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, February 27, 2018

Cat of the Week: Chili


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: Adopt Chili! #CharmKittyCafe #bmorehumane


This week, we’re introducing Chili. She is a 9-year-old black-and-white lady who mostly likes to relax. We think she has a pretty cool pattern on her face!

Chili is currently at the Charm Kitty Café in Baltimore. 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, February 26, 2018

Book Review: The Fast and the Furriest


Mysterious Monday


On this Mysterious Monday, we are pleased to bring you our review of The Fast and the Furriest, book 5 in the Second Chance Cat Mystery series by Sofie Ryan. This is such a fun series, featuring an excellent cat named Elvis whose hobby is watching Jeopardy!—when he’s not charming customers in Second Chance, the shop where Sarah Grayson sells repurposed items. Other characters—and I do mean characters—include Charlotte’s Angels, the group of, um, mature investigators who seem to get entangled in every mystery that comes to North Harbor, Maine.

The plot

The Fast and the Furriest, by Sofie Ryan
In this volume, Sarah, Elvis, and the Angels have to use their skills to prove that their friend Mac is not a murderer. The trouble starts when Erin, a woman from Mac’s past, shows up out of the blue to look for him, only to turn up dead later that day. Suddenly, secrets from Mac’s earlier life come spilling out—like what happened to his beloved wife, and the suspicion that his wife’s family had toward him. Surely Mac could not have killed anyone, but when a witness claims to have seen him with the latest victim shortly before she was killed, well, the local police naturally suspect him. Sarah and the Angels start digging into the past to find out just who might have tried to kill Mac’s wife and why, because that will surely lead them to Erin’s killer. The question quickly becomes, Which of the people with financial motives would have been desperate enough or greedy enough to kill, or could any of them have had some other motive? Oh, and will Sarah and the Angels figure it out in time to save Mac from being charged with murder?

The cat

Elvis is a cool black cat with a little scar on his nose. As I mentioned earlier, he enjoys watching Jeopardy!, but his real skill is that he can tell when people are lying. This comes in handy when there’s an investigation ongoing. In this instance, Elvis confirms that Mac is telling the truth when he says he never killed or tried to kill anyone. Of course Mac’s friends already believed him, but it never hurts to get independent confirmation. Elvis is a near-constant presence, and we love how he is just always there, being his charming self and following pretty much whichever of his human friends he chooses to. If you haven’t met Elvis yet, you really should, because he is a great cat!

Our verdict

The Fast and the Furriest may be our favorite Second Chance mystery yet. We love a book with a strong sense of place and deep connections to the past, and this book has both. North Harbor is just the kind of coastal New England town we’d love to visit on summer vacation, and we would surely stop in at Sarah’s shop (if it existed; too many of our favorite places are fictional!). Mac is front and center in this book, and lots of details of his earlier life are finally revealed. This only makes us like him more, and we continue to wonder just what is up between him and Sarah. But then there’s also Nick, her sort-of boyfriend, although she and he don’t always get along so well. The relationships are complicated, but not in a confusing way. Just the way we like it. Then there’s Charlotte’s Angels.… They are definitely worth meeting, and they’re often good for a laugh (plus, they’re pretty good investigators).

This is easily one of our favorite books so far this year.

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, February 25, 2018

Sunday Selfie: Webster on the Dream Box

For this week's Sunday Selfie, Real Cat Webster posed on top of the Dream box. He has really big dreams.

Real Cat Webster selfie on Dream box_Feb 2018

Hey, have you filled out our 100% unscientific survey on cat emotions yet? It only takes a minute or so, and we would really appreciate your participation!


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

Sunday Selfies blog hop

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Caturday Art: Pop Art Paisley, Plus Friendly Fill-Ins

We have a couple of fun things for you in this week's Caturday Art. First, we really wanted to show off this terrific picture of Real Cat Paisley we got from a place called Pop Your Pup:

Real Cat Paisley_Pop your Pup

Pop Your Pup is a company that artifies a photo of your pet, and then you select a background and they send you a shirt or wrapped canvas print with the resulting picture. They allow unlimited revisions of the artified photo, and they are super fast. We got a 16 x 20 wrapped print that we absolutely love. We selected the background with crowns because years ago, Real Cat Paisley was Queen Paisley the Magnificent, and this print will always remind old SoLT of that. And it's all possible because we won a Christmas gift-card giveaway from our friends Melissa and Mudpie last year. Thanks so much, guys! We will treasure this!

