Just realized this hadn’t published when it was supposed to at midnight. Oops!
With our third blogoversary merely days away, I decided to participate in Flashback Friday and share one of our early posts with you. It received one comment from a personal friend, so I am relatively sure none of our current followers have seen it.
The post was originally published on September 1, 2012, and was entitled, “Naming Your Cat.” I have modified it slightly from a grammatical stand-point, but the content is unchanged. The post explains how several of our angels came by their names, so I believe you should find it interesting.
The asterisks in the post relate to a notes I have added at the end of today’s post.
NAMING YOUR CAT
Once you name a cat, it is no longer a stray. It is a member of your household. Friends have claimed they are feeding a cat that has been hanging around but haven’t named it. They just call it Cat or Kitty or some other generic moniker. Hey…that’s a name! My friend Tammy, who my Tom calls the pusher (she always calls me when she hears of cats that need homes) continues to have strays appear at her house. One of those, called Yellow Cat by her husband, Tom, was dropping by and they were feeding him. Tammy stated emphatically they were not claiming him or giving him a name. My Tom pointed out that Yellow Cat is a name. He’s now been around for a couple of years.
Poet T.S. Eliot (1888 – 1965) had advice about naming cats long before we started to care for cats, but we have our own list of “DOs” with regard to this: Number 1 on the list: Do give all your cats fancy names so when you’re outside screaming for them at the top of your lungs, your neighbors will think you’re classy.
We haven’t used any of the imaginative and whimsical names, like Munkustrap, Bombalurina, or Jellylorum, Eliot suggested in “The Naming of Cats,” first published with other cat poems in 1939. To our minds, however, we have improved at this ritual as the years have progressed.
New to this important task with our first and second cats, our inexperience is evident. After days of debate with kitty #1, the best we could do was Skooter—a typical pet’s name or kid’s nickname. (He was not named after the Muppet, Scooter.) We made our guy’s name a little different by using a “K” instead of a “C” in the spelling. But, still, it was not unusual or imaginative. Scooter ranks very high on the list of popular cat names.
Our second cat had an unusual name for a girl: Steamer. She was named after the brother of storyteller Ernest Randolph “Doc” McConnell (1928-2008): Cecil “Steamer” McConnell. We’d heard McConnell at a storytelling weekend at Mountain Lake, Pembroke, VA, and were delighted by a tale about Steamer and a Vienna (pronounced Vy-ee-nuh) Sausage tree. But this was yet another nickname.
By the time we got to our third cat, Daphne, we had decided human names were more sophisticated, developed our “DO” list and have not deviated from this system except when naming Twinkle. (However, I would like to have a Sparkle* someday, but probably will refrain as long as our neighbors have Sparky.) Daphne, according to Greek mythology, was a nymph pursued by the Olympian God, Apollo. Daphne prayed for help and was turned into a laurel. Though Daphne came into our lives in 1991, we did not know about the story of the laurel until 1994 when we visited Greece.
Until I began this post and re-read “The Naming of Cats” I hadn’t realized that we had used a derivative of one of Eliot’s “fancier” names. Chloë is another name for Demeter, the Greek Goddess of the Harvest. Chloë’s a very popular name on many pet naming web-sites as well. It’s the fifth most popular female cat name at cuteness.com and one of those listed at petrix.com along with Lily, Madison and MacKenzie. Dog lovers also must be partial to this name. The dog living across the street from us is a Chloë.
We showed great restraint when it came to our cat Madison. He hung out on the back deck for more than six months before we invited him in the house. And he did not get his name until he had become a permanent member of the household! Madison is not an unusual name. Human girls have been acquiring this name at an increasing rate during the past several years. Our Madison, however, was a male, and his name fit him purrfectly. With his white fur and blue eyes most visitors thought he was a female. It really didn’t bother him as he was secure in his masculinity.
For information on how some of our other kids came by their names, please read THE FELINES page.
Involving your children in the selection of a new kitty or in the naming process is always a good idea. But be prepared to live with their selections. Our previous neighbors’ large, female, tuxedo cat was named Jim!
I have lists of potential cat names for future felines that might come into our lives. At the top of all lists are the names Audrey and Jeanmarie. These ladies are both previous veterinarians to our kitties. Audrey was instrumental in saving Lily’s life, which you will be able to read about in a future post.* Both vets came to the house for annual check-ups and vaccinations and also picked up and dropped off various kitties when they needed care that required an office visit. We think naming a couple of our pusses for them would be the supreme compliment.
If you truly are at a loss for a cat name and decide to Google “Cat Names,” you will find 73 pages of web-sites with various lists and suggestions for names. Numerous books also can be found with lists of names. But be adventurous and use your imagination. We have found that it takes about four months for the average cat (and, of course, none are) to learn its name, so we felt secure in renaming three of our kitties: MacKenzie originally known as Cyrus, Lisbeth formerly Cary and Astrid (Tabitha). Madison also most likely had another name. He was about two years old when he adopted us and so well-mannered that he must have been someone else’s pet at one time.
But no matter what you name your puss, as long as something good awaits (treats, stinky goodness), she’ll come when you call…eventually.
* This post was written prior to our meeting Sparkle or her blog.
* This post has never been written. I’m putting it on my To Do List.
Your angels were all really lovely ; we loved their names and the stories behind the names. All your present day cats have great names…it’s the first thing we remembered about visiting all of you….great names! 🙂
the critters in the cottage xo
Wunderfull post Aunty Janet!!! Mee had a name befur LadyMum ‘dopted mee. It was Tigss…mee did not even answer to it!!
