A Name

by Marinka on February 20, 2014

I planned to spend Presidents Day figuring out once and for all if it’s President’s or Presidents’ or Presidents Day and also watching Scandal, because I’m a patriot.

But shortly into my plan, Mama called.

“We are going to adopt a cat,” she told me. Their Sly died over the summer. “Stay near the phone because we will give your name as reference.”

“You can count on me,” I reassured her. “I will not say a word about the decades-long experiments you’ve been running on cats.”

“Don’t joke like that with shelter,” she admonished me. “they rescue cats not laugh.”

The next call was from Papa.

“They will call you soon,” he said. “Don’t mention that we have a dog.”

“Why can’t I tell them that you have a dog?” I asked.

“Because in form, if you check dog, there are many other questions to answer. It’s like Immigration and Naturalization over here,” Papa sounded like someone who gets detained by the INS and transported to their holding area in Gitmo on a regular basis.

“They won’t hear about the dog from me,” I assured him. This was America. They could waterboard me or put me in B-613, I will not mention any dog. Unless they offer me a chance to win an Amazon gift card. Who can resist those?

I settled in to receive the call.

It was from Mama.

“We found a cat, but he was missing part of ear,” she said.

“VAN GOGH?” I gasped.

“Oi,” Mama said. “You are right, he is van Gogh! How did I pass on van Gogh?” Mama felt the type of remorse that happens when you don’t adopt a cat that can paint fortune-fetching-at-Sotheyby’s masterpieces during his spare time.

Mama didn’t adopt van Gogh because a Tuxedo cat caught her eye.

With the exception of Fedya, our orange tabby in Leningrad, all of my parents’ cats have been black and white Tuxedos.

“They’re very straightforward,” Mama “explained” once.

This one, Mama told me, had just been castrated, so his testicles were enormous.

“I’m not sure that’s how castration works,” I told Mama, but she insisted.

“They are enormous because they are swollen from being castrated. Then they will calm down and become normal testicle size.”

“What are you going to name it?” I couldn’t change the topic fast enough.

“I think Snorring,” she said. “After the Icelandic Viking.”

“I have no idea who that is,” I confessed. Ever since Obamacare and legalization of gay marriage, my knowledge of Icelandic history has been really spotty.

“Oh yes, you know,” Mama insisted. “He came to Massachussets once.”

“At…the same time that I did?” I asked carefully.

“No, during 16th century. Maybe the 17h,” Mama suddenly appeared doubtful. “But I don’t want people to think that he snores.”

“If you name him Snoring, that is definitely a possibility,” I leveled with her.

“I will have to think,” she said.

It’s been three days.

The cat still doesn’t have a name.

No update on the testicles.


I have been working on a book post, but it’s exhausting and time-consuming and I can’t possibly devote myself to it during Bachelor season. So it will have to wait, but I have to give a thumbs up to The Time Locket by Deborah Quinn. It’s a young adult novel about time travel and I absolutely loved it. Read-in-the-middle-of-the-night loved it. Check it out!

One year ago ...

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Paula February 20, 2014 at 9:53 am

Every Tuxedo cat should be named Armani, imo.


Steph February 20, 2014 at 10:17 am

Can’t believe you left us hanging over whether Presidents Day has an apostrophe!! On the other hand, your conversation with your parents about cat regret gave me a good chuckle.


Susan Weinstein February 20, 2014 at 10:45 am

Being allergic to cats and okay with dogs but uninterested, yet I really did find your post interesting. Like learning about Icelandic culture. I am the person that when an enormous dog crowds into the elevator with its doting owner, saying, “he’s big but really a love,” who says no thanks and waits for the next one. And I have tried with very good intentions to share the Smithsonian article about a virus cats have that jumps to humans and has caused schizoid symptoms–irrational anger, mood swings, etc. But no one I know who has cats wants to know about this?


February 20, 2014 at 11:52 am

How did your mom choose an Icelandic Viking name?

Have your dad explain medical terms to your mom. Maybe she’ll believe him.


Guilie Castillo February 20, 2014 at 12:41 pm

I’m in love with your parents. Mine were never so entertaining. Or is it perspective? Having lived over a decade an ocean away from them, you’d think I’d have some by now 😉 And please tell them for me that THEY ROCK for adopting a homeless cat. BIG animal rescuer / advocate / chain-me-to-the-rhino fanatic here.

And… yeah, how did your mom come up with a Viking name?


Laurie February 20, 2014 at 6:42 pm

I’m pretty sure Snorring needs a friend with part of his ear missing. He can be called Sneerring.


awesome dude February 20, 2014 at 8:21 pm

The swollen element in question is called scrotum.


Wendi February 21, 2014 at 8:27 am

Is Van Gogh still available?


Jannie February 21, 2014 at 8:35 am

Yay for Mama and Papa – interesting fact…feral cat rescues clip the tip of the left ear off to indicate that cat has been neutered (nothing to see here, folks..catch the next unlucky guy!). However, a lot of people don’t want to adopt these cats because of the notched ear.


Mama bird diaries
February 21, 2014 at 9:09 am

I am laughing so hard over this… “Mama felt the type of remorse that happens when you don’t adopt a cat that can paint fortune-fetching-at-Sotheyby’s masterpieces during his spare time.” I always wanted an artistic pet.


alexandra March 24, 2014 at 10:45 am

I am having the best time catching up here. I love how I know you.


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