Next, old SoLT artified a picture of Paisley lounging on the super cute kitty mat we won from Ellen and all the kitties at 15 and Meowing. This art was done in Dreamscope, and since it took, like, four days to finish, we can't remember which filter we used. We kind of like it, though:

Real Cat Paisley artified

But the original is pretty cute, and you can see some of the cute heart and knot toys that were also in the package:

Real Cat Paisley on her kitty mat


And, this neat little spoon was in there too. A big thank-you to Ellen and her kitties for these cool presents! Old SoLT and the Real Cats love them!



Before we go any further... Have you filled out our 100% unscientific survey on cat emotions yet? It takes literally 1.5 minutes to do, and we would so appreciate your participation!

Friendly Fill-Ins

Friendly Fill-Ins blog hopAnd 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 Webster for a change, are from Annie of McGuffy’s Reader.

Old SoLT’s answers:

1. My favorite president is Abraham Lincoln because he guided the country through the most divisive period in its history, and he did it despite suffering from depression—or maybe going through those dark periods gave him the personal strength he needed as president. Also, he liked cats!

2. This weekend, I have plans to get the blog mostly set up for next week, relax, and not think about work, which has been getting on my last tattered little nerve lately.

Real Cat Webster’ answers:

3. I barfed up my dinner last night. Sorry, Mommy!


4. I believe one day the dog and I will be friends. No one else believes this (especially the dog!) but I am so irresistible, how could it not work out?

Caturday Art blog hop

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


Friday, February 23, 2018

February Bloopers

It's blooper time! We have a pretty good crop of fun bloopers to share this month. I guess old SoLT's photography has been especially bad for the past four weeks or so. Enjoy.

First up, we have this selfie gone wrong:

Real Cat Paisley: Selfie gone wrong_Feb. 2018

And just in case you start to think that Real Cat Paisley is the only one who can take a good blooper, here's one of Real Cat Webster's selfies gone wrong:

Real Cat Webster selfie gone wrong_Feb 2018

 Old SoLT can't remember what was happening here, but it resulted in some blurry tortie action:

Blurrt tortie: Real Cat Paisley_Feb 2018

Speaking of blurry torties, we will now tell you a little story about a cat and her rainbow ribbon. First, here is Paisley playing so vigorously the camera couldn't freeze the action:

Blurry tortie: Real Cat Paisley and rainbow ribbon_Feb 2018

And then this happened:

Real Cat Paisley with rainbow ribbon on her ear_Feb 2018

 We are already looking forward to next month's bloopers!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Survey: What Emotions Does Your Cat Experience?

Frightened cat, via Adobe Stock
How often does your cat show emotions such as fear?

We recently came across a study about how Japanese pet owners attribute emotions to their pets. In that study, 546 people who have either a dog or a cat responded to a survey that asked questions about how closely bonded they were to their pets and the types of emotions they thought their pets experienced. At first we were going to write a post about the results of the Japanese study, but then we thought it would be more fun to do our own little study. So, we created an extremely unscientific 10-question survey to let readers tell us about their own cats’ emotions.

If you wish to participate, simply scroll down, and for each emotion listed, select the response that best describes how often your cat experiences or expresses that emotion. If you have more than one cat, please consider your cats as a group (for example, if you have four cats and one of them frequently expresses anger, you would choose “often” for question 1). Remember this is just for fun!

We’ll collect the responses (up to 100, because that's how many we can have with a free survey) and share results in a future post.


We respect your privacy, so no personal information is being collected.

Thank you for participating!


Orange cat Jumping, via Adobe Stock
Cat emotions are open to interpretation.
Is this cat jumping for joy, or just trying to catch something?

And here's the survey:

Create your own user feedback survey


This survey is based on the one used by Su, Koda, and Martens (2018).

Read the original Japanese study: B. Su, N. Koda, and P. Martens. 2018. “How Japanese Companion Dog and Cat Owners’ Degree of of Attachment Relates to the Attribution of Emotions to Their Animals.” PLoS One 13(1). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0190781

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Cat of the Week: Neko

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: Adopt Neko! 

Today, please meet Neko. She is a sweet, lovely lady of mature years (10 years, to be exact) who enjoys napping and getting scritches behind her ears and under her little chin. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see Neko go home with a human family who will give her lots of loving scritches and comfy places to nap?

