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.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Caturday Art: Webster

Our Caturday Art this week features Real Cat Webster with an unknown filter from Dreamscope:

#CaturdayArt


This one only took a week to get back. It came out a little dark, so we bumped up the brightness and contrast in Photoshop. We're pleased with it and didn't think it needed anything else.

No sign of the art we started in Dreamscope three or four weeks ago, though.

Reminder!
#PetPhotoFails

Don't forget to remember the Pet Photo Fails Blog Hop, which happens right here next Friday, July 27!
Just post a couple of those not-quite-right pet photos (we know you have some) and stop by, ready to hop.
We can't wait to see you!


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

#CaturdayArt

Friday, July 20, 2018

Words with Webster: Catnap

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 “catnap.” I picked this word because today is Nap Day, a day that sure seems made for cats. Anyway, we all know what a catnap is, right? In case you don’t, it is a “very short light nap,” according to my favorite dictionary (Webster’s, obviously [Webster’s Third New International, unabridged, online]).

The Oxford English Dictionary doesn’t have a separate entry for “catnap.” Weird, right? Anyway, they list it under “cat,” along with a whole bunch of other phrases and words that have “cat” in them.  They say a catnap is “a short nap while sitting.”

These definitions make me think that maybe dictionary people have never seen a cat take a nap. When me and Paisley take naps, we don’t mess around with “short,” “light,” or “sitting.” We are serious about it! Maybe other cats do it different, though. Please let us know in the comments if we are taking naps wrong.

cats Real Cat Webster

The OED says that this word has been around since at least 1823, when it appeared in James Fenimore Cooper’s Pioneers:
I just closed my eyes in order to think the better with myself... It was only some such matter as a cat’s nap. (II.xiii.187)
There weren’t a lot of good quotes for "catnap," so that’s the only one I picked to show you.

Obviously “catnap” is a combination of “cat” and “nap.” If you want to know about “cat” (which has been around since at least the year 800), you can read my post on it. “Nap” has been around since about 1300, according to the Online Etymology Dictionary. It seems to be related to the Old High German hnaffezan and Norwegian napp.

Maybe this will give you something to dream about while you're taking your nap today!

Friendly Fill-InsFriendly Fill-Ins

And now it’s time for Friendly Fill-Ins, from 15andmeowing and The Four-Legged Furballs. Old SoLT did the first two, and Real Cat Paisley did the next two.

Old SoLT’s answers:
1. I tried  a cricket and I liked didn’t like it. Someone gave me a “Cricket Lick-It” lollipop once and I thought, Well, why not? so I ate it. Let’s just say it turned out to be not my thing. And the tequila-flavored lollipop with the worm inside? Also not my thing!

2. Am I the only one who would actually eat candy with a cricket in it?

Real Cat Paisley’s answers:
3. Garfield is my hero/heroine. All that lasagna!

4. If I could eat only one food for the rest of my life, it would be … You must be crazy. There is no way I could eat only one food. I get tired of everything after one day, sometimes after one serving, so Mommy has to rotate my food brands and flavors a lot.



Reminder!

#PetPhotoFails

Finally, here is your monthly reminder about the Pet Photo Fails Blog Hop, which happens right here next Friday!
So post a couple of those not-quite-right pet photos (we know you have some) and stop by, ready to hop.
We can't wait to see you!

Thursday, July 19, 2018

The Mythical Ball-Tailed Cat of North America


Ball-Tailed Cat
 Our subject today is the mythical North American feline known as the ball-tailed cat (Felis caudaglobosa—and no, we’re not entirely sure why a fictional creature has a scientific name or who so named it). The ball-tailed cat was a sort of wildcat similar to a mountain lion, only with a “hardy heavy, bony ball on the end of its tail” (Tryon, p. 7). We haven’t been able to find out the original range of this feline, but woodsmen around the turn of the 20th century traded tales of the creature, so we deduce that it lived primarily in wooded areas. Henry Harrington Tryon wrote in the 1930s that
recent surveys indicate that it is now pretty well confined to Harney County, Oregon, and Sullivan County, Pennsylvania. (p. 7)
The cat had a unique hunting method, lying in wait on a tree limb, only to drop down onto someone passing by (usually a lumberjack) and pound the victim to death with its ball. For a male cat, the ball was multipurpose: the cat could drum it against a hollow log to try to attract females.

