17 July 2022

Canberra's feline names are just the cat's whiskers

| Sally Hopman
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Yawning cat

Seriously, yawns Thunder the cat, you think I should get up for dinner? Rough. You should have that problem licked by now. Photo: Leticia Avelar.

How thoughtful of those folk in the ACT Government to go to all that trouble to find out the most popular cat names in the capital, on the pretext of ensuring that all who miaowed, had sharp claws and ignored humans, were registered.

But you had to be disappointed with the majority of names. Some were fabulous, many not so much.

It was pretty much a given that Charlie was going to be the most popular, but the imagination and clear devotion to celebrity was more of a surprise. Must say that Catrick Swayze made me want to dance around the room – and then have a glass of milk to cool down, Kat Dashian made me want to enrol in Humanity School, Fidel Catstro inspired me to start smoking cigars while Sir Paw McCatney reminded me of the good old days and that I should call out to an old friend – Hey Jude!

Calling your cat after a food item also proved a delicious idea for many: Bagel, Biscuit and Chorizo I almost get, but Cappuccino (maybe it was a typo and they meant Cattuccino?), Halloumi, Jelly Bean and Mashed Potato, although tasty, didn’t quite hit the spot, at least not on the same plate.

READ ALSO It’s official: Canberra’s favourite cat name is out of the bag

But for me, if I ever got a cat, I’d call it “Dinner Time” or “Pickle”. Pickle because that’s what Ricky Gervais calls his rescue cat and, like him, it always seems to get into one. Naming a cat Dinner Time would likely be the only way you’d ever get it to come when you call.

But who am I kidding? Cats answer to nothing and no-one, unless you can come up with a name that sounds like a can opening or that noise when you separate a piece of cheese from its plastic protective gear.

Dog names are so much easier. Fluffy, Blackie or anything else that ends with an eeeeeeeeee are to be avoided. I like bloke names for dogs, particularly if they’re bloke dogs. Frank, Peter or Eric, for example, for chihuahuas, Tiddles, Tiny or Sparkle for guard dogs and Einstein, Stephen (as in Hawking) or Isaac (Newton) for Labradors aged zero to 15 years.

I once had a black labrador called Brian who had the IQ of a, well, black labrador called Brian. I wish I’d called him Leonardo (da Vinci) instead, probably would have stopped him chasing his tail. He did it up until the day he died at about 247 dog years or what seemed like double that in human years.

No, I lie. Nothing short of no tail at all would have stopped him doing that. Nor would anything have stopped him doing the other thing he did near his bottom. Not quite so endearing.

Cat on table

I am a cat and I will always be in charge. My name is Disdain, so regardless of what you call me or ask me to do, you already know the answer. Meanwhile, where’s dinner? Photo: Paul Hanaoka.

Post-fart, he would turn around to see where the noise came from and, if a human was nearby, he’d wag his tail with delight towards said human to spread the, well, it certainly wasn’t joy.

My Lassie was called Lassie. Now she was a smart dog. Blind but smart. I never knew her to come even close to falling in a well let alone get into an unsuitable relationship with someone called Timmy.

Then there was Spotted. Yes, she was a Dalmatian who sent me dotty. The three felt very loved and popular because everyone knew their name, well, at least Spotted and Lassie. People got to know Brian when he ate their knitting, ankles and packed lunches – and anything else remotely edible within a two kilometre radius of his mouth.

So, here’s how it ends – the litter on kitties – all the dirt. If you want to make sure your feline’s name is, well, the cat’s whiskers, don’t give it another thought because it doesn’t matter.

It won’t come when you call it, unless it’s on your lap and has little choice. It will treat you with disdain regardless of how much generic cat food you don’t feed it, and it will continue to yawn its fishy breath as close as it can to you – because it can. Purrfect.

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