By Their Cats Thou Shalt Know Them — a blast from the past post from 1/26/2010

Mumble years ago, my husband and I were sitting in a comedy club in Charlotte NC when the poor visiting comedian decided to make a riff on common cats’ names versus common dogs’ names, or such. He started by saying that dogs were given manly names – I don’t remember the examples he gave – while cats got names… and here he made the mistake of pausing and asking who in the audience had cats. Our entire table raised their hands.

The comedian might still have saved himself, had he noticed that we looked a little… unusual… He didn’t. So he asks my husband his cat’s name. He said, “Petronius the Arbiter, cat from Hades.” Comedian said “uh” but, nothing daunted, proceeded on his – oh so very – unwise course. He points at me – clearly not taking the hint that we were married from our holding hands. Or perhaps he thought one of us had to be sane, the silly man – and says, “And your cat’s name?” “I have two,” I said. “Random Numbers and Pixel Who Walks Through Walls.” You’d think by this point he would take a hint, but nothing doing. He points to a friend of ours at same table and says, “And yours?” “Crystal.” Another friend, “Yours?” “Myiuki,” he says. “It means Deep Snow and…” At which point the man lost it. “WHAT are you guys? Did you land from Planet Weirdo?”

All I can say is he could have done worse. He might have found a table full of writers. Recently while talking about cats to a friend, it occurred to me that writers have a strange and creative approach to naming their cats. (Some of them carry this as far as naming their kids, their cars, their home appliances and their dental floss. The least said about THOSE writers, the best.)

For instance, the Hoyt demesne is afflicted with a mix of variously named felines, ranging from our own characters to other people’s characters. Under my own characters we have Miranda Princess D’Ardenes (And no, Sean, if you read this, I did not want to name her after the little b*tch in my third published book. Unfortunately it was the only name she responded to), and D’Artagnan Monsieur de Pink Nose. Dan’s character’s name Ninth Euclid Ancel graces the black silky fur (except in the places he’s pulled it off, aka his legs and tummy) of the cat otherwise known as The Neurotalon. Inexplicably, for reasons known only to Bast – who clearly has a sense of humor – our newest cat, the fluffy bundle of purrs and squeaks we found at a golf course, would only answer to Havelock Vetinari, aka Terry Pratchett’s Patrician. In Havey’s defense, he probably heard it as “Havoc” and has been living up to it. The outdoor not-our-cat TM (Ask my husband. Cat is named, chipped and vaccinated, but he’s NOT our cat. Dan says so. And I think I swore to obey him. Or the other way around. Well, obedience was in there, somewhere.  It was in another country and in a foreign language.  I don’t remember.) earned the name Greebo by beating up a mad feral tom who was courting mom cat when Greebo was around ten weeks old. His brother who — I think — is the mastermind of the duo, answers to Maurice. He usually “talks” in response, which goes to show. (Not sure what, but it does go to show.  Possibly it goes to show he likes bossing us around.)  [Since this time he has moved mostly across the street to live with neighbors.  Which shows Maurice has no taste.  And right now Greebo is mad at our egregious management of the weather, because it snowed today March 18 2014]

And if at this point you’re thinking my family is exceptionally weird, let me grace you with the names of pets of a few of my writerly acquaintances: Walter Jon Williams has a cat named Charles Dickens, because he (the cat, not Walter!) is one. Cynthia Ward calls her (we’re sure blameless. We’ve yet to meet a cat who wasn’t) cats Schwa and Umlaut. Tom Ashwell named his cat Smudge, which sounds downright cozy and sane. Darwin Garrison (we’re sure for good and sufficient reason. We’re afraid to ask WHAT reason) calls his gray Himalayan mix Vash the Stampede. Michael Britton has cast the name Francisco Thomas on the head of his unsuspecting captive feline (though in Michael’s defense, he calls the cat Sisko.) Jessica Schlenker not only called her cat Vampire Hunter D, but seems to have called him that because he used to suck people’s necks. [No, we’re not going to enquire any further. We’re scared. (As for why I’m using the first person plural it’s because I’d be afraid of being singular in the presence of these names.)] Brad Sinor comes in on the side of nominally sane, since he named his grey cats Ash and Pewter which at least has a nodding acquaintance with shared reality. Aaron Bilodeau has named his cat Grendel (doubtless the next addition to the family will be Beowulf.) Julie Hyzy calls her cat Kitka which might seem charmingly feline, until you hear it’s short for Kitayna Ireyna Tatanya Kerenska Alisoff, apparently a name assumed by Catwoman. (Um, tangentially related to cats, but I think in violation of the rule that no cat should be given a name longer than the cat itself.)

Meg Turville-Heitz admits to Scooby, Pig, Spot, Razz (short for Raspberry) and the most boringly named Callie, who replaced Dudie the Himalayan. To make up for Callie, though, she offers to give us the names of the chickens and the sheep. (And apparently they don’t go by the collective name “food” – who knew? Though she does say the sheep tend to get food names. Considering I once named pet mice Whiskas and Nine Lives, I can’t comment.) Walt Boyes named his cats Stinkerbelle-of-the-ball and Mister Grimace. Strangely, neither of the cats has clawed him to death in his sleep. Go figure. All of this is eclipsed by my writer friend, Amanda Green, who named her cat Thena, after the main character of Darkship Thieves. (Ladies and gentlemen, would you do that? And then cuddle said cat? I’ll note cat does her best to live up to it.)

Dead cats aren’t particularly safe. We’re sure in whatever after-mice they inhabit, Steven Swiniarski’s Schrodinger & Mu are still wondering why those names. And we’re fairly sure death hasn’t stopped Fuzzard meditating revenge upon Danney Reese (wonder what spectral hairballs are like?) Lin Wicklund’s late lamented black cat was called Sam Spade, the Maltese Feline – we assume she was hard to find? (She? Lin! And we thought we knew you. [We’re WAY past binary gender, here, ladies and gentlemen.]) Walter Jon Williams had a cat called Tenzing Norgay because he liked to climb. (Are there cats who don’t? Where have all of you been hiding them? Can someone hook us up with a kitten who won’t dance along the top of our bookcases raining books down on our heads?) He also tells us a conveniently unnamed friend (wink, wink nudge, nudge?) named her cat Frogs In Space. “She” used to go to “her” door and yell out “Frogs in Space.” (We think Walter should admit he’s a writer and therefore strange and stop trying to pass that amazingly creative feat of naming onto an imaginary friend. 🙂 ) Debbora Wiles has had an array of dauntingly named cats: Tea Pot, Ginger, Dominique, Pepsi, Knight Rider, Booger, Sparks, Sebastian, Kasper (whom we assume is now the friendly cat ghost.) She’s offered to give us the names of eighty or so named koi out in the koi pond, but we feel there is knowledge man (or woman, or small child) is not supposed to pursue.

