This is an edited and expanded version of a reply to jenett
's query about cats and names and such.
All my cat names have come from books. And all my cats but one were friend's-cat-had-kittens cats; that other one was from the Human Society. Emily
(named for Emily Dickinson, because she was celibate and a bit strange) was quite happy as a solitary cat. She was grey and white, and rather sedate as cats go, which gave me an entirely unreasonable idea of how cats should behave. She boarded out for a year-and-a-half with a friend who had multiple cats when I moved into a house where I couldn't have her (in retrospect, a mistake). When I finally got her back, she spent the first night sitting on my chest and purring. Coals of fire, indeed. She developed a mammary tumor around age 10, and I chose to euthanize her rather than try any treatment.Pyewacket
(name from the movie Bell, Book, and Candle
, by way of Pamela Dean's Tam Lin
) I got as a kitten, and she had very firm notions. She almost died because she wouldn't eat dry kitten food, and it took a vet visit to figure out that wet food was fine. Early on, she developed a habit of using my bed instead of a litterbox. In desperation, I acquired Gandalf, in the theory that either the problem was that she was lonely or she would go back to where I acquired her and become a barn cat. Luckily, having another kitten in the house fixed the problem pretty much immediately. She lived to 17. The last year was hard; she had thyroid problems, but I don't think that wasn't everything. She slowly stopped eating, and eventually just wore down. She died at home without any intervention from me.Gandalf
was my one shelter kitten, and my first male cat. I'd always wanted a gray cat to name Gandalf, and he was nature's perfect cat in many ways -- plush and soft and friendly. He had a fetish for shoes, and hated having his surroundings rearranged. He was very sneaky about not using the litter box sometimes -- when I redid my living room, I discovered he'd sprayed the walls enough that a lot of sheetrock had to be replaced, but at the time, there was only a faint scent. He lived to 18, dying a day or so after a stroke, on my bed with me. His favorite spot was the upper left corner of my bed, and it took me a long time to get out of the habit of reaching to pet that spot.
There was also Sophocles
, the temporary boarder (in September 2003). He was a cat I rescued from an auto accident and took to the U of M animal hospital with a broken leg. He was short-haired, orange, and adolescent. (The full story is here
.) The U of M hospital wanted more of a name than "stray," and pddb
had a long-haired orange cat named Aristophanes. This cat was short-haired, so I picked a (to my mind) more accessible Greek author. Once they let me take him home, he stayed in my back room to convalesce; but I already had Gandalf and Pyewacket at that point, and was very dubious about a third cat. Luckily, elisem
was willing to take on an orange cat, and he became Aragorn deMorgan Xylophone Sophocles Cat. I believe he is still around and quite venerable, though I haven't seen him for some years.Morwen
(black female, named after the witch in Pat Wrede's Enchanted Forest series) and Random
(Siamese seal-point in appearance, but a total mutt in genetics, named after the character in the Amber books) were littermates. Before Morwen was definitively sexed, I thought she was male, and was going to be named Dominic, after a character in Pamela Dean's Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary
. Unfortunately, despite being littermates, once they reached adulthood, they very much did not get along. There was constant fighting, and lots of peeing and pooping in inappropriate locations, most notably my bed. I was at my wit's end, and considering drastic (and possibly terminal) solutions; but thankfully, a slightly less drastic solution opened up. Now Random lives with txanne
in Boston, and Morwen is much, much happier and social as a single cat. I only realized after Random was gone that part of the problem had been that Random was stealing a fair amount of Morwen's food, and she was underweight. Though she looks like a stereotypical Basement Cat, she clearly has Ceiling Cat tendencies, going for the highest spot in the room, even if no normal cat would be able to get up there. (Random got as far as the mantelpiece once, and decided the next leap, to the ceiling beams, was a really bad idea. He may be a goof, but he showed good sense there.) Both cats are now about 8 years old, but you can see them as kittens, along with their two littermates, in the icon for this post.