I know of a cat breeder who names her litters in a specific pattern related to the alphabet. I imagine a lot of breeders do something like that so they can keep track of who is related to whom and when they were born. The naming of cats can be a difficult matter, to be sure, but how many of us moggie lovers go out of our way to follow a pattern when naming our cats?
As I was looking back at the cats I’ve known and loved over the years, I realized I had an obvious pattern. It’s not one that I deliberately undertook; it just sort of happened.
My family and I have a long history of naming cats after flowers.
Not every cat I’ve adopted has had a floral name: Sin├®ad and Siouxsie were named after my favorite female singers, for example. But the plants are definitely represented in numbers far too great to be mere coincidence, and there are already more than enough of them to fill a good-size vase.
First, there was Marigold. She came to us with that name, although she earned the moniker Maddy-Gold because she was a bit nutty.
Then there was the sweet little calico we took home from the shelter. The black I-shaped dot on her forehead led my mother to call her Iris.
A pregnant stray "cow kitty" showed up on my mother’s doorstep one day. My mother talked to the animal shelter and agreed to foster the cat until her kittens were old enough to go to new homes. That cat became Rosabelle, or Rosie for short.
In my own life, there was Dahlia, my beautiful black baby with dahlia-colored eyes. I didn’t say, "Hey, I’m gonna give this cat a flower name, so this is it." Instead, I asked her what she wanted her name to be. I ran through all sorts of words that came to my mind, and she responded with a rub and a big purr when I said "dahlia." Like the flower she was named after, she was showy and certain of her own beauty.
Chrysanthemum Kiss-Kiss Bobette Jellylorum Kelley, a.k.a. Kissy, also requested her name. I admired her from a distance and again ran through a long list of possible names in my head. I got a good feeling about the word "chrysanthemum." When I first met her, I said the word and she immediately broke off from her obsessive observation of the squirrels on my friend’s porch to grace me with a head rub and a purr.
My latest adoptee, Belladonna, came to the shelter with that name. I didn’t know Belladonna was her full name, though; they introduced her as Bella. I have to admit I cringed a little bit with the thought that she was named after the Twilight character, and I was planning to change her name as soon as she got home so nobody would mistake me for a fan of the series. But Belladonna felt natural, and she certainly seems to like the name, especially since I added Moonshadow as her middle name. (Since she’s underfoot, curling around my legs and in my face everywhere I go, I get to sing "I’m being followed by a moonshadow … moonshadow, moonshadow" a lot.)
I’m pretty sure it’s not a coincidence that another kitty with a flower name came into my life.
How about you? Is there an accidental or purposeful pattern to the names you give your cats? What inspired it? Let us know in the comments!