Sunday, October 5, 2014

What's in a name?

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. Or so Shakespeare thought. Or at least that’s what Juliet thought.

I, for one, think names can hold great meaning. I am somewhat of a name fanatic. I like to know names, even names of people and animals I just met, even if I might never meet them again.

That all being said, I like my animals to have names with meaning or at least reason behind them. I previously told you the reasoning behind my boy Evan's name. Remember? Evan was named by another person, but I kept the name because it holds significant meaning, as it is Celtic for “young warrior.” And that's why I kept the name, as it suits Evan perfectly. He was seriously and permanently injured as a kitten, but since then he has been nothing but a warrior.

My tough boy Evan. He doesn't let his hind limb paralysis get him down.
But I realize that Evan's is the only name I explained, and since names are just so darn important and fun I simply can’t keep you in the dark regarding the rest of my animals' names. So, here it goes.
I’ll start with Rosie.

Queen Rosie.
When my family adopted Rosie as a kitten almost twenty-one years ago, my dad was the one who came up with her name. My dad has always been an avid reader, especially of the fantasy genre (which, for what it’s worth, is a trait he passed on to me). That being said, Rosie is named after Rose “Rosie” Cotton, a hobbit in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. Those nearly twenty-one years ago we also adopted Rosie’s brother, and his name was Sammy, after the hobbit Samwise Gamgee. (Sadly, Rosie’s brother Sammy passed away from cardiac disease when they were only five years old. He was a very cool cat.)

Next up is Astrid.

Astrid and Stormy. Read below for further explanation.
My sister and I named Astrid after the character by the same name in How to Train Your Dragon, which is one of my absolute favorite movies. Our Astrid even has a stuffed dragon that we named Stormy, in honor of movie version Astrid’s dragon named Stormfly. Our Astrid loves her Stormy, although she is a bit rough with the dragon and enjoys throwing it around by its tail. Sorry, Stormy.

Now, how did my itty bitty Thimble get her name?

Baby Thimble at roughly 3 weeks of age.
First off, naming all four kittens was a joint effort between my parents, my sister, and myself. Thimble's name origins are a bit convoluted, but I'll try to make this quick and understandable. It began when my grandma rescued the kittens and noticed that the little runt shook and shivered a lot (whether or not my grandma realized it, little Thimble's shaking was likely due to her malnutrition and sickly nature at that time). Well, my grandma decided to call the little kitten Shaky. To be honest, though, no one else liked that name. So, we decided to start thinking of some names similar to or that at least sounded like Shaky, since that technically was her first name. What happened after that was my mom thought of the synonym "tremble" and then started trying to think of words that rhymed with that. What she came up with was Thimble, and that immediately became the tiny little kitten's name. I think it suits Thimble perfectly, and I also like the name because it reminds me of Thumbelina, which is perfect for my Thimble's miniscule stature.

 Of course, I also have to share the reasoning behind Thimble's brothers' names.

Trapper at approximately 4 weeks of age.
Trapper was the first kitten to earn his name. How did that happen? Well, the minute we met the kittens it was my dad who took one look at Trapper and made the first subtle hint of keeping him, if not all the kittens. My mom is the one who came up with the name Trapper, joking that he would be the one who would get us all trapped into keeping the kittens. It looks like she was more or less right.

Talon at roughly 4 weeks of age.
Talon rightly earned his name by four weeks of age. How? When we would bottle feed the kittens, Talon would be so enthused by the sight of the bottle that he would flail and scratch at it, and scratch at whatever hand was holding the bottle. Bottle feeding Talon usually ended with bloodshed, with Talon’s claws ripping into whoever’s hand was trying to nourish him. Hence the name Talon.

Toby at about 4 weeks of age.
Toby was the last of the kittens to get his name, and if I correctly recall he was not named until about five or so weeks of age. Ever since we got Toby he's been a very laid-back cat that lets you do just about whatever you want to him, and for some reason we just had trouble thinking of a name to match that. Somehow all of his siblings already had names beginning with the letter T, so we kept brainstorming about what T name we could call him to match his calm and collected personality. For whatever reason, the name Toby ultimately seemed the best fit. I’m not sure that I can really explain this one, other than the fact that we thought he looked and acted like a Toby. As a little fun fact, I’ll divulge that the runner-up for Toby’s name was Theo, but Toby won out in the end.

So there you have it. I love names, and I love my animals to have names with good meaning and reason. For me, naming an animal is like naming a child. Of course, unlike with a child, you can change an animal's name without any legal issues. But, when it comes to my furry, four-legged children, I prefer to the pick the perfect name to begin with and stick with it.

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