Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Naming of Cats

by T.S. Eliot

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.

from Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats

PS Comments should be working as you see I have chosen a new template and the updated model allowed by specifications to work :)


  1. My first cat's name was Minerva. I got her when I was 15 yrs old.

    My second cat was named Athena. I got her when I was 20 yrs old. She lived for 17 years.

  2. Dana, I love your new template. I'm looking forward to reading through the poems this month.

  3. We've got 2 1/2 cats now.... all outdoor ones here in the country, though I long for a lovely indoor cat. I didn't name the first cat, but I've now named the two males who have adopted us. One is Oscar and one is Felix. Just fits them.

  4. I should say that the reason I counted 1/2 a cat is because Felix isn't totally ready to commit to us yet.... He likes our catfood, and is getting bolder about liking us. in other words, we've not petted him yet.