Writers frustrated by the lack of cats aren’t any less weird. Taylor Lunsford’s dog glories in the unusual name of Flyer (you know he sits on top of his doghouse, chasing the Red Baron.) Mark W. Tiedemann named his dog Coffey. Meg Turville-Heitz, in addition to cats and sheep and chickens, has a dog named Murphy (whom we presume is a law onto himself.) Carol Hightshoe had a dog named Bexar Waarigul Little One Whimper Hightshoe. For some reason she seems to believe the fact she called him Beer Bexar for short makes it all better. Ryk Spoor believes the fact that he’s allergic to cats will excuse him for naming a dog the macho name of Ferocious. (Though I admit the fact that it’s a miniature poodle might earn him some irony points.) And Dave Boop claims innocence due to lack of cats and dogs, but cops to OWNING a ten year old and some fish. I’m scared to ask their names.

OTOH, no cat, dead, alive, or so eccentric as to be a dog (or a sheep, or a chicken or, for that matter, a koi) can glory in a name as strange as the young cat adopted by my friend Kate Paulk, which — in the Terry Pratchett scale of names most and least suitable to be called out in the middle of the night while banging a spoon on the food dish (number ten being a short, non-embarrassing name like “Zut”) — is at least a -20. This cat, ladies, gentlemen and writers, glories in the name Little Bugger. Imagine roaming your neighborhood at night, banging on the cat dish and shouting, “Little Bugger, come to Mommy, I have nummy tuna.”

Now excuse me, I must go out and call Greebo Witchcat Ogg Hoyt and find out twhy he hasn’t shown up for dinner.

154 responses to “By Their Cats Thou Shalt Know Them — a blast from the past post from 1/26/2010

  1. Grendel’s Mother (Grendel for short)

  2. Linnea Caldeen

    The first cat who owned me was a lilac-point Siamese I dubbed Leela in honor of the fierce Doctor Who warrior. Her son and companion was less glamorously named Cinder just ’cause when he was a kitten, he looked like he’d been rolled in an ash-heap. They went to kitty-heaven in 2000. My current cat, originally Honey, now HoneyCat, attached herself to my mom. Mom passed on 2012 so I have been custodian of HoneyCat ever since. We’ve grown on each other, me I think more so since HoneyCat’s hobby is shedding, then growing more fur to shed.

  3. Mine are Trouble (the big cat) and Squiggy (the ‘little’ cat, actually just slightly above average size)

  4. We too have a Razz, short for Raspberry, but in our case she’s a black lab. We named her that for no other reason than so we could call her Razz the Spazz, a choice which we regretted as soon as we realized that it was a prophetic choice of name. And then there’s our cat, Chewie, short for Chewbacca, which, sadly, also turned out to be a prophetic choice. Even as I type this Chewie is behind me chewing on a newspaper while Razz the Spazz is freaking out, hopping, jumping, running in circles, because she knows the cat is being naughty – and, of course, because she’s a spazz.

  5. The last cat to reside in our domicile was given the name Q by our older daughter, after the mendacious and troublesome ST: TNG character. He lived down to the name. He doesn’t live with us now; said daughter having since claimed him, married and moved a few blocks away. But at 13 he is fat, lazy and still mendacious – when he can be bothered to be offended at humans who are slow at filling the food dish or emptying the litter box.

    After gaining a good deal of weight, he fell off the window sill (he loved napping there for afternoon sun) and landed on his side – NOT his feet. I doubt he could have found his feet by then.

  6. After Fractal The Cat disappeared, I came into possession of Ivan the Terrible and Marie Who Doesn’t Start Fights But Finishes Them. Not terribly weird, but then, I’m not a writer.

  7. Least creative pet name I’ve seen is the ginger tabby that some friends of mine named Orange Cat. Most ironic was the gray cat that a different couple of friends named Mouse.

    • Susan Shepherd

      Kids especially seem to name cats for physical attributes… My sister and I (aged four and seven) named ours Stripes and Patches; my best friend and his sister named theirs Spot and Cali. (Yep, calico.)

      The current crop includes Omar and Jasmine for the cats, and Mosie and Summer for the dogs. Summer, of course, is named after one of the direwolves in George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire books, since he’s a “dire pug” — he’s forty-five pounds of cheerful half-pug, half-mastiff, and yes, we’re all assuming his mother was a mastiff for the sake of sanity.

      • Susan Shepherd

        As an afterthought, the cats in the dormitory where I live are named DOS, Ragnar, and Mios (a variant spelling of Maahes). No doubt there’s at least one cat whose name I’m forgetting.

    • Harry Dresden’s gray dog is named Mouse. He’s an Ice Demon of some sort. Any possible connection?

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        Well, the Leanansidhe called Mouse a demon but that could just mean He was a powerful magical being who didn’t like what She was up to (He had good reasons to dislike it). Not sure about the “Ice” part of that.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        By the way, Uriel called Mouse “little brother” (in Ghost Story) as if Mouse is a guardian angel type.

        • Yep, I believe Mouse is a Tibetan temple dog… A Tibetan mastiff, guardian of monasteries.

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            For me the question is “Is Mouse a very intelligent dog with magical powers (like Harry’s a human with magical powers) or is Mouse a supernatural being who takes the form of a dog?” [Smile]

            • Too much evidence that he was born a puppy in the usual way.

              • I’m inclined to the Mary side. Very intelligent dog, endowed by lineage and nominal occupation with power.

