On the Naming of Cats

November 25, 2013

Photo courtesy Laure Ferlita

I’ve been adopted.

After quite a few years of missing having a cat, I brought the subject up with my husband a few months ago. He said he didn’t particularly want a cat himself, but did not mind if I wanted to have one again. That was good enough for me. I waited until after our 25th anniversary trip, before heading to the animal shelter to adopt a kitten, thinking a kitten would be easier for Scout to cope with than an adult cat. (Since my husband couldn’t come that day, Laure Ferlita came with me for moral support, and ended up adopting my kitten’s sister! You can read about that here.) 

The adoption went smoothly, the new kitty settled in well, and Scout accepted her with no fuss. Maybe that had something to do with getting a treat every time she had a calm interaction with the kitten? Now it was time to name kitty, but as T.S. Eliot wrote, “The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter.” (Read the whole poem, “The Naming of Cats,” here.) 

I can always make a simple matter more complicated, and so I did with naming the kitten. Her shelter name was Lucy, which I like as a name but didn’t seem quite right. A whole week went by with us trying out various names to see if they’d stick. I wanted a name that would be easy to say, and would suit an adult cat as well as a kitten.  A name I would feel comfortable hearing announced at the vet, and a name with some sort of back story or connection to another aspect of my life. I looked up literary cat names and popular cat names until I was cross-eyed. We tried Isabelle and Tiger Lily, Zoey and Buttercup, Luna and Lyra. Annabelle came close, but we finally settled on Prudy, after a favorite character from the movie Support Your Local Sheriff.

That took care of what Eliot calls her “everyday name.” But she must also have a “peculiar and more dignified name” to allow her to “keep up her tail perpendicular.” We figure Prudy is short for Prudence, which I hope is dignified enough to suit. (Of course, there’s also that third name “that no human research can discover”—that name is Prudy’s little secret, and she’s not telling.) 

As I type this, Prudy is asleep on my rocking chair. She’s the sweetest, purriest little thing, and has all three of us wrapped around her fuzzy paw. (When my college freshman son comes home for the weekend, he sleeps with her in his room!) Having pets is a source of deep happiness and contentment for me, and I suspect there will be Prudy stories, just as there are Scout and Tank stories here on the blog. Stay tuned.

What’s making you happy right now?

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  1. Such a sweet face! So glad she and Scout have settled into one another.

  2. ...how cool that you and Laure have the sisters! They will have to visit with each other every now and then! Love the Prudy...and I love T.S. Eliot's poem. That's one of Matty's favorite poems too.

  3. Congrats on the new addition to your family. She's a cutie. It's great that Scout accepted her without any fuss, and yes, I'm sure the treats helped!

  4. Laure--She lives up to her face...she's probably the sweetest cat I've ever had (so far, anyway).

  5. Kelly--We joke about having play dates for the sisters!

  6. Cheryl--Scout figured out the treat angle very quickly: she'd follow the kitten around for bit, then stand looking up at me, waiting for her treat. We're so happy that they seem to be getting along very well.