The Lab: How Not to Name New Kittens

Apr 24, 2020

Three things we’ve learned while fostering these 3-week old furballs.

When you learn to look, our world is full of mutual need fulfillment. The tree needs the microbes for nutrients and the microbes need the tree for sugar. The chickens eat our table scraps and we eat their eggs. And when you have a house full of socially isolated pre-teen girls, the animal shelters have a surplus of abandoned kittens to foster!

One rainy day last week, we got the call: “Two black kittens, three weeks old, can you pick them up now?”

Within thirty minutes Julia and I pulled alongside a lone gray Pathfinder in an empty parking lot.  We had a box, the masked man had the kittens, syringes, and nipples. No paperwork. No physical contact. A moment later and we were driving home with a lapful of mewing miniature cats.

So it goes, fostering kittens in the time of COVID. 

Here are three things we’ve learned as a community while raising kittens:

  • Young kittens need help going to the bathroom: Apparently their mom licks them to stimulate the process. I never thought I would rub a kitten’s genitals until it peed on me, but life is full of surprises.

  • COVID minimalism extends to cat rearing: Why buy cat litter when the creek is full of sand? Why buy cat toys when you have feathers, sticks, and string? (See Jeff’s video on rediscovering the worth of what’s around us.)

  • Ten people with lots of free time is a terrible way to name two kittens: Names seem like something everyone should agree on, but with so much time on our hands the whole process has spiraled into a political campaign, complete with swing votes, hardcore idealists, and backroom bribes.

Last night the girls opened with Cobra, Monkey, Little Simba, Draco, Malcolm, Rascal, and Winnie. Unfortunately, this long list of options did not lend itself to easy group consensus. 

I reminded everyone that they came with two names — Boingo and Zappa, but those fell flat. 

Schuyler suggested Mowgli and Bagheera, with nods around the table. A solid Jungle Book reference.

In honor of our nightly Rose, Bud, Thorn game, Jeff suggested Rosenstein and Thornberg, Cattorneys at Paw. 

Jeff then proceeded to run interference on any further suggestions by suggesting a series of “Cat Dictators” – e.g. Meow Zedong, Pol Cat – effectively launching the adults into an extended pun war that has lasted for more than 24 hours and included Nepawleon, Nikitty Krushchev, Franciso Furnco, Saddam Hissein, Pinochat (for you French speakers), and many others. 

What would you name these cuties? 

Rosenstein, aka Zappa, aka Malcom, etc...

Thornberg, aka Boingo, aka Draco, etc...

Or failing that… have any good “Cat Dictator” puns?

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