A note about The Cuddlywumps Chronicles

This blog is written and maintained by Miss Cuddlywumps, a fluffy-tailed calico cat who is both classically educated and familiar with mysteries. She receives creative input from the Real Cats and clerical assistance from She of Little Talent (old SoLT, a.k.a. Roby Sweet). Comments or complaints should be addressed to Miss C rather than to old SoLt (Ms. Sweet). Ms. Sweet accepts no responsibility for Miss C's opinions.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Cat Classics on Film: Alice in Wonderland (1951)

Cat Classics on Film


Today’s Cat Classic is Disney’s animated version of Alice in Wonderland (1951), featuring, of course, the Cheshire Cat.

Alice in Wonderland (1951) The plot and the cat

Young Alice (voiced by Kathryn Beaumont) is a rather silly daydreamer whose imagination is so much more interesting than the boring old real world. One day while she’s supposed to be listening to a reading about history, Alice sees a well-dressed White Rabbit run by declaring he’s late for a very important date. She and her kitten, Dinah, ditch the lesson and follow the rabbit to the rabbit hole. Alice falls down a deep shaft, and her adventures begin. Along the way, she shrinks and grows and shrinks again, she meets some talking flowers, and of course (most relevant to our purposes) she meets the Cheshire Cat.

This grinning cat can disappear whenever he wants to. He can also remove his head from his body. He can stand on his head (and not the way you’ve seen human yoga enthusiasts do it). As he is portrayed in this film (voiced by Sterling Holloway), he is pink with purple stripes and bright yellow eyes. He is mischievous and not exactly trustworthy. He likes to sing lines from the poem “Jabberwocky.” This is a cat who likes to poke a stick at trouble (as long as it’s trouble for someone else) and see what happens. It’s the Cheshire Cat who sends Alice on a shortcut that puts her in the path of the Queen of Hearts, a maniac who enjoys removing people’s heads from their bodies (and not the way the Cat does it).


A little history

We knew virtually nothing about this film before writing this post, and we were surprised by many things we learned. For example, Walt Disney had first thought of casting Mary Pickford in a film combining live action and animation. But then came Paramount’s 1933 live-action Alice in Wonderland, and Disney had to rethink things. Later in the 1930s, a Disney storyboard artist and an art director started working out the story and look of the film, but the boss wasn’t satisfied with the results. Then World War II intervened, and serious work didn’t resume on Alice until 1947, when Aldous Huxley (he of Brave New World fame) was hired to write a new script. But still Disney wasn’t satisfied, so the script was rewritten yet again.


But, even after all that work, Disney was said to be disappointed with the final film.

The Cheshire Cat as depicted in Disney's 1951 "Alice in Wonderland"Our verdict

Somehow, old SoLT had lived nearly 50 years without ever seeing Alice in Wonderland—in fact, without reading the books it’s based on or seeing any other film adaptation of the story. This is another film the way they used to make them—only about an hour and a quarter long. But still, old SoLT managed to fall asleep during it. We think we can see why Disney wasn’t totally pleased with Alice.

There are a lot of characters, and while the non-computer-generated animation is a joy to watch, the story isn’t as cohesive as we would have liked. The end seemed abrupt to us—we were just suddenly at the “happily ever after” part (yes, even after we went back to watch the part someone slept through). Maybe 75 minutes isn’t long enough to tell this story, or maybe they could have done with fewer characters and created a tighter, more engrossing adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s work. And honestly, Alice mostly got on our nerves. She was over-the-top silly for much of the movie, and it would have been nice to see some more depth to her character.

Still and all, we can’t say we didn’t like this film. We have already mentioned the animation, which is filled with bright, bold colors. There are moments of humor, as when Alice suddenly grows and gets stuck in the White Rabbit’s house. The Queen of Hearts is insane in a horribly entertaining way.  Of course we love the Cheshire Cat character, with his wacky but dark nature. And let's not forget the cute kitten Dinah!

Alice in Wonderland (1951)


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 anything through this link, old SoLT and I could get some coin for our kibble account. Thank you!


