Thursday, December 08, 2005


A KING BY ANY OTHER NAME
(Miko, left, in his first week with us)

Our new cat, whom we originally called Melchizedik, has had a number of name changes since we first brought him home last week. He's Miko now, which means "king" or "deity" in Japanese. We came up with the name somewhat by accident, not knowing its meaning at first. When we discovered its regal significance, we knew we'd hit on something. Melchizedik is also a king, so this feline was meant to have his royal name. And Miko fits him. He's sure of himself, and like a lovely Japanese print of a single fruit blossom, has a calming stillness. Here are the other names we considered, if only briefly.

Melchizedik, or Meli for short--He was dubbed "Mel" at the Humane Society, and we thought it could have been a diminutive of the name of this grand, biblical king. But it was a little too grand for this cat, and Meli never rolled off the tongue very well.

Lou--Our friend Malina mentioned this as a name she'd rejected for her cat. But it made us smile because it reminded us of a favorite character in a Woody Allen movie about a third-rate, has-been lounge singer by that name who's two-timing on his wife with a mobster's mol named Tina Musante. He makes it big at the end, and he has a big heart all along. My father wasn't so crazy about the name, so he added "Baby" afterward. Lou Baby.

Tiger Lily--This was the name that the neighborhood kids gave Miko, when they thought he was a girl. We considered keeping the name, but he's not as tough as the name implies.

Jack--A simple one-syllable name that SJG and one of my coworkers loved. But Miko's not a one-syllable cat.

Pinky--For Miko's pink nose, ears, and foot pads. This only lasted only a few minutes, though we liked the connection to "Adam's Rib," one of our favorite movies. " ' Pinky' ...with a "y" for him, "ie" for me," says Kate Hepburn to the judge, after she and Spencer Tracy have erupted into a spat, with private overtones, in the courtroom.

Karen Black--Another short-lived name, with resonance all the same. Miko is slightly cross-eyed from a certain angle, just like this marvelous campy actress from the 1970s. A good friend and his boyfriend are Karen Black groupies. They went to Massachusetts not too long ago for a Karen Black one-woman show. She was on the same plane when they flew home, and they got to introduce themselves to their idol.

Baby--For his sweet-tempered nature, and because it struck us as a name a Southerner like Truman Capote might give to a pet

Kiki--For the Greek owner of a Greek grocery store we frequent. This didn't stick either.

Mister--"Mister Mister" rolled right off the tongue, but we kept thinking of the rotten character by this name in "The Color Purple" so it didn't last.

And finally Miko, which is sticking and seems to fit. He's started to look up when I call out "Miko," so I think he's got his name.

1 comment:

fresca said...

Do you know The Naming of Cats by TS Eliot? I swore I would never quote TSE again, so I cansay no more, excpet that there's something about cats that leads to their having mulitple names. I bet "Miko" is not the last of it!