Where did stories of such a creature originate? This is another thing we don’t know (add it to the list!). We speculate that perhaps a woodsman encountered a mountain lion with an abscess or tumor on its tail, and one thing led to another—but we doubt such a cat tried to beat the man to death with its tail. And yes, we made up everything in that last sentence, so don’t go quoting it as fact. Could be lumberjacks are just really good at making stuff up.

Dingmaul, aka Digmaul or Dimaul
A dimaul, dingmaul, or digmaul.
The Monster Blog of Monsters reports that “magizoologists” have noted the similarity between the ball-tailed cat’s tail and that of the dinosaur Ankylosaurus, which is thought to have used the mass on its tail “in defence and threat displays.” Some of these magizoologists even think that the ball-tailed cat could be related to Ankylosaurus, “but they are generally regarded as being quite, quite bonkers.” We would have to agree.

The fearsome silver cat
A silver cat. Apparently they liked
to hang upside down from branches.
Similar mythical felines include the digmaul (which we have also found spelled “dingmaul” or “dimaul”) and the silver cat. The silver cat sounds particularly fearsome, as the ball in its tail featured a smooth side for beating things and a spiked side for hanging on to them. You wouldn’t want to run into one of those in the woods, now would you?

Picture credit: All images are from Tryon’s book Fearsome Critters, illustrated by Margaret R. Tryon. [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons.

Sources

 Ball-Tailed Cat,” Wikipedia, last edited 27 May 2018.

Craig Chaddock, “Ball-TailedCat,” The Monster Blog of Monsters.

Henry H. Tryon, Fearsome Critters (70th anniversary hypertext ed., http://www.lumberwoods.com/p7.htm; originally published 1939 by Idlewild Press).

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Cat of the Week: Laila

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.


#adoptablecat #blackandwhitecat #adoptdontshop #baltimorehumaneThis week, we’re pleased to introduce this black-and-white beauty named Laila. Laila is an 8-year-old female who is described as a sweet lady. She is into head rubs and lounging on comfy cat beds. We love the pattern of her coloring, how her face is almost pure black from the chin up and white below that. So pretty! Someone out there will be really lucky to invite this lady into their home.

Laila is currently at Charm Kitty Café in Baltimore, MD. 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, July 16, 2018

Book Review: Cats on Film

Cats on Film, by Anne Billson

Today we are pleased to bring you our review of a book we have been wanting to read for months: Cats on Film, by Anne Billson. If you love movies and cats, and movies with cats, we think you’ll love this look into a selection of cat films that, unless you are some kind of super film buff, will surely introduce you to some movies you’ve never seen, and maybe some you’ve never heard of.

If you think about it, cats don’t always play the same role in movies. We’d never considered that before, but now that Billson has pointed it out, it’s rather obvious. Cats can be heroes, villains, or companions, or they can provide simple scares by jumping out at someone. They can play multiple roles in a single film. Sometimes the cat appears only during the film’s credits. Billson divides cats’ roles into 12 categories and lists several relevant films in each. Some of these films you’ve surely heard of even if you haven’t seen them; others, especially the foreign titles, may be unfamiliar. The films in which cats play a major role are marked as “Major Cat Films,” useful if you’re not that interested in watching two hours of movie for just 30 seconds of cat.

One thing we really appreciated was Billson’s warning at the beginning of the “Catrifice” chapter, which discusses films in which cats are mistreated or killed. “Sensitive cat lovers may wish to skip this section,” she advises—and we did skip it, except for making note of the titles in it so we’ll be warned ahead of time before watching any of those films, if we watch them at all.

Jones, from Alien (1979)
Jones the cat in Alien (1979).
Not every section is a straight-up discussion of a film. One of our favorite parts was “My Day, by Jones,” a sort of diary entry allegedly penned by Jones, the excellent cat in Alien. In this description of the film’s events as seen from his point of view, the cat refers to the alien as “the hairless kitten” and later as “the giant killer-kitten.” Old SoLT found this terribly funny. We also loved the postscript discussing the White Cat of Evil you may know from James Bond films.