Sources

“Alice in Wonderland (1951),” IMDb, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0043274/?ref_=ttawd_awd_tt

“Alice in Wonderland (1951),” Cinema Cats, http://www.cinemacats.com/?p=8586


“About Disney’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’ 1951 Cartoon Movie,” Alice-in-wonderland.net, http://www.alice-in-wonderland.net/resources/background/disneys-cartoon-movie/.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Cat of the Week: Oliver

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.


#seniorcat #specialneedscat #adoptme #bmorehumaneToday we’re featuring a cat we have featured before. Oliver is an 8-year-old gentleman who is so sweet and laid-back and loves getting attention. He also enjoys cat beds, watching birds, and playing with catnip. He thinks food is pretty awesome too!

Oliver is a diabetic kitty who needs to get insulin shots twice a day. Some people are reluctant to adopt a cat with diabetes, so he needs someone really special to give him a new forever home. Maybe some people are just afraid of having to give a cat shots, but it is so easy to learn and do. Even old SoLT has done it, on her mom’s old cat (who, by the way, lived many happy years while on insulin). Oliver is really good about getting his shots too.

Oliver is currently in a foster home and is adoptable through the Baltimore Humane Society. He first came into the shelter way back in December 2015 (that’s been years, people!). Wouldn’t it be great to see him settled into a new forever home?

A generous donor has sponsored Oliver’s adoption fee.

Learn more about this great cat 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, May 28, 2018

Book Review: A Passion for Haunted Fashion


Mysterious Monday


On this Mysterious Monday, we are pleased to bring you our review of A Passion for Haunted Fashion, the latest Haunted Vintage mystery from Rose Pressey. This is the series that combines murder, fashion, ghosts, a generous dose of humor, and a cat who uses a Ouija board to communicate. It is such fun!

The plot

#mystery #cozy #cats #paranormalIn A Passion for Haunted Fashion, vintage clothing boutique owner Cookie Chanel is working on costumes for the Sugar Creek Theater’s upcoming production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Somehow, Cookie always finds herself sorting through trunks or racks of old clothing in a dusty attic or basement or some such place, and more often than not, she manages to stir up a ghost. This is in addition to her more or less permanent ghostly companion, Charlotte, who is bossy and sassy and very, very funny. The new ghost in this case is named Peggy, and she’s been in the theater since the 1950s. Can Cookie and Charlotte help her figure out why she’s there?

Sounds like enough to keep a person and two ghosts busy, but then one of the actors is found stabbed to death, with Cookie’s best friend, Heather, standing over him, covered in blood. Obviously things look bad for Heather, and now Cookie and the ghosts have two mysteries to solve, and if they don’t solve the more modern one, Heather could be headed to prison.

Fortunately they have plenty of suspects, both from the theater and from the victim’s personal life. Unfortunately, Cookie is not the smoothest investigator you’ve ever met, as she tends to get flustered when trying to question someone. Having two ghosts there to critique her performance doesn’t help, especially when Cookie can’t respond to them because she’s the only one who can see them. If she suddenly starts talking out loud to invisible people, everyone will think she’s nuts.  (Everyone probably already thinks she’s nuts anyway, but whatever.)

The cat

Also fortunately, they have the help of the white Persian cat named Wind Song. Wind Song has an interesting story herself. See, one time during a sĂ©ance, Cookie’s grandmother’s spirit got trapped in the cat’s body. Now the grandmother (who is also sort of psychic—because why not?) communicates through a Ouija board. Except sometimes Wind Song the cat communicates through the board. Basically, if the message is relevant to the investigation, it’s from Grandma Pearl; if it’s about cat food, it’s from Wind Song. Anyway, Wind Song / Grandma Pearl are instrumental in providing clues that point Cookie and the ghosts in the right direction.

Our verdict

When we first started reading this series, we thought we might not like it so much because fashion is really not our thing. Honestly, when the outfits are described, we often even don’t know how to picture them; if it’s not jeans and T-shirts, we’re a little lost. But you don’t have to love fashion to love these stories, because they have a lot to offer. We love the role Wind Song / Grandma Pearl plays, and we like that Cookie keeps meeting new ghosts whose mysteries she must solve. Cookie has an endearingly fumbling method of crime solving, and Charlotte cracks us up (be sure to read her tips on the afterlife at the start of every other chapter; they alternate with Cookie's vintage fashion tips). Plus, we enjoy mysteries set in the South.

