Janet Christie's Mum's the Word

A new kitten is like an asteroid hitting the homestead

Mum's the Word
Mum's the Word

Now that the streets of the capital are no longer awash with tourists and trash and the zombie apocalypse has failed to materialise it seems like a good time to stave off the approaching gloom of recession and cave in to Youngest Child’s pleas for a kitten.

Small and cute, completely black and still fluffy, she arrives and sets about scratching the paint off the hall doors, which is good as I haven’t got around to buying a blowtorch yet so we’re already ahead on the autumn painting schedule.

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But what to call her? The naming of cats is a difficult business. Much harder than children as those agonised over birth names are often waylaid anyway - mine now answer to ‘Eldest’, ‘Middle’ and ‘Youngest’.

Mum's the Word
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Biggie Smalls, however, has maintained the moniker given him by Middle Child when he was a kitten 11 years ago. It’s the same with Biggie’s feline friend Pat Stanton, named for the footballer, although my friends’ cat, Hunter S Tomcat, aka Gonzo, now answers to the name of Janet, having gone to live intermittently with neighbours over the wall who have deemed them to be female. Which is all grand and inclusive, but how could they know it was also the name of the person (me) that plucked the stray, starving Gonzo from the mean streets and sent him to live in luxury on the South Side? He/she/they must have told them.

“Squishy?” suggests Youngest, for the new arrival. This is immediately squashed for obvious reasons - might as well name it “Self-fulfilling Prophecy.”

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“Little Simz?” Says Eldest, ‘goes with Biggie Smalls.”

“Or Missy Elliott,” says Youngest. “I’ll call it Missy and you can call it Elliott, ‘cos you like ridiculous names from books.”

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“Do not,” I say, pushing TS Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats down the side of the sofa, “but what about Mungojerry?”

“Pest,” suggests Biggie Smalls, hoovering her forbidden to him special kitten food (he doesn’t need the calories).

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“Dimorphos,” says my brother, “after the asteroid NASA crashed that space rocket into” when I tell him about the destruction being wreaked on the homestead. I don’t know about you but I’ll definitely sleep better knowing we earthlings have an expensive planetary defence solution sorted. And it means I can stop worrying about asteroid impacts triggering global extinction and give my full attention to the naming of the cat.

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