Billson provides interesting behind-the-scenes information, some of which might make you think differently about certain movies. For example, The Adventures of Milo and Otis (1986) may be the cute story of a ginger kitten and a pug, but there are allegations (unverified, as far as we know) that several kittens died during its making. Additionally, the film’s makers put real cats in terrifying and dangerous situations. That was enough for us to scratch this movie off our list of things to watch. On the other paw, we learned that the famous Morris the Cat reportedly played Philip Marlowe’s cat in The Long Goodbye (1973), so this movie goes on our list.

We came away from reading Cats on Film with a long list of films that we are eager to watch. Many of them are classics that we didn’t even realize included cats, and we even added some foreign titles—usually not our thing, but if it’s a cat movie, we’ll give it a try. Our list includes a Korean ghost story, some anime, and French and other European films. Now we just have to find them all.

Be warned that this book includes graphic language (F-bombs and sexual language), mostly within quotes from films.

Cats on Film is a book that is both enjoyable and useful. We raced through it, staying up late to read about “just one more movie.” If you enjoy cats and movies even half as much as we do, we think you’ll enjoy this book. We read the Kindle version of Cats on Film, but the much pricier print version is going on our Christmas list. From what we’ve seen of the “Look inside” previews on Amazon, the print version has more pictures in it. Also, this is a book we know we are going to turn to again and again, and that’s the sort of thing we prefer to have in print. So if your budget will accommodate the print book, that is the version we recommend getting--and yes, we do recommend this book!

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, July 15, 2018

Sunday Selfie: Real Cat Paisley at Work

Sometimes Real Cat Paisley likes to  sit in the window behind the computer monitors while old SoLT is working. That's where she took her selfie this week.

#catsatwork #officecats


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

Sunday Selfies Blog Hop

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Caturday Art: Paisley with Waves of Illusion

Just when old SoLT thought she was going to have to spend an hour or two making a Caturday Art, she tried one filter in Lunapic and said, "Wow, that's cool!" Then she put another effect on top of it and said, "That's cool too!"

She couldn't decide which she liked better, so here they both are:

#CaturdayArt #Lunapic

This first one is the Waves effect at 100%.

#CaturdayArt #Lunapic

And this one is Waves with Illusion added at 100% for some more color.

Which one do you like best? Let us know in the comments!

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

Caturday Art Blog Hop


Friday, July 13, 2018

Words with Webster: Panther


We have two fun Friday features for you today. First up is Real Cat Webster, who has another wild 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 “panther.” I picked this word because one of the comments to my last post asked, “If leopards aren’t panthers, then what are?” That’s a great question, and we wondered about that ourselves. So of course I looked it up, and Webster’s dictionary says “panther” means
(1): a leopard of a supposed exceptionally large fierce variety (2): a leopard of the black color phase. (Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, unabridged, online)
A panther can also be a cougar or a jaguar, again according to Webster’s.

Next I used Mommy’s library account to look at the Oxford English Dictionary, which defines “panther” like this:
Originally: an exotic spotted big cat that was believed to be distinct from the leopard. Now: a leopard (Panthera pardus), esp. a melanistic one.
The OED also says that “panther” can mean a cougar or jaguar, although it indicates the “jaguar” meaning is obsolete, which seems weird to Mommy because she has seen “panther” used to refer to a melanistic jaguar a whole bunch of times.

I found this fun quote from 1894 to make things more confusing:
The panther was long called a “tyger” in the Carolinas, and a “lyon” elsewhere. (Century magazine, April, 849)
This quote uses "panther" to refer to the cougar, puma, mountain lion, or whatever other synonym you can think of.

Anyway, “panther” has been around since the early 13th century, according to the Online Etymology Dictionary. It came from the Old French word pantere, which was from the Latin panthera, which was from the Greek panther (“panther, leopard”). Some of you may recognize panthera as the genus name of several big cat species: the lion, tiger, jaguar, leopard, and snow leopard.