In A Passion for Haunted Fashion, Rose Pressey gives us another fun mystery full of characters we love. 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, May 27, 2018

Sunday Selfie: Paisley Undercover

A couple nights ago, old SoLT was putting clean sheets on the bed, and Real Cat Paisley decided to get involved (as cats will do). At the same time, she decided to take a quick selfie. So this is Paisley undercover:

#catselfies #cats #tortiecats

It's kind of blurry, and of course that's entirely old SoLT's fault. She did put a sepia filter on it so you could see Paisley a little better, though.

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

The Cat on My Head: Sunday Selfies Blog Hop

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Caturday Art: Sci Fi Webster

This week's Caturday Art is from Dreamscope again. This is another one that took only 24 hours to complete, and we think it turned out pretty cool. Real Cat Webster looks like he's gone sort of science fictiony:

#Dreamscope #DataPagan

By the way, we're pretty sure this is the Data Pagan effect. We'd show you the original, but old SoLT is having a "middle-age moment" (seems to be a permanent thing now) and can't remember which folder it's in.

Friendly Fill-Ins

Friendly Fill-InsAnd now it's time for Friendly Fill-Ins! These are a fun way to learn more about the authors of the blogs you follow. They're hosted by 15 and Meowing and the Four-Legged Furballs. We got Real Cat Paisley to answer the questions this week.

1. It is so beautiful outside lately, and we are getting lots of sun puddles in the sunroom. It is awesome! Not like last week when it rained all the time.
2.The best part of last week was when the rain stopped and the sun came out.

3. Every summer, I enjoy watching the birds and squirrels in the big tree outside our sunroom.

4. Once upon a time, I came to a new house (this one) and completely took over. There were some other cats here, but they quickly accepted me as their leader (like they had a choice!).


#cats #tortiecats

Reminder ...

Finally, we're reminding you that there is still time to join the first Pet Photo Fails Blog Hop! All pets are welcome, and the linky will be open through Monday night. And if you want to mark your calendars for next month, the June hop will be on Friday, June 29. So save those bad photos!

Pet Photo Fails

Finally for real, we're joining the Caturday Art Blog Hop, hosted by Athena and Marie!

Caturday Art Blog Hop

Friday, May 25, 2018

Pet Photo Fails: Blurry Tortie, Blurry Tabby

Welcome to the very first edition of the Pet Photo Fails Blog Hop! We're all here to have a little fun on a Friday, so let's get right to it.

Real Cat Webster is ready to kick things off with what was supposed to be a selfie, we think. Whatever it was going to be, it's a fail because old SoLT wasn't steady enough and she jiggled the camera. Too much coffee, old SoLT?:

#petphotofails


Next up, we have Real Cat Paisley in what was supposed to be an action shot of her playing with old SoLT's feet. Instead, Paisley looks sort of like a multi-colored blob. A scary blob, though:

#PetPhotoFail


And finally, we have Paisley on the treadmill. It's sort of cute, but you should have seen her 2 seconds before this, when she was being super-cute, sitting there so perfectly. But old SoLT was too slow, and that's why this photo is a fail:

#petphotofails


And now it's your turn! To join in, just post a not-quite-right pet photo and link up below. The blurrier, the better! The linky will stay open until 11:59 p.m. Monday, so you have a few days to join. Please also provide a link to our blog so others can find the hop.

And don't forget to use the hashtag #PetPhotoFails when sharing your photos on Twitter and Instagram!

#petphotofails

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Tibs the Great: Number One Cat of the British Post Office (1950-1964)

Cats in History

Over the years, cats have held many official positions in government and business. Often, their main duties were to control rodents, and such is the case with our subject today, a 23-pound tabby named Tibs.


Tibs the Great
Tibs in his basement domain.
Tibs the Great, as he was known, served as the “number one cat” of Britain’s Post Office Headquarters for nearly 14 years. Born in 1950, he arrived at the headquarters as a youngster and quickly took care of a little rat problem in the basement. Thereafter, Tibs continued to live in the basement and no more rats were seen. He was once found with a pigeon he’d caught, and someone rescued the bird from him.