Neko 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, February 19, 2018

Cat Classics on Film: The Rabbi’s Cat (2011)

Cat Classics on Film



The Rabbi's Cat
Today we bring you our review of an excellent animated cat classic, The Rabbi’s Cat (originally titled Le chat du rabbin). This film is based on the 2007 graphic novel of the same title, by Joann Sfar. Before we get started, we would like you to note that, although this is an animated film, it does include some violent scenes and some not-so-subtle hints of sex, and it is in French with English subtitles, so it is not really suited for younger viewers. And just in case your eyes glazed over when you read “English subtitles,” I will add one more thing:

Cheeky talking cat who wants to convert to Judaism.

The plot

The Rabbi’s Cat is set in Algiers in the 1930s. You have probably guessed that the main characters are a rabbi (Rabbi Sfar) and his cat. The cat is a gray Sphynx who has no name other than “the rabbi’s cat.” There is also the rabbi’s daughter, Zlabya, whom the cat loves. Early on, the cat eats the family’s talking parrot, and he (the cat) begins to talk. Zlabya is delighted; her father is somewhat less delighted, especially when it turns out the cat can also read and begins reading things that the rabbi thinks are inappropriate for his daughter. So, the rabbi won’t allow the cat to be alone with Zlabya anymore. This separation causes heartache for both the cat and the daughter, and the cat determines that he must become a good Jewish cat so he will be allowed to be with his mistress again. He demands to know why he was never bar mitzvahed. And so the rabbi sets out to teach the cat about Judaism. By spending a lot of time together, the rabbi and the cat come to be quite close. The cat even helps the rabbi prepare for a French dictation test he must take and pass to keep his position.

This is not a simple film, and it includes several story lines, one of which is about the arrival of a Russian refugee who has fled his village after a pogrom. This man, who is also an artist, has heard of a mythical African Jewish city where everything is just wonderful. He, the rabbi, the rabbi’s cat, an Arab sheikh, the sheik’s donkey, and an eccentric Russian all set out to travel through Africa to find this city. Along the way, they have several adventures, and the rabbi’s mind is given a good stretch (something I think everyone needs from time to time). The Russian also meets a young African woman with whom he falls in love, and she joins the traveling party. Alas, the Russian finds that the mythical perfect city is not quite what he expected, and the cat, still trying to get his bar mitzvah, gets into some trouble with the locals.

Click here to see the trailer.

Our verdict

We loved this film, from the richly colored mosaic backgrounds behind the opening credits to the philosophical discussions between the rabbi and his talking cat. But don’t worry—these aren’t the sort of heavy discussions that just make your head hurt; they are instead fast-paced and witty. We found the discussions thought-provoking; however, if you’re put off by religious debates, this might not be the film for you. We enjoyed the changing relationship between the rabbi and the cat, and we were impressed by how quickly the rabbi accepts the fact that his cat can now talk back to him. (Admit it: you would be freaked out if your cat suddenly started speaking to you.)  Of course we love that the cat has his own ideas about … everything. As I said earlier, the story is not necessarily simple, but neither is it the sort of thing that you need Cliffs Notes to follow.

The Rabbi’s Cat has more-serious themes than you might expect from an animated film, but it is also often funny and is not a “downer” at all. We think it’s well worth a look.

Recommended!

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, February 18, 2018

Real Cat Webster's Sideways Sunday Selfie

This week, Real Cat Webster decided to share this nice profile for Sunday Selfie. (Okay ... in reality, Webs would not look at the camera at all. He looked up, down, and all around, but never at the camera, and this was the best picture old SoLT could get.)

Real Cat Websters' Sideways Selfie


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, February 17, 2018

Caturday Art: Paisley and Her Rainbow Ribbon

Today's Caturday Art features Real Cat Paisley playing with her rainbow ribbon in the rocking chair.

Real Cat Paisley with rainbow ribbon_dry brush

Old SoLT hasn't done much in Photoshop lately, so she decided to mess around a bit and see what she could come up with. She used a dry brush filter and then played with some lighting effects and a frame.

Here is the original:

Real Cat Paisley with rainbow ribbon_original

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

Caturday Art blog hop

Friday, February 16, 2018

Words with Webster: Nap and Catnap, Plus Friendly Fill-Ins


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

Words with Webster


Words with Webster
Hi, everybody! It’s me, Real Cat Webster. Welcome to Words with Me. Today’s word is “nap.” I think we all know how important naps are to us cats. I certainly couldn’t get through the day without several of them. A nap, according to my favorite dictionary, Merriam-Webster’s, is “a short sleep especially during the day.”