A melanistic leopard, aka panther
This cat could be called a panther (it's a melanistic leopard), but so could a few other cats.
Photo by Davidvraju [CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia Commons.
There are lots of quotes for this word, so I picked just a couple:
The leoparde or spotted panthere…signifieth the kingdom of great Alexander. (George Joye, 1545, The Exposition of Daniel the Prophete, 1st ed., vii. f. 98)
In the twelfth edition of the Systema Naturæ the Panther and Leopard seem to be confounded by Linnæus himself, who seems to have considered them as the same species. (George Shaw and James Francis Stephens, 1800, General Zoology, 1st ed., I. ii. 349)

In conclusion, a panther is a leopard … except when it is something else.

You humans just can’t decide what to call cats, can you?

Friendly Fill-Ins

Friendly Fill-InsAnd now it’s time for Friendly Fill-Ins, from 15 and Meowing and The Four-Legged Furballs. Old SoLT did the first two this week, and Real Cat Paisley did the next two.

Old SoLT’s answers:
1. As a child, I feared ghosts, and I thought everyplace we lived was haunted.

2. Friday the 13th is a movie I remember watching on cable when I was in high school. It scared me then and still kind of freaks me out today. I don’t have any superstitions about the actual day.

 Real Cat Paisley’s answers:
3. I think tortitude is my best quality.

4. You can’t go wrong with taking a nap. Napping solves most problems and gives you more energy to play.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

14 Questions for Real Cat Paisley

Real Cat Paisley


Just when we thought we weren’t going to think of a Thursday post topic this week, our pal CK posted a set of 14 new questions to answer, and we jumped on it. Real Cat Paisley agreed to provide honest answers in exchange for extra treats.


1. When did something start out badly for you but in the end, it was great?
Going to adoption events when I was just a kid. I was about 6 months old, and my foster family kept taking me to cat adoption events at Petsmart, but nobody would adopt me. I think it was because I was frightened and people couldn't see the real me. It was awful. I went five times and nobody wanted me, but then on my sixth time, my mommy came and found me, and it was obvious we were made for each other! So that turned out pretty great.
2. What weird food combinations do you really enjoy?
I don’t think anything I eat is weird, but I really like a beef and liver combo that icks Mommy out.
3. What food have you never eaten but would really like to try?
I can’t think of any. Except maybe I would like to try fried chicken more often than Mommy lets me.
4. What food is delicious but a pain to eat?
Fried chicken, because I have to ask and ask and ask to get just a tiny little piece!
5. What's the most expensive thing you've ever broken?
Paisley dominates another balance ball
That’s easy: Mommy’s balance ball chairs. They’re not expensive (under $20 each), but I’ve gotten my claws into quite a few of them over the years, so it adds up. Mommy says she’s never buying one again, and now she sits on a stool that I can’t figure out how to break yet.
6. What would a world populated by clones of you be like?
So much fun! Interspersed with lots of arguments, ’cause I don’t take crap from anybody, even myself.
7. What smartphone feature would you actually be excited for a company to implement?
Meow recognition, so I can open Mommy’s phone and do stuff whenever I want.
8. What’s something people don’t worry about but really should?
Anything other than themselves. Too many humans decide not to care about animals, or the planet, or people who aren’t just like them. If more people figured out they’re not the only thing that matters, the world would be a better place.
9. What was cool when you were young but isn’t cool now?
Flip phones.
10. If magic was real, what spell would you try to learn first?
That one from Harry Potter that makes people throw up slugs. I have a list of people I’d like to try it on.
11. What goal do you think humanity is not focused enough on achieving?
I have to agree with CK: Humanity needs to eliminate kill shelters. Killing animals because they are “extra” is one of the dumbest ideas people have ever had.
12. If you were a ghost and could possess people, what would you make them do?
I’d make them get the zoomies and run around the house like we cats do. I want to see Mommy run up and down the hall real fast with that wild look in her eyes!
13. What game have you spent the most hours playing?
Probably “chase the toy.” I haven’t played this in a long time, but I used to do it every evening. Mommy would toss a toy down the hall and I’d chase after it, then she’d walk to the end of the hall and throw the toy in the other direction and I’d chase after it, and so on. We both got a lot of exercise doing this!
14. What’s the most comfortable bed or chair you’ve ever been in?
Definitely the bed in the guest bedroom, and specifically the pillows on it. That’s the best place in the house.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Cat of the Week: Leo


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.