Like any other member of the staff, Tibs was paid for his services. His wages amounted to 2 shillings 6 pence a week. A cleaner named Alf Talbut made sure the cat was fed every day. Talbut had also cared for Tibs’ mother, Minnie (the tabby’s father has never been identified).

In serving as the rodent controller in the Post Office Headquarters, Tibs continued the tradition of professional cats that officially began back in 1868, when three cats went to work as rodent controllers in London’s Money Order Office. For their work in catching mice, the three original cats were paid 1 shilling a week—meaning 1 shilling was used to feed them each week. And by the way, that was 1 shilling total for all three cats, not a shilling apiece.

In November 1964, when Tibs was nearing 14 years of age, one morning he failed to come for his morning meal. The cat was nowhere to be found, and it was several days later that Alf Talbut finally located him and took him to the vet’s, where it was discovered that he had cancer in his mouth. Sadly, nothing could be done for him, and Tibs’ productive life came to an end.

“There will never be another Tibs,” Talbut was quoted as saying in Tibs’ obituary.

 Truly, Tibs was an excellent cat!

Sources

Erin Blakemore, “A Brief History of Post Office Cats,” 9 February 2016, Smithsonian.com, https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/brief-history-post-office-cats-180958061/?no-ist

“Tibs the Great Is No More” (obituary), January 1965, Post Office Magazine, http://500years.royalmailgroup.com/gallery/tibs-the-great-is-no-more/



And now, for something completely different ...


Pet Photo Fails Blog Hop


We hope you've got your not-so-great pet photos ready, because tomorrow, Friday, May 25, is the Pet Photo Fails Blog Hop! We will open the linky at midnight Eastern time, and it will stay open through 11:59 p.m. Monday. So stop on by and join in the fun!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Cat of the Week: Hunter

Adoptable senior cats


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.



#adoptablecat #baltimorehumane
Today we’re introducing this handsome fellow named Hunter. He is an 8-year-old male who is medium sized and has bold tabby markings. Hunter loves getting attention! In fact, he loves it so much he would like to be an only cat so he can get all the attention you have to give. He also loves playing with catnip toys. And he has lived with kids before, so he could be a great fit for a family looking for a nice cat.

Hunter is adoptable through 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, May 21, 2018

Cat Classics in Print: Warriors Book 1: Into the Wild


classic cat books


Old SoLT has been wanting to read this series since it first started in 2003, but somehow she has never gotten around to it before now. We sort of wondered if the first Warriors book, Into the Wild, can truly be considered a classic when it’s only 15 years old, but considering the sheer number of novels, novellas, “super editions,” manga, and guides it has spawned (not including box sets, we count well over 50 books on the Warriors website; we can’t be more accurate because we lost count twice and didn’t want to start over again), we decided Into the Wild is definitely a classic. And worth waiting for.

The plot

Warriors: Into the Wild, by Erin Hunter
Into the Wild introduces the world of the Warrior Cats through the eyes of a young housecat—or “kittypet,” as the wild cats call them. Rusty ventures from his home with the Twolegs (humans) into the nearby woods and has his first encounter with Clan cats. He performs well in the ensuing fight, and he ends up being invited to join ThunderClan as an apprentice. He takes up the challenge and soon enough is living a tough and exciting new life with a new name—Firepaw.

Firepaw learns to hunt and fight and follow the warrior code. But all is not well in the territory of the four Clans. Each Clan has its own territory where they can hunt, but lately ShadowClan has been up to no good, demanding that the other Clans allow its cats to hunt basically wherever they want. They have already forced one clan into an agreement and pushed another clan off its territory, and now they’re eyeing ThunderClan’s forest. A big fight is brewing, and it will not be pretty.

Meanwhile, the leader of ThunderClan has taken in a disgraced former medicine cat from the hated ShadowClan. But this cat brings with her a reputation for being dangerous. Will she betray her new Clan when the battle comes?

And where should Firepaw put his loyalty? He soon learns that danger doesn’t always come from outsiders.

