Saturday, February 23, 2008

Pet's Names: Are They a Nemesis?

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Trouble: White Oriental Shorthair

Be careful for what you ask.You just might get it.

It makes no difference whether it's a conscious desire or an unconscious wish , the names we give our pets may prove to be troublesome and need careful thought before bestowing them.

For example, this morning my husband was reading to me from a wonderful book, "The Four Agreements" by Don Miguel Ruiz. The first agreement," Being impeccable with your word" discusses how the words with which we communicate can either give us a sense of well being, or can be destructive and dangerous.  Ruiz writes, "If we adopt the first agreement, and become impeccable with our word,  any emotional poison will eventually be cleaned from our mind and from our communication in our personal relationships, including with our pet dog or cat."

My husband paused, turned to me and said, "We need to consider re-naming Trouble. We may have inadvertently and without intended malice, named him out of our frustration in response to the physical manifestation of his emotional distress. We may be perpetuating his internal conflict. We need to un-do what has turned out to be prophetic."

I think he is onto something really important here. Have we inadvertently altered Trouble's relationship with his life? Have we damaged his self-esteem?
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Lucyfur, Domestic Shorthair Tabby 

We express our emotions to our pets by the words we say, the tone we use, and the names we give them. So it stands to reason that their monikers can deeply affect them, either negatively or positively. I quickly asked him if naming our Domestic spay, Lucyfur may have not only affected her behavior but the way in which we relate to her. So we will be dropping the "fur" and calling her Lucy. I suspect that our future interactions may change.

So what is our bottom-line motivation for the names we choose for our furry companions? I hadn't given it much thought , but after listening to Mr. Ruiz's words, you can bet your bottom dollar that I will be much more careful in the future..

Have you found  that there is a relationship between the name you gave your pet and their behavior?  Consider the question carefully and leave a comment.


pam said...

I loved the pics. I got this link from a friend's journal and I loved It, I think you will too. Love Pam xx

Vicki said...

Sometimes I think it is just coincidental that our pets display similiar actions to their names. I name all of my pets, then give them nicknames that seem to suit them. I have a Cocker named "Spanky", but when he was a pup he did something naughty and I nicknamed him "Little Bad Boy". He gets called that more than his given name.

donna9331 said...

My pets always seem to name themselves. Pirate...I couldn't come up with a name, but when leaving for work one day saw he had black fur over one eye (looking like a pirate patch) and the other eye was surrounded by white hair (ie. PIRATE!) Flakey, I named Snowflake -- all white with blue eyes, but his personality soon turned his name to "Flakey" (and he IS!) Wheezel, I tried to name Lil girl or Lil bit, neither to which she would answer to. While she was sneezing and wheezing on the cat tree, I said to her, "You're just my little Wheezel, aren't you?" She Meowed, and Wheezel she is. Missy Toe is a little more complicated. She came to me as Cleopatra after my beloved Clifton died. I couldn't bear to bring her into my house when my grandson brought her to me. After one night in tears, I agreed if my daughter would keep her until she could be tested for feline leukemia, I'd take her. Cleo turned into Cleo, since my youngest granddaughter couldn't say Cleo, it was Tio, which turned into ToTo which turned into MissyToe at Christmas. Chester has always been my Chester, named after Chessie, a cat a friend lost that looked remarkably like Ches. Mouse, while Nimbus at the shelter, being all grey with white accents with his grey stripes, became MouseMouse...after a dear friend's departed cat. (I asked first, she said it was OK.) Anymore, when I get a kitten, I just take a few days, and voila, they seem to pick their own names. Aren't cats great?

Kathryn Levy Feldman (Kit) said...