                Tilted to the other side, does a supernatural force utilize Mouse as a conduit for partial manifestation? Is that a result of Harry’s life or secondary to lineage and nominal occupation?

                Based on various reactions to Mouse, I think lineage defines the characteristics, he’s recognized for what he is.

          • In Turn Coat, Ancient Mai (who ought to know) states that Mouse is a Foo Dog. Which is, more or less, what you describe. It’s just the technical term.

            Harry also has a cat, whom he calls Mister, and who is clearly the real master of Harry’s residence.

        • Reminds me of something cool– the word that gives us “demon” originally had a meaning more like “kami”– sort of word for “supernatural being,” rather than “fallen angel.” (Kind of like how “angel” came from one for “messenger.”)

      • In the book,it was stated that Mouse got the name for being small, gray, and quiet. Then Harry realized that Thomas had gotten the large breed dogfood.

      • Temple dog, at least that’s the background in the introduction book. (If there’s been an update, don’t tell me!)

        • Heh. Kinda late to ask for no spoilers. 🙂

          • Depending on who’s calling him it, “ice demon” is a perfectly fine description of a Temple Dog– especially one with lots of hair, like you’d need for a mountain top temple.

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              The beings calling Mouse an “ice demon” weren’t “nice guys” so “demon” to them likely meant a “very powerful foe”. [Smile]

    • I had a gray cat who ended being called Gray Cat. She was one of the kittens born to the female who was supposedly on the pill for a few months while I was waiting for the extra summer job from which I’d get enough money to get her neutered without having to give up stuff like movies for months. I guess she had not swallowed all of those pills I had been stuffing into her mouth. Then I ended up with the young male cat who was a few months too young to be neutered (that I could have afforded, males are a lot cheaper, but as said, too young).

      By the time I found them doing it it was too late (he was very small compared to her, had to stretch to his utmost in order to be able to both hold to her neck with his teeth and reach to the other end with his own other end).

      Anyway, kittens. I found homes for a couple of them, kept couple, but Gray Cat was supposed to go to a friend, only she then she got serious with a guy who was allergic to cats. So, I ended keeping her, and she was stuck with a name which had been meant as a placeholder until she got her real one.

      And my planned two cat household became several cats household for years.

      Well, I did get group discount when the kittens I had kept (three girls) were taken to the vet for their operations a year later.

      • I don’t think there IS a pill for cats, so I wonder what the vet had given you?

        • Something which was supposed to prevent her from going into heat, not a birth control pill. 🙂 It did work to the extent she didn’t yodel when she ate them, while she did get very vocal the couple of times she did go into heat properly, and the vet did claim she should not allow a male to mount her when she was not in heat. Oh well… 😀

  8. Our most creatively named cat is Dr. Seuss aka “the Doctor”. (“is the Doctor in?”)

  9. I am amused to note that you have a cat named D’artagnan. I also have a cat by that name. In fact, I also have Porthos, Aramis, and Athos. They came in a set. D’artagnan is white, the other three are orange-and-greyish.

    I continually kick myself for not naming my first cat, who does not get along well with the others and is much older, Richelieu.

    • We had a set of characters as well – not as literary. The first, as a too-young-to-be-out kitten who woke us up crying at 2am, 2 stories below us on the other side of the house – became Howling Mad Murdock. The others – B.A. (Baracus), Hannibel (female, but of the right dispostion), and Face, came in turn.

  10. Also, I love telling people I named my cats after the three musketeers, and then asking them how many cats I have. I am perhaps easily amused.

  11. Mine get a birth name and a coming of age name, a little like people from Earthsea. The birth name is usually bestowed by some other family member (they never start as my cats, but most end up …) and is something silly based mostly on superficial appearance. I bestow the coming of age name based on personality. This isn’t anything formal; our system just growed.

    Hence, Angel (nearly pure white Siamese mix) became Ming the Merciless based on her habit of sitting on the stairs where she could reach through the railing and bat at passing heads. Also her bullying the other cats.

    Sakura (nearly pure Burmese) became Squeakums based on her squeaky little meow.

    Stormy (white and tan calico) became Bear based on her lumbering gait and overall clumsiness. This is our nerd cat.

    Zoe (tuxedo kitty) became Monkey based on her small size and remarkable agility. I could have named her Vorpal Kitty as well, based on her tendency to leap through the air with claws extended, but didn’t think of it.

    Come to think of it, with her large pale blue eyes and sour personality, Angel could have become Gollum. Well, never too late, seeing as how they don’t come when you call them anyway.

  12. aAlabamaDill

    Number two spaniel right now is Maggiez TwoTon SweetPea, she lives up to it too!

  13. Our two former cats were Felon and Rakshi. The current pair are Taiki and Macavity (so named because he’s a ginger, but he did not turn out to be a fiend in feline shape—in fact, one of his nicknames is Cherub Cat).

  14. I’m afraid I’d have to bow out of the tribe of creative pet owners–
    We have Mara (cat), Nara(cat), Bailey(beagle), and Cato(we think he’s a dog-weasel hybrid)

    I know, boring.

  15. The Maine Coon from hell is called Nemo. As in Captain Nemo, not the stupid fish.

  16. I guess we’re rather uncreative pet wise (maybe because we’ve never had a cat). Our dog’s name is Rocky (he also answers to Rockster, Mutt, Dog, and Get Out of The Way).

    Other dogs I’ve had were Stefanie (she was a very feminine dog, who also answered to Steff-dog, and Steffie), and Pepper (who frequently answered to Muttski).

  17. Oddly enough, I ended up naming me previous cat Oscar, after the Wizard of Oz. He could be a bit of a humbug when he felt like it.

    My current cat came pre-named, however, with the perfectly suitable Sam. I’m not sure what Sam it was originally short for, but I prefer to think of him as a Samwise.

