A Cat Named Cat

No, this blog article is not about Cat Stevens. To lapse into beatnik talk for no particular reason, he's some cat who changed his name twice. He was born Stephen D. Georgiou, became a Cat, wrote lovely music, joined Islam, and became Yusuf Islam. This article is not about him.

Instead, I'm going to be talking about pet names. No, not "shnooky wookums" or any of the other silly monikers that besotted lovers bestow upon one another. Mind you, I am curious about how we instinctively know that "Snuggy-booboo" is appropriate in this context, while "Smushy-wump" isn't.

According to "The Cat Lover's Book of Fascinating Facts" by Ed Lucaire, the most popular names for male cats are Tiger, Tigger, Smokey, Pepper, Max, Maxwell, Simon, Snoopy (what!?), Morris (duh), Mickey, Rusty, Rusti, Boots, and Bootsie. The most popular names for female cats are Samantha, Misty, Patches, Cali, Calico, Muffin, Angel, Angela, Ginger, Tiger, Tigger, Princess, Punkin, and Pumpkin.

Well, that's what Ed Lucaire says. We know, in our hearts, that the most popular names are "Kitty" and "Puss". PetBytes Magazine has similar suspicions, listing the names in this order: Kitty, Tiger, Smokey, Tigger, Shadow, Samantha, Sam, Max, Misty, and Patches.

Now why would somebody call their cat "Puss"? What does that say about the one trait cat-lovers most admire about felines: their individuality?

For the record, I've owned several cats, and they were named William, TicToc, Lily and Zeno. Before Lily was left to me by her original owners ("We'll send for her as soon as we find a house"), she was named "Pewter". That wasn't very mellifluous, so I changed it immediately.

When I was growing up, we had a dog that the original owner ("My mom won't let me keep him") named "Prince". According to PetSmart's page about pet names, that's the seventh most common name for a male pooch. So my father chose the name "Doggo". At first glance, this doesn't seem very inspired, but it actually describes the way our dog would lie down. My father has an odd sense of humour.

Of course, like most pet lovers, we had multiple names for our animals. Doggo was also referred to as "Woofer", "Clicker" and "Quebec Hunting Dog" ("You let him off the leash and then go hunting for him."). We must have seriously confused the poor mutt.

Okay, enough with the sappy reminiscing and back to the topic.

A lady I once knew had a bird, whom she named "Bird". She justified this by saying that it didn't speak English and thus didn't care. Still, I felt bad for the itty-bitty widdle birdie and told her so. She asked me for an alternative. After some thought, I proposed "Turbo Super Eagle 3000". She continued to call it "Bird". Maybe it's just as well.

I don't have a pet at the moment, but I would like to get a goldfish and name him "Rover". I suspect that as he circled the tank he might find the irony amusing. Alternatively, I could get an all-black dog and name him "Spot". When people protest, I'll say it's marked with a really big spot.

Maybe you think I'm being nasty, but when I was a CB Radio fanatic, back in the 70's, I called myself "Fido". Like my father, when it comes to names I also have an odd sense of humour.

If you don't believe me, look at the name of this blog.

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