What’s in a Name?

How did you choose your cat or dog’s name?  Do you name your pet after a character from your favorite book/movie/tv show? Do you get their name based on their personality or physical appearance (aka Socks, Pounce, Sassy) or do you go with something completely different? I like to pick names that aren’t going to appear on any lists of top 10 or most popular cat names. So something like Bella, Socks, Mittens and Tiger are all of the list.

I ask because I am in the process of deciding on a name for the cat formerly known as Marius. The name just didn’t seem to fit him, so I am trying to find a good alternative.

I don’t know how to decide on a final name for him. The name Marius comes from Les Miserables, a great musical and an amazing book (once you get through Hugo’s political tirades).  It was a fine name for a TNR cat who just needed a name for his paperwork. Now that he is inside though, it is not the best name. It is too big for him. I have been going through different options for the past week and nothing seems to stick. I just keep calling him baby.

Crash, Muffin and Sam got their names in completely different ways. I remember sitting on the floor, watching my kittens play and tossing names around with my parents. Muffin got her name from a toilet paper commercial; there was a commercial featuring two cats unrolling different brands of toilet paper, one of the cats was named Muffin. My 11-year-old self loved it. She had her name before we even adopted her. Crash got his name when he crashed into a table leg and didn’t stop playing. Sam, whose full name is Uncle Sam, got his name because they were born around the 4th of July.

The kittens I fostered over the summer for Chicago Cat Rescue have an eclectic bunch of names that just worked out well. Pounce was named for his constant energy, the fact that he simply refused to sit still or do anything but run or pounce on everything he saw. Ben was named after one of my favorite actors. Stormy’s real name is Stormageddon Dark Lord of All. But I figured that was a bit of a mouthful so we shortened it to Stormy. Stormageddon Dark Lord of All is possibly the greatest name to ever come out my favorite television show, Doctor Who.  Gwen was named both for Queen Gweneviere of the King Arthur stories and for Gwen Cooper of Torchwood/Doctor Who. Both Stormy and Gwen continued my tradition of naming cats after aspects of Arthurian legend and after creatures/characters/planets from Doctor Who. 

My first round of foster kittens were all named after Arthurian legend. I am a bibliophile and I love all things related to the mythology of King Arthur. So Pendragon, Morgan LaFey and Vivain got their names. The majority of my feral cats have been named after characters from Doctor Who. I figured this allowed me to use some of the more ridiculous names I have stored up in reserve. I had Poosh, Banakafalata, Adipose, Clom/David, Shadow Architect, Donna Noble (aka Fluffy Butt) and Captain Jack (aka Tuxie). Most of them were renamed after some distinquishing factor Fluffy Butt, Tuxie, Mama was originally Jackie and even Little Black was originally named Romana.  It is easier to call them by their nick names, as it usually is with cats.  Crash and Muffin hardly go by their names. They each have at least half a dozen nick names at any given time.  Which makes me wonder just how important a name really is for the cat now called Marius. I can name him whatever I want and just call him Baby. Though, I think Crash would get MIGHTY jealous of another “baby” around the house. He is, after all, the only baby!

Socializing Cats

First Belly Roll!

Marius needs a name though. I love the idea of sticking with something literary. I also love the idea of giving him a name to signify his second change at life. Something like Jean or Val Jean sounded appealing, but it still seems like too big a name for him. I liked Jax, short for Jackson in honor of Jackson Galaxy, who gives second changes to hundreds of cats and had a second chance himself. Excalibur, Merlin and Arthur (which would also have celebrated my love of Cabin Pressure) all floated through my head, and would have continued the Arthurian tradition; but nothing seemed right. My mom suggested Crackers, because this little guy looks like a cat my grandparents had named Crackers. I like the name, but it was already used in our family!  Cracker-Jax was rejected. I still really like Cracker-Jax or Cracker Jack. It is something simple that can easily be shortened for nicknames. I also like the names Ritz (as in the crackers, but also because he is ‘puttin on the ritz’ in his new life) or Pippin. I threatened once to have one animal named for every character in the fellowship from Lord of the Rings.

I know I am putting too much thought into this, but I want to give him just the right name! As Eliot writes “The naming of cats is a difficult matter,/ It isn’t just one of your holiday games.”

So tell me. What’s your vote for Marius’s new name: Pippin/Pip, Ritz or Cracker Jack? Let me know in the comments below!

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3 thoughts on “What’s in a Name?

  1. Janet@TheCatOnMyHead says:

    I remember you asking for suggestions previously and don’t remember what I said. Of the names you have suggested, I like Cracker Jack the best but would do Cracker Jax as it is unique. For my part, I think you should name him Fizz. That just popped into my head as I was reading your suggestions. Good luck and let us know when Marius is christened with his new name. Purrs and hugs from Janet and the kitties, Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth and Calista Josette

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