For most of my adult life, I’ve had two cats. Which made it extra terrible about eighteen months ago when we lost both to health problems within just a few weeks of each other. Losing a pet is never easy, but there’s something really awful about knowing they suffer and trying to figure out when it’s the right time to end their pain. Sorry. Didn’t mean to begin on such a down note.
The good news is that not too long after we lost our kitties, I fell in love with this handsome boy whom the rescue named Achilles, since he’d had a pretty serious leg injury as a kitten. Between my daughter’s love for Greek mythology and my husband’s love for Brad Pitt, it seemed like a perfect match.
Fast forward a bit– we always intended to have two cats again, but it seemed like every time we looked into adopting a second one, something went wrong. At last, our vet’s office called with the news that they had kittens in need of homes. So we decided to offer this little guy a place in ours.
And then began the real battle. A name. The vet staff had been calling him Cheese, which, considering the little ham that he is, I suppose I can understand. My daughter has these very intense infatuations with different shows or movies, so she lobbied hard for characters from her current favorites. My husband, the engineer, wanted something sci-fi oriented or something that coordinated with our other cat’s name. I, of course, lobbied for a name with a literary connection. Here were the top ten choices that didn’t make the cut…
1. Hector from the Illiad
It seemed an obvious go-to, since Hector and Achilles were rivals in the Illiad. Then we wondered if we were asking for trouble in naming them after mortal enemies. Maybe not the best idea, despite its cleverness.
2. Knightley from Emma
My daughter and I had recently discovered the BBC version of Emma (which if you haven’t watched, you should!) so Knightley seemed like an excellent choice. My husband hasn’t seen the movie, though, and isn’t familiar with the story, so we agreed to try to find a name we all felt some connection with.
3. Tybalt from Romeo and Juliet
Okay, my favorite thing about the novel Anna Dressed in Blood was the fact that the protagonist has a cat named Tybalt. I thought that was such a clever idea! And I’d been telling myself that someday, when I got to name a cat, that was going to be the name I reached for. I’m not sure why we discarded this one. Maybe because we’d talked about it too much over the years.
4. Paris from the Illiad
This one didn’t last long. I kept thinking it was a reference to Romeo and Juliet, and I’ve never liked the character Paris because he seemed weak to me. Also, it reminded me of the movie Troy, in which Paris’ most redeeming qualities are making sad moony eyes at everyone and lusting over Helen. Blech.
5. Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird
Since this is one of my favorite books, I had to pitch a name from the cast. But no one else in my very small family has read it (YET) so I got voted out on this one, too. Also, maybe it’s a little weird to name a cat a type of bird?
6. Starbuck from Battlestar Galactica
Okay, so I know Starbuck is a girl and our kitten is a boy. I don’t think he’d mind. And it’s such a cool name. My daughter had no idea who that was, and my husband wanted something that at least kind of coordinated with our other cat’s name. So boo.
7. Birdseye from Christy
My daughter was hooked on the 1994 Television series Christy when we brought our kitty home, so she was interested in choosing a name for a cat from that show. While it’s a great cat name, Birdseye was also not a great guy, so we ended up ruling this one out.
8. Robotron from Robotron (a video game)
WE ARE NOT NAMING OUR CAT ROBOTRON. Just no.
9. Gandalf from Lord of the Rings
Which is so awesome. But how do you name a kitten Gandalf? Seriously. We just couldn’t get our heads around it.
10. Sirius Black from the Harry Potter series
Another great idea that just didn’t gain enough traction. Plus would it be weird to name a cat after a character who shape-shifted into a dog? Hmm. We weren’t sure either.
So what DID we name him?
So… what did we end up naming our little furball? Ultimately we named him Bo. My daughter insists his middle name is Knightley and calls him that instead. He’s been a great addition to our little family. He and Achilles are friends and seem to get along great.