  18. My cat was more mundane– she came to Ms. Kitty. I found her in a parking lot where she had been abandoned on a military base in Panama. And then there was Brandy– There is a cat in our neighborhood called Talley, but we call her Kitcat– and two cats called Prince and Pixie. Pixie is a Bengal cat (about 1/4 bobcat) and she runs and jumps like one. Plus there is an elderly cat in the office (expects to be locked in every night with its bed and dishbowl) called Peeta. Cats come and visit me —

  19. My cats are the two shaggy black ones, they are unnamed, and all my current dogs have fairly normal names. My parents have two cats (well one very old now, and one dead) that my twin cousins named when they were about four. The orange was named Peaches, and the black one was named Tommy, because as they explained it orange cats were girls and black cats were boy cats. You guessed it, Tommy is a female, while Peaches is a BIG orange tomcat. They also have one I named Stinky, because she is black with twin white skunk stripes. She occasionally decides to get her revenge for that name by coming up to my house and beating up my cats. For which she gets snowballs thrown at her if I catch her in the act. This does very little to endear me to her, but probably does little to discourage either, since I am a terrible throw and probably have never hit closer than a couple feet from her.

  20. I love cat names!

    We’ve got Sano, his later brother was Ba’al, and my daughter’s kitten is Ryo. For some reason, people keep saying Sancho, Ball and Rio.

    Formally followed by what my parents call them:
    Sanosuke the Wicked (“Fluffy”)
    Title because that’s how the fansub translated the emblem on the back of the character’s shirt. The most mobile stuffed animal I’ve ever seen, begs at the foot of high chairs. Will mug you for strawberries.
    kenshin.wikia dot com /wiki/Sagara_Sanosuke

    Ba’al the System Lord (“Slick”)
    First to discover that flies are made out of food, and proceeded to launch himself off of anything to reach them… including my husband’s shoulder, from a dead stop on the floor, to get a fly on the ceiling. Also stole my wine if I didn’t guard it.
    /stargate.wikia dot com /wiki/Ba%27al

    Ryo-Ohki (“Slick the second”)
    Identical to Ba’al in every way except for having a diamond shaped marking in the middle of his head.
    tenchi.wikia dot com /wiki/Ryo-Ohki

    • er… I always thought Havey was the most mobile stuffed animal…

      • I’m pretty sure your boys are beyond chewing on feet and tails, so I’ll take “most mobile kid’s stuffed animal”– deal?

        • well… Robert pretends to. “I’m going to num num your ears.” Sickening, I tell you. BUT he’s going to be SUCH a good daddy, if he can find the right woman.

        • If even your vet comments on how soft and cuddly your cat is (and they see large numbers of cats and are not biased in your favour) do you win next most mobile stuffed animal? (I wish I could post pictures. MooBoots comes by the Mr. Oh-So Cute nickname honestly – and he knows it)

          • MooBoots? Da’aw…..

          • There were three cats in this house when we came to live with Carol’s parents: Snapdragon, Periwinkle, and Romeo. All three have crossed the Rainbow Bridge now.

            Snap was very much Carol’s mother’s cat, and they shared Snap-naps.

            Peri “became” my cat for an odd assortment of reasons, and was a real knuckle-head — you know, one of those pets that ADORES having their head petted by dancing your knuckles between their ears, often requesting / demanding same by head-butting your hand…

            Romeo had a fondness for peanuts in the shell and quacamole-flavored tortilla chips. He, albeit orange tabby, had a distinctive belling cry that the folk in the veterinary office all recognized with delight (they liked him, they REALLY liked him — disposition, ease of handling, etc.).

            Miss them sometimes, but between allergies and other factors don’t expect to have another fur-baby co-resident here any time soon. We get by “borrowing” other people’s pets for now.

  21. I had a stretch where I named my cats after characters in the Arthurian cycle – hence, Nimue (Nimmie), Morgana, (Morgie) and Little Arthur, who was a bruiser of 18 pounds or so. Then there is Missy-Moo the elderly snow-shoe Siamese who came with that name, and which was shortened to Moo. For some reason, my daughter’s cat named Rossi (after Martini and Rossi) is now called Wubbie … and the kitten who came with the name of Muffin (they thought he was a girl) is now named Stud-Muffin. He also will be a bruiser, when he hits his full growth. Oddly enough, Stud-Muffin likes to play fetch. He will retrieve and small ball when you throw it, and bring it back to you to be thrown again. I think he may have been a dog in a previous life. He also answers to his name and comes running.

  22. Family cats:Bagheera, Sinbad, Truffle, and Calico (mundane name, SUPER hunter. She treed two raccoons and chased off dogs.)
    Personal cats: Moire of blessed memory (loved to play catch, and yes, he was very stripy) and currently Opal and Ronin. Opal is also known as Queen Victoria when she is miffed, usually by Ronin who, while ninja-black, is ever so slightly on the autism spectrum and can scare himself by knocking things over with his tail.

  23. Athena T. Cat was found on the head block of an engine in the summer of 2004. Clyde (aka Gigancat, Red Satan, and No Clyde!) had been named at the shelter and was half of Clyde and Claude. Roy had been Rowen. And then there’s the neighborhood recycling committee, Rommel, aka Gato Del Diablo, the smoked Persian with yellow eyes that was named for a stuffed animal (don’t ask). He hangs out at Schloss Red but he’s Not Our Cat. Really.

  24. Childhood cat started out as “Rusty,” lengthened to “Russell,” transmogrified into “Jame Russell Lowell,” and finished up as “Mr. Lowell.” My most recent cat, a Siamese/Burmese cross, came equipped with “Smokey,” as he was a blue-point kitty. He ended his days as “Smokus-Pocus the MagiCat.”

  25. Casa d’Alger has been home in the last 30 years to… Creep, Lester, Bandit, Annie, Max, Alex, Charlie, Finnegan, Murphy Gray, Emily, Kane, Indo, Jake, Oliver, Belle, Rommie, Siamon, Loki, Aqua, Schuyler, Jazz, Karma, Chester, Jane, and Earnest. What’s more interesting is the nicknames. (Cats have nicknames?) Of course! Kane, frex, had the most brilliant blue eyes, so we called him, variously, Francis Albert Kane, or Frank, or Ol’ Blue Eyes. And Earnie, before he got that name, looked like a little old man as a kitten, so we called him Benjamin Butt-in-Face.


  26. We didn’t have cats (since I’m allergic to them), we had turtles. Euripides and Houdini. Euripides? No. But I may have rippa’ dose!

