Saturday, March 24, 2007

What's in a Name?

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Hemmingway, one of my three feline-children, is named after the famous author Earnest Hemmingway. Hemmingway (the author not the cat) is famous for many things. Besides being a magnificent author, he was a big game hunter, a womanizer (of rich women especially) and a collector of cats, specifically polydactyl cats. These are cats with extra toes, which causes their paws to look like mittens. Hemmy (the cat not the author) is polydactyl, hence his name.

Yet, Hemmy lives up to his namesake in other ways as well. We’ve had beautiful weather recently. A few days ago my cats begged to go outside. When the weather is nice, they get supervised trips into the backyard. Our dog Claire comes too. The cats are so happy. They get to eat grass and roll in the dirt. We have a rule that no clean cats are allowed back inside the house. Hemmy obeys that rule with zeal. He's covered in dirt and dry grass withing 3 minutes of darting out of the back door. Funny, he seems to forget the rule about not getting on the counters.

Anyway, I was snapping some pics of Friday and Hemmy for this blog at the back of our yard when Claire, the dog, began barking at some squirrels in a nearby tree. When she started barking, the neighbor's Labrador realized we were outside and came barreling up to the fence, fangs bared and barking and snarling with a ferocity that made me start despite the fence. Claire rushed to meet the challenge. Praise God for chain link. Friday headed for the back door, which I always leave open when we're outside. I knew Kit who was closest to the house would already be inside. Hemmy, who was rolling on his back, sprang up. Did he follow Friday to the safety of the house? No! Like his namesake hunted lions, he rushed to meet the Labrador head on! I shrieked and dropped the camera. Unlike Claire, Hemmy could climb the fence. My yells stopped him and I was able to snatch him up before he climbed the fence. We all went inside after that. Of course, I had to drag Claire in. I know this blog is about cats but I have to admit that I was proud of my dog. Though the neighbor's dog was about 4 inches taller and probably half my dog's age, the Labrador quickly cowed in the face of Claire's "counter-attack." Your kid made the honor roll, my dog shut the neighbor's dog up...but I digress.

What is the moral of the story you might ask? Be careful what you name your pets. They just may live up to it! Pick a nice tame name like Sleepy or Sir-Purrs-A-Lot, but never-ever name your cat Hemmingway.