Our verdict

We raced through this book, repeatedly saying “Just one more chapter” until we were saying, “Almost done! Might as well keep going now.” We will tell you up front that Into the Wild is about a cat learning to be a warrior, so of course there is fighting between cats. Some of the cats are treacherous and cruel, and some cats die. But the book is written for the 8-to-12-year-old set (thus hitting old SoLT’s mental age perfectly!), so nothing is horribly graphic. We found it dramatic but not upsetting (okay, that is a lie—the part where one of our favorite cats died was upsetting, but we have recovered). We know some of you are especially sensitive to any sort of violence involving animals, though, and we wanted to be clear about the content.

Probably our favorite thing about this book is the richness of its world. Having spent just a little time in that world, it is easy to understand how the series has grown and grown. The Clans have their own history, mythology, and traditions. They have ways of honoring the dead, of seeking guidance from StarClan (when a cat dies, he or she goes to join StarClan in the night sky). Their medicine cats know what plants to gather to heal wounds and illness. Yes, it would be easy to get so caught up in the Warriors series that you’d need a guidebook to keep track of everything.

By the way, if you’re wondering (as we were) how in the world author Erin Hunter has managed to write so many books in less than two decades—she does it by actually being six people. It was quite a relief to learn that, because we’d imagined some kind of super-writer who never sleeps.

We recommend Into the Wild 100%! Just be prepared to be sucked in to a whole new world.


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, May 20, 2018

Sunday Selfie: Webster on a Rainy Saturday

Real Cat Webster paused on yesterday's rainy morning to take this selfie:

cats, selfies, cat blogs


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

The Cat on My Head: Sunday Selfies Blog Hop

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Caturday Art: Paisley with Bokeh Gone Wild

This week's Caturday Art is--finally--from Dreamscope. It's one that we started a while ago and finally got back last week:

Caturday art

Old SoLT tried the Bokeh Treats effect,and we think it came out looking pretty cool, although we do wish it hadn't softened Paisley quite so much.

We're joining the Caturday Art Blog Hop, hosted by Athena and Marie!

Caturday Art Blog Hop

Friday, May 18, 2018

Happy Gotcha Day, Layla!

In honor of Resident Dog Layla's 2nd gotcha day, she and the Real Cats are having a beach party. As you can see, it's going well so far.

Happy Gotcha Day, Layla!


Layla did the Friendly Fill-Ins this week too! Ellen of 15 and Meowing came up with the first two questions, and the next two are from Lorianne of Four-Legged Furballs.

1.Happiness is being with my family and getting treats.

2. Ten years ago, I wasn't born yet. I'm 7 years old.

3. Treats are the best medicine. Cuddles are good too.

4. Most people don’t know that I am originally from South Carolina. I had to come all the way to Maryland to find my forever family!

Friendly Fill-Ins

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Egyptian Cats, According to Herodotus


Cats in History


Have you heard about how ancient Egyptians shaved their eyebrows when the house’s cat died? Ever wondered how we know that? Today we’re going to tell you, by taking a quick look at what Herodotus, a Greek who lived in the 5th century BC, had to say on the Egyptians and their cats.

#AncientEgypt #catsinEgypt
Photo via Adobe Stock.

Herodotus who?

Herodotus was a Greek born in ancient Halicarnassus (modern Bodrum, Turkey) in about 484 BC. He is considered the first historian and has been called “the Father of History”—or “the Father of Lies” by those who think he mostly made up his stories. Those stories are collected in The Histories, a work that includes accounts of important battles as well as descriptions of the places he traveled to and the peoples he encountered. One of those places was Egypt, and Herodotus is one source for information about the Egyptians and their cats.

The behavior of tomcats

Herodotus (II.66) noted that the domestic tomcats in Egypt had a habit of snatching kittens and killing them. Why? “The result is that the females, deprived of their kittens and wanting more (for their maternal instinct is very strong), go off to look for mates again. Herodotus calls the toms’ behavior “ingenious,” but it seems pretty brutal to us.

Saving cats from a burning house

The historian says, “What happens when a house catches fire is most extraordinary.” That’s because the people wouldn’t try to extinguish the fire. Instead, they would concentrate all their efforts on keeping the cats safe. The people would stand in a row around the structure, trying to keep cats from running or jumping past and “hurl[ing] themselves into the flames,” an outcome that “cause[d] the Egyptians deep distress” (II.66). This story doesn’t sound quite right to us. What cat—except a mother cat trying to save her kittens—would deliberately run into a fire?


