Thursday, August 05, 2010


Calle, Halle, and Sukki asked where we got our great names.  There is a long story behind it, so we will let The Big Thing answer.  He is the Giver of Names and unnerstands it better than we do...

The Big Thing:  I grew up around family and neighbors who came up with great names for pets.  My mother named our first Siamese cat "Kenani" which means "pretty little girl" in Hawaiian.  Our second was "Hai U Phin" which means the same in Thai.  At least that is what I was told.  We always called her "Hey You".  Our neighbor named a puppy who was having rug accidents "Faux Pas".

I got started with "interesting" names with "Ralph" and "Sport-Sport".  Both were girlcats.  I love Firesign Theater and one skit mentions a business called "Ralph Spoilsport Chevrolet.  Since a roommate worked at a real place called Sport Chevrolet, I altered it to "Sport Sport";it seemed a natural.  Neither cat seemed to mind the odd names, though I always had to remind the vet that both were girlcats.

When the orange/white cat came along, I thought of orangish names (he was almost named "Sherbet").  But because he kept staying close to me like a mosquito, I named him "Skeeter".  I was proud of that name.  The next was LC.  That one took a week.  With her black/white splotches, she looked like a little cow.  With help from a co-worker, I thought of Elsie the Borden brand cow.  Then I realized that Elsie was also the letter L and C, and those were also the initials of "Little Cow".  So it went full circle and her name was LC.  The vet called her "Lucky Cat", but that's another story.

In the 80s, I read a book called 'Clan of the Cave Bear' by Jean Auel.  It is about a young blonde Cro-Magnon girl orphaned in an earthquake, adopted by a Neanderthal clan.  The Neanderthals are fine people, but different mentally and physically from Cro-Magnons.  Lots of problems ensue.  But the book (and sequels) are full of detailed scientific information of the flora, fauna, and geography of the times, plus a great storyline.

The Cro-Magnon girl was named Ayla.  I always knew I wanted a Siamese cat of my own one day, so I saved the name.  In 2007, I bought a Siamese girlcat named Isabel.  I promptly renamed her "Ayla".  It was a perfect match.  Ayla was comparatively slight, lithe, daring and curious; just like Ayla in the books.  Also, Ayla had not been good breeding material for the breeder because of small size.  That fit with the Ayla in the books too.

When Skeeter went over the Bridge and LC was slowing down from thyroid problems, Ayla was left without cat interaction.  I got another Siamese kitty in 2008.  Her original name was "Twiggy", but she was immediately nicknamed "Pudge" when I first saw her.  She was no "Twiggy"!  Does anyone remember who Twiggy was?

But she was large and muscular and certainly didn't think like Ayla did, so I thought back to the Clan of the Cave Bear books.  The natural character from the books was Ayla's adoptive Neanderthal younger sister Uba.  But I pronounced that "Ooba" (like tuba) and I just couldn't imagine standing out on the deck at night calling out "Ooba, Ooba, Ooba".  The neighbors would have thought I was crazy.  So I searched for other characters.  Ayla's adoptive Neanderthal mother was "Iza" (Eeza not Eye-za).  That sounded good, though logically wrong.  But I settled for it.

It works out.  Iza is supposed to be Ayla's adoptive mother, and Iza IS larger.  The chronology is backwards, but you can't have everything.

AYLA and IZA:  So THATs where our names came from!  We nefer really knew.  Cool!  We mean, he esplained it once or twice ta us afore, but not in such detail!  We are glad ta know too...  An we'll probly ferget.


Brian said...

Well that was really interesting, and all the others were cool too. My Dad said "WHOA, Firesign Theater, what a flashback"...whatever that is supposed to mean. I think my Dad kept them cool or something cause he said he was a big fan of theirs too!

Shaggy, Scooby and Scout said...

Heh the Ooba story!
Actually the whole story is great. Didn't know that about Skeeter.
Didn't know that Iza is pronounced E-za not Eye-za just like my son, Ian, is pronounced E-an not Eye-an.

Amy and The House of Cats said...

Wow that is so cool. And I am glad to know that in my mind I have been pronouncing Iza correctly! And I think it is great that you have reasons for your name choices - for us some of us do and some don't.

Oh, and our mom totally knows who Twiggy is - mainly because she heard about her on America's Next Top Model, but still, she knew!

Jacqueline said...

Great post, we really enjoyed learning about all your cat's names; those are all interesting stories and great ways to pick your babies names!...Skeeter and LC's names had fun stories and Ayla and Iza are both just beautiful, unique names...Happy Friday lovely friends...xoxo...Calle, Halle, Sukki

Milo and Alfie Marshall said...

That was really interesting to read. And mom says she remebers Twiggy (60s icon and fashion model hoo was stick thin!)

Katnip Lounge said...

Neat! Mommy guessed on Ayla's name, but not Iza's. And Skeeter, LC and the other Cats who Came Before had good names, too!

We read the lamp and table story in you earlier post...WOW that was scary! We've done stuff like that too. Scares the pants offa us AND Mommy!

AFSS said...

Our Mommy read Clan of the Cave Bear and she LOVED the book. And Mommy also says she remembers Twiggy. Does that mean she is OLD?

We loves your names and are glad to know where they came from and how to say them. Course we will probably forgets by tomorrow.

Natalie said...

I wondered if that's where Ayla's name came from, but I had been wondering about Iza (it's been a long time since I read Clan of the Cave Bear). Cool story!

Cory said...

What a great post, we just love hearing how other kitties got their names!

Mom remembers Twiggy!

Nico, Simon and JayJay said...

Great story - Our Mom figured out Ayla's name right away, but Iza's name took a little time. Our Grandma & Grand-Aunt love those books & our Mom remembered the names from then... Eventually!! (She's kinda slow)

We have a funny story of where JayJay got his name (maybe we'll share that on our post soon) But Simon picked his name & Nico, well Mom just saw a photo of him & the name Nicodemus popped in her head!

We like that you think up cool names for your kitties - not just the ones off the top of your head, like our Mom!!

Have a great day!!

~NIco, Simon & JayJay :)