Friday, September 6, 2013

What's in Your Pet's Name?

What's in your pet's name?
How do you name your furry pet, pet plant, or pet toy? From favourite fictional characters or celebrities? What inspired you? I ask because when it comes to giving names, I'm awful at it; our two fur babies came with their names.

Fluffy, the fluff meister
Fluffy's cage tag - Oct.2007
We adopted Fluffy in October 2007 from SAVE Animal Rescue via Petsmart. It was purely by accident that we brought home a cat. At that time, we were out for a "digestive walk" in Petsmart after a heavy lunch. It was something we did often, since we were cat-less while living in student housing, and I always enjoyed feline company. While at the store, there were about 6 cats "set up" by a table for adoption. I was particularly drawn to the very still and large white cat at the bottom cage. Obviously, I related to its introversion.

The defining moment was when I learned that this cat is a Ragdoll. Always wanted one.

Fluffy had spent 3 months at the animal shelter by the time we adopted him on my birthday. We took home the cage tag as a reminder. See the bite makes on the top left corner? Poor Fluffy. "He was completely miserable," I remember these words from the SAVE volunteer well.

Earlier this year, I was told that SAVE names their rescues alphabetically. That now explains why I was told there was a 'Madam Fluff' in the girls room, if I wanted another long-haired cat, back then... Now I wonder what Fluffy's "real" name might have been -- in line with using adjectives as names, Fluffy could have been Grouchy or Grumpy or Greedy, but most definitely Handsome.

Pickle, our piccalilli
Driving Pickle home - 12.Jun.2010
Pickle... My sweetest heart. She was given up by her former mistress, in June 2010, due to personal reasons. Former mistress Nicki, and Pickle, were from Berkshire UK, then living in Switzerland (near Lausanne). The Hubs saw an online advertisement for 2 cats to be given up, but as we already had Fluffy, there was room for only 1 more cat.

I remember driving 3.5 hours from Zurich in a rental to meet this 7-year-old cat that we hadn't seen pictures of. The chosen spot to meet Nicki was a McDonald's parking lot near a highway. Our wait was short, and Nicki showed up in a black SUV. The "handing over" was brief: Nicki handed me Pickle's documents, and mentioned that when she (Nicki) was a young girl, her granny used to call her "a little pickle" when she was up to mischief or had gotten herself into trouble. When Nicki took this active kitten home, it was a real little pickle.

Pickle's birth name though, given by her breeder, is Innamorato. "The beat of my heart, in Italian," Nicki said, placing palm to chest.

When we parted, Nicki had text to apologise for the hurry. She was fighting back tears. I fully understand that now, and cannot imagine life without this sweetest-of-all sweetheart, let alone think about giving her up.

So, do tell me, what's in your pet(s) name? I'd love to hear your story.


  1. this was such a cute post! ceecee, our kitty, had her name when we got from the shelter (i think that was her name at her previous owners' as well). we decided to keep it as is for two reasons: 1) she had already had that name for a while and we felt like it would be mean to change it just to suit our preferences, and 2) i am a huge nerd and i wanted to name her something nerdy but my boyfriend wouldn't let me and he didn't have any other ideas.

    my dad is very good at choosing pet names, though - when i was a kid we rescued two cats and named them sacco and vanzetti, after the italian anarchists.

  2. My whole family stinks at naming animals. Which is why all of our animals have at least three names apiece. I'm even worse with the goats! The have to be named in accordance with the letter of the year, this year being the letter 'd'. So far the babies have been named Dusty, Dogwood, and Dewberry. Oh! And Dragonfruit. (Did I mention that my whole herd is named after nature-y things? Yeah. It's a thematic herd.)

    Aww man. That story about Pickle breaks my heart. I remember having to give away my kitten when we moved to Hawaii years ago. I cried. (For the record, that kitten's name was Baby Cat. Haha. My naming strategies haven't really changed...)

  3. Cute! Well, our first ever pets were a pair of parakeets. The green one was Pretty Girl and the blue one was Pretty Boy. My sister and I came up with those names because they just sounded like good bird names. Our first ever cat was Noel because we rescued her at a family Christmas party. My aunt found her (she was always taking in strays) and brought her to the party hoping someone would take her home. We begged our parents and they happily agreed. She was so darn cute. A real fur ball. Our first (and only) dog was Chico that we rescued from a shelter. He was small, and chico means small in Spanish, so there you go. After Noel, we got two more cats. Chanel (after Coco Chanel because she was black and white and classic) and Lola (full name Lolita de Bonita). She was hiding in the rafters at my mom's work in a town called Bonita. My mom has two cats that she named Daisy and Mariah (nickname Mimi). They are named after Luis Miguel's ex-girlfriends: Daisy Fuentes and Mariah Carey. (Luis Miguel is a BIG DEAL Mexican singer.) haha.