Herodotus
Herodotus
Photo © Marie-Lan Nguyen /
Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY 2.5.

When a cat died

And now we come to the eyebrow-shaving portion of our tale. It was when a cat died naturally that “all the inmates of a house … shave[d] their eyebrows.” But when a house’s dog died, the people shaved their whole bodies, including the head.

Cats were taken to Bubastis after death to be embalmed and buried. Bubastis was the city where the cult of Bastet (goddess of cats, the home, domesticity, fertility, and childbirth) was centered. Dogs, on the other hand, were buried in whichever town they’d lived in. Other animals (Herodotus mentions field mice, hawks, and ibises) were, like cats, buried in specific cities.
  
Perhaps you are wondering what happened when someone killed a cat in Egypt. Well, Herodotus doesn’t tell us (which we find a little odd since he specifically mentioned the eyebrow shaving for cats that died naturally). It was a later historian, Diodorus Siculus (1st century AD), who wrote that anyone who killed a cat, even accidentally, was condemned to death.

We wonder why Herodotus did not mention this. Was he unaware of it? Did he forget to ask what the penalty was for killing a cat? Did he lose his notes on that topic? Did Diodorus get hold of some bad information? All questions we can’t answer.


Sources

“Cats in Ancient Egypt,” Ancient Egypt Online, https://www.ancientegyptonline.co.uk/cat.html.

“Herodotus,” Wikipedia, 15 May 2018 (last edited), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herodotus.

“Herodotus on Cats in Egypt,” Ancient History Encyclopedia, 18 January 2012, https://www.ancient.eu/article/88/herodotus-on-cats-in-egypt/.

Quotes from Herodotus, The Histories, translated by Aubrey de SĂ©lincourt, new edition (Penguin Books, 1996).

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Cat of the Week: Iysis

#adoptablecats


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.

#adoptablecat #baltimorehumanesociety 
Today we are pleased to introduce Iysis. She is an 8-year-old ladycat with lovely gray and white coloring. Iysis is a bit shy with new people and feels a little overwhelmed in the shelter environment. Hey, it can be scary in there! She is a terrific cat, though, who just needs a chance to warm up to someone. Surely somebody out there will give this girl a chance!

Iysis 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, May 14, 2018

Book Review: Magick Run Amok


Mysterious Monday



On this Mysterious Monday, we are thrilled to bring you our review of the latest book in the Abracadabra mystery series by Sharon Pape. Magick Run Amok keeps this fun series going with a perplexing series of murders, a little magic, a famous sorcerer who’s seriously in the wrong time zone, and of course a clowder of cats.

The plot

Magick Run Amok, by Sharon Pape
We return to New Camel, New York, and meet up with Kailyn Wilde, owner of a magick shop called Abacadabra. Her aunt Tilly has had a premonition of a murder—another murder—and soon Kailyn’s love interest, local TV reporter Travis, tells her that his friend Ryan is missing. Then Ryan is dead, apparently the victim of an unfortunate car accident. Then Travis reveals that Ryan was not just a friend; he was an adopted brother. And he was murdered, probably because he’d been investigating a string of earlier murders that had been passed off as unrelated deaths from various causes. Travis is going to investigate Ryan’s death and all those others. Does Kailyn want to help?

Dumb question, right?

So Travis and Kailyn begin interviewing victims’ family members, trying to find out what all those deaths have in common. Kailyn’s abilities in spell casting and teleportation come in handy, and the investigative duo starts to form some theories. But as they get closer to the truth, it starts to look like one or both of them could be the killer’s next victim. It’s a good thing Kailyn has cats! (See next section to find out why.)

We can’t review an Abacadabra book without mentioning Merlin. Yes, the Merlin. King Arthur, Knights of Round Table, etc., etc. The famous sorcerer has been pulled out of his own time and is stuck in the modern world—not that this is totally a bad thing. He loves ice cream, television, pizza, and getting into mischief. In Magick Run Amok, he tries a run for the town board (not a good idea, since he’s not a citizen and can’t reveal where he’s really from), transmutes himself into a duck and can’t undo it (so funny!), and puts a little glamour on Kailyn so everyone thinks she is a certain King of Rock ’n’ Roll (too bad she still can’t sing). He is quite the character!

