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August 15, 2010 / Zoe

The naming of cats

This is one of my favourite poems. I love TS Eliot.

The Naming of Cats.

The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isn’t just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I’m as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.

First of all, there’s the name that the family use daily,
Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James,
Such as Victor or Jonathan, George or Bill Bailey–
All of them sensible everyday names.

There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter,
Some for the gentlemen, some for the dames:
Such as Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter–
But all of them sensible everyday names.

But I tell you, a cat needs a name that’s particular,
A name that’s peculiar, and more dignified,
Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular,
Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride?

Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum,
Such as Munkustrap, Quaxo, or Coricopat,
Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellylorum-
Names that never belong to more than one cat.

But above and beyond there’s still one name left over,
And that is the name that you never will guess;
The name that no human research can discover–
But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.

When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:
His ineffable effable
Deep and inscrutable singular Name.

– TS Eliot.

So I think I should formally introduce my girls.

The name we use daily is Maisie, but her name that’s particular is Kimara Sirishka Thomasia. Expensive name, trust me.

And as for Daisy, a name that’s perculiar; Dasypogon Gretel Fuzzbutt. A not so expensive name.

This is from the day they met. There was no hisses, but Maisie was perplexed by this little creature. She kept gently touching her and jumping away. So funny and sweet! I can’t believe how teeny tiny Daisy was.

And this is them now, pure love. I wonder if they tell each other the name they know, but we can never guess. And I think Daisy will always be a little but teeny.


Leave a Comment
  1. Clare B / Aug 17 2010 3:13 pm

    Great poem – I’m also a T.S Elliot lover and have never come across this one before. I love the second photo, you can almost see the hesitation in Maisie’s reach.

  2. maggie / Aug 17 2010 11:05 am

    i particularly like the addition of ‘fuzzbutt’. just perfect.

  3. Ashley @ Ramblings and Photos / Aug 15 2010 9:25 pm

    Great post – I don’t know that I’ve ever given this much though. We have multiple names for Kitty Paw and they usually emerge based on her mood. Princess Panefolie, Madam Kittesrella, just depends. But I do love my cat…I can’t imagine anyone else being a part of our life.

    • Zoe / Aug 15 2010 10:28 pm

      I love Madam Kittesrella! For a while ours were just The Kitten and The Baby.

  4. blackwatertown / Aug 15 2010 7:18 pm

    Fuzzbutt? No wonder it’s secret. I expected something grander… haughtier.

    • Zoe / Aug 15 2010 7:27 pm

      Well, she does have a fuzzy butt…

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