I am always very careful with names--human and animal. I investigate what the name means, from which language it is derived and the way it is spelled. To me, a name is your calling card--the first thing you show the world and it is amazing how people can form perceptions before they even meet you. Phoebe's name come from Phoebus, the Greek for brilliant and she is the light of my life. She is also, of course, a golden retriever so it seemed to fit. And Amos comes from the Hebrew and mean Strong One. He is certainly strong in size and stature so it too seems to fit.

annie said...

love this blog! this article is great and has made me re-think my own cats' names. one boy is named lena -- because we thought all 3 of our original cats were girls, so the first was named deena [after alice in wonderland's cat], 8 letters later was 'l' so therefore lena [to rhyme with deena], then 8 letters later was 't' for tina -- deena, lena, and tina. when deena presented as a male, i just changed his name to teddy, since i had already been calling him my teddy bear, but over a week later when lena presented himself, it was too late! he already knew his name.

annie! said...

added comment -- when i got tina fixed, i yet again had changed her name slightly. she is officially 'tiny tina with 9 inch nails.' only later did i learn that 9 inch nails is the name of a rock group. :::::smile:::::

neesie was originally de niece [as in 'de niece' or 'de nephew']. hubby did not like that, so she became neesie.

stevie's official name is stevie wonder mcqueen. he always has this puzzled look on his face -- constantly pondering on life and what is going on around him. since he likes to take on huge challenges, the mcqeen part works.

peanut is officially peanut earl [peanut oil but pronounced as if he is from massachusetts].

Anonymous said...

Yep, I believe it! My Tsar Nicholov (part Russian Blue) behaves like a Russian Tsar. He is always in charge, always dictating to others, always insisting on having his way, etc. In other words, generally a pain in the a-- most of the time.

On the other hand we have Princess Grace, regal, unruffled, gentle and cuddly, a real lap cat, who virtually ignores the Tsar unless he gets too close, then she rips him a new one!


RP Cathouse said...

What's in a name??? Depends, since I am a breeder my cats usually have their registration name such as Ch R P Cathouse Private Dancer. And we call her Dancer or Dance.

How she got the name is as a kitten she seemed to dance all over the kitten room. My Missy Miss would not answer to any other name but Missy that was her Mom's nick name but her registered name is Stacalone River of Dreams, River was her father and such a wonderful boy he was. So she was named after him and comes to her mother's nick name.

Most of my cats are named after songs that mean something to me. Except a few such as Moses, Mason, Jezabelle. But thier home names may differ from registration names.

RP Cathouse

Rani said...

We've always waited till our cats' names became self-evident.

Rao (pronounced to rhyme with "cow") tells us his name every day: Raooooooooooo Raoooooooooo

Minx was both a flirtatious kitten and had a rich coat the color of a dark mink.

Underfoot, that's self-explanatory. Chutzpaw, ditto.

Now Gizmo was figured the other way. Our son wanted to find a kitten named Gizmo, not find a kitten and dub him such. We looked at a lot of kittens before he found the one who was obvious HIS Gizmo.

Kaspar's full name was Kaspar Fluffernutter. He was a beautiful sleek white (like Casper the friendly ghost) cat with the teensiest smudge, the color of peanut butter, on his forehead.

My ragamuffin, Baby was named "My Baby" was named that by his breeder, who was just crazy about him and she didn't give him up till he was a year and a half old. Anyone who's met him thinks the name fits! Hubby calls him Fluffypants or Prancer.

As a child, I had a tuxedo cat with white paws named Sneakers, a smoke grey DSH with some thin wisps of white named Gandalf (if that doesn't make sense to youm you didn't read The Hobbit!), and a beautiful Angora named Debbie, after my niece Debbie. Debbie's first litter was born on Halloween and the kittens were named Candy, Licorice, etc.

We don't know how it happened, but my autistic nephew got an idea into his head that he wanted a cat named Tasia, short for Fantasia. They'd come to visit us and he met Kaspar. Before that, he never showed the slightest interest in any animals. So they went to the SPCA and adopted a tabby and named her Tasia! I wish I could tell you that he became a cat-lover, but it didn't happen.

My mother recently adopted a cat and named her Coco, for the airs she puts on... "Coco Chanel."

I think that more often than not, a cat's temperament or look will suggest a name to you.