After being a pet owner for many years, one of the questions I start asking myself as soon as I get a new animal and name it is: “what will its nicknames be?” Nicknaming is an organic process that just evolves. It’s not like naming your animal, which has been a much more thought-out process, usually dependent on the many interests and activities in our lives, like with the dogs. Hieronymus: art (after Bosch); Plato: philosophy; Lucifer Sam: Pink Floyd (the song); and Jasper: decorative stones.
The cats’ given names had stranger beginnings. We got a small iguana shortly before we got our first cat. We named it “Boris.” I don’t know why. So we named our cat “Natasha.” To go along with the Russian name theme, our next cat that we got six months later we named “Vladimir.” After we lost Vladimir, we ditched the Russian theme in favor of classical antiquity. But we stuck with the brutal bloody ruler theme with our next cat, because it makes for a sweet cat. Go figure. And it did, hence, Caligula. Well, we also chose that name because of the little boots. Then came Apollo, again classical antiquity, and we chose the name for his bright sunny yellow color and Leonine sun sign (born August 1), like a sun god of the same name. Nothing to do with 1960s space flights.
But nicks just happen. We usually can’t control them, because some of the nicks are almost embarrassing. Or downright odd. Some nicks get applied to all animals, like “Nutty Buddy.” And some nicks are sacred–like Pappit.
Pappit was Plato’s nickname. Sometimes we referred to him as “The Pappit” when talking about him. Other times we addressed him by “nickname” and called him “Pappit-dog.” Plato also had other nicks like “Pippy” or “Bunny Monkey.” I’ve called Jasper those. But no matter how much Jasper will sometimes remind me of Plato, I will never intentionally call him Pappit. There was only one Pappit, and he is gone. Jasper will probably be the only “Little Boing Boing…but I don’t know. Maybe another Boston in the future (if there is one…if Jasper doesn’t outlive me) might be bouncy too, and inherit the Boing Boing nick.
Here are a few of the other strange nicknames we call our current animals:
Caligula: Bootcake (keeping the “Little Boots” theme, and adding a “cake” at the end because he’s so sweet), Bootcake-Fruitcake (because it rhymes), Fruity Boots
Lucifer Sam: Snoft (contraction of SNuggly and sOFT), The Snoft, Pug (well, I guess that one isn’t so odd), Pug Doodle, Wiggy (I think we also called Hieronymus the latter names as well, but definitely not The Snoft, as there is only ONE Snoft), Wiggly (pronounced “wig-o-wee”), Silly Willy, Snoftages
Apollo: Iddy Bee, Itsy Pids, Itsy Pidders, Itsy Pitsy Kitsy (those sound awful, don’t they?), Appy Pollo Wollow (I think I got this one from Alex of A Clockwork Orange who said “appy polly logies” instead of “apologies”), Wee Kitten
Jasper: Boing Boing, Little Boing Boing, Goofball, Puppin’ Stuff, Puppin’ Wee, Wee Puppy, Puppy, Puppy Puppy Nut or Puppy Pup Peanut
Collective Cats: Fruits and Boots
Collective Dogs: Nuts and Butts, Nutty Buddies, Nutty Butts