Remembering this Kat's cat (and what's in a feline name?)

As behooves its name, cats have played a prominent role on this blog. "No", one does not need to have a cat as a prerequisite for publishing on IPKat (although it certainly does not hurt ....). And from time to time, IPKat has stepped back to remember feline luminaries such as Grumpy cat, here, or Walter Chandoha, photographer extraordinaire of all things feline, here.

While this Kat's cat, Carmen, lacked the star power of Grumpy cat, Carmen having spent nearly her entire life within the confines of this Kat's domestic feline lair, she was not without her charms. Sad, very sad, it was, therefore, when she, at the age of 13, succumbed last Friday, within a brief period of time, to the ravages of kidney failure. With the sadness of her departure, this Kat recalled how Carmen, and her feline predecessor, Fluffy, had each carved out a role in supporting my IP activities.

As for Fluffy, she found daily refuge on this Kat's 1990's computer screen, where each morning (and I mean, "each morning"), between 8:30 am and 10:45 am, for a period of five years, she secured a comfortable resting spot while this Kat toiled away in writing his first book. There was no need to call Fluffy; she instinctively seemed to know when to appear and when to take her leave. Copyright law did not permit me to recognize her contribution to my book through her quietude and calm.

By the time Carmen became a member of the family, technology had moved on. There were no longer clunky computer screens and, with it, no proximate resting spot to join this Kat as he hammered away on another publication project. But I doubt that even if there had been such a screen, Carmen would have opted for it. Her preference was to maintain a bit of distance.

She often accompanied me while I wrote, but usually by resting on the bed adjacent to my work table. Unlike Fluffy, Carmen was not shy about expressing her opinion, but her feline interruptions only galvanized my resolve to focus on the task at hand.

                                                                                 Remembering Carmen

Fluffy and Carmen; Carmen and Fluffy. Thinking about them, ever the IP person, this Kat asked himself: beyond their feline actions, what about their names? As a trademark person, names are an integral part of my practice, but in a completely different context. Closer is the naming of one’s children. Various motivations may play a role, sometimes referential, sometimes aesthetic and sometimes aspirational.

However, selecting a name for one’s cat is a bit different. Characteristics of the cat (real or imagined) play a much bigger role. Fluffy was only a few weeks old, but already the color and texture of her fur were palpable, making the choice of a name almost a foregone conclusion. It was also prescient choice, as Fluffy subsequently enjoyed serving as a furry scarf for this Kat’s little ones.

Carmen arrived from a cat shelter, a nearly two-year old with a tough childhood (at least one litter to her account). We never knew what her name was in the shelter, being told that she should be given a new name commensurate with new surroundings. Selection of the name was a family effort. Multiple names were proposed; a complex form of family voting took place, in which “Carmen” won out.

For sure, the opera character Carmen was the inspiration, as we saw in the young cat qualities redolent of Bizet’s heroine. She did not disappoint; she was every bit Carmen, alluring, feisty, and headstrong. In both her good and bad moments, she was a worthy namesake.

Remembering this Kat's cat (and what's in a feline name?) Remembering this Kat's cat (and what's in a feline name?) Reviewed by Neil Wilkof on Wednesday, January 29, 2020 Rating: 5

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