It’s Sunday, and I’m writing at 4.45pm which means 2h25m until Doctor Who begins. I’ve just come back from a nice walk around the Welford Road area, which descended into intolerable as soon as I stepped onto my road. The rain went from a cold trickle to a miserable, heavy smothering, and I have had to entirely change my wardrobe. One housemate is downstairs playing Spyro, the other is introducing himself to the cat, who is named Cassie, is definitely not a Cassie, but will most likely continue to be named Cassie. She’s not my cat, so it’s one of those things you have to suck up.
I can only assume the rescue centre gave her that name, since I believe she was a stray, and they ultimately only know their animals so much, so I doubt much thought was put into it. Even then, she would have been a very different cat in the shelter than she is here, and she’s a very different cat now than she will become. She’s currently holed up in the spare room, occasionally hiding under the furniture, but I’m sure soon enough she will settle down and her true personality will come through. She essentially seems to be called Cassie because it’s a pretty name for a pretty cat, but that’s a rather shallow attachment.
Previous owners aren’t necessarily a good judge of names either. My family once adopted a dog called Dinky, which is a horrific name nothing should have to be put up with, save the doughnuts. I believe my Dad chose Whiskey instead, mainly for the half-rhyme that would help our dog listen to commands (which he always did, but rarely chose to follow them). It turned out to be an apposite name for two reasons: one, he was an Alsatian/Collie mongrel with a black/brown/tan coloured coat, so he was the colour of whisky (I can never remember which spelling is Irish and which Scottish, and it’s useless looking it up and pretending I do as I’ll only forget).
The other reason is that when you let him off the lead, he ran away pretty fast. He’d disappear into to hedges and have a whale of a time. This was fine for a bit, but after ten minutes you’d start worrying, after fifteen start calling for him, and it’d be twenty before he’d decided he’d finished, and run back to you with a massive grin on his face. Whiskey definitely suited his name.
And it’d be unfair to discount the idea that Cassie will grow into hers. I do think names have inherent implications. I also think we inevitably see people through the prism of what they’re named, and we either move towards what our name implies or our names simply reflect some small portion of us out into the world. They’re certainly not to be taken lightly, even for a cat.
That said, we all know that cats have three names…