The cats

Kailyn has a whole clowder of cats, headed by Shashkatu, a senior who spends most of his time sleeping in the shop. There are five other cats, plus Tilly’s Maine coon. Shashkatu and his underlings play an important role in saving their people from a dangerous jam. Bad guys in your house? Send in the cats! We enjoyed that scene, and we especially enjoyed the little wink Shashkatu gives Kailyn when it’s over. Yeah, he planned it all. The cats are mostly side characters in this book, but they sure do show up when needed.

Our verdict

We love this series. We still haven’t read the first book, but we are anxious to get to it and find out how everything started. That said, you can enjoy Magick Run Amok even if you haven’t read the previous books, although we suspect you’ll enjoy it more if you have read the earlier volumes. The mystery is well constructed and is truly mysterious. It is no wonder no one connected the dots earlier, and if not for Kailyn, Travis, and friends, a killer would remain free. The action and suspense are relieved by healthy doses of humor, and the characters are some of our favorites in the world of cozy mysteries. The magic is more complicated than the “I’ll just whip up a little spell and everything will be fine” variety; it’s helpful, but not foolproof (quack quack!). And the cats are excellent. We do love a cat who saves the day.

If you haven’t tried the Abacadabra books yet, you should. We think you’ll love them as much as we do!

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, May 13, 2018

Sunday Selfie with Layla

Sometimes, Resident Dog Layla feels left out of the blogging fun. So this week old SoLT said she could do the Sunday Selfie. This is only fair since it was Layla, not the Real Cats, who helped read CatStronauts: Robot Rescue for our most recent book review. Here she is hard at work:

rescue dogs, yellow Lab


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

Sunday Selfies

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Caturday Art: Paisley Repurposes a Selfie

What do you do when you need something for Caturday Art in a hurry? Why, you take your most recent Sunday Selfie and use a couple LunaPic effects on it!

#caturdayart

For the record, this is the Tattoo art effect at about 50% (old SoLT forgot to write down the exact number) and the Landscape art effect at 15% (because what's LunaPic art without a little Landscape effect?).

We're joining the Caturday Art Blog Hop, hosted by Athena & Marie. We hope they are loving their new place!

Caturday Art Blog Hop

Friday, May 11, 2018

Words with Webster: Cat, Plus Friendly Fill-Ins


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

Words with Webster


#catwords
Hi, everybody! It’s me, Real Cat Webster. Welcome to Words with Me. Today’s word is “cat.” Finally! I have been promising to do this word for a while now, and this week Mommy said we could do it. I don’t know why it’s taken so long. Ask Mommy.

Anyway, we all know what a cat is, right? Just in case, here is the definition from the Oxford English Dictionary:
A well-known carnivorous quadruped (Felis domesticus) which has long been domesticated, being kept to destroy mice, and as a house pet.
The word has been used in English since at least 800, when it appeared in this quote:
Fellus (felis), catte.  (Glossary [MS Cambridge, Corpus Christi College 144] H. Sweet: The Oldest English Texts [1885])
That wasn’t such a great quote, since the source name was longer than the actual quote, so I found this other one from about 500 years later (c. 1300):
By nighth als a cat hy seeth. (Kyng Alisaunder [c. 1400–1425], 5275)
Then I tried to figure out where the word “cat” came from. Get this: Nobody knows exactly where “cat” came from. This is what the OED says:
The name is common European of unknown origin: found in Latin and Greek in 1–4th cent., and in the modern languages generally, as far back as their records go.
The Online Etymology Dictionary says the Old English word “catt” entered English from West Germanic, and from the Proto-Germanic kattuz. Latin had the word catta (c. AD 75), and Byzantine Greek had katta (c. 350). The word may ultimately have Afro-Asiatic origins: The Nubian word for “cat” is kadis, and the Berber word is kadiska. We speculate that the Romans might have picked up a version of this word during their North African adventures and then spread it all around.

