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Over lunch at Panera a few weeks ago, my husband started questioning my ideal cat names. Usually, this is a topic he avoids like the plague because it ultimately ends with my relentless questioning of his ideal baby names but somehow, we plod through it without mocking each other too much.
I like names with character, names that are quirky. I think a name shapes a creature’s identity – a generic name would therefore lead to a life with a generic creature. I lean towards names like Roark (from Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead) or Mercutio or Puck. I like names that make my well read friends smile and my other friends say “what an unusual name!” One of my suggestions with Pierpont, as in J. Pierpont Finch from How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (one of my favorite musicals ever) but that was met with an embarrassing snort bursting out of my husband’s face so clearly, Pierpont was off the list.
Naming a pet is a bizarre process. I guess it might be a little easier if you buy a kitty from a pet store or a breeder but Brian and I love the animal rescue route. Which means the newest addition to your family was recently the newest temporary addition to someone else’s family and that foster family has given your precious kitty a name.
My parents recently adopted a kitten from the SPCA who had named the kitten “Fang”. Fang. As in “I’m a vampire and I have a Fang”. Weird. “Fang” was quickly changed to “Alex” but then there were questions about “Alex” so it became “Sir Alex Meowsalot”. Ultimately, it was decided that the whole naming process was just too hasty and after much thought and deliberation Fang/Alex/Sir Alex Meowsalot became Pippin and then normally patient vet realized that my parents were nuts as they kept calling to change the name for the appointment.
The name you chose for your kitten says a lot about you as a person. Are you a crazy cat lady who names her kitten names like “Whiskers” or “Paws” or “Tiger”? Are you the person who is trying to meet your human needs with a cat so you name the cat something like “Pete” or “Sally” or “Ralph”? Maybe you are the sarcastic teenager who thinks it is very funny to name the cat “Cat” but in another language (FYI: Kissa is Finnish for cat). Ultimately, our cat name would reveal more about our hidden quirks and tendencies than the contents of our medicine cabinet.
After our lunch, we made our way over to pet store to see who was up for adoption on a Sunday afternoon. In the car, my husband started telling me a secret trip he made the day before to the pet store where he saw a black behemoth of a kitten. The kind of kitten that you look at and realize that you’ll need to feed it a small dog each morning for breakfast because kitten food is just not going to cut it. The kind of kitten that is one part adorable and one part panther escaped from the wild. Of course, my husband instantly loved this cat until he saw the name on the cage. “Twilight”. Like “I’m in love with a sparkly vampire”.
This was not the small dog eating kitty my husband dreamt of owning. Somewhere out there, a teenage girl desperately wanted a black cat named Twilight.
As always, we kept our expectations low. Or my husband did. I was too busy falling in love with a black four month old kitten named Oliver.