January 26th, 2010

By Their Cats Thou Shalt Know Them

By Their Cats Thou Shalt Know Them

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 – and says, “And your cat’s name?” “I have two,” I said. “Random Numbers and Pixel Wallwalker.” 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. Collapse )