Sunday, July 23, 2006

The Naming of Cats

"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.
First of all, there's the name that the family use daily,
Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James,
Such as Victor or Jonathan, or George or Bill Bailey -
All of them sensible everyday names.
There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter,
Some for the gentlemen, some for the dames:
Such as Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter -
But all of them sensible everyday names.
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?
Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum,
Such as Munkustrap, Quaxo, or Coricopat,
Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellylorum -
Names that never belong to more than one cat.
But above and beyond there's still one name left over,
And that is the name that you never will guess;
The name that no human research can discover -
But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.
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
Deep and inscrutable singular Name."
--T.S. Eliot, Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats

While T.S. is a wise man, I feel he may have missed the mark on the number of names a cat has. My cat, Zoey, has her singluar, commonplace everyday name. I will never discern her secret cat name, that I know. But as to the fancier names, she has many already. Ours are not so brilliantly fanciful as T.S.'s, but so far she morphs from Zoey into Tiny, Tweaky McGee, Batshit Catshit, Gollum, Gremlin Cat and Snoodles.

I am sure there will be more, as I have seen Marcus' cats morph from Jazz and Ruby to Jizz and Splooge. With Jazzy's death, her sister has become Ruby, sometimes Ruby Tuesday, sometimes Ruby Spoogeday, sometimes Spoo, sometimes Sploogy and, during episodes of Carnivale, Rubes.

Holly Golightly may have been on to something by simply naming her cat Cat.


Marcus Gorman said...

Don't forget "Sploogenuts."

Rufus, of course, has become "Roofie," "Rohypnol," "Rufio," "Rufalactic," "Rufusnuts" and "Penis Cat."

As well with Raja: "Rajeesh," "Rajinda," "Ragu," your favorite "Rajagoogoo" and my favorite "Large Ah-nee-mahl." Now she is "Best Dog Ever."

Bri said...

Oh, man...
I was just watching Logan's Run yesterday and one of the characters makes extensive use of that Eliot passage. I thought it was an interesting, albeit odd, addition to the movie. And now I know that they were cribbing from Eliot. An odd bit of synchronicity that I should come across both within a matter of days.
This is Bri from Zia's class, by the by. And your haikus? Totally need to be tattooed onto that one guy that always managed to say something to give me a headache. "'Thou'?! I didn't know we were studying Old English!"
PS- I don't really use my blogspot often. If you're on livejournal, I'm punkybrister69 over there.