How did your pet get his name?
I’m pretty clever when it comes to naming pets; I always have been. Years ago, a friend had a really clumsy female kitten. I named her “Gelsey” after the ballerina, Gelsey Kirkland. Another time, I gave a kitten to my BFF. He was a pretty stupid cat, so we called him “Einstein”. A Chorale friend bought a pure-bred Vizsla puppy a couple of years ago. It’s a Hungarian breed, so she wanted a Slavic sounding name. I named him Tobias, called Toby for short. She’s bringing home a female Vizsla later this month and again asked for help with a name; same requirements, plus it had to go with Toby. The new puppy will be Natasha, Tasha for short.
We have two seal-point Siamese cats here at The Zone. I wanted names that reflected something of the breed’s Thai origins, so I went flipping through pictures of our trip to Bangkok 11 years ago. Inspiration! One cat has a very loud purr, which reminded me of the loud, sputtering motors of the little taxis known as tuk-tuks. That cat is Tuk-Tuk. The other kitten, a littermate and brother, would hide under the bed and observe everything. He was pretty aloof towards me, so I named him Buddha.
This is Tuk-Tuk. He is leaner than is brother but is far more vocal. He’s a real “meezer”. He responds when you talk to him. He gives head-butts when he wants your attention. He’ll stand on the newspaper when I try to read it. He’d sleep on my belly, if I allowed him. He follows me around like a dog. I call him “my dog.”
This is Buddha. Bored is what he does best.Buddha is the alpha male. He is usually the one to initiate fights with his brother. I often find Buddha sitting on Tuk-Tuk, biting him. He reminds me of Bucky Katt from the “Get Fuzzy” comic strip. Buddha is Wizard’s “dog”. That cat doesn’t give a lizard’s posterior about anyone else in this house. If Wizard is around, the cat is with him: on his bed, on his laundry, on his lap, on his head for all I know. When Wizard heads for the stairs at bedtime, the cat races ahead of him and goes up in a flash. Buddha always sleeps in Wizard’s room. Rarely, if Wizard is out of the house, Buddha will come looking for me. Many times, however, he’ll sit on the wall at the top of the stairs and yowl for Wizard. I trained the cats like dogs, to come when I whistle for them. Buddha always runs right to me; Tuk-Tuk shows up at his leisure.
The cats know they’re not allowed in the master bedroom at night. Last night, Tuk-Tuk meowed and pawed at the door for a few minutes. He finally left when we wouldn’t let him in. Undeterred, he was back at 5:00 a.m. He threw himself against our bedroom door — he and Buddha broke it once — and yowled to get my attention. That bad cat woke me out of a sound sleep. I didn’t go to bed until nearly 1:00 a.m., so I was bleary-eyed. I opened the door to walk out, and he ran in, purring LOUDLY. I dragged him off the bed and went to sit in the La-Z-Mom chair. Tuk-Tuk stood on my thighs, my belly, and my arm until he finally found a comfortable position and went to sleep. I fell asleep until about 7:00 a.m. when I went back to my own bed.
WineGuy was very nearly opposed to our getting these cats. His family never had pets growing up. None of his family likes animals too much. My family, OTOH, always had a dog or two. I believe children should have a pet. An animal teaches them to care about something other than themselves. Caring for the animal teaches them responsibility for another living thing. But, the greatest gift of all is animal’s unconditional devotion to the child. It’s wonderful for the child’s self-esteem and stability.
An enduring image in my mind’s eye: when we moved to Florida, we dropped Wizard and Wild Thing off at their grandparents’ house for a couple of days. It was an arduous trip and Wizard fell asleep almost immediately that night. I have a picture of him fast asleep with our old cat, Cosby (a black Siamese-mix), curled up in a tight ball by his side. Utter devotion.