seems no worse for wear, but we’re left wondering just what that thing was doing to him.

All of this has been a setup for one of the most famous scenes in sci-fi film. Even if you have never seen Alien, you probably have some familiarity with the scene in which the crew members are sharing a large meal when suddenly Kane starts coughing and choking, and then a whole new creature bursts through his chest, looks around, and jumps down and runs off, leaving Kane dead. At least now we know what that original creature was doing to him.

Things get even more horrific when another crew member, Brett (Harry Dean Stanton), goes searching for the ship’s cat, an orange tabby named Jones (more on him later). Brett finds Jones, but when the cat hisses at something over his shoulder, Brett turns around and finds himself face-to-face with the newly born creature, which has suddenly become much, much larger. Brett is killed, but Jones escapes.

There follows a lot of searching for the creature. Unfortunately, each time the search succeeds, someone else ends up dead. Eventually, only third officer Ripley and Jones are left. Knowing she has to destroy the alien, Ripley gets Jones into what looks like an industrial-strength cat carrier, and she sets the ship to self-destruct and heads for the escape shuttle. After some suspenseful moments with the alien as the destruct sequence counts down, Ripley and Jones get into the shuttle and they blast away from the main ship moments before it explodes. Safe, right? Well, no…because the alien has secreted itself in the shuttle. Hey, why would it want to stay on the exploding ship?

Ripley does get rid of the alien (there’s a pretty great alien-getting-sucked-into-space sequence), and now she and Jones are safe. Before she puts herself into hypersleep, Ripley records a log entry saying she is the only survivor of the Nostromo, but of course that is not true, because Jones survived too.

Jonesy seeing the alien attack Brett--Alien (1979)
Jonesy the cat, at the moment Brett is attacked by the alien.

The cat

Jones, or Jonesy, is a pretty tough kitty cat. We see quite a lot of him throughout the film: hanging out with the crew, running to hide in inconvenient places so the crew can chase him and thus encounter the alien, being banged around in that industrial cat carrier. While he’s in the carrier, Jones also has a rather harrowing up-close encounter with the alien, and he does not flinch away (he survives, obviously). The film’s credits list Animals Unlimited as the cat actor’s trainer, but of course the actual cat (or cats—there were four of them, according to Cinema Cats) is uncredited. This is a shame, because those cats did an excellent job. Jones also appears in the follow-up Aliens (1986).


Our verdict


If you are not into sci-fi and horror things, Alien is probably not for you, even though there’s a cat in it. We don’t find it too terribly frightening, but there is something just creepy about this alien. And of course there is violence and blood—and alien slime. But it is all part of what we think is a pretty good story. There are parts we didn’t go into in the plot outline—such as, just why did these people knowingly bring the creature on board the Nostromo? (For the record, Ripley was against this, but she was overruled.) The answer to that question does come out as you get deeper into the movie and learn a few things about the science officer. The alien itself is quite a creation in every way, from its physical appearance to its life cycle. We like that Ripley is a smart, strong, and resourceful character. And of course we love Jonesy, the ship’s cat who faces down a horrific alien. 

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, January 7, 2018

Sunday Selfie: Paisley Gets Organized

Between Christmas and New Year's, old SoLT spent some time getting organized. This included getting her stamp collection area put into some kind of order so things won't be crammed together all higgledy-piggledy. Real Cat Paisley was in a helpful mood, so as soon as she saw an open spot in the bookcase, she sat in it and demanded to have her selfie taken:


Real Cat Paisley in stamps bookcase_january 2018

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

Sunday Selfies Blog Hop, The Cat on My Head

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Caturday Art: Webster Relaxes

It has been pretty cold at the Real Cats' house, and Webster has had a hard time getting out of bed in the mornings, so old SoLT made this art of him lounging in bed:

Real Cat Webster_starry 2 effect #caturdayart #lunapic

She used the Starry 2 effect in LunaPic, followed by the Burst effect and a Bokeh texture, both in PicMonkey. The frame is also from PicMonkey. Here's the original:

Real Cat Webster lounging in bed_original

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

Caturday art blog hop, Athena Cat Goddess

Friday, January 5, 2018

Friendly Fill-Ins


Real Cat Webster sleeping in on a cold morning

Real Cat Webster is sleeping in today, so we have just one fun Friday feature for you. (Okay, what really happened was, old SoLT accidentally published the wrong word this week and couldn't do a new one on short notice.) We have 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.


Friendly Fill-InsReal Cat Paisley’s answers:
1. My guiding word for 2018 is meow.


2. A house is not a home without a cat. Obviously.

Old SoLT’s answers:
3. I look forward to spring this year, because right now it is too &*$@!$!# cold!


4.  I really need to get some exercise, because I am feeling really restless, like I need to take a nice, long walk on a pleasantly warm, sunny day.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

New Job-Placement Service for Hard-to-Adopt Cats in DC /MD/VA

Working Cats--Alley Cat Rescue
Working cats.
Photo via Alley Cat Rescue.
Rats. Just the word gives you the creepy-crawlies, doesn’t it? (Of course we’re not referring to cute pet rats. We think they’re pretty neat.) Mice are smaller, at least, but they can still creep you out. And then of course there’s the fact that these rodents eat your stuff and spread disease. If you happen to own a warehouse where rodents are ruining your supplies and scaring the bejesus out of your employees, not to mention potentially exposing them to everything from E. coli to the plague, well, that’s a problem, isn’t it?

Maybe it’s time to hire a cat.

Alley Cat Rescue, an organization in Brentwood, MD, that promotes humane treatment of all cats, is launching a new Working Cats program to benefit area business owners as well as cats. The program will place cats in warehouses for rodent control. Cats can also be placed in offices, again for rodent control but also as a morale booster. A working cat can provide stress relief for employees and can also become a popular mascot for a business, giving you something fun to post about on social media (check out our review of Distillery Cats, which features Maryland’s own HellRazer and the DuClaws of DuClaw Brewing Company).

The cats we’re talking about might not do well in a home or outside but would thrive in an environment that provides shelter and gives them independence to patrol, hunt, sleep, or visit with their human coworkers as they please. Currently, Alley Cat Rescue has three cats looking for job opportunities. The cats are all spayed/neutered, vaccinated, and microchipped. If you choose to add one of them to your workforce, you will be responsible for providing food, shelter, and long-term vet care.


For more information, call Alley Cat Rescue at 301-277-5595.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Cat of the Week: Rocky in Baltimore

Cat of the Week

Is there any better way to start the new year than with a new cat? We don’t think so!

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

Adopt Rocky, 9-yr-old male domestic shorthair, orange tabby, Baltimore Humane Society



This week we’re introducing Rocky, a handsome orange tabby fellow. Rocky is 9 years old and likes to be the center of attention (meaning he’d prefer to be an only pet). He is quiet and independent, though he will climb into your lap for a nice snuggle when he feels like it. His hobbies include feather wand toys. He sounds like a great guy to spend a winter evening with!

Rocky 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, January 1, 2018