    My family has learned to pick a name before I get involved. Hmph.

  27. Fred, Sam, and Fruitbat here. Fruitbat for the ears, although in retrospect, considering his congenital half-tail, it should have been Bob.

  28. I, too, had a cat named Petronius the Arbiter, and in case you think I was copying you, this was in 1972.
    Then I had a tomcat named “Maggie the Cat” because I have an 80% success rate in sexing six week old kittens …
    Current cat is named “McQueen” because she thinks she is an escape artist.

  29. I’ve said before that we also had a Pixel Who Walks Through Walls. Our most recent cat was Jitters, because he was.

    A friend named his cat Bink, after the main character in the first two Xanth books

  30. Our cats have boring names: Kumo (which, according to my son who named him, is Japanese for cloud) and Sawyer (we got him from someone else and he already had that name).

    Vash the Stampede is the main character in the Japanese space-western anime series Trigun. He’s this sort of superhuman gunslinger/walking disaster area. In the show, he’s known as the Humanoid Typhoon and has a bounty of 60 billion double-dollars on his head.

    As a fan of the show, I’d never thought of this before, but “Vash the Stampede” would be an awesome name for a cat.

  31. I used to be a bit simple with names. Thibodeaux was found on the side of the road in the town of the same name. She was a Tabby and Siamese mix. Older she got, the more Tabby she became.
    Then I was down at a customer’s place and grabbed a orange tabby who was too affectionate, and the mechanic said his wife forbid him bringing it home (too many acquisitions already) but he was worried it would try to cuddle up to the guard dog and be a chew toy. Couldn’t name a male Belle (we were in Belle River) so the next town over was the name. Pierre Part.
    Once I moved to Texas, and lost Thib (13 years old iirc) and Pierre was getting up there as well. A noise at the door made me look outside … Tuxedo kitten ran away up the tree. Three times I heard her at the door, and the third time I opened to see what was up, she ran in the house.
    Annie The Insane Animal {Animalus Insanius} was her hard won moniker.
    Pierre actually got a bit healthier when she moved in and started harrassing him. At 14 or 15 he passed on.
    One saturday morn. very early (like 3:30) I was heading in to work for OT. A meow from the tree across the street got my attention and I looked. A siamese/tabby kitten was on a branch and I told it to get itself down as the job looked easy.
    She was still in the tree when I got home, and in the daylight I could see there was no escape from her spot. She must have fallen from higher in the tree. An 8 foot step ladder and lifting her some 3 feet up to get her out I decided that much work was excuse enough to keep her. Besides she reminded me of Thibodeaux.
    She proved my theory of gracefulness often enough her name became Isabeau the Clumsy. The Isabeau part is from the movie Lady Hawk. She was chasing motes of a fly or something and reminded me of Pheiffer’s character when trying to catch a rabbit.
    Just recently, I was grocery shopping and two ladies had a kitten they were trying to give away. I stuffed her into my motorcycle jacket and rode home. Allie Alvarado is even more insane than Annie. She is a muted Torty, lovable and loud purring.

    • Maggie the Cat was an idiot of a cat. He got stuck in the tree adjacent to our house on multiple occasions. His record was 40 hours in the tree.

      • Angel (a.k.a. Ming the Merciless a.k.a. Gollum) gets very interested in the door whenever I open it to let the dogs in. Fortunately, the fact that dogs are coming in through the door (The horror!) makes her just cautious enough that she rarely gets out.

        On the other hand, he can be quite insistent that she wants to be let into the crawl space under the house. Since there’s no escape path, I indulge her. I have no idea what she finds fascinating about it; the lack of fresh cat scat smell rules out the most obvious hypothesis. Perhaps there is some kind of secret cat ritual she performs? Or maybe it’s just that it’s nice and dark, yessss, my preciousssssss…

      • the tree was a fruitless mulberry, and one of the branches was lopped off so it had the suckers that pop up. She was in there and it was like a cage. Like I posted, I had to lift her up just to get to a spot I could part the switches to get her bodily out of the predicament. the only way she was getting out herself was if someone handed her a saw.
        It was certainly one of those “what in the h-e-double hockey sticks did you do to even get there?” moments.

    • Your Annie sounds like the Cajun Engineer’s Itsa. As in C.E. opened the door and the cat walked in, looked around, and unpacked it’s luggage. “What’s that?” “It’s a cat.” He also has Sucha and Ding (named for the sound made in the control room of the power plant where it was found.)

      • My sis has a “new” cat who just showed up and though my dad hates cats, this one was killing moles so he didn’t mind her hanging around. she is named Moki by my nephew who said it is short for Mole Killer. Sis already has a calico named Miko so the name was a play on that as well.

  32. 4 cats: Edmund Catadder, Bob (also from Blackadder), Johnny Doran (a famous piper) and the Rascalope.

  33. My first cat, named by my father (not necessarily a cat lover): DC, for damned cat.

    My current dog: Salty Dog (I tended bar, once upon a once).
    My planned for second dog: Bourbon (red merle).

  34. Even famous historical figures can get in on the act. The British General Herbert Horatio Kitchener at one point owned four dogs whom he named, Bang, Shot, Miss, and Damn.


    • Smokey Yunik (racer/engineer extrodinare, owner of “The Best Damned Garage” in Daytona Beach) had Great Danes named Front Steer, and Rear Steer (types of chassis) because of how they ran reminded him of characteristics of the cars.

  35. The current feline-who-rules-the-house is officially attached to daughter #2, who decide that because she was small, orange, and fuzzy that she should be called “Apricot”. Daughter #1’s suggestion that since she’s rather larger these days we should change the name to “Peach”, or possibly “Pumpkin” have been ignored. Though as often as not she gets referred to as Cot-Cat, Aprikitty, or Pestiferous Feline.

  36. Don’t look at me. That I’m banned from naming animals is mere coincidence.

    And that farm cat is NOT ours. Even if my wife *did* bribe the priest into omitting the “obey” part of the oath.

  37. My Mom owns several chickens. And while she gives them all boring names, I’ve collectively nicknamed the lot of them the Foul Fowl.

