copyright 2006 Maggie Stiefvater.
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The way I see it, naming a cat is worse than naming a baby. No, no, before you start heckling -- is that how that's spelled? -- bear with me. When you're naming a baby, you only have to deal with the 100,000 baby names and name derivatives out there. And a bunch of nosy family members and coworkers who insist upon giving you suggestions despite the fact that you've pretty much already made up your mind. However, when you're naming a cat, you have to choose between 100,000 baby names and every plant and flower, color, physical attribute, and combination of initials ever thought of in any language since written history began.
No wonder so many cats are just called Fluffy. Actually, I think Fluffy's a bit of a thoughtful name -- it's what I like to call a "flattering partial truth name," or FPTN. See, FPTNs such as Spot, Shadow, Blacky, and Frisky title the cat after one of its attributes, invariably a pleasant one, which often requires a fair bit of imagination. For instance when I started thinking of our new cat's attributes, I came up with names like:
It was like a list of names for a new deformed malignant generation of Snow White's seven dwarfs. If only I'd had "Fluffy" as an option! But our new kitty was unremarkably short haired. No real spots, either. Just sort of Skunky patches.
It should be noted that I asked my 2 year old, Victoria, what the cat's name was, and she suggested, "Cat." She conceded, "Oh, she's so cute!" I thought "Cat" was a bit of a cop-out.
So I moved on to real names. You know, Gladys, Rebecca, and Yvonne. It just wasn't working. You don't call a cat Jessica. Or Melinda. Well, maybe you do, but I definitely don't.
To add to the difficulty, my husband is a SITM. (Stick In The Mud). He rejected all fun names that I came up with. At the top of the fun list were Vodka and Puppy, but Ed gently but firmly told me no. He insisted that I give the cat a name that conveyed some dignity.
The animal poops in a box and drinks out of the toilet. What dignity?
It was around three days after we'd gotten New Kitty when I began having one of those Brain Hatching feelings. You know, a sentence or word or concept is tickling the back of your brain and you just need to be patient for it to break out? Well, sure enough, I drank a lot of caffeine, and a little voice reminded me to go watch Lemony Snickett and pay attention to the main characters. Of course! Violet! Perfect. Ahh. Now, that was painless, wasn't it? I should name cats more often.