Archive for June 10th, 2014

More book-loving felines, and the delicate matter of the naming of cats…

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014


No sooner did we welcome more photos of book cats over on the Book Haven’s Facebook page (and please join us on Facebook here), than a Vermont lawyer (and friend) Max Taylor submitted his own cat, one of two Siamese siblings, for consideration among our gallery of book-loving cats. This kitty seems intrigued by J.H. van den Berg‘s Divided Existence and Complex Society (you can read Max’s review of it on Amazon here).

The teal-eyed feline’s name?  “Usually Rosie. Sometimes Rosy,” he wrote. “We adopted a hands-off approach. Each child got to name one.” This, of course, raised the delicate subject of the naming of cats, and who to address that matter than T.S. Eliot in Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats? (You can hear the poet recite it himself in the video below.)


“The Naming Of Cats”


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.

Meanwhile, may I recommend to Book Haven cat-lovers my own thrice-named 20-lb. black cat, Rotundus, also known as Ro-diddy (because my then-12-year-old daughter assured me he’s a rapper) – and sometimes simply Da Ro-Ro. Whatever. Clearly, he’s a J.M. Coetzee fan.  (See what you started yesterday, Patrick Kurp?)