One other really interesting thing is how similar the different words for “cat” are across much of Europe. Look at this:
Spanish: gato
Italian: gatto
German: katze
Dutch: kat
Welsh: cath
Bulgarian: kotka
Russian: kot (masculine), koshka (feminine)
Finnish: katti
After this post, you should be able to say “cat” in about a dozen different languages!


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. I spend countless hours per day online. I basically have an online dictionary, style guide, and a search engine open all day while I’m working, and then there’s the research for blogging, and visiting friends’ blogs.… I’d guess I spend at least four hours a do actively doing things online, more if I’m working on a book that has tons of stuff to verify. Add in another hour for social media too!

2. When I go online, I use my desktop during the day and my iPad or sometimes a laptop in the evenings.

Real Cat Paisley’s answers:
3. Mother’s Day I always think I should get something really neat for Mommy, but then I remember she already has me, and what could be better than that? Also, I don’t have any cash.

4. I wish I had some cash, or better, a credit card. Then I could go online and order some good food. This stuff Mommy got at the pet store last week is just barely edible!

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Jimmy the Cat: Mascot of the HMS Renown


Cats in History


Some cats get around more than others, and Jimmy the cat, a fluffy, light-colored fellow who lived during World War I, had experiences on land and sea that most of us can’t imagine.

Jimmy “transfers” from land to sea

Jimmy the cat. Georgina Shaw Baker.
This pastel drawing of Jimmy was done by Georgina Shaw Baker.
National Maritime Museum, Greenwhich, London. [CC BY-NC-SA].

We’re not sure where he started life, but Jimmy and his person, an Australian whose name is unknown, spent time together in the war’s trenches until the person was wounded and sent to London. Jimmy went along with him, and while the two were at Victoria Station, a fortuitous meeting took place. Jimmy’s person happened to meet a Royal Navy cook named F. Conway, who was interested in the cat. Knowing he wouldn’t be able to keep the cat with him (we’re not totally sure why, but we suspect something like a “no cats in the hospital” rule was to blame), the Australian turned Jimmy over to Conway.

Wounded in the Battle of Jutland

At that time, Conway was assigned to the HMS King George V, and he took Jimmy aboard with him. The King George V was a dreadnought battleship that was part of the Royal Navy’s Grand Fleet and spent most of the war patrolling the North Sea. On May 31, 1916, the ship took part in the Battle of Jutland, in which the Royal Navy attempted to destroy Germany’s High Seas Fleet.

Unfortunately, Jimmy was on deck during the fight, and his left ear was hit by shrapnel when a shell exploded near him. We don’t know any cats who would stay outside in the noise of a naval battle, but that’s what Jimmy did. Afterward, he needed a few weeks for his ear to heal, but then he went right back up on deck.

Clearly, Jimmy was born to be a Royal Navy cat.

Transfer to HMS Renown

When Conway was sent to be a cook on the newly launched battlecruiser HMS Renown, Jimmy went along. We know a little more about his life on that ship, which also patrolled the North Sea but was not in any battles. Jimmy became the ship’s mascot, beloved by the crew. He was a social cat and liked to hang around with the crew, especially when there was any sort of sport going on.

HMS Renown ca. 1918
HMS Renown (1916), photographed ca. 1918.
Official US Navy photograph. Public domain.

The cat still spent much of his time with Conway, though, and could often be found in the galley, where he could sometimes score a bit of food. He also slept with Conway, waking him at six every morning.

  
Jimmy the Cat postcard by Dumb Friends League.
The Dumb Friends League created
this postcard of Jimmy.

Jimmy’s retirement

That ear injury still gave Jimmy trouble, though, and so when Conway left the Renown on leave in 1917, he took the cat along. Jimmy’s sea career was at an end, as Conway left him in Chelsea with the Dumb Friends League. The cat then got involved in fund-raising for the league and became quite well known. He also got regular visits from his former shipmates.

Jimmy died in 1924 and was reportedly mourned by many. Truly, his was a life well lived.

Sources

Bulanda, Susan. 2014. Soldiers in Fur and Feathers: The Animals That Served in World War—Allied Forces. Crawford, CO: Alpine Publications.

“HMS King George V (1911).” 2018 (last edited). Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_King_George_V_(1911)

“HMS Renown (1916).” 2018 (last edited). Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Renown_(1916)