I looked in the Oxford English Dictionary, which says that “nap” first appeared in print in the early 14th century. I found this quote from a while later; the original is thought to be from about 1450:
Þan I wakynd of my nappe. (The life of St. Cuthbert in English verse, ed. Joseph Thomas Fowler, 1891)
The Online Etymology Dictionary says that the word comes from the Old English word hnappian, which meant “to doze, sleep lightly.” It seems that no one is quite sure where that came from, but it could be related to the Old High German hnaffezan.

And let’s not forget about the closely related and very important word “catnap.” This word has been around since at least the early 19th century:
I just closed my eyes in order to think the better with myself... It was only some such matter as a cat's nap. (J. F. Cooper, Pioneers II. xiii. 187 [1823])
Obviously people just put “cat” and “nap” together—which, when you think about it, is one of the more sensible wordy things people have ever done!

Real Cat Webster loves a good catnap

  

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 old SoLT this week, are from Ellen of 15andmeowing, and the next two, answered by Real Cat Paisley, are from Annie of McGuffy’s Reader.

Old SoLT’s answers:
1. My Chinese zodiac animal is the Monkey (Earth Monkey, specifically).

2. My zodiac sign is Capricorn.

Real Cat Paisley’s answers:
3. Income tax season … well, I don’t care about it because I don’t have any income except for treats and stuff. I don’t have to pay taxes on that, do I???

4. In hindsight, I probably should not have hissed (repeatedly) at Webster yesterday. Then again, he should’ve just left Mommy’s bedroom when I told him to the first time!



Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Black Cats of Amherst in World War I

Cat Insignia

As part of our ongoing but extremely occasional series on cats in military insignia, today we bring you the story of a group of young men from Amherst, Massachusetts, who volunteered as ambulance drivers for the French army in the First World War. They came to be known as the Black Cats, after the distinctive symbol they chose: a black cat in full-on scary pose, with its back arched and tail pointing straight up. This symbol may have been selected for good luck, writes amateur historian Jim Hamilton. Although in much of the US today, the common superstition is that black cats bring bad luck, let us not forget that cats of all sorts of colors have been credited with (or blamed for) bringing all sorts of luck in different places and times.

The black cat symbol of SSU 539
The black cat symbol of SSU 539.
Used with permission.

So, what kind of luck did the Amherst Black Cats have? Let’s find out…but first we must thank Jim Hamilton, who runs the Amherst Black Cats Twitter account and graciously agreed to tell us a little more about the history of this unit. It was through this Twitter account that we first learned of these young men from Amherst.

The Black Cats answer the call

The group that would become known as the Black Cats got its start on June 6, 1917, when several students and recent graduates of Amherst College, as well as a few others, signed on to drive ambulances for the French army. That summer, the unit headed to Allentown, Pennsylvania, to train at Camp Crane, which was actually on the site of the Allentown Fairgrounds. A photo recently posted on the Black Cats’ Twitter account shows that their barracks was the Bantams and Pigeons building. Their training included driving lessons and medical procedures. On August 6, they boarded the SS San Jacinto for the crossing to Europe, arriving at St. Nazaire, France, just over two weeks later, on August 21.


Entrance to Camp Crane, Allentown, PA, 1918
The entrance to Camp Crane, 1918.
The Amherst volunteers arrived here in summer 1917.
US Army photo.
Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Black Cats on the Western Front

Officially known as Section Sanitaire États-Unis 539, or SSU 539, the Black Cats were sent to the war’s Western Front. They served with four French army groups:
  • The 47th Chasseurs Alpins
  • The 27th Division Infantry (briefly)
  • The 5th Division
  • The 4th Army (briefly)


Driving Ford Model T ambulances with their unit’s emblem on the side, the Black Cats participated in three major offensives in 1918:
  • the Aisne-Marne Offensive
  • the Oise-Aisne Offensive
  • the Ypres-Lys Offensive

They also participated in a few minor operations. For their actions in evacuating the wounded, often in difficult conditions, the Black Cats were awarded the Croix de Guerre and were also entitled to wear the Fourragère.

