I don't remember what year it was (I'm not very good at remembering things like that), but I was living in Washington Heights when I was persuaded to adopt a soon-to-be-homeless cat. He came with a soft black carrier with a pink bow tied onto it and a name that was completely unsuitable. Luckily I no longer remember the name either.
It's an interesting question, what to name your pets. I almost started this post by talking about when he came to live with me, rather than when I adopted him, so you can imagine that the problem of naming an animal occupied a rather large portion of my time. Well, yes it's also true I didn't have anything else to occupy my time!
So, I had this cat with an unsuitable name. Most of the names I thought of were clever in a trying-slightly-too-hard kind of way. That happens with me (see the previous post.) After a while I realized that I was mostly calling him Kitty anyway, so I gave up on the naming process with some relief.
However, when I first had to take Kitty to the vet, I was a little embarrassed that I had been unable to be more creative or loving about a name. It was in mid July, and I was obsessively watching the Tour de France – partly because it was on the tv when I got home from work and partly because it is kind of fascinating. It turns out that there is a Basque cycling team called Euskaltel Euskadi, and in a flash (or perhaps a dull thud) of inspiration, I imagined that Euskadi would be pronounced Who's Kitty? It might be the kind of thing that one would say to a cat – baby talk for those moments when no one else is around. Oos kitty is oo? kind of thing. You get the idea.
So I told the vet that his name was Euskaltel Euskadi, and now I'm stuck with trying to explain that every time I make an appointment. But that's not what I wanted to write about today. We live near the top of a hill and when the weather is nice we like to stroll of an evening down to the bottom of the hill and back up again. It's almost like a ritual.
It turns out that Kitty very much likes to accompany us on these walks. Our neighbours think it is hilarious (alright, mildly amusing) and have become accustomed to seeing the four of us making our way slowly down the hill and then even more slowly back up. Kitty finds the downhill portion easy going, but once we turn around he starts to flag a bit and if we get too far ahead of him he starts to complain - a little defensively I think. Sometimes he gets tired and just plops himself down in the middle of the road until one of us comes to pick him up. So there we are, walking slowly back up the hill gossiping, counting deer and woodpeckers, and arguing pointlessly about what kind of bird we just saw, one of us carrying the baby and the other carrying the cat.