Cats

Paul Andinach pandinac at tartarus.uwa.edu.au
Fri Jul 21 05:57:32 EDT 2000


On Thu, 20 Jul 2000, Melissa Proffitt wrote:

> I also once named five kittens after characters from "Cats" but it
> didn't go over well with my family, who thought Rumpelteazer et. al.
> were stupid names for cats.

Eliot himself said that every cat has more than one name.
Terry Pratchett did an extended riff on this, suggesting that a cat's
multiple names include, among others I've forgotten:

1. the name he is given when first acquired, often unsensibly long or
fancy - Rumpelteazer, for instance. :)

2. the shorter and less fancy name the cat ends up *actually* being
called most of the time.

3. the name the neighbours call when they see him
(Maudethecatfromnextdoorsonthebirdtableagain and
Yahgerroffoutofityabastard are Pratchett's examples)

4. the name that is called when, for instance, the shopping bag
containing the prime steak starts edging furtively toward the edge of
the table. This name is usually short and sharp. ("The Egyptians'
cat-headed goddess was called Bast. Now you know why.")

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