Naming the Cat

If you have ever been owned by a cat then you will understand the struggle of naming a cat. T.S.Eliot put it beautifully when he opened his poem

The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isn’t just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I’m as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.

35276_407924764204_2100944_nI’ve never even tried to give my cats two names, and certainly have never worked out what their third name might be.  I just struggled with finding their everyday name!

You see for those of you who have never been owned by a cat the problem is they will never tell you what their name should be, and if they arrive as a kitten you never quite know whether they will grow into the name you have chosen.

11666245_10152979713049205_7919893865295072623_nWhen my seventh cat arrived, nearly 9 years ago now, he arrived with an everyday name but it wasn’t right for him or for us.  On went our thinking hats, as he was already about 9months old and with the experience of 6 previous cats you would have thought it would be relatively easy to name him.  It wasn’t perhaps because I had spent too much time as child reading T.S.Eliot;

But I tell you, a cat needs a name that’s particular,
A name that’s peculiar, and more dignified,
Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular,
Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride? 

We considered

  • Roobarb after the cartoon but then I remembered that was the dog, and Custard just didn’t sound right;
  • Ginger and Rusty we felt were far too obvious, as was Marmalade
  • Garfield appeared for a moment or two but at that stage our cat wasn’t fat
  • We then tried Gobbolino and I was looked at in horror
  • By which point I was trawling the net for names
  • Saffron I liked but our cat was a boy
  • And Orlando we thought was too everyday
  • We then thought of ‘The Cheshire Cat’ but did you know he has no name
  • We tried ‘Old Possums Book of Practical Cats’ alas to no avail
  • And then it came to us, so perfect, so us and so him
  • You see I remembered he was to be my seventh and I was reading Georgette Heyer at the time
  • Clearly our cat, our splendid ginger cat, his name could only be Septimus
When you notice a cat in profound meditation, The reason, I tell you, is always the same: His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name: His ineffable effable Effanineffable Deep and inscrutable singular Name.

When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:
His ineffable effable
Effanineffable
Deep and inscrutable singular Name.

from T.S.Eliot’s The Old Possum Book of Practical Cats

20 thoughts on “Naming the Cat

  1. Lovely post about the naming of Septimus! It’s the funniest thing….friends of mine in North Carolina in the early 1980’s had a cat named Septimus. She said her college student children actually named the cat.
    I found you on Katzenworld with the picture of your fur baby for TRT and had to come here and let you know there has been another cat named Septimus!

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  2. Pingback: Happy #TRT – Tummy Rub Tuesday (Week 55) | Katzenworld

  3. What a great post!! The naming of animals is a big deal…I have quite the menagerie so it gets harder and harder to find great names…but it is time well spent! And your blog is beautiful!

    I have nominated you and your blog for the Liebster Award. Check out my blog tomorrow for the rules of accepting the award nomination, copy and paste the instructions and modify them to suit …Happy blogging!

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  4. Whenever there’s a cat photo I immediately go there. I like your blog very much, and your T.S.Eliot poetry is wonderful, the way you have it incorporated into the post is excellent. Personally I have six cats inside, plus an undetermined number outside…it varies, between us and the neighbors next door we have at least 15 communal cats…nearly all of which have been “fixed” by the APL.

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    • Wow 6 inside. I tried 4 not that long ago but it didn’t work we had open warfare which resulted in two upstairs and two down!
      Thank you so much for your lovely comments.

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      • Oh, six inside cats are too many! The youngest is a little cat who has that “tumbling kitten syndrome,” which would have resulted in her very early demise outside. She can walk and jump, but her motor skills are sketchy. Another cat, Sister, came in the house two winters ago when it was below zero, and refused to leave. One is 17+ and … well, I’m sure you get it.

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      • oh my word . . . . I know it is impossible to turn them away. I felt simply dreadful when we have to drop back down from 4 to 2, we did though find a lovely home for them.

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  5. Awwwww blessed. Your cats look very healthy and happy. We had 3 cats that we were very closed with but passed on to a better place. But we named them all ‘Sammy’ perhaps it was because we were so attached to the first one that we wanted the ‘first’ sammy presence to still linger with us. And I can understand the pain and stress of having to name cats are close to you. Its an unexplainable bond that till this very day, we are still thinking why we can’t let go of the name ‘Sammy’.

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