Regarding luck, theirs seems to have been good. In the course of their service, only one member of the Black Cats was wounded and three were gassed. They all recovered. One member of the unit said this in a letter home:
We are the original horseshoe section, if there ever was one. Think of having been in a year with only one man slightly wounded! I think it’s the black cat on our cars, although that didn’t prevent a shell from ruining Riefler’s car, just after he was safe in a dug-out. I know it takes a lot of narrow escapes to get a man, but we’ve had an unusual number of them, every one of us.
Ambulance Corps training, Camp Crane, PA 1918
Ambulance Corps training (not SSU 539)
at Camp Crane, Allentown, PA, 1918.
Photo by unknown USAAS photographer.
Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Black Cats after the war

Following the Armistice that was signed on November 11, 1918, the Black Cats were stationed in Belgium and Germany before sailing for home in March 1919. They arrived back in the US on April 2. On April 23, a group of them marched from the Amherst train station to the college and presented the unit’s flag to the college president. The following year, they published a unit history (Amherst has two copies of it in their archive), and going forward, they maintained a chain letter of news updates for another ten years or so. College reunions provided an opportunity for the men to meet up in person.

Now, a century later, the Black Cats’ history continues to be written, as Jim Hamilton is finishing an early draft of a book that he plans to publish later this year. He will also be participating in a panel called “Amherst at War” at the reunion in May of this year. The Black Cat banner, which resides in the Amherst College archive, is in delicate condition, and he is hoping that it will be restored, a process that may involve some fundraising from alumni and Black Cat descendants.

Sources

Our main source, Jim Hamilton, is an amateur historian whose books include “The Writing 69th,” the story of a group of war correspondents, including Walter Cronkite and Andy Rooney, who covered the 8th Air Force out of England during World War II. His current research is for a book to be called “The Black Cats of Amherst,” which is about the World War I ambulance unit that his grandfather served in. For more information on Jim and his writing projects, please visit www.greenharbor.com.

Additional sources:
McFeely, William S. “The Black Cats of Amherst.” Amherst Magazine, Spring 2010. https://www.amherst.edu/amherst-story/magazine/issues/2010spring/blackcats

Ginn, Richard V. N. “World War I: The Ambulance Service.” The History of the US Army Medical Service Corps. 1977. http://history.amedd.army.mil/booksdocs/HistoryofUSArmyMSC/chapter2.html

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Cat of the Week: Snickers

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: Adopt Snickers!
Today, please meet Snickers. She is a 12-year-old female who is very affectionate and likes to spend quality time relaxing with her human. Snickers enjoys cuddling, and she is a great conversationalist. She has lived with other cats and has been around kids before. Plus, just look at that beautiful coloring!

Snickers 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, February 12, 2018

Mysterious Monday: Death by a Whisker

Mysterious Monday

On this Mysterious Monday, we are pleased to bring you our review of Death by a Whisker, book 2 in the Cat Rescue Mysteries series by T. C. LoTempio. This series features a big orange-and-white tabby named Toby, and we just love him. But more on him later…

The plot

Death by a Whisker, by T. C. LoTempio
Sydney McCall and her sister Kat run an animal shelter in Deer Park, North Carolina. As the book begins, they are getting ready for a celebrity fundraiser. It seems that disaster has struck, though, when the celebrity suddenly can’t come. But then a new celebrity, a shopping channel star who is a Deer Park native and has recently written a tell-all book, steps in to save the event. Ulla Townsend’s appearance might not be a blessing, though. Sure, she’s got plenty of fans who will line up to have their books autographed, but she’s also got a past. She’s far from the nicest person you can imagine, and quite a few people have well-nursed grudges against her. So, when she suddenly drops dead during the book signing and it looks like she could have been murdered, there is no shortage of suspects.

Syd gets involved in the investigation largely because she just can’t help herself, but also because her friend Maggie is a suspect. Maggie knew Ulla back in high school, and she is so upset about Ulla’s appearance that she refuses to come to the fundraiser. Then, after Ulla dies, Maggie disappears and no one can get in touch with her. Suspicious, no?

But there are other suspects as well. One of them starts leaving threatening notes for Syd to find, warning her off the case. She’s getting too close to the truth for someone’s comfort, but will she figure out who it is before that person decides it’s time to get her out of the way for good?

The cat(s)

Toby is the main cat in the Cat Rescue Mysteries. As I already mentioned, he is a rather large tabby, and of course he is a rescue kitty. In fact, he chose Syd to be his person, so you know they’re great together, because cats are great people pickers. Toby’s hobby is destroying mouse toys (although we actually thought he’d destroyed a real mouse in the book’s opening!).  He also plays a role in solving the mystery, pointing Syd toward clues that she undoubtedly would not have found by herself. In short, Toby is a great cat!