When LadyMum meted mee shee started callin mee “Dharth” aftur Dharth Vader mew mew mew…mee was climmin thee X-pen over an over to get loose an to her!!!!
Aftur thee ‘dopshun event efurryone was callin mee Dharth; even Lady Mary-Ellen who had named mee Tigss, mew mew mew….
While mee waited fur LadyMum to get prepared fur mee Lady Mary Ellen keeped callin mee Dharth an mee luvss that name!
When mee came to live here mee was given thee full name ‘Purrince’ Siddhartha Henry….
LadyMum had dreemed of havin a Burmese boy named ‘Purrince’ Siddhartha since shee was quite young an here mee was!!! So her naming mee ‘Dharth’ must have been her sub conjuss mind reemindin her ’bout thee propurr name!
Mee answers to Purrince an Dharth an Siddhartha an Siddhartha Henry….mee iss so happy mee iss not Tigss anymore 😉
***paw kissess*** an ~~~head rubsss~~~
Purrince Siddhartha Henry aka Dharth Henry =^,.^=
The naming of cats is such an important matter. Tara was named because of my love for Gone with the Wind, Truffles because she instantly made me think of a delicate little chocolate truffle. One of the many heartbreaks of losing a beloved pet is no longer having the joy of using a name that you chose so carefully and with so much love.
What wonderful stories you tell of how you named your beautiful kitties. The only one of mine I didn’t name was Abby. She had carried that name for the 6 years she had lived before I adopted her and I couldn’t change it.
What a great post! As you may have picked up, I, too, have seven indoor kitties. And, like your story, we have several outdoor kitties that I promised hubby would not get named so I could not “claim” them! We can’t add anymore because he now has developed allergies to the kitties. Quite a quandary. But he wouldn’t part with them either! So, they’re staying in their forever home. But I did finally give names to the little ones outside. I had to have a name for them when I took them to the vet to get “fixed!” LOL At least they can shelter in our garage so they, too, always have a place to stay and food to eat.
Great post! Thanks for sharing it with us. It’s always fun to hear how others came up with their pets’ names. A few of us have interesting reasons or stories as to how we got our names. Sampson would like Astrid to know that his name was picked out LONG before he was even a thought. It was a name that Mom thought of when she was a kid and always wanted to name a kitty that. Sampson was the first boy kitty she got to name, so he was the lucky one! We also incorporated his original name from when we adopted him as well – it was Dr. Dot. And of course we added “Suckler” in there since he is so obsessed with suckling! So the end result: Dr. Sampson Dot Suckler Hall!
Sampy sends a gazillion kisses to the beautiful Astrid! And we all send lots of love <3
Super interesting post……it’s always fascinating to hear how cats get their names. In Sam’s case, I had asked David before we even WENT to the shelter what he’d like to name our new cat (I was SURE we’d come home with one!) and he immediately said “Sammy”…….when we arrived at the shelter there was only one kitten there! David said “Hi Sammy!” when we saw him in his little cage and that was that. They’re all such special little love bundles who grace us with their presence for an unknown amount of time – they sometimes “tell” us their names when we first lay eyes on them (apparently!!!!!).
Hugs, Pam and Sam
I love all the names of your cats. They are very unique to each one.
I have or had 4 cats. One came from a no-kill shelter where we had gone to have another new cat fixed and shots. He was about 2 years old and had never been to a vet. I got him from the classifieds.
While there, we looked at the rescues and saw a beautiful tortie reaching out to us. Her name was Louise. We named her Spicy since we had a Punkin. Now she is an angel.
Then we got one who was dumped in a garbage bag and thrown in a dumpster at 5-6 weeks old. My husband named her Trash Can but we call her TC. Lastly, another stray kitten. I brought her with me to Petsmart to get kitten food and someone said she loved gingers. So she became Ginger, nicknamed Gin Gin.
love all your names,xx Spedy
My human is terrible at naming cats! I’m lucky I already had a name when my human brought me home. Sparkle lucked out – she was the only cat my human has ever had that had a normal cat name.
Angels hold such a special place in our hearts -always! Thanks for sharing!
You had great names for all your kitties. Thanks for showing the former kitties.
It was great to read about your first fur children. TW always feels that cats should have human names but then she calls us stupid things like Sweet Cheeks when no one is around. TW really didn’t name any of the strays she feeds except the female is always Mama.
What a wonderful post, Mom Janet. Thank you for sharing with us about your beautiful angel kitties. 🙂
I am glad you shared this post. All your angels were beautiful and I like your name choices.
The Blues kitties have fascinating names and this post was a very good read.. Us kitties do have oriental names. Although I think Shoko…sounding like SHOWKO is a male name.
Awe all cute names and cute kitty cats 🙂 Our Tilda (Matilda) was names by our human brother. He was reading that story in class and thought it was perfect for her.
xoxo, Ginger, Matt & Matilda
We think all the Kitties Blue have great names. All the fur sibs at my house have “human” names except the one foster who was left on the street when his owner died. Mom knew the name his owner gave him and did not change it.
Purrs to all and kisses to my sweetie
All your angels are lovely and it is so nice to hear about them. It is our blogoversary on Monday.
Gweat posty. Mommy sez da furst time yous feed a kitty it becomes yous whevver yous ike it or not. MOL
Dezi and Lexi
They were all gorgeous and we’re glad you told us about them.