#adoptablecat #bmorehumane
Today we’re introducing a big, handsome fellow who is sure to steal someone’s heart. Leo is a male tabby who is 8 years old. He is a cat of stature, and by that we mean he is not small. This guy weighs in at 24 pounds and is a total cutie. Leo is very sweet and loves getting attention. We know he’ll make a great companion for someone!

Leo 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, July 9, 2018

Book Review: Two by Clea Simon

Mysterious Monday


On this Mysterious Monday, we are excited to share our thoughts on not one but two new releases from one of our favorite authors, Clea Simon. First up is Cross My Path, the latest in the Blackie and Care mystery series, and next is Fear on Four Paws, the latest in the Pru Marlowe Pet Noir series.

Cross My Path

Cross My Path, by Clea Simon

This book picks up the story of a young pink-haired private investigator named Care and her feline companion, Blackie. They live in a run-down port town where work is hard to come by and the living is hard. Care, though, is building a reputation and a clientele, even if many clients can barely pay her. Now she has two jobs, one for a woman seeking something that belonged to her missing brother, the other for a man seeking his younger work companion who has gone missing. Meanwhile, she is also trying to figure out what her former acquaintance AD, who is supposed to be in prison, is doing walking the streets, and she’s still trying to protect young Tick, the growing boy she feels an almost motherly attachment to. These tasks all keep taking her to the docks, a dangerous part of town where it is rumored that trade is about to start up again. The question is, trade in what, and why do people Care knows keep turning up dead?

The story is told entirely from Blackie’s point of view. He is a unique cat (or maybe not so unique—who knows?) in that he used to be someone else. Specifically, he used to be Care’s former mentor, now deceased. The first two books in this series dealt largely with Blackie coming to understand who he now is and who he once was. Now he knows, but there are still many things he does not know about his former life. We love how devoted he is to Care, to protecting her, and we love getting to see the world through his senses. He is one of the most fascinating feline characters we have ever read, and his character grows with each book.

We think Cross My Path is the best book in the series so far. The story, set in a dark world, is completely engrossing, filled with characters who keep you wondering what they’re really up to. It’s hard to tell who Care should trust, and the consequences if she chooses wrong could be deadly for her and Blackie. This is not a cozy by any means, but if you’re up for something grittier and featuring a truly great cat, we highly recommend Cross My Path and the whole Care and Blackie series!

Fear on Four Paws

Fear on Four Paws, by Clea Simon
We have been wanting to try the Pru Marlowe series for a while now, and we are so happy we finally got a chance to. Pru is an animal behaviorist who has the ability to communicate with animals, although she doesn’t always interpret their messages correctly. She’s also a former wild child who speeds around in her muscle car, drinks a fair amount of bourbon, and sleeps with local police detective Jim Creighton. In this book, Pru gets involved in a murder investigation after a bear is illegally trapped and Pru finds her boss, Albert, passed out at the scene. Unfortunately for Albert, there’s also a body—a human one—stashed in a cabin used by him and his buddies.

Albert is your basic disgusting slob, but Pru knows he couldn’t have organized the trapping of the bear, much less killed anyone, and so she has to help him clear his name. Trouble is, the only known witness is his ferret, Frank, but given the messages Pru gets from him, she has to wonder what he’s holding back. Meanwhile, local pets belonging to well-off newcomers keep going missing, only to turn up a short while later, found by a nice young man who often receives a small reward for his efforts. Pru suspects that something weird is going on there too.

The main cat in this book is Wallis, Pru’s tabby with an attitude. We enjoyed their blunt exchanges. Wallis is quick to comment on whatever Pru is up to, but it’s really up to the ferret, Frank, to help put together the pieces of this mystery.

We enjoyed Fear on Four Paws a lot. Pru is not a polished person by any means—she is who she is, and we like that. We also like how Clea Simon handles the animal communication parts of the story. It’s not always clear what the animal is trying to tell Pru, and Pru just might get the sensation of a mouth full of fur along with the communication. The plot is also a real puzzler. We did not figure it out at all, and the end had us turning pages like crazy to find out what would happen. Fun!


 Both of these books are great reads, and we give them both a very enthusiastic Two Paws Up!

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 these books in exchange for a fair and honest review. We wouldn’t tell you something was good unless we really liked it!

