Naming of Cats


I’m not really into poetry but like all cats I have a soft spot for T. S. Eliot.

His great poem “The Naming of Cats” has been a huge inspiration for many of us and has also helped our personal humans to understand the art of cat naming.

To make it short, every cat has 3 different names: 1) an official name, 2) a nickname and 3) an ineffable effable effanineffable, deep and inscrutable singular Name.

Mine for instance are: Bounty, Tataouino aka Tato and … well, the last I can’t say.

So, next time you see a cat lost in profound meditation, now you know what’s going on in his mind: he’s contemplating on his secret name, the very name only the cat himself knows.

So, here you go with the poem and please think twice before giving us stupid human-sounding names, thanks!

“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.”

Credit: T. S. Eliot


Newly-adopted old black cat. Professional purrer, serial cat food eater, visionary meower and expert snorer.

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  1. TheAristocat

    February 26, 2015 at 2:55 pm

    I wish I could know the real name of my cuties !!! I bet the most proud of his name is my Fonz :) Keep on giving us “catisfaction” catgang !!!! love the blog

    • Bounty

      March 2, 2015 at 12:00 pm

      Ah ah ah, “Catisfaction” … I love that song! Rolling Cats, right? BTW, Fonz is a great name, I love it!

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