  4. i love the story! this article came so timely because we have a new pet dog at home. my auntie named him as grey because of the gray patches. if i were to be asked though, i wanted to name him patch instead. heehee

    Have a great week ahead Juanita!

  5. Aww.. I totally enjoyed reading your post, sorry for being really late to read and comment. I still remember the time when Pickle was new to your household and you were unsure if she would fit in. Now she has her forever-home :)
    As you know, my little hammy is Swiss and he's called Spätzli because I love to eat those egg noodles. I've had to name so many rodents over the years, and some names end up funnier than others. I believe that I usually pick something that is in my head at the time, before I even know what their personalities are like. :P

  6. aww...poor little least now they are happy and safe with you. My beasts are Marley and Yasser but I call them Egg and Beef because Marley looks like a white egg and Yasser looks like a nice piece of roast beef - all chunky and dark. Silly but fun! ;) Marley is actually named after Marley's Ghost in the Christmas Carol and Yasser was just a joke after Yasser Arafat - Yasser Aracat...!!!

  7. I love hearing how people came about their four-legged friends.

    We've got three cats, one dog, a hamster and a gecko!

    Our oldest cat is Paris - now 13, he was a kitten from a cat rescue with his sister who sadly died of a heart problem. Named after a character on Star Trek Voyager.

    The next two were rehomed from someone who didn't want them anymore, they were 4 months old at the time and are now 5. My then 6 year old sons named them Anakin and Padme! Noticing a theme?

    Our dog is Faldo, no idea how he got that name. We were his Guide Dog puppy walkers and when he didn't make his later stage training we were happy to bring him home as a forever pet. We thought about picking a different name but by then he was Faldo to us.

    My son named his hamster Dragonborn after a character in Skyrim and my other son named his leopard gecko Arby after a character from Halo.

  8. I loved reading about your kitties' stories and how they got their names!
    Zoe means Life in Greek, and a friend who was involved in animal rescue suggested this name when I adopted my little kitten from Rhodes... She said that I was giving her "a life". This still brings tears to my eyes... I have found Zoe's Godmother on FB again, after loosing eachother for about 6 years, after she moved to Australia from Rhodes. She is SOOOO delighted to see Zoe's photos in her happy life! :)

  9. I saw this post last week but didn't have time to reply right away...well, 9 cats, 9 name stories ;)
    Gazette got his name because I tried to chase him away with a newspaper when he first decided he wanted to live with me. Turns out that Gazette was also the name of one of Richelieu's cats.
    Doudou first name was Voldemort because he was large and chubby (not so much now that he is old) and I had kittens at the time and they all flocked around him like little Deatheaters. Voldemort evolved to voldie and Doudou.
    Diego , the cousin of Dora the explorer (I had a cat named Dora that Diego adored).
    Eugénie. She is a Persian so I wanted a "noble" it was Eugénie, like the French Empress.
    Bob and Frank...are named after a silly captioned photo on lolcats
    Daget...that's from the Angry Beavers cartoon. She had a twin named Norbert.
    Pepita. Noelle (from xenotee) had a cat named Pepito, so it's kind of an hommage to him. And also "Pépite" in French means gold nugget ;)
    Philibert. I don't remember how I came up with that one ;)

  10. Hi dear, thanks for passing by! :) Why Ciro has been named Ciro (pronounce Cheero, like Cheerio)
    Well, we adopted our first kitty, when our son was five (now he is 31!) and he named her "Puzzetta" which in Italian means "stinky"; but in italian is nice. She has been with us for three years, and one day we found her in the garden lifeless... It was the first lose for our son, and he cried so much, that we said: never more!
    Some years after that, we move to a new apartment. Two days after we move, I started to hear some mewling; but in the garden condo there were a lot of cats, so I didn't care about. As the mewling didn't stop at the afternoon, I came down to see... And I saw a black and white kitten at the top of a very high pine tree. Well the rescue was somehow difficult; but we got him. Our neighbor ask us if we could have him for the night... and sixteen years late, Ciro is still with us.
    Oh why the name? Ok. I will try to explain. He has a black and white mask, like Pulcinella, the napoleatan puppet. Ciro is a popular name in Naples. And that is it. Have a nice week end!


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