The links below are Amazon Associates links. If you purchase anything through these links, old SoLT and I could get some coin for our kibble account. Thank you!

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Sunday Selfie: Paisley's Two White Whiskers

Real Cat Paisley was persuaded to do this week's Sunday Selfie, and after she took it she noticed that it shows off her two white whiskers. See them?

#tortiecats #whiskers


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

Sunday Selfies Blog Hop

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Caturday Art: Brave Webster

For today's Caturday Art, old SoLT used the Ceremony (100%) and Brave (42%) art effects from Lunapic to make this art of Real Cat Webster:

#CaturdayArt #Lunapic

We think it makes his eyes look pretty cool. And here's the original:

#catpics

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

Caturday Art Blog Hop

Friday, July 6, 2018

Words with Webster: Leopard

We have two fun Friday features for you today. First up is Real Cat Webster, who has a … spotted 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 “leopard.” Maybe you remember that I mentioned this word in my column a couple of weeks ago and said I’d do it soon. I’m doing it today.

A leopard is
a large strong cat (Felis pardus) of southern Asia and Africa that is usually tawny or buff with black spots arranged in broken rings or rosettes, is somewhat arboreal, and often lies in ambush for its prey that consists of most animals small or weak enough for it to overcome—called also panther. (Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged, online)
You probably already knew that. And if you read my last post about the word “pard,” you might already suspect that “leopard” is a related word. Well, it is. Let’s go in our usual order, though, with dates and quotes.

“Leopard” has appeared with various spellings since at least about 1330, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. The Online Etymology Dictionary says the English word has been around since the late 13th century and was used as a surname starting in the early 13th century. There were several good quotes. I picked these ones for you to show a couple of the different spellings:
Then answered Kyng Richard, In deed lyon, in thought libbard. (Richard Coer de Lyon, 2182 [about 1400])

There was a lyeparte there aboutes whiche destroyed the people of the contre. (Jacobus de Voragine, Golden Legende, trans. by William Caxton, 416/1 [1483])

Wert thou a Leopard, thou wert Germane to the Lion, and the spottes of thy Kindred, were Iurors on thy life. (Shakespeare, Timon of Athens (1623) iv. iii. 342 [about 1616])
This word comes to us from the Late Latin leopardus (“lion-pard, lion-panther”) and Greek leopardos, says the Online Etymology Dictionary. Back in those times, people thought the leopard was actually a hybrid of a lion and a panther, so that’s what they called it: a lion-panther. Now we know that a leopard is its own thing.

Look closely at the cat in this drawing of an Egyptian chariot...
(By Unknown author [CC BY-SA 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons. Original source is W.W. Loring, "A Confederate Soldier in Egypt," 1884.)

Crop of Egyptian chariot pic
It's spotted, but it also seems to have a sort of mane.
Could it be an ancient lion-pard? 

One last note for today: A few commenters on my last post said that they thought “pard” would have something to do with “partner.” Well, it does, actually. “Pard” is also a colloquial term for “partner, chum.” This usage originated in the US and has been around since at least 1850. It is a shortened form of “pardener,” which has been around since at least 1795:
Improprieties, commonly called Vulgarisms... Pardener for Partner. (Benjamin Dearborn, The Columbian Grammar, 137 [1795])

Friendly Fill-Ins

Friendly Fill-Ins
And now it’s time for Friendly Fill-Ins, from 15andmeowing and The Four-Legged Furballs. The first two are answered by old SoLT this week, and the next two by Real Cat Paisley.

Old SoLT’s answers:
1. When it is hot, I like to sit on the deck (under the awning) and read. I enjoy getting out of the air conditioning, and it is nice to not be mildly to moderately to severely cold all the time.

2. I am looking forward to the end of this month. Because then it will be August, which is one month closer to my favorite season, fall.

Real Cat Paisley’s answers:
3. The theme song of my life would be “Margaritaville,” only I would re-title it “Niparitaville.”

4. There is no such thing as a free lunch. At least that’s what Mommy told me, but she feeds me lunch every day and I never pay her or anything, so I think that might be one of those alternative facts I keep hearing about.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Happy Fourth of July!

