the naming game

After about 8 weeks I have decided that the cat family who arrived on a hot summer afternoon in June are here to stay.  I have watched the little ones grow and change over these last couple of months.  They have gone from just eating and sleeping to eating, playing a lot and sleeping only when they have to.  It’s been fun watching them explore their world, expressing curiosity about every little thing that moves.  For me, they have been a great distraction from everyday life.  It’s been nice to have some company at the house every morning as I get ready to go to work and every night as I return home.

Since I seem to be the sucker of choice for these three felines I’ve been concentrating on names the last couple of weeks.  Up to this point I have just called them “mama” and “babies.”  But I figure if they are going to be a more permanent fixture, they need names.  Thus started “the naming game.” 

So I started thinking about every possible naming combination I could.  I have a boy and girl kitten so of course naturally girl and boy teams pop into mind like Jack & Jill.  But I thought I could be a little better than generic.  Then I started thinking of gender neutral pairings like Baker & Taylor (I work at a library).  I really liked that one for a while, but then I decided I wanted something else.  Those names just didn’t seem to fit their emerging personalities.  I really love horse racing and so for a time I thought of every possible racehorse, trainer, jockey, and any other racing vocabulary I could to see if a fitting name jumped out.  Nothing.  So then I moved to photography, I thought the kittens are black and white so who are my favorite black and white film photographers.  Of course, Ansel Adams and Fred Archer come to mind… so then I was on the Ansel & Archer kick for a few days.  Again, though, just something didn’t seem to fit.  I continued on the photography path with names like Kodak & Nikon, Flash & Focus, Meter & Prism… but again, not really feeling it. 

I decided that having a meaning to or pairing of the names was becoming a futile search.  I backtracked.  I started observing the kittens and their mother… what do they do, how do they play, how do they interact with me and each other.  As I watched them, I learned that they are three very distinct and individual personalities and therefore required no pairing at all, just a simple name that fit each one.  So here it goes, my naming game has ended and here are the results:

Casey – the “mama” cat is the first one that approached the house looking pitiful and asking with her expressive eyes for food and shelter.  She is a very attentive mother, always watching the kittens, cleaning them, calling to them to make sure they are within earshot.  She has nursed them back to health as one overcame a respiratory infection and the other a fairly bad injury that left two open wounds to clean.  She is still quite hesitant to allow me any physical contact, but I believe its more due to the habit of reacting that way than to the idea that she doesn’t trust me.  Hopefully, she’ll continue to feel more and more comfortable – besides I really, really, really, need to have her spayed before she brings any more kittens my way.

Bo – (short for Bogie) this handsome little guy started out as the runt.  He was ugly and small with congestion-filled eyes and nose.  But over the last 8 weeks he has flourished.  His fuzzy coat which started with more of an orange tint has now become a sleek, jet black.  He is much larger than his sister now and has come out of his shell to also be the more courageous of the two.  He is interested in everything and is not afraid to climb my pants leg to tell me he’s hungry.  He was the first to allow me to pet him and also the first that has become comfortable sitting in my lap (granted he still needs to be distracted by food to do this – but it is progress).  His distinguishing mark: a single, black spot on his front left paw. 

Audrey – this baby girl is as sweet as she can be.  She’s timid and shy, but just loves sitting beside me on the porch step as she watches her mother and brother explore and play.  She seems content to watch.  She started out as the larger and darker of the two but is now a shade lighter and much smaller than her brother.  She has a gentle spirit but also happens to have a little devilish side as well and will, without warning, attack Bo and wrestle him to the ground.  It’s the little fiery streak she gets from her mother.  She spent about a week recovering from an injury to her leg and neck to which I still have no idea about what happened.  But she is on the mend and doing very, very well.  Her distinguishing mark: a white tipped tail.    

So Audrey, Bo, and Casey are my new family members.  I suppose I’m starting my ABC’s or something… but seriously, I don’t need 23 more cats to complete the alphabet.  My next hurdle is vet visits to get the required shots and the mandatory spaying and neutering… wish me luck.

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