What’s in a name?

cray cat lady
When I was in kindergarten, a stray cat found her way into our backyard in upstate New York. As is the case with most stray cats, she quickly had a litter of kittens in our basement. We gave most of them to friends and neighbors, but we kept one little black and white kitten. I don’t remember exactly how, but somehow she got the name Abby. When my parents got divorced, my mom got the kids and my dad got the cat (that isn’t exactly how it went, but the result was the same).
We all loved that cat so much, it wasn’t all that weird when my brother named his daughter the same thing almost ten years ago. This year, at Christmas Eve services, the pastor at my brother’s church was talking about the importance of meaning behind names. I leaned over to my niece and mentioned about the cat. Apparently, no one had really told her about that before. After service, the first thing she said to her parents was “You named me after a CAT?!” Oops! Let me clarify though, my sister-in-law never met the cat, and loved the name even before she started dating my brother. My niece is not named AFTER a cat, they just happen to share the same name!

Rose and Abby
For most of high school, I begged my mom for a pet. She refused time after time. When I moved away for my undergraduate degree, she got a bit of a break. I returned home to save money during graduate school and again began begging for a pet. About a month before I graduated, my mom had gone out one morning to run some errands. She called me a little while later, and she had stopped by a local pet store that was having a pet adoption event.
At the event, there were two adorable kittens from the same litter that were available for adoption. She was calling to see if I wanted her to get them. Um… yes. The kittens were about two months old, but they couldn’t be sure. They were found on a delivery pallet of a drinking water company with some of their other litter mates (who had already been adopted).  
After signing the paperwork – which was a little intense, promising not to get them declawed, describing the square footage of the home, detailing any other pets, agreeing to home inspections if they desired – we were allowed to take the kittens home.
According to the shelter, their names were Daisy and Dash. I liked the name Daisy alright, but I didn’t really think Dash fit a female cat very well. My mom and I started brainstorming for an alternative. Since one of the kittens had a “flower” name, we thought about using the same idea for the other one. Nothing really seemed to fit quite right.
Even though the cats were from the same litter, they really couldn’t look more different. They are both gray and white, but one has significantly more white. One of them had sleek, fine hair and the other one is a giant fur ball. And the detail that finally helped us name them is that one of them has a pink nose while the other one has a black nose.

Rose - April 2007 - does not like diabetes!
When we noticed their noses, the pink nose cat quickly became Rose and the black nose became… well, we were stuck again! What flower is black? The best we could come up with was Lily. For the rest of that day, the kittens were named Rose and Lily.
The next morning I was telling the whole story at church and someone suggested, “what about Susan? You know – like black-eyed Susan.” They aren’t exactly black, but it seems close enough, right? It would have been a great suggestion if my dad’s new wife was not named Susan. I just didn’t think she would react to kindly to having a cat named after her. “So why don’t you abbreviate it? Call her Bes

Bes - May 2009


And so Kerri, that is how #Bes got her name and how I ended up one small step away from being the crazy cat lady with two adorably ridiculous balls of meowing fur who hog the bed at night (run on sentence).




  • Love the babies! It’s okay Sara, my sister is a crazy cat lady too. I have one cat that I gained as a step son when I met my husband. He gained a daughter and I gained a cat, but you know; that cat and I do everything together and he is my bestest friend.

  • So cute!

    My kitty is Casey James and this because if my George would have been a girl he would have been Caycee and if Gillian would have been a boy she would have been James.

    I loved this post!

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