#FourthofJuly

From all of us here at The Cuddlywumps Cat Chronicles, happy Fourth to all our friends! We hope you and your families enjoy a safe and happy holiday!

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Cats of the Week: Barry and Bear Kitty

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.

Adopt Barry & Bear Kitty!
Today we are pleased to introduce two cats: Barry, an orange-and-white tabby who is 7 years old, and Bear Kitty, a brown-and-black tabby who is just a few days short of 7 years old. Barry is quiet and is quite shy, but he might open up and be his own cat in a home environment. He enjoys lounging in a comfy bed and watching people. Bear Kitty is an adventurous guy, so we think life with him would not be boring. He can be shy when he first meets someone, but he likes getting head rubs. He also loves looking out a window to keep track of all the birds and squirrels.

These guys would so love to get out of the shelter and into a loving home. They’re not listed as a bonded pair, so they don’t have to be adopted together.

Barry and Bear Kitty are currently at the Baltimore Humane Society. Learn more about Barry here and Bear Kitty 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, July 2, 2018

Cat Classics on Film: That Darn Cat (1997)

Cat Classics on Film


Today’s Cat Classic on Film is the 1997 version of the excellent 1965 film That Darn Cat. To know immediately how the two movies compare, just note where we placed the word “excellent” in the previous sentence.

The plot

The cat in the poster is cute, but he looks nothing like DC!
The movie’s plot got a makeover that in our opinion doesn’t have much life or fun in it. In the update, a stereotypically self-centered rich-but-broke Boston couple are the targets of a kidnapping scheme. The wife is supposed to be taken for ransom, but the kidnappers nab the maid instead.

Meanwhile, in small-town Edgefield, teenager Patti Randall (Christina Ricci) hates her life. When asked why she wears black all the time, she replies, “Because it matches my soul.” Things pick up for her when one morning her fluffy gray-and-white tabby, DC, shows up wearing a wristwatch around his neck. The letters “H-E-l-l”  are scratched into the back of it. Patti realizes the watch is a match for the one the kidnapped maid is shown wearing in a newspaper photo and the letters are meant to spell “Help” (but she does get her mother to say “hell,” which we guess is supposed to be funny).

Patti ditches school to take her story to the FBI office in Boston, where young goofball agent Zeke Kelso (Doug E. Doug) is assigned to deal with the cat. Kelso organizes agents to follow DC, hoping the furry informant will lead them to the kidnappers.

The cat

Our biggest beef with this movie is its two-dimensional, barely breathing characters, and sadly, that problem extends to the cat. DC is played by a cat named Elvis, who may be have been a talented cat actor, but he’s just not given a lot to do in this role. Sure, he does some fine running and jumping, but beyond the story of him leaving home every evening at eight o’clock to check out the town, his character is never developed. In the original film, DC was the star. In this version, he’s more of a side character.

We learned from Cinema Cats (an excellent site if you’re really into cats in movies) that Elvis was rescued from North Hollywood Animal Shelter by trainer Larry Madrid. Elvis was supposed to be a double for another cat in a project Madrid was working on, but the new rescue turned out to be a natural star. It’s too bad he wasn’t given a chance to shine in this role.

Our verdict

It wasn’t necessarily a bad idea to remake That Darn Cat, and we can see a lot of potential … with a script completely different from the one that actually resulted. Remember being at that age when you thought it was funny if your mom said “hell”? That’s the age group this 1997 version is aimed at. And honestly, we wonder if many of them would be all that entertained by it. Cristina Ricci does have her moments as Patti, but the movie is not titled Patti Catches a Kidnapper—it’s That Darn Cat.

We were disappointed by this film (in case you haven’t realized that by now). I am reluctantly raising half a paw for it, and that's only for Elvis the Cat. He did a fine job, and it's not his fault he had such a poor script to work with.

Half a Paw Up! An okay movie


If you want to see a cat comedy that (a) features a cat actor in an excellent role and (b) is actually funny, we highly recommend the 1965 version of That Darn Cat!

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Sunday Selfie

Real Cat Webster agreed to do the Sunday Selfie this week. He had recently been brushed and was feeling particularly handsome.

#SundaySelfiesBlogHop

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

Sunday Selfies Blog Hop