    • My mom had a pair of Guinea Fowl who were the sole survivors for a year– they’d go down the road about a mile and beat up the neighbor’s chickens.

      Got dubbed Paulie and Guido by dad, which is how mom found out that nobody else watched old Italian mafia movies enough to know “guinea” was slang for what I’ve seen called a guido in noir style books; a mafia thug.

      • My Aunt and Uncle inherited a farm with two geese named Frick and Frack who were the guard dogs … er … geese of the farm.
        They were quite old, and Frick (or was it Frack?) passed away first. My cousin could sit on the slope above the pond and Frack would walk up and chat at him. My cousin got cancer and lost the battle and Frack passed about the same time. On my cousin’s headstone is a picture of him and the goose chatting with each other.

  38. Cats:
    Hot Rod
    and a host of others over the years.

  39. Dorothy Grant

    Kili Ma !Njaaro is a lovely cat, patterned rather like a serval.

  40. I don’t own a cat, but my family members have done so. The kids have a cat named Othello because he’s as black as the ace of spades, and the recently-deceased Rona Barrett looked like Rona Barrett. My sister had a white cat named Pigpen (because he enjoyed rolling around in the samd, and was always dirty), and my mom had a cat named Ginger because ginger. (Ginger was renowned as the laziest cat in the world, except for the time he nonchalantly attacked and killed a 10-ft black mamba, whereafter we regarded him with a little more respect.) Ex-wife #1 had a black & white moggy called Prune and ex #2 had Rufus (because also ginger).

    I never dated a woman who owned more than one cat because a single woman who owns more than one cat = personal issues so profoundly horrible that I may not discuss them in polite company.

  41. My current two had names when I got them: Pörri is the neutered lady cat (translates more or less to fluffy, and she has very short hair – maybe she was fluffy when she was a kitten). And the old tom (whee, this guy hasn’t been neutered, those are balls surprise some time later, I didn’t think to ask from the daughter of the previous owner – he was orphaned when owner died) is Sebastian, Basti for short. Poor guy, being called by a girl’s name. He doesn’t seem to mind. Occasionally that is now morphing to Pappa (one of the words which can be used both for an older father or grandfather, he probably is, and also a great grandfather and so on, several times over since he used to be an outdoor cat, for 12 years) and he does seem to be starting to recognize it.

    And both occasionally go by some Finnish variation of DAMNITCAT! Or Getawayfromtherenow!

    And they still can’t stand each other. I have tried all the usual tactics which worked just fine when I did them with some previous cats, but these two, so far nope. So one now owns one room in my apartment, and one the other room, and I enjoy the sounds of a cat who wants to go where I am the and is either scratching on the door or talking behind it. Well, at least they don’t do it the whole time. Just pretty often. Usually when I’m trying to concentrate on something. Or trying to sleep.

    Maybe they’ll mellow enough to cohabit with some more time.

    • my two were really standoffish to Allie when she arrived …. first really cold night and I woke to three cats sleeping on me and they now play and whatnot just fine. I’ve know folks who had a cats that never ever got along.

  42. My best friend found himself adopted by a not-our-cat named Squatter after buying his first house. Did not take long for his wife to say, “No, Honey, it’s your cat now.” Squatter was older, and sickened beyond what the vet could fix within a couple of years. The day he died was the only time I’ve seen my friend cry.

    Another friend discovered that his new home was claimed by an enormous cat-shaped creature that he named Smudge because its fur was just a shade different from the color of the carpet. He had warn guests not to trip on it and hurt themselves when the light was low, since it spent most of its time lying down in places people would normally walk.

    Alas, between my allergies and my wife’s aversion (every cat she meets inexplicably attempts to bite her toes at some point, so she got creeped out by all of them), we are a catless household.

  43. Well, my cats for many years have been named after places in Scotland, and I have shared my home with Fidra, Jura, Kelso, Brechin, Elgin, Ailsa, (and little Iona, who was a Oriental Shorthair that only lived three days, sadly, as her kitty mother sat on her), also there were the foster cats, Alyth and Tyree.

  44. I’ve never had a dog that would answer to- Get out of the way. Present dog is Belle, meant for one of the Disney Characters that was sweet and nice. However, at six months ‘Belle Starr’ is more her style.

    • Most all my dogs answer equally well to “comear Stupid,” as they do to their given name.

      • That’s because, unless unusually well trained to ignore anything but their names, anything said in a cheerful voice will suffice to call a dog.

        With our most recent cat, he would only come running to the sound of the wrapping coming off of an individually-wrapped slice of cheese.

        • Actually I believe it is because they get called Stupid about as often as they are called by their given names. The part that confuses people is when I have several of them running loose and the one I want is the one that responds to me calling for ‘Stupid’. Dogs really aren’t (although they can give a very good imitation of it) and they will look up, see which dog I am looking at while calling that, and that is the dog that will come, while the others go on about their business.

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            I’ve heard that there have been cases where one dog out of several (within hearing reach) has done something wrong that dog will react when the human says “Bad Dog” but the others won’t. [Smile]

          • Well, dogs are no better than me. I do the same thing (look around and see if I’m the one being addressed as ‘stupid’). 🙂

  45. Nineveh, mostly because I was reading a lot of Assyrian and Babylonian history at the time.
    Tsathoggua, because he liked to sit on the back of a chair in the dark and I had this vision of him sending mice to their deaths beneath the Eiglophian mountains.
    No cat right now, though.

  46. If I ever get a cat, I will be unoriginal and name it Hobbes. Because I want to be just like Calvin when I grow up.

  47. We currently provide a home to 3 cats.

    Chienne – a calico with a lot of attitude that adopted us much to the consternation of the neighbors that thought they owned her. She would escape their house and demand to be let into ours. She earned the name by one day after being scolded she turned around and smacked the other cat, Baby – the wifes cat since passed, with a look that said “this is all your fault”. Yes, chienne normally refers to a female dog but I couldn’t think of another way to call her b*tch that we could use in polite company.

    These two were feral farm cats that we trapped at work when they were about 6-8 weeks old and took home.

    Loki – tuxedo alpha male. His happiest place is resting on the wifes chest with his head on her arm while she is sitting at the computer.

