Sunday, February 24, 2013

Pet weirdness - thinking of a name

We have a stray cat who adopted us about five years ago. I mean, what’s not to like about our back yard?

Plenty of water and moist dog-food chunks to eat. Of course, these things were intended for our turtles, but the cat had no problems with shouldering them aside and taking over their food.

Plenty of birds to hunt. We were also putting out birdseed for the hordes of pea-brained wild doves that seem to feel that it’s our duty to look after them along with the trees and other landscaping features in the back yard. No other cats or dogs.

So he settled in to stay in our back yard, and I didn’t catch on that he was ours until one rainy day (which almost never happens out here in the desert) in which he stayed on our back porch all day. Until then, I’d thought he was one of the neighborhood cats who frequently roamed across our property. But then I realized that he had no other place to go.

We bought him some dried cat-food and a heated doghouse, and the rest has been history. Except we couldn’t decide on a name for him. Which is funny because we’re usually good at names – at least for computers.

My husband has named computers on the network after ocean life (Mollusk, Oyster, Scallop) and cuts of meat (Sirloin, Ribeye, Porterhouse). I have named them after Confederate generals (Longstreet, Stuart, Beauregard) and Egyptian gods (Ptah, Isis, Horus).

But we couldn’t figure out a name for the cat until we went with the obvious, Little Gray. (He’s not so little now, being about 10 pounds.) How do you name your pets? After their appearance? Personality? After favorite characters in books or movies?

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  1. Well, my daughter was six when we got our cats and she didn't like their original names of Sydney and Shadow, so she named them Max and Vanessa. Why? No clue. LOL They appealed to her at the time. Our bunny had several names, his official name was Cocodot because he was white like coconut but had some black dots. But he was also called Sir Bunsiat and ended up just being plain old Bun.

  2. I named two of our recent cats and have had several cats over the years. Right now it's Ivy (because I rescued her as a kitten when the dogs "treed" her in the ivy) and Louis (because as a feral kitten all he did was whine and bite -- what Lestat teased Louis about), I've had Rabbit (who as a kitten would sit up like a bunny and wiggle her nose) and Abby (A la Young Frankenstein: Abby Normal as she was just weird). I'd say pick a personality trait and go with that...Or maybe Turtle since, you know, he hung with the turtles.

    He is a handsome fellow and I"m sure you'll think of something.

  3. Thank you for the comments, Tam and James! It sounds from your experience that pets get named from all of those sources I mentioned:
    appearance (Cocodot), circumstance (Ivy), favorite books and movies (Louis and Abby). Or even just names that sound good (Max and Vanessa).

    I probably should have named our cat Turtle since he hung with the turtles!

  4. Aw, sweet story! And lucky kitty. :)

    I meant to name my first cat Bagheera, but at age 5 kept struggling to remember it. So he eventually became Blacky by default. I later named a cat Gwen because somehow it just seemed to fit her. It was like, looking at her, I knew that was her name. I just didn't know if it was Gwendolyn or Guinevere until I got her home.

    I named a dog Madeleine May, after Madeleine L'Engle and the e.e. cummings poem "maggie and millie and molly and may". Hopefully getting another dog soon, and have been tossing ideas around but won't settle on one 'til I get to know him or her.

  5. Hi, Jess, and thanks for the comment! I guess he is a lucky kitty, poor thing. :) And I love your pet stories! More evidence that literary influences can sway us on pet names (us bibliophiles, that is!). I've had pets like your cat Gwen. It's hard to explain but their look just suggests a certain totally normal human name.

  6. Little Gray has a good life now. :)

    I can't remember how I picked Chaos (my brother had named him Hoho, which... no), but obviously Mayhem's name was picked because of how well it went with Chaos. I have some ideas for the next little black girl kitty I get, post-Chaos: Mischief (Missy) or Apocalypse (Cally or Polly).

  7. Chris, yes, Chaos is a way better name than HoHo! I'd assumed maybe it was Chaos's personality that got him the name (I'm thinking of that big dust-up he caused last year that gave you the stitches), and then that Mayhem's name went well with his, as you said. I especially like Mischief as a name!

    1. I think it just seemed like a good name for a black kitten, because I picked it when he didn't even have his eyes open, so his naughtiness wasn't yet evident.

  8. Hi Val, that's a sweet cat! Yes it's true cats adopt you not the other way round.
    I named my first dog Sherry, for her color, but when we took her to France on our holiday our landlady mistook this for Chérie (darling), and that fits too, 'cause she's such a dear. Yet when she was little we sometimes called her Pups (little fart) for obvious reasons or Socke (socks) because she always orphaned my socks by stealing one and shredding it. My other dog is Filou (little rogue) for his character, and sometimes Schisserle (little chickenshit) because he's afraid of pretty much anything.
    We also had a flock of budgies that I all named after our German politicians: Schmidt, Kohl, Schroeder, Angie(for Angela Merkel)...I thought that fitting, but with the last two my husband put his foot down and named them Ike and Tina. ;-)

  9. What a great story, Feliz! Now I know how to call someone a little chickenshit in German. :D And I love the thought of a flock of twittering budgies all named after politicians!


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