Mr. Fluffers , Patches, Vanilla Chocolate Bar, Pussycat — by Margaret Hart
We recently expanded our family, and I am now outnumbered three-to-one in my household by males. But that’s okay with me, especially because the newest member is a soft, fluffy, cuddly, and oh-so-sweet little Ragdoll kitten. Officially, he is my son’s kitten, and our new family pet, and after only 72 hours he has carved a permanent place in our hearts. I just wish we could decide on his name.
I’m looking forward to the journey of watching my son love and care for his new friend; a journey that I first began when I was about the same age. We will teach him about the responsibility of owning a pet and what it means to care for another living soul. So far he’s doing very well. He’s poured water and food into the bowls, and spent countless hours playing and soothing the normal cries of our new little baby. He’s been willing to jump in and do whatever is necessary to help out. To a point. He drew the line at litter box duty!
As anyone knows who has introduced a kitten or puppy to young children, you have to continuously explain the circumstances and reinforce the rules. At age seven, my son is smart enough to understand, but still not always patient enough to implement what’s necessary. It’s hard for an excited little boy to not want to shriek with delight when playing with the kitten or to run loudly into a room only to find the kitten has ducked for cover under the bed. It’s hard to remember to always lower your voice, and always make slow movements — the antithesis of little human boys! But we’re getting there.
Our new kitten seems to know that he belongs to a little boy. He follows my son around and is at his ankles so often that we really have to look down all the time to make sure we don’t trip over him–or step on his paw (ouch). Ragdolls characteristically greet you at the door, follow you around, and “flop” in your arms just like a “ragdoll” when you hold them. They are very sweet and loving cats and make great pet s for children.
For the moment, our kitten is called Pussycat or whatever seems to come to mind. But we really need to make a decision on his name soon. With previous pets, names seemed to evolve the same way, with the exception of one: there was our black and white cat who looked like he was wearing a tuxedo. He became Tuxy. Before him there was our grey and black tabby, who we adopted as a kitten. He started out with a fancy French name that we made up as joke, Varment, and simply became Vern. It fit him perfectly. And before Tuxy and Vern, there was Mouser. She started off as Maxine, and developed the nickname of Mouser.
So here we are again. We started out with a list of names off the top of our heads for our new kitty that included Mr. Fluffers, because his has long, fluffy white fur. Patches, because he has grey-blue fur circles or “patches” around his eyes. Vanilla Chocolate Bar was another cute name, but a bit cumbersome.
In the hopes of finding a name that we could all agree on, and one that my son would feel like he chose, I asked him a few questions: what are some of your favorite things? Who are some of your favorite characters (please, not Luigi). What do you think of when you look at the kitten?
The questions didn’t really help because we only got one answer: “Macaroni, because I love macaroni and cheese.” So for now we’re testing out “Mac” as one name and “Benny” as another. Benny is short for Bennington, the name of our street. It was my suggestion, and I thought it was fitting because it sounded “upper crusty.” You see, our kitten’s parents have won awards at cat shows, and they both have fancy names. So I thought our little man needed to have a name befitting his pedigree. But Benny would be his everyday name; his nickname. And it seems to suit him.
Speaking of nicknames, they can come in very handy. One time on a particularly turbulent airline flight, I started writing down all of Vern’s nicknames to distract myself from the terror I was feeling. I came up with 75. Thank God for Vern’s nicknames, and for my husband’s arm and hand, which I grasped so hard that it literally started to turn white from lack of circulation.
So here’s to you, Mac or Benny. We welcome you warmly and lovingly, and we look forward to many years of fun and laughter with you as part of our family.