    Hera – Loki’s sister, yes we are mixing mythologies but I didn’t want to call him Hermes. She hated me when we got them, but is now the bossiest most talkative cat we’ve ever had. She has to be within arms reach of me whenever I’m in the house.

    Other cats we’ve had that have all since passed – Becky (adopted with that name, we called her Beckers), Baby – large fat male tabby, Squire, Boris and Natasha

    We are a household that will probably not have dogs anytime soon. My family is firmly convinced that dogs have masters, cats allow people to serve them.

    • My daughter had one of those – a cat who belonged to a neighbor, who had found him as a wee tiny kitten, whom they had to feed on a bottle – but he fell bonkers-in-love with my daughter. No, really, bonkers in love – and he came over to our garden, even when she went back to her Marine unit. He even got hit by a car, through devotion to going to our house, hoping to see my daughter. They moved to another house, and (somewhat reluctantly) gave him up to us, since our house was where he clearly wanted to be. Dear Sammy – he was crippled in one leg, through the cat-car collision. He passed on naturally, just two months ago.
      There are cats who pick their own person. After Sammy, I don’t doubt it.

  48. Our current dog is Robert Burns. She answers to Bobbi. Her predecessor was Charles Dickens, who had the great good fortune to be male, and answered to Dickens. (The other two we had at the same time as Dickens were named by Guide Dogs for the Blind, and were Arco and Hogan, but we can’t take credit for those names.)
    Before that was Brutus, who was named by my mother’s cousin, and he was in reference to Shakespeare’s version. Before that was Zachariah, aka Zacky, who was a Biblical reference, and he was the family dog when I was born.

    I’m not sure any of them would appreciate their names if they understood.

  49. Briefly had a kitten in graduate school, a long-haired black cat which I dubbed Mephistopheles. It was the product of a friend’s daughter’s cat’s neighborhood tryst. I assumed having a cat was okay with my landlady, since she had earlier been encouraging the tenants to adopt one of a litter of kittens deposited on one of her properties.

    I was wrong. Apparently it was only when she was trying to find homes for cats left on her property that he was okay with one of her tenants adopting one. Had to find a new home for Mephistopheles.

  50. My Lady’s first cat was named Improper Indefinite Integral (who had been fixed so she wouldn’t have derivatives) Imp, for short. My Lady was, needless to say, a math science major. Imp forgave us.

    We are currently sharing house with Romanji (because he is as black as ink, but not quite all Japanese) and Cappuccino Mischief Monster (she looks like a cup of cappuccino with the milk partially stirred in.).

  51. Rob Crawford

    Bum-bum was found by the side of Cincinnati’s Central Avenue by my grandmother, then taken to our farm where she reigned over 60 acres of farmland with an iron paw. She lived at least 15 years, averaging two litters a year, and until after her passing, I *never* saw a rabbit on the front half of the farm.

  52. Somewhere, there are cats cheated of their full nine lives. And it’s all because of Steig.

    Not-my-cat, really, but was one of my college friend’s. Sort of. Sergeant Major Steig of the 9th Feline Marines, Terror of the Koi Pond, Slayer of Vilekin, Rescuer of Damsels, and Thief of Keys. Sarge’s tale is too good not to steal, and I’m definitely sticking it in a story somewhere. Cat’s don’t often deign to become heroes. The ones that do, ah, those precious few… they’re worth remembering.

  53. Nice header– 😉 makes me think of the Renaissance.

  54. Kaleo and Ali’i are in a snit now.

  55. I’ve never been owned by a cat but there were gerbils and numerous goldfish. The Fish started with the names Frank and Nancy (because Ned was boring), later to be replaced by Fred and Ethel. The last goldfish to grace our home was named Clorox.

    If we ever get a cat, they will likely be named Ophelia. Yes, even if it’s a boy.

  56. Previous cat of our household was named Lucky, as she’d been tossed out of a truck window on a highway as the tiniest of kittens, covered with fleas and was lucky to have survived and taken in. She was also dubbed the Queen of the University. (As there was a running joke over a childhood confusion of the difference between Universe and University.) She lived up to the dignity of her crown and was completely badass. She deigned to love us and I miss her more than I can say.

    Current cat’s name is Berri. Well, that’s what I call her by, anyway. I think everyone else calls her Barry. We originally thought she was a he, you see. She showed up around Halloween one year and insisted she belonged with us. As her spotted coat has stripes and spots in the spots, I decided she was a patchwork of a cat and should be called “Frankenstein” (pronounced as per the Young Frankenstein movie) and be called “Frankie” for short. They wanted to name him “Barry”. We discovered her true gender and they agreed to settle for “Frankenberri”, like the cereal. Though that was clearly only to humor me because they still write her name “Barry”.

    I want to one day have cats named Sushi, Sashimi, Malice, and Spite. The second two names are in reference to Patrica C. Wrede’s Enchanted Forest books. I think at least one of those names is actually a name of one of the cats. Maybe both.

  57. Oh yeah.. My dad’s old farmer friend’s story about his house cat (as opposed to the barn cats) and one of his dogs … He always had one house cat, and normally one dog that was allowed in the house. The Dog was named “Two Times” because when you call a dog, they never come if you call them once … so you have to call them Two Times. Now, a cat … a cat will never come if you call them once, either. But if you call them two times, the dog comes, so you HAVE to call the cat “Three Times”.

  58. I have two black cats who are brother and sister, Max and Minerva. I dunno why the shelters ay black cats are the hardest to adopt out, because these two are sweethearts.

    My cats tend to have M names, before these two there was Molly and Marcus. Molly was a gray tabby and Marcus a “Tuxedo” and a former barn kitten who unfortunately was a little schizo.

  59. My old GM in Montgomery had several cats, starting with Azathoth (Ithaqa and Cthuga — white and orange respectively — ice and fire — came later). One night Azathoth decided to expand his range to the outdoors and the entire gaming group was dragooned out into the stormy thundery night to get him back. We searched for an hour before one of the gamers decided it was worth a shot….

    “Ai! Ai! Azathoth ftagn!”

    “Meow.” As Azathoth answers his summoner…..

