Cat Nicknames


By Christine Lamont

I don't remember where I read this, but I do remember reading somewhere that a cat has 3 names: the one their owners give them, the one they go by when they communicate with other cats, and a secret mystery name that no one knows but them!


My cats, however, have many names - or, rather, I should say the one name that I gave them and many, many nicknames. For example, the cat that is currently my companion is officially named Clarinda. Her nicknames are as follows: Claire, Clarinda-Claire, Claire Bear, Bear Bear, Boo Bear, Snookums, Snoogalumps, Boo Boo, Sweetness, Lulu, Lulu Bear, Snooga Wooga Lump of Bear, Scaredy Bear, Scaredy Cat,and Baby Bear. She is a terribly sweet, very skittish, very fat cat - so all of these nicknames have grown out of those traits. Clarinda's dearly departed feline sister was named Cleopatra. Her nicknames were also numerous: Cleo, Cleo the Weo, Miss Weos, Dodo, Miss Dodo, Hell Cat, Miss Thing, and Psycho Kitty. Needless to say, Cleopatra was a demon kitty to all who knew her except me!

And I don't just give multiple nicknames to my own cats - I will make up nicknames for cats whom I barely even know! My sister-in-law's 3 cats are named Cairo, Cookie, and Beaux, but I call them Big Boy, Cookamiss, and Beausty Boy. My sister-in-law also has other nicknames by which she address her cats, so the nicknames which I use for them have arisen out of her nicknames. Granted, I have had lots of contact with these 3 cats during their lives, but I will make up several nicknames for each of the neighbors' cats or the unwanted cats that I see every time I go to visit an animal shelter. It all starts out innocently enough - I don't know the cat's name, so I make one up, usually based on their physical appearance - like Blacky. But, if I see Blacky again, suddenly he adds Black Boy and Smooty to his nickname roster. Or, if the shelter staff has named an animal Morris (as evidenced by the card on the front of his cage), I will inevitably address this cat as Morrie, Tiger, or Orangeaid. I do this all the time!!!

But, my point here is this: What is it about cats that makes us want to express our affection by giving them multiple nicknames? I love my husband very much, but he only gets graced with 2 or 3 nicknames if he's lucky! I also love my parents and sisters, but they are even less blessed than my husband - having only 1 nickname by which I will address them.

Now, I am childless, but I think that the relationship between a parent and child might go a long way toward explaining the multiple cat nicknames phenomena. The relationship that I have with my cats is most like a parent/child relationship (although sometimes I wonder who is the parent and who is the child!). And parents often will have numerous nicknames for their children, at least until the children get old enough to protest such a degrading, humiliating thing. But, your cat will never protest no matter how many names you make up for them - although if they don't like a particular nickname they will just ignore you when you call them by that name!

And I even feel that I have a parental/child relationship with those cats with which I am not very well acquainted. It breaks my heart to see these unwanted or abandoned animals, and so I comfort them and myself in the only way that I know how - by giving the my love via nicknames. I can't take them all home with me, but I can anoint them with a nickname or two.

So, take a moment to think about the nicknames that you have for your cats, and how/when you started calling them by that particular name. Remember the physical and personality traits, the circumstances, the cat's antics that inspired that cat's nickname... and fall in love with your cat all over again!!!

Now I must wrap up this article and stop writing because the Claire Bear is forcefully requesting a treat! Did I mention another of her nicknames is Demanding Bear?!?


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