When I was eight years old we moved from an apartment with a very strict “NO PETS ALLOWED” rule to an old Victorian house (remember the Christmas tree story?). We were so starved for fur and whiskers, from too many years without them, that we had adopted two kittens before we had even moved in the first piece of furniture!
The first kitty to enter our new home was my sister’s kitten, a Siamese Seal Point. D.C. received his name as a tribute to the Siamese cat that starred in one of my favorite Disney movies, 1965′s “That Darn Cat!”. The cat in that movie, called D.C. or “Darn Cat”, aided the FBI in apprehending thuggish bank robbers after D.C.’s nightly prowling revealed their hide-out. Of course being a Disney comedy, the movie was full of 60s movie appropriate “hi-jinks” — all caused or instigated by said kitty.
My sister initially named her Siamese kitten after the furry movie character because of their shared lineage, little did we know that our D.C. would live up to his Hollywood namesake’s (shall I say, bumbling?) personality. Over the years our D.C.’s initials would be translated to a bit more than “Darn Cat”, I’m sure you can guess, remember the “hole in the front porch” story? Well, that was not his only kitty mishap.
How do we decide on the names we give our furry children? Do you watch them for days and try to match a name to their personality? Do you name them after the place or city you rescued them? Or do you simply think of a neat name? I have never followed any one particular rule of naming my kids, in fact I have fallen into all of the above categories.
Only twice have we picked the name before adopting the animal, one being our oldest kitty Jack, an orange tabby. When I was ready to begin thinking about adopting another kitty after my 18-year-old baby Frisky died, I knew at least that I wanted a male, orange tabby — and I would name him Jack. The name popped into my head one day and the picture of an orange tabby was there beside it, I liked the way it looked. Luckily, “Jack” suits my boy perfectly, he answered me the very first time I called him by the new name. He must have liked it too.
Some names came easily: Our Siamese Flame Point was given to us by our vet after one of his tech’s had rescued him from a busy road. Our vet’s office was located in a town called Ripley and we thought that name suited the little kitten quite well. My sweet girl Freeway was also found roadside. Our three trouble-making boys, Seymour, Tiger & Tomas, simply kept the names their foster families gave them. Although, we did a bit of tweaking on Tomas’ name, he was originally named ‘Tom’.
We gave one of my favorite kitty names to our girl Ellery, a Siamese Blue Point. Just before we adopted Ellery I had learned the middle name of hubs’ grandfather was Ellery. I loved that name, it reminded me of the old detective character Ellery Queen. When we adopted our little kitten and started thinking of names that one popped into my head — Ellery! She really looked the part; a nosy, curious kitten — who better to carry on the name? Hubs thought is sounded cute too but didn’t know how granddad would take it, having a CAT named after him??!! Well, granddad never said anything directly to me, so I’m gonna guess he wasn’t too thrilled but maybe deeeeeep down, he thought it was a tiny bit cute. Well, I can hope.
I often wonder if kitties and doggies like getting new names when they find their forever family and home. Maybe it helps them forget and cast-off that old, often-times harsh previous life. No, I’m gonna guess the name itself isn’t what they care about but instead, the love they hear in that new name.