  60. Entry level doesn’t have to be sci-fi or fantasy. My brother who didn’t like to read became a full-time reader when he was introduced to Adventure– i.e. Bourne Conspiracy, Tom Clancy Novels, and others. I will read them, but I am not excited about them. Just introducing a person to reading is a wonderful thing. 😉

  61. I don’t have any cats (my dad is allergic. Sob.) But my younger son’s godmother has a cat named Mir because ‘she likes to explore outer space’.

    • Very cool, but I really wish they’d done a better job of explaining that for the kittens to be five or six months old, for them to be wild the adults should have been nine to fifteen months older, rather than six. (Figures based off of extremely early in the lots-of-food season, vs extremely late.)

      I would be curious if anybody has studied the reproductive habits of wild cats that are just near human houses– grain would mean mice would mean more year-round food.

  62. I used to have a cat named Pixel back in the 1980s. He got the name because he was a few shades of gray, and my (now ex-) wife found him caught in a process camera.

    My current cats were all pawned off on me; one by a friend, and two by my daughter. The two from my daughter are named Skelli and Deli, short for “Skeletor” and “Delicatessen, because laundromat is a stupid name for a cat,” respectively. The one from my friend is named Butch, although my girlfriend addresses her as “Madame.”

  63. A lady that my folks use to drive cattle near was Korean (came over as an adult), and her son had a kinda nasty sense of humor… he named his dog “Bee-yoch.” (Male dog, too.)

    Then went to college.

    As it happens, my mom was the one that tried to keep the dog from fighting the cows the first time we met her…. “BEEEECH! YOU, BEEEEEEEECH, GET AWAY FROM THERE!”

    Luckily, my mom was so shocked that she didn’t respond until the lady grabbed the dog by the collar– and continued to berate the dog, very obviously addressing him.

  64. Miyuki was my cat. Swiped the name from a Japanese friend of Sarah. Dan and Sarah thought she was the meanest, craziest cat they had ever spent any time around, and we’re talking about Petronius’s Mom and Dad. She and Scooter (already named when I took him home after the adventure of the cold night and the warm truck engine) spent most of their lives together, and they never ceased to hate each other. Scooter loved all people and hated all other cats, that’s why he abandoned his clan next door and hung around the New Age store I worked at. He would amuse himself by ambushing Miyuki in the middle of the night, resulting in demonic howling. They both lived to 19.
    The cat outside the bookstore I work at now (living inside now) gave birth to a runt with infected eye that she abandoned, living with me now. Sarah cared for her till the eye was ok and she was old enough not to need the baby milk then turned her over to me; Robert named her Valeria Victrix after a character in two Poul Anderson novels. He didn’t know he’d also named her after the 20th Roman Legion.

  65. We always had cats, and decent cat names. I named my cat Lady (after the cartoon “Lady and the Tramp”, so a cat named after a dog) but she soon became “Lady Bee.” She liked swimming in the tub when I bathed. CRAZY cat! She was an early lesson in mortality, as she got hit by a car.

    Then we got two sibs (from the vet) Mau and Izu (which my mom assures me means “departing cloud”). Mau was a pretty ordiary gray tabby with green eyes, and Izu was… a calico. Let’s just go with that. She had a patchy coat of differing colors and lengths, spots, stripes, you name it– that we described as “several cats put through a blender.” She was stoopid. She escaped our home on the coldest snowiest night of the year, the night before her neutering appointment. We took her to the vet the next day, and he delivered the pleasant news that she was pregnant.

    She did not know how to give birth, and ran around dropping kittens. She died not long after from eating rat poison. We were renting the house, and it was hidden. The owners swore they got rid of it. Ha.

    One was born dead in my lap, I had dreams about that tuxedo for YEARS. Then there were two others, happily born live, jet black Pepi (after an egyptian king, Pepi the II) and “Bonnie Blanche Cooper” (named by mom) who was a fluffy Maine Coon coat on a Japanese shorthair frame. Her tail was a magnificent plume of airbrushed black and tan. She was mom’s cat, a magnificent hunter and brought down rabbits bigger than she was. She charged and frightened off a full grown Raccoon. Seriously. She wasn’t afraid of anything. Yet, to people, she was the perfect Southern Belle. Mom called her a Steel Magnolia for obvious reasons.

    Now I’m stuck with “Scooter” because Husband Said So.The shelter named him. Scotter is also called Claude, “Ow!No-claws!”, “Eat-your-food!” or “Stop biting!”
    Leif the Orange (son of Eric the Red) is my boy, the shelter named him Dax (after a big benign tumor he was born with; DS9 reference). I renamed him because I already had a cat named “Bats” (ex-boyfriend named him). I had enough problems with cat names over the phone, so I renamed him so they’d be distinctive. Dax was a perfectly good name otherwise.

    Bats was pretty awesome. He was the sweetest cat ever, so totally a lap based love bug. But I always hummed blues songs, because he was a “ramblin man”. Friend found him in a parking lot at a complex she was moving out of. He ran away from her to stay with me. He stayed with me a few years, then escaped when friends were caring for him while I was getting settled in Chicago. The Humane Society called me a year later saying they found him, and I’d already moved to Indiana. I made arrangements to pick him up– but when I arrived he’d escaped from the shelter, too. Talk about an escape artist! So I figure he’s out there somewhere being taken care of by another nice family into retirement.

  66. When my husband and I got our first pair of cats as a couple, a pair of Siamese, he wanted to name them “Hellfire” and “Damnation”. I vetoed that immediately, wondering how to explain those names to my family, or even the religious people next door. He went for Otsu-sum and Nobunaga, as he was reading Musashi as the time. Later cats were Skraeling (a gorgeous Maine Coon cat), Misha a lovely gray cat who looked very much like a Russian blue (morphed into Nisha by our 5 yr old), and Sir Fluffy Thomas, aka “the Fluffmeister”.

  67. “Grendel’s Mother (Grendel for short)”
    Did you do that with the intention of naming its firstborn Grendel?
    If I recall my Beowulf correctly, Grendel’s mother was bigger and more fearsome than Grendel.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      Yep, she was. I wonder if she was the source of the saying about don’t get the Mommy mad at you. [Grin]