Do You Really Name All Those Cats?

People often ask this when they learn that we have 22 cats at Cedar Ridge. I usually ask the person whether they name all their children. Now, my son and daughter Robbie and Katie are exceedingly more important than any cats. (I would hope that would go without saying, but I’m afraid some people might wonder.) However, our cats are like family. We tend to call them “the kids” and often talk about them as if they were our offspring. So yes, naming the cats is very important. We even have methods for doing so.

Literary and French Names

For several years, we used literary names for our cats. Those who are still with us are Henry David and Louisa May, named for the transcendentalist writers. Becky, who found us while we were visiting family at Lake Lemon, was named for Tom Sawyer’s crush Becky Thatcher. Lucy was a small tabby we found in the parking lot of Walmart. If you ask Robbie, her name is one of the sisters in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; if you ask Kate, she was named for “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” by the Beatles. It was one of those compromise names. Our dog, James Allen Longfellow, was named for three poets. The other dogs in the neighborhood thought he was a nerd.
Two of our cats have French names: Feé Chaton (fairy kitten) and Cassie, whose French name is long and unpronounceable by me. Katie named these two while she was majoring in French in college.

Irish Names

Since 2012, we’ve been giving our cats names related to Ireland. Róisin Bán and her twin Líle Bán represent the white rose of the Jacobean side of the Battle of the Boyne and the white lily of the 1916 Easter Rising. Setanta Mór has the birth name of Ireland’s mythical hero Cú Chulainn, while Mhacha, a sleek black cat, represents the Celtic goddess of war, who often took the form of a shiny black raven.

So, yes, we name all those cats. They all have second names and at least one nickname; I keep a spreadsheet for the vet with their names and their pronunciations.

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