A second cat, ragdoll Annie Reilly, also plays a role in the mystery, but not in quite the same way as Toby. You’ll just have to read the book to find out how!

Our verdict

Death by a Whisker is a fun read. We enjoyed the story, with its mix of old and new grudges against Ulla. There is also a wonderful tension between Syd’s boyfriend detective and his rival for a higher position in the department. And let’s not forget the cats. This is not the sort of mystery that adds a generic cat just for the heck of it. The cats in this book, especially Toby and Annie Reilly, are characters in their own right and are part of the plot, and you know we always appreciate that.

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, February 11, 2018

Webster's Sleepy Sunday Selfie

You know what's rude? Someone barging into the room where you're sleeping, yelling out "Who wants to do Sunday Selfie?" and shoving a phone in your face. That is exactly what happened to Real Cat Webster today (Paisley had the presence of mind to run away!). Poor guy ... he couldn't even open his eyes all the way.

Real Cat Webster's sleepy selfie_February 2018

Somewhat reluctantly, Webster is joining the Sunday Selfies blog hop, hosted by The Cat on My Head!

Sunday Selfies blog hop, The Cat on My Head


Saturday, February 10, 2018

Caturday Art: A Valentine from Real Cat Paisley

For today's Caturday Art, Real Cat Paisley wanted to send you all a special something for Valentine's Day. Old SoLt helped her edit her photo by taking it into PicMonkey and using just about every option in the Valentine's Day themes.



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

Caturday Art blog hop

Friday, February 9, 2018

Words with Webster: Vestibular, Plus Friendly Fill-Ins

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

Words with Webster


Words with Webster
Hi, everybody! It’s me, Real Cat Webster. Welcome to Words with Me. Today’s word is “vestibular.” I got the idea for this word from reading this study about cheetahs’ inner ears (okay, I only read the abstract and part of the introduction; Mommy said she’ll read more later and tell me about it). Turns out, the vestibular system of cheetahs is different from those of other cats, and this specialized system helps cheetahs keep their heads and vision stable while they’re chasing prey.

So what does “vestibular” mean? Well, that stuff about the cheetahs was a clue. According to my favorite dictionary, Merriam-Webster’s, “vestibular” means “of, relating to, or affecting the perception of body position and movement.” That is what the word means when we’re talking about anatomy.

Next I went to the Oxford English Dictionary, which says that our word means “of or pertaining to the vestibule of the ear or its function as an organ of equilibrium.” This first showed up in print in the 1830s:
The vestibular part of the membraneous labyrinth…is all that is really fundamental in the structure of an organ of hearing. (Todd’s Cyclopedia of Anatomy and Physiology II.537/1, 1836–1839)
Okay, but if you’re like me (easily perplexed, or just really curious), you’re probably wondering what the heck a vestibule is. I checked that too, and Merriam-Webster’s said that it’s
any of various bodily cavities especially when serving as or resembling an entrance to some other cavity or space: such as a (1) :  the central cavity of the bony labyrinth of the ear.
So basically, it is the structure in your ear that helps you keep your balance. Basically, there are these semicircular canals, some fluid, little hairs, and some other stuff. If you want to find out more, you can check out this video from 2-Minute Neuroscience.

Human Inner Ear Anatomy, via Adobe Stock
This illustration shows humans' inner ear anatomy. The vestibular
system includes the semicircular canals and vestibular apparatus.
Illustration via Adobe Stock.

But where did the word “vestibule” (and “vestibular”) come from? Well, the Online Etymology Dictionary says it is from the French vestible, which is from the Latin vestibulum, meaning “forecourt, entrance.’’ The word entered English in the 1620s and first meant “a porch.”

Next time you almost fall but then catch yourself and remain standing, thank your vestibular system (and remember that even if you're a cat, your system is different from a cheetah’s!).

Three cheetahs running, via Adobe Stock
Cheetahs run and change directions really fast when they're
hunting. They have a vestibular system that is unlike any other cats',
and it helps them keep their head steady and their eyes on their prey.

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 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. The Winter Olympics are a lot of fun to watch, even though I don’t usually manage to see much of them.  

2. I think the most romantic movie (or book) is … well, I’m not all that into romance, so I don’t know. Monty Python’s The Holy Grail?

Real Cat Paisley’s answers:
3. Recently, I had an odd experience when the humans put the Christmas tree away and moved a rocking chair to where the tree used to be. It took me a few days to get used to that, but now I like it.

4. I believe that love is awesome, especially when Mommy tells me I’m her special little girl.