Cats: Princess Demeter Munkustrap

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Erin Nanasi is an avid underwater basket weaver, with a penchant for satire and the odd wombat reference.
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I giggle when I hear people call themselves cat owners. Experience has taught me that we silly humans do not own cats, they own us. There is no other explanation for what our small puma gets away with. Yes, I ended a sentence with a preposition, because the other way looked pretentious. “There is no other explanation with which one can explain…” See? Yuck.

As many people know, a few weeks ago, I had very minor surgery involving a microwave. True story. We have begun receiving the bills from that minor surgery, and holy shit am I glad we have insurance. The first round was delivered today, and my husband and I spread the paperwork out on our bed because some of the math doesn’t add up. As we glared at the numbers, our 19-pound cat, Princess, leaped up gracefully, turned around twice and promptly deposited herself on the bills. Then she began cleaning her nether regions.

Honestly, if we had a kid who did the things this cat does, he/she would be in military school. Every few days, Princess decides that 6AM is just too damn late for breakfast, walks to the rug in the front hall, eats part of it then pukes. Inevitably, I step in it. In bare feet. “Squish” is not a fun sound or sensation that early in the morning. Our other cat, Hansen, used to vomit in my bedroom slippers. It made me feel loved.

Princess also has an alarm clock in her stomach, much like the crocodile in Peter Pan. This clock is silent to all but her, and it is specifically programmed to go off at about 8:30 each morning. When the silent alarm rings, my darling angel kitty will spend the next hour and a half stalking me, tripping me, howling at me and head butting me because she thinks she is starving. She’s not starving. Hell, after eating a rug, she should be pleasantly full. At 10:00, she gets her snack. Hunched over like a 19th-century accountant, she devours each and every piece, making some pretty disgusting sounds. She also enjoys chewing her food over her water dish, so by the end of the day, the water smells like rotting meat.

When we brought Princess and Hansen home from the Humane Society, the people we spoke with told us the two cats had been abused. Our vet in Vermont believed that Princess was starved and this explains her stress when her bowl is empty. She’s gotten much better, but mornings are still tough for her. Right now, she just finished dinner, so she is purring herself to sleep behind me. In a few minutes, she will begin to snore, often so loudly that she wakes herself up. As much as a human can love a cat, I love Princess.

Yes, she throws up and eats my area rugs and tries to kill me but she also adores me and greets me and cares for me in her cat-like fashion. And if it were up to me, her name would not be Princess. Her previous humans had named her “Precious” and we kept her new name similar. If she had chosen us when she was a kitten, I would have preferred to use the following poem as a guide to her name.

 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
Effanineffable
Deep and inscrutable singular Name.

The Naming of Cats, by T. S. Eliot

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Posted by on October 26, 2012. Filed under COMMENTARY/OPINION,CRITTER TALK. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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5 Responses to Cats: Princess Demeter Munkustrap

  1. Jess Reply

    October 26, 2012 at 10:34 am

    We call the nether region cleaning, playing the ass cello in our house. If you look at them while they have that back paw up, looks like they are playing some kind of instrument so we decided on ass cello for our 3. Names, well I have Spiccoli, Mr Hand and my little feral demon, his name is tt for tiny terror. I’ve never given mine three name I can think of other than wtf then who did this. Little guy actually has the ability to looked ashamed when caught trying to get into the drawer that holds their catnip. Other two, well they are cats what can I say, I am just the person that cleans up hairballs, fixes beds with them under fitted sheets and feeds them and they tolerate my presence.

  2. Diane Reply

    October 26, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    I just came from the door where I had been calling, “Calvin, snacky time!”
    I wonder what my neighbors think.
    I am at the time in my life when I am impatiently waiting for grandchildren. We were lucky to adopt a cute kitten last year and have been home 24/7 to raise him. We have bonded. We have spoiled him rotten, since he was exposed to FIP(feline infectious peritonitis, a killer of cats).
    We can’t get mad when he and Molly wake us up at 6 am staring at us and purring. And yes, you can wake up when a cat is staring you in the face.
    But what a wonderful way to start the day!
    Enjoy!

  3. Michael John Scott Reply

    October 26, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    Reading this story and the comments makes me want a cat. Unfortunately I doubt such a critter would be a welcome addition so far as the dogs are concerned.

    • Jess Reply

      October 26, 2012 at 2:24 pm

      Hey I can give you my tiny terror if you want. One of our friends has a big German Shepherd that the cat thinks is his bed when they come over, laying on him kneading him to get better fur coverage or something who knows. The dog, to me anyway, looks terrified when that little demon comes near him. Then will lay down so tt can get on him, as if he is just resigned to the fact the cat is going to do it, so he might as well lay down and start playing with him.

  4. Carol Maietta views Reply

    October 28, 2012 at 11:10 am

    Several years ago, a big orange tabby cat came to our door and declared he was now ours or visa versa. My husband decided to name him “Gatto” which is Italian for “cat” and with one ‘t’ is also spanish for cat. When our hispanic cleaning ladies met him, they asked his name, they asked his name ans we told them gatto. They kept saying, no, what is his name. They now finally you that